Does the Body Regain Core Strength After Multiple Surgeries?

Jul 19, 2023 5:06 am

I have been a self-employed stonemason for over 35 years. Until my mishap in Jan this year. I mainly work with granite, a hard and heavy stone at the best of times. I love what I do and get a lot of satisfaction from it. I miss it.

Question is. After 2 open surgeries, does the body ever get back to its original strength, core strength? It's been 6 months since my first surgery, another in about 3 weeks. But even now, 6 months after the first, I still feel weak in the core. Normal?

For example, even when I split wood with the block splitter, there is no over-the-head swing, and I shudder at the thought of trying to hit a slab of granite with a sledgehammer.

Thanks, Bill.

Slab of granite with a sledgehammer

Jul 19, 2023 7:21 am

Hi Bill

You don't say if you have a stoma or have been reversed?

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Jul 19, 2023 8:29 am
Reply to Axl

Axl, sorry mate I'm getting ahead of myself. I go in for reversal in about 2 weeks. I may have an ileostomy for a while but yes, the plan is to put everything? or what's left, back in place. I finished up work just before Christmas 22. Then the shit hit the fan early Jan 23. But I mean, after/if the reversal goes good.? I was just wondering how long until the core strength returns, or if it never will.

Jul 19, 2023 9:55 am
Reply to Newhere

In my book, it takes a good year to recover from major abdominal surgery and get properly back to square one, more so after multiples. As you will be currently aware, a fair bit of caution is required for lifting with a stoma for obvious reasons. I lift weights but don't do anything stupid and wear an elastic belt while training as I do have a stoma. As for when you get your reversal, everyone is different unfortunately and as you ask, there is how long for incision repairing and then strength, stamina etc, even weight loss. I have had two inguinal hernias prior to the stoma and I just don't remember how long they took to heal but somewhere along the line you just forget it even happened. I would expect to be doing your work normally within a couple of months, and it will be completely different to your time with a stoma. I did have a jpouch for 12 months and after the incision healed in maybe a month or so I was off and running. The important thing is to let your recovery come to you and not rush it; it won't do you any good. I've always admired stonemason work too, looks to me to be a good way to make a living and building things with your hands that last forever.

All the best

Jul 19, 2023 12:25 pm

Hi Newhere, it's safe to say that Axl is bang on with his remarks and to emphasize that point, you only have to read through the pages of MAO and you'll have ‘all on' to read through the vast amount of information on stomates who have serious hernia problems caused by any number of reasons from quite simple actions, to the usual working with anything requiring heavy or strong manual involvement without the correct protection. In our cases, we are advised right from the outset to get a good stoma protection abdominal belt for good reason. Now that I've said that, I'll own up and admit that I'm not perfect, (did I actually just say that,...don't tell my bloody wife 'cos she'll blackmail me into making 6 cups o' tea a day!!.... Never!!) and how I have ever managed to stop my friggin' nut-sack from swinging over mi' tossin' shoulder I will never know, but I've done my share of dip-shit temptation of the proverbial providence in the past to look back and realize that when I see these pages open up with mountains of advice I find myself hoping that those of us who ask for the advice, actually take it.

Thing is Newhere, it took around 6 months after my surgery and subsequent weight loss for my fight to eat enough and start to balance the scales back up again, and for the strength to rise up to what I am used to having took a full 12 months before I felt more normal. Of course 'normal' depends on your own individuality.

Good luck,


Getting Support in the Ostomy Community with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
Jul 19, 2023 3:30 pm

Yes, but we just have to live with the risk of developing hernias. Even after your reversal, core exercises are the best thing we can do in the fight against hernias. If you Google "safe abdominal exercises to do with a stoma," you should find some on there, and YouTube might be more helpful seeing someone doing them on there.

Jul 19, 2023 10:01 pm
Reply to Axl

Axl, thanks for taking the time to answer, much appreciated.

Jul 19, 2023 10:03 pm
Reply to Briutz

Thanks Bruits for your comments,

Jul 19, 2023 10:05 pm
Reply to Ben38

Ben38, thanks, and yes, I will be careful.

Jul 20, 2023 7:14 pm

Ability and strength are among younger people who have had surgery early. Particularly with a stoma hanging outside your skin. I still do not want to try to carry too many groceries and hold my stoma when I laugh and cough. In particular, the summer heat does cause the stoma to come out from my skin. I am not comfortable and in your case, planning to go back to the original lifting challenge. You are brave in your mind, not sure if your body can synchronize the same.
Wish you carefully rethink what is worth. All the best.

Jul 22, 2023 4:35 pm

Just be careful when lifting. We are very prone to parastomal hernias. I know because I got one and had it fixed up last August, and that slowed me down more than having the ileostomy in the first place. So take it easy, mate. One day at a time. Good luck. Regards, IGGIE.

Jul 24, 2023 1:43 pm

I agree with Axl and Briutz. My husband had his ileostomy at age 79 and was weak as a kitten initially. Due to his prior stroke, he had to go to rehab for a few weeks. A year later, he is going to the gym 3 times a week.

Jul 26, 2023 6:06 pm

Some excellent posts. I had chemo/radiation for prostate cancer and chemo (2 rounds)/radiation for bladder cancer. The radiated tissue definitely takes longer to heal. I was 69 for the final surgery - urostomy - and it took about 6 months to feel I could work on building myself back up. Now 2+ years and I feel I'm getting a lot closer but realize at my age I may not get to 90-100% of where I was and I'm okay with that.
Surgeon said no power lifting - not an issue for me! I do wear a stealth belt or support briefs/cover when at the gym.
Golf, gym, and yoga are no problem but you're involved with much more physical demands so be patient and maybe get advice from the surgeon. Mine outlined an initial program for me to return to golf, for instance.

Good luck

Aug 03, 2023 12:59 am

I'm 65, took me about 2 months to gain back 20 pounds and be able to walk somewhat normally again. Get a comfortable stoma support belt. It's real easy to get a hernia. Take it easy. Takes a while to adjust to your new little buddy..... stoma.