Reversal Surgery on June 24th - Seeking Advice & Stories


I am having my reversal surgery in a little over a week on June 24th and I am really nervous since I had trouble with the first surgery! It was actually two emergency surgeries.. resulting in the colostomy bag! But it saved my life so I can't be too fussy about it.. The first surgeries I was in the hospital 9 days!! I am trying to find out about an average hospital stay for a reversal! I would like to know how bad the pain is.. how bad is the first bowel movement?? Mainly just different stories on what to expect!! I don't have Crohn's.. or any other disease.. My emergency surgeries were because I had over 8 holes in my lower large intestine.. I had been having trouble with BM's (I would get nauseated, almost pass out, sweat, pain, and they were not hard ones.. they were loose stools.. too much info I know) the barium and stool together turned into hard rocks but I was having problems before hence the reason for the barium test! And they think the "rocks" made the holes bigger but have no explanation for why they were there!! I had barium, feces, stomach acid and infection all in my abdomen.. I was never really sick.. just never felt really well and didn't have much energy.. just only when I went to the bathroom! After the 9 days in the hospital and 2 months healing at home... This surgery has me scared and nervous! Any and all comments and suggestions are welcome!! Thanks in advance!!!


Good luck, sweetheart, at your decision, whatever it may be. If I were you, I would go for it. Most likely, they will give you something to encourage diarrhea, so nothing ought to hurt that bad, and if it does, scream for pain meds. Your sphincter muscle might be lazy, and you might have an accident now and then, but soon everything should come out okay. This is where diapers come in, but don't let this stop you. I wear them at night after my 9-hour surgery. God bless you, and next year this time, all your problems will be over. I hope you have good family support because without my loved ones, I don't think I would have made it with the cancer surgeries and rectal removal. You are lucky and have an option. Please let us know what's going on and how things turn out so we can learn and because we care. You might want to visit YouTube for folks who have gone through the same experience. Hang in there.

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Thank you!! I have decided to go through with it and have an appointment with the surgeon on Monday.. with surgery scheduled for the following Monday! I will keep updates posted so others can read!! I know reading has helped me a lot!!


In January of 2011, I had the surgery that resulted in having a bag. My reversal was in April of 2011. I am so glad I had the reversal. It worked for me without hardly any problems at all, except the time to get my strength back. I don't think it was very hard. I've been through worse. I've had 2 hip replacements, and although that went well, it was harder than the reversal I had.

Good luck!!

Hi, I was hesitant to post this as I know that not everyone on this forum has the opportunity to have a reversal and I didn't want to be insensitive. I had hernia surgery in Nov/11 and the surgeon nicked my bowel. I became septic and was in a coma for a month and hospital for 2 months. Every day for 2 weeks, my family was told that I was going to die. When I woke up, I had a colostomy, couldn't walk, and had undergone 5 surgeries. My life was pure hell. The stoma was prolapsed by about 6 inches, and I was constantly having leakage and explosions. Nothing I tried, diet-wise or new products, seemed to work. I spent a lot of time isolating in my home. I was too scared to go out. At times, I got so discouraged that I didn't think that life was worth living. I thought about ending my life.

This spring, I was told by the colorectal surgeon that there was a slight chance that my colostomy could be reversed. I had a colonoscopy and abdominal ultrasound to check the feasibility of it. I was terrified as I was told that I might not make it through the surgery. I thought long and hard about it, and I chose to have the surgery as I knew that I could not go on the way I was. I recently had the surgery and am thrilled with the results. I was in the hospital for 3 weeks due to an infection. I had an epidural for the first few days but didn't have too much pain when it was discontinued. My bowels took a few weeks to settle down but are regular now. The quality of my life is great, although I am still in shock that the reversal was a success. I hope that this helps those of you that aren't sure about a reversal.
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I had emergency surgery in May last year. My intestine broke, then in June, my small intestine was kinking up and had another emergency surgery. I had a reversal in December. It was rough at first, but bowel movements didn't hurt and there were no complications. I was in for almost a week. They want you to eat a full meal and do well before they let me out. Make sure you walk as often as you can in the hospital too; it helps. Best wishes.


I am so happy the surgery worked for you. I had an ileostomy and I searched for any surgery to get rid of the bag. I found out about the B.C.I.R. and begged my ex-husband for the surgery. I can only speak for myself, but I just couldn't deal with the ileostomy. But I totally admire those who can.


So sorry for your troubles, Serval!! But happy that you are doing great!! I think I will be okay.. I have had seven knee surgeries on the same knee with cadaver bone and all!!!! And I can walk! Lol... I am just overdoing it with being nervous and tired of having surgeries. I am one of the lucky ones that can have a reversal.. Thanks for all of your stories, the good ones and the bad ones!!!

