Karen Manzini is the one Southern girl, by birth and by choice. Raised in Georgia and now living in the state again after a 25-year hiatus in Italy, she speaks with a call, attends gardening clubs and was raised for not discussing physical tasks Gas And bowel movements.
So when she was recovering from surgery to remove a tumor in her colon about two years ago, she was shocked when her physicians treated gas and the moving bowel as a reason for celebration: “When they came He was applauded “as he signaled a normal recovery, remembers Manjini, who is now 60 years old and Participate in a clinical trial For a drug to cure her cancer, which was a recurrence last fall.
While Manzini has since become comfortable discussing all things, the gastrointestinal tract – even to become a volunteer Colon cancer alliance, Which aims to reduce deaths from colon cancer – the humility of other patients may hinder colorectal surgery and their ability to properly prepare for its recovery.
If you’re one of them, bring a loved one with you to appointments and be sure to take notes, Manzini explains. Then, take a deep breath and ask your doctor these questions:
1. Where exactly are you going to work?
Not all bowel surgeries are created equal for cancer. The rectum, or the last 20 or so centimeters of the bowel, is much more risky and more complex than the colon – the larger, upper part of the bowel. “if [the cancer] In the colon, we go directly to surgery; If it is in the rectum, we usually have chemo and radiation before performing surgery, ”says Dr. Mercia Cruz-Correa, a gastroenterologist and a member of the Puerto Rico Comprehensive Cancer Center. American Gastroenterological Association governing board.
2. What exactly are you going to do?
There are two main methods of colorectal surgery to remove cancerous tumors: a laparotomy – in which a surgeon makes a 6- or 7-inch abdominal incision, removes the cancerous portion of the bowel and joins two new ends – and a laparoscopy, A new, minimally invasive procedure in which the surgeon removes the diseased bowel through a small incision. While both options have equally good long-term results, patients who undergo laparoscopy recover faster, are generally able to eat sooner and have fewer immediate complications, Cruz-Correa says. “The beauty of laparoscopy is that short-term results are better.”
3. Are you the best doctor for me?
While research suggests general surgeons are capable of treating colon cancer like experts, patients in need of rectal surgery should seek out a colorectal surgeon, Cruz-Correa says. “Colorectal surgeons can preserve [rectum’s] General anatomy, “she explains, reducing the possibility of recurrence and the need for a colostomy bag. You may want to ask. Potential surgeon Regarding his experience and whether he is board-certified in colorectal surgery, Drs. John Marks is the director of the Colorectal Surgery Center and head of the section of colorectal surgery for The Main Line Health System and Lionnau Hospital in Pennsylvania. “Whether people or abusers are talking at least aggressively [robotically] He said that it probably indicates that he is making some more efforts to move forward in this area.
To find a hospital with qualified surgeons in your area, check the latest America’s News Best Hospital Ratings, which for the first time involve colon cancer surgery, evaluate nine common procedures and conditions.
4. Will I wake up with a colostomy bag?
If you have chosen a qualified surgeon, your chances of needing a permanent colostomy bag are slim after colon surgery to anyone, says Marks. In rectal cancer patients, the risk of requiring a range between 10 and 25 percent, depending on the location of your tumor and the expertise of your surgeon, he says. If you end up with one, keep in mind that many people – including major league baseball players – have lived full lives with colostomy bag, Says Marx. “At first it seems like a drastic change, but most people adjust to it quite well,” he says. Nevertheless, as the focus of colon cancer surgery has shifted from preserving high quality of life to saving people’s lives, more and more surgical techniques are being developed with the sole goal of avoiding that outcome. .
5. will i ever defecate again
As Manzini, who has undergone both laparoscopy and laparotomy, now experiences stage 4 cancer, it takes a few days for the pipe to start moving again. And once they do, you’ll probably have to adjust to the “new normal”, Marx says. “It seems obvious and silly to say that you have intestinal surgery, your bowel habits will change,” but it’s worth repeating, he says. It is not necessarily a bad thing. If you went to the bathroom once or twice a day, you could start going two or three times – all frequencies in the normal range, Marx says. In some cases, your bowel function may also improve, because the surgery could have removed the tumor. Causing stomach discomfort. “It’s a matter of republishing the signs and reissuing what you can trust as things continue,” Marx says. “This is a small price to pay in people’s minds to avoid using colostomy for the rest of life.”
6. How will surgery affect my sex life?
While some treatments for colorectal cancer – particularly rectal radiation – can make sex “difficult, painful and undesirable – or in some cases, impossible,” according to the organization. Fight colorectal cancer, Most patients who have undergone colorectal surgery can return to their normal sexual activities – even anal sex – within four to six weeks, Cruz-Correa says. For other types of activity, doctors encourage patients to walk as quickly as possible and build from there on a case-by-case basis, says Cruz-Correa. She says that exercises like weight-lifting will take more time for your abdominal wall to resume. Gardner says, “Recovery from surgery is never linear. It’s not that you will get better every day.”
7. What can I eat and when?
Once your Wakes up bowel, You can expect to go on a type of liquid diet. About a week later, most patients can start eating a soft, low-fiber diet with known stomach burns such as oatmeal and broccoli, Cruz-Correa says. “We want very little residue in the bowel while things go well,” she explains. Over time, you can learn that certain foods irritate your stomach that were not there before, because you have less stomach to work with. “By trial and error, see what things do in all areas of health and don’t work for you”, Marx says. A lifestyle change that won’t hurt: adopting a diet like saturated fat and red meat Mediterranean diet, Which has been shown to reduce the recurrence of cancer in colon cancer survivors, says Cruz-Correa. Cancer survivors, she explains, “have an opportunity to make things healthy.”