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Thread: What is normal?

  1. #1

    What is normal?

    Since my husbands surgery his bowels seem to not be on track yet. He is 2 1/2 weeks out from surgery and right a couple days when he got home he didn't have a bowel movement for 3 days after going from diarrhea. Dr. office said to do 3 doses of miralax that day and if he still didn't have a bowel movement then do milk of magneisa the next, so that is what we did, well he ended up going a lot with it turning into diarrhea for hours. Then he seemed to go very little the next few days then here we are back to day 4 with no bowel movement, he did milk of magensia yesterday and still none. Is this normal? do bowel change that much? He gets bad stomach aches during this time, all he did was ate some jello and drank a little water and stomach ache. He said its hard to explain but he feels this constant urge to need to go but when he goes in there he cant.
    He is also having pain down there where they did the resection, he can feel a pain during a bowel movement and when passing gas, he talked with the doctor about it and he didn't really know why he would have pain there other than it's still healing from the surgery but it hasn't gotten better over the last 2 1/2 weeks. Are these things normal? will it get better?

  2. #2
    Moderator Top User Fourlegsgood's Avatar
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    I am sorry he is having a bad time. In truth though, it usually takes many weeks or more probably months for the bowels to settle down. They have had major trauma to them and everything needs to readjust to the new normal.

    Is your husband on any painkillers that might be causing constipation?

    Otherwise what is his diet? Two and a half weeks after the operation I really wasn’t eating much so there wasn’t much to come out the other end.
    Age 1/2 way to 120 plus 1. Symptom of blood in stools May 2011. Colonoscopy June 2011 confirmed rectal cancer. CT scan June 2011 showed no spread to other organs. Anterior resection July 2011 plus 50% bowel removed due to thickening observed during operation. Biopsy confirmed stage 2 in rectum only. Completed 8 cycles of precautionary capecitabine (4600mg Xeloda). Returned to horse riding 6 weeks post op, jumping 2weeks later and first competition 2 weeks after that. July 2012 - CT scan clear. June 2014 - CT scan clear. December 2014 - Colonoscopy clear. July 2017 - 6 year CT scan clear.

  3. #3
    I hope it gets better with time. No he isn't taking any pain killer other than Tylenol and advil, he hasn't taken any of the strong painkillers since the day after his surgery.

    It just doesn't seem right that he has eaten but hasn't had a bowel movement for almost 4 days now. When given miralax he'll finally go but then it's diarrhea.
    Last edited by worriedwife69; 08-11-2019 at 02:55 AM.

  4. #4
    Moderator Top User Doug K's Avatar
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    Wow... I think I was weeks or months before anything approximating a "normal" was happening. Too, it was very unpredictable. I think it would help to know a bit more about your husband. How old is he? Where was the surgery? I had a LAR (Low Anterior Resection, 7 mm from the anus). What treatment has he had prior to surgery? (Radiation, chemo). I agree with Nick, it takes awhile. And there are two steps forward, one step back for quite a long time.

    In the support group I go to (I have gone for the five years since surgery) we talk about "poop" nearly every month. Of course we have new members who haven't heard the discussion, so it is helpful to bring them up to speed. It does get better. I currently take four metamucil capsules every morning and one immodium. Sometimes I take a second imodium to slow things down a bit. Truly, I think each person has to experiment and try to find their comfort level. Give it some time. Diet also plays a role, your bowel is forever changed.

    Please come back and post to let us and others know how it has gone.

    doug
    MyJourney:
    August 2004 Colonoscopy Clear
    June-July 2013 Abdominal Discomfort Upper Abdomen X-ray, UltraSound, CTScan all clear
    8.23.13 Diagnosed 5cm tumor on rectum wall: adenocarcinoma @age 66
    Aug-Sept2013 Met with Surgeon,Hematologist and Radiation oncologist
    Oct.-Nov.: Xeloda concurrent with radiation: 25 doses
    November CTScan, MRI and surgeon scoped: Tumor gone, scar tissue
    1.6.14 Surgery LAR: Rectum removed, sphincter remains: Pathology: no lymph node,
    Tumor downgraded from Possible T3 to T2
    Feb. - April Chemo:5 FU and Oxilaplatin:6 infusions over 14 weeks
    9.4.14 ColonoscopyClear,CT Clear
    Dec.14 Follow up BlWk +,CEA .9
    Mar.15Follow up BlWk +,CEA .6
    June.15 Follow up BlWk +,CEA .7
    Sept2015Followup BlWk + CEA .7 CTScanClear NED
    Dec2015SurgicalHerniaRepair
    Sept2016Followup BlWk + CEA .7 CTScanClear NED
    Sept-Oct2017Followup All clear NED
    Sept-Oct2018CTScan+Clear Bldwk+
    Mar2019Bldwk+NED
    Continue ColoRectal Support Group monthly

