Sharing my husband's experience with colon resction...for Shali and other ARD sufferers

From: Helen Dynda (
Wed Aug 22 00:09:11 2001

In May 1989 my husband lost most of his colon because of a malignant tumor the size of a tennis ball. The surgeons wanted to give him a permanent colostomy; but my husband was very adament that they not do this - and the surgeons did the best they could to honor his request. But 9 days after his surgery, the surgeons had to give him a temporary colostomy after all.

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The following information is taken from his 1989 Surgical Report:

"Six days following resection, there appeared old bloody drainage in a Jackson-Pratt drain. Within 24 hours, there was an obvious leak, but peristalsis was present. It was managed satisfactorily by the drain. Gradually, he developed pain, fever and evidence of ongoing localized sepsis. There was persistent air under the diaphragm along with active peristalsis. Hyperalimentation was initiated. He did not progress to normal healing and convalescence, but did not become acutely ill either. On the ninth postoperative day, flexible sigmoidoscopy was carried out to evaluate the anastomotic line; and as expected a leak was present. There appeared to be an ischemic necrosis of a segment of colon at the anastomosis."

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On the afternoon of the ninth day following his initial surgery, I watched as a nurse checked the drainage tube on his abdomen. It was draining a liquid, which was tan in color - which I thought did not look right. And it wasn't, because...

Unexpectedly, at 9:00 PM that same night his doctor called and told me that I had to come to the hospital; because my signature was needed in order for the surgeon to do an emergency surgery on my husband. My husband's anastamosis had developed a leak and fecal material was leaking into his abdominal cavity. This was an emergency procedure because of the very real possibility of of him developing a life-threatening peritonitis.

This emergency surgery made his recovery much more difficult!! In order to repair the leak, the surgeon had to give my husband a colostomy so that the newly resectioned part of his colon could heal. He was in grave condition for several days following this surgery; and his recovery took much longer after the emergency surgery. He was in the hospital for a total of 5 weeks!! He had to wear the colostomy for 6 months; plus he had to be scoped at monthly intervals until he was finally reconnected 6 months later.

None of the above has been "a piece of cake" for him; because ever since these surgeries, he has had to cope with severe pain whenever he has to move his bowels. It wasn't until December 1999, that we discovered what was causing all of this pain - ADHESIONS!! The adhesions had tethered to other organs and to his peritoneum - which will cause severe pain from the peristalic action of his remaining bowels.

December 1999 (10 years after his surgery), I asked my husband to request copies of his surgical records from Medical Records at the hospital, where his cancer surgery was done. The surgical report from his emergency surgery (May 1989) confirmed that he had developed adhesions as a result of his first surgery (Since fecal material had leaked into his abdomen, it is highly possible that he has even more adhesion involvement!)

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His surgical report said:

"Tedious careful dissection of very extensive adhesions was carried out,mobilizing the small bowel only to the extent to allow it to be reflected out of the way and mobilizing the colon in order to obtain enough mobility to expose the hyperplastic adenoma at the pelvic brim and allow for approximation of the open ends of the bowel after resection. Extreme care was taken not to disturb the blood supply, hence viability of the colon. This was done extremely gently to avoid any injury."

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Neither my husband nor I were told that adhesions had developed from the first surgery; nor were we aware of what adhesions actually were!!! We did not know that adhesions are the natural result of surgeries - that the body heals itself by forming adhesions.

Considering that I had not yet been diagnosed (not until 1997) as having adhesions, both of us were completely in the dark about adhesions; BUT from the time of his 1989 surgeries and continuing until the present day, we have been aware that he was continually having severe chronic pain!! As a result of requesting his surgical reports and as a result of my diagnosis of massive adhesions in 1997, we now understand what has been causing both of us to experience chronic pain.

If you haven't already done so, I encourage you to request copies of your surgical a pathological reports!! If your surgery was videotaped, be sure to request a copy of the video too! This is YOUR medical history; which could prove to be very helpful in the future.

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