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colostomy reversal: to be or not to be
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colostomy reversal: to be or not to be

My mother-in-law, a very healthy 79 year-old, had to have a large section of bowel removed.  She weathered the surgery beautifully and suprised us all at a relatively quick and a definitely strong recovery.  She adjusted, after some initial difficulty to living with a colostomy bag, assuming all along that it was to be temporary.  Her follow up medical exams confirmed she was a candidate for reversal surgery. HOWEVER, the surgeon told her she has only three inches of large bowel remaining  - and sent her home to "think it over".  He told her she would have to use the bathroom 5 times a day.  Her GP doctor also alerted her to the leakage and blockage concerns that are possible.  Of course she would like to "lose the bag" if possible, but doesn't want to live with a condition that might be even more difficult. Does anyone have other information from their own experience or know about others that can help her with this decision?
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Avatar_m_tn

My own experience is not parallel with your mother-in-laws (I underwent a total colectomy four years ago but did not require a colostomy bag).  However, there is similarity between the end result - i.e. "no colon".

Indeed I found that I needed to make ~8 visits per day to the toilet daily.  This reduced over time to~4 per day now.

I found that the number if visits can be reduced if the diet includes plenty of fibre - blending organic bran into pulverised fruit/vegetables and yoghurt is especially effective.

Also look at it this way - your mother in law probably visits the toilet 6-8 times per day to do a #1.  All that will change is that at the same visit she is likely to do a #1 and a #2.

I always say to people that I do some of my best thinking and reflection while sitting on the toilet so there may be other (unrealised) advantages!!

Hope this helps a bit.

Morecambe
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Avatar_f_tn
This is very encourageing.  Thank you.  I have two questions for you:  if there is no colon OR colostomy bag, how is waste eliminated?  2- was most of your intestine left in tact? My MIL is left with only 3 inches which seems to be the concern.
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Avatar_m_tn
The operation I underwent was a total colectomy - also called an ileorectal anastomosis.  Putting it simply the whole of the colon is cut out and removed (a bit like cutting out a faulty length of a water pipe).  The end of the ileum is directly sutured to the top of the rectum.  Digestion and absorbtion of nutrients takes place as normal in the stomach/small intestine and the waste matter passes directly through to the rectum and then is expelled via the anus as normal.   The only noticable effect (i.e. my experience - but of course everyone is different) was the increased frequency of defacation and the consistency of the bowel motions (initially watery and then "muddy/sludgy" especially if you follow the "more fibre" suggestion I made in my earlier posting).

If you type in "total colectomy" to yahoo or google I am sure that it will steer you to a medical website where the procedure is illustrated diagramatically.

Good luck and please feel free to come back with any more questions

Morecambe
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