  5. #5
    Thank you Doug, my husband is 52 and had 18 in of sigmoid and rectum removed with the connection 7 cm from anus.
    He said he feels pain there (where the connection is) like an urge there all the time like he has to go and even morey when sitting. It's making it difficult to urinate as well because when he tries it's like it opens the anus and he feels the urge to poop and will but very little but enough to be annoying. (sorry if too discriptive). Plus we are having a heck of a time with his bowels. He goes multiple times but very little amounts it not diarrhea nor is considered a "solid" . It seems if we don't give him anything like a laxative then he doesn't have a bowel movement at all nothing for days. It's very frustrating, he doesn't seem to be going enough for the amount of food he's eating, although he said he doesn't feel constipated. His diet is pretty good, nothing greasy, fatty, we eat fairly healthy. We can't seem to pin anything on making it better or worse. Thank you

    Oh I forgot to mention that he did not have any chemo or radiation beforehand. He will start that in another week. Will that change anything?

  6. #6
    Moderator Top User Fourlegsgood's Avatar
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    Worriedwife, I had half of my colon taken out and my join is a similar distance from the anus (Drs tell me they can feel it with a digital examination). It took months before I had any real control over my bowel movements and in truth I need to rely now on loperamide for day to day control.

    I also did not have radio or chemo before the operation but I did have 6 months of chemo afterwards.

    On the matter of diet, I was told that during my recovery period and during chemo I should abandon any thoughts of a 'healthy' diet and instead concentrate on giving my body fuel to mend itself. In other words fatty and greasy foods were positively recommended to me. Bacon sandwiches, chips (I mean the UK chips) rice pudding with cream, in fact anything with extra cream, etc etc. In the weeks and months after the operation I did suffer adhesions which were quite painful. I found that a bit of vigorous exercise helped to stir things up and relieve the pain (I was about 57 at the time of my operation).
    Age 1/2 way to 120 plus 1. Symptom of blood in stools May 2011. Colonoscopy June 2011 confirmed rectal cancer. CT scan June 2011 showed no spread to other organs. Anterior resection July 2011 plus 50% bowel removed due to thickening observed during operation. Biopsy confirmed stage 2 in rectum only. Completed 8 cycles of precautionary capecitabine (4600mg Xeloda). Returned to horse riding 6 weeks post op, jumping 2weeks later and first competition 2 weeks after that. July 2012 - CT scan clear. June 2014 - CT scan clear. December 2014 - Colonoscopy clear. July 2017 - 6 year CT scan clear.

  7. #7
    Thank you, did you have pain? Even when gas builds he feels it there, and did you have a constant "urge" to need to use the bathroom?
    He doesn't have diarrhea but it's also not what I would call normal either, so I don't know if we need to do something like metamucil or what.
    For diet, he has a few things going on, it seems really almost anything he eat is causing him more nausea which they still can't seem to figure out what is causing it. They want to do a gastric emptying study but he is so nauseated that he can't complete the test. So finding things he likes to eat that is "healthy" easy to digest has been difficult, I think fatty foods would make his nausea worse. With exercise he is up a good majority of the day doing things around the house/garage off and on or he goes out on errands with me (near by still as he is afraid to venture too far from home still).

  8. #8
    Moderator Top User Fourlegsgood's Avatar
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    I was going to the bathroom many many times a day for the first few weeks. Mostly not much came out. Gradually building up walking a little more each day helped though as walking seems to help with the colon working. Food wise I think I was just on thin home made chicken broth for the first 3 weeks.

    Pain wise I wasn't too bad by about 2 1/2 weeks. I had paracetamol every 4 hours though to keep it under control.

    Your husbands nausea is different to me though and I am sorry that I cannot suggest any ideas for that.

    Nick
    Age 1/2 way to 120 plus 1. Symptom of blood in stools May 2011. Colonoscopy June 2011 confirmed rectal cancer. CT scan June 2011 showed no spread to other organs. Anterior resection July 2011 plus 50% bowel removed due to thickening observed during operation. Biopsy confirmed stage 2 in rectum only. Completed 8 cycles of precautionary capecitabine (4600mg Xeloda). Returned to horse riding 6 weeks post op, jumping 2weeks later and first competition 2 weeks after that. July 2012 - CT scan clear. June 2014 - CT scan clear. December 2014 - Colonoscopy clear. July 2017 - 6 year CT scan clear.

  9. #9
    It's ok, I'm sure it's different in some ways for everyone. His appetite since coming home hasn't been great, although it is improving but it seems about an hour after he eats he starts to feel really sick to his stomach. He will be doing his gastric emptying study next week providing he isn't too sick to do it and hopefully we will get some answers. I think my biggest fear is a brain tumor, he had one removed about 5 years ago, it was benign and were pretty certain this type would never come back, but with his new symptoms he's been having, well the nausea which he's had, a lot of nerve pain and some weird headaches worried it's a new brain tumor. He goes in for an MRI tomorrow. thank you

  10. #10
    Moderator Top User Doug K's Avatar
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    WW,
    I believe this article will provide you with a good description of what happens when there is a resection of the rectum near the anus (low anterior resection-LAR). Check out the comments at the end of the posting as well. Low Anterior Resection Syndrome is a real thing. It often happens post LAR. Please take a look and see if it helps. Most of all it helps to know you are not alone in this experience.

    https://fightcolorectalcancer.org/blog/what-is-lars/

    I clearly have battled with LARS. In the group I attend, my surgeon did a twenty minute presentation on LARS. It was a very helpful discussion. Initially, I had such little control I was staying at home most of the time. Then as I did some better (practicing pelvic floor muscle control exercises helped you have to keep your spincter strong) I would place an "always" lite pantie liner in my underware and do what I wanted. The pantie liner was "just in case what I thought was a 'fart' wasn't." I had some accidents that the liner helped with. Also since my stool is, more often than not, the consistency of a one year old baby's, the clean up following a time on the toilet isn't as easy or complete as it once was. Thus the liner helps protect th underwear and can be carefully changed and tossed.

    I try to do with out the liner on occasion, but usually just when I seem to think the need for that protection isn't necessary, I find that I am glad I had it there. It seems clear to me that I am going to have the experience of feeling like I must go (Urge to go) most of the time. I have gotten better at "pushing back" against the urge and have found that often when I do, that later, I have more stool to excrete. It is tricky and very difficult when you have no one to talk with about it.

    That's what the support group at our hospital has done for me over these six years. As I say to our "new" members (we pick up a couple every other month or so, caregivers are also welcome to attend) "this is the place to talk 'poop.'" I try to remind myself that I have no rectum, no storage place to "dry out and collect" stool. Thus, it tends to continue to be softer than what I excreted prior to all this intervention. Remember with the drugs (the pain drugs play havoc with healthy people's intestines too) and the surgery (a major intervention in anyone's life experience), it takes time for things to settle down. I still have some small bit of stool escape "between my cheeks" and am required to get to the nearest bathroom to "clean up." I have more tips to offer here should you want to know more. Please be as patient as you can be... both of you.

    Also you can check out the "sticky" on this Colon cancer site:

    https://www.cancerforums.net/threads...olon-resection

    I hope this is helpful. I am sorry if my descriptions are a bit "rough" or offensive, not meant to be, just accurate.

    doug
    MyJourney:
    August 2004 Colonoscopy Clear
    June-July 2013 Abdominal Discomfort Upper Abdomen X-ray, UltraSound, CTScan all clear
    8.23.13 Diagnosed 5cm tumor on rectum wall: adenocarcinoma @age 66
    Aug-Sept2013 Met with Surgeon,Hematologist and Radiation oncologist
    Oct.-Nov.: Xeloda concurrent with radiation: 25 doses
    November CTScan, MRI and surgeon scoped: Tumor gone, scar tissue
    1.6.14 Surgery LAR: Rectum removed, sphincter remains: Pathology: no lymph node,
    Tumor downgraded from Possible T3 to T2
    Feb. - April Chemo:5 FU and Oxilaplatin:6 infusions over 14 weeks
    9.4.14 ColonoscopyClear,CT Clear
    Dec.14 Follow up BlWk +,CEA .9
    Mar.15Follow up BlWk +,CEA .6
    June.15 Follow up BlWk +,CEA .7
    Sept2015Followup BlWk + CEA .7 CTScanClear NED
    Dec2015SurgicalHerniaRepair
    Sept2016Followup BlWk + CEA .7 CTScanClear NED
    Sept-Oct2017Followup All clear NED
    Sept-Oct2018CTScan+Clear Bldwk+
    Mar2019Bldwk+NED
    Continue ColoRectal Support Group monthly

 

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