Shmily - My first surgery was the life and death variety that so many of us experience. I was in the hospital for 6 weeks with an additional 3 weeks in a rehab facility. I was in a coma for about 10 days following my ileostomy. As with you, I didn't have Crohn's or cancer or any of these horrible conditions that so many of our ostomates suffer from. My large intestine ruptured in 3 places as a result of lupus vasculitis. All I remember is that they told me I had a blockage, which they tried to relieve with a milk and molasses enema.....ewwwwwww! When that didn't work, they admitted me for observation. I felt worse and worse as the night went on, and by morning I had their "rapid response" team taking me down for an abdominal CT......things continued to worsen until a colorectal surgeon decided to take me down for exploratory surgery! I don't remember much of anything after that except waking up in CCU 2 weeks later with an ileostomy!
I, too, was very very scared to proceed with a reversal. Partly because of all the horror stories I'd read; partly due to not wanting to do the wrong thing and wind up in a similar predicament! So I postponed the surgery once; for about 6 weeks just after Christmas 2011; until I could make peace with myself about it. I had the procedure done in Feb 2012; and in my case the reversal was so much easier than the original procedure!

I went in on the day of surgery with a calm that everything would work for my good. My surgeon was able to do the procedure laparoscopically; so this saved much wear and tear on my body. My stoma site was left open to heal on its own; about half the surgeons do it this way and half will stitch it up. Within a month; all I had left was a scar about the size of a gunshot wound. I was up walking around after surgery the first day. I left the hospital on day 5. And my recovery period afterwards was very stable and successful. Within 2 months I was eating out again. Recovery depends on a number of factors.....what you had done in the first place, how much of your large intestine you have remaining, if any (I have no large intestine left), how much rectal stump you have left (about 8-10 inches in my case), and whether or not you have a disease like Crohn's which is likely to keep eating away at your remaining tissues.

In my case, my surgeon sewed my small intestine to my rectal stump. My healing has been successful, with no post-surgical healing issues. The pain was manageable; and my first bowel movements were very loose and watery. I had several nighttime accidents while in the hospital; but none during waking periods. I wore pads and placed those big padded squares on the bed so that my accidents wouldn't soak through. The first few weeks were rough; trying to regulate and bulk up the bowel movements and slow them down somewhat. In the beginning, I had about 15-20 bowel movements per day. I took Lomotil along with the fiber to help slow things down. By the 3rd month, I was going about 12-15 times per day so my surgeon added Tincture of Opium to the cocktail. This reduced my daily trips to about 7-10 times per day.

Now that I am over a year out, I go about 4-10 times per day. A lot of it depends on what I eat; when I eat; etc. You will begin to recognize your body's ebbs and flows and signals after a few months, and pretty soon you will be able to plan outings of several hours without multiple trips to the restroom. Too much liquid at dinner makes me go more, as does any type of alcohol or too much caffeine. I still have problems with certain veggies and fruits, and red meat or pork. But, everyone's system is different so what doesn't work for me may not be an issue for you.

I have been extremely fortunate with my reversal results and recovery and I thank God every day for these blessings. There were several folks who had reversals close to mine...Beaner, Patrice are a couple of ladies who had reversals over a year ago now, and Dave_Canada even kept an online journal here on this site when he had his reversal done! Look him up if you want to see what he went through in the hospital and during his recovery period!

God Bless~

Hi. Been there, done that. Don't worry. You will be fine. I had my reversal after diverticulosis forced me to wear "THE BAG." One thing though, when you cough, hold your belly in tight. I did not do this when I should. Now I have a huge bulge right above my belly button. Other than that, you will be a happy camper this summer. Hope you have really good wound nurses.


I am 2 years post-reversal now and everything is great. My second surgery was not as bad as the first. Take some baby wipes to the hospital with you, they will be your best friend when you begin to use the parts that haven't been used lately. The pain was not as bad with the reversal surgery but the hospital stay was the same length for me.

Good luck and God bless

I am 8 months post-reversal and things are getting better every day. I was the lucky one that did not have accidents, although the first month everything went straight through me (15+ BMs a day). I could hold it okay, I didn't leave the house very much at all. I had my ileostomy for 11 months. The first surgery was in 2011, which was a lower anterior resection. They removed a carcinoid tumor in my rectum along with about 7" of my sigmoid colon. They also removed my rectal lymph nodes as the cancer had spread there also. They were able to remove all of it. Thank God and I'm cancer-free as of my latest scans. I had 3 hernias, so that was fixed with the reversal, although one has come back.
I will say that patience is the best thing because you cannot rush anything with your bowels. They take their own sweet time to get back to normal.
Because of the surgery being in my rectum, I do have pain there and spasms. I cannot sit very long before it starts to ache, like a sore tailbone. Hopefully, that will get better. Actually, it has gotten a lot better already.
Good luck to you, and I am sure that you will be very glad you decided to have it..

I have a huge bulge also right above my belly button, my doctor wants to fix it with mesh but I am a big ninny right now!
My last surgery was hard and painful and I'm not quite ready yet.


Good luck tomorrow, sweetheart. Just to let you know, we care about you and you will be in my thoughts.


SHMILY - Best wishes to you as you embark upon your reversal journey tomorrow! You will be in my thoughts and prayers. Please let us know how you are doing once you are well enough to post!



My doctor said, "If it hurts, it's a hernia. Otherwise, don't worry too much. It's just so unsightly."


If all goes well, you should be out for Canada Day. Hope it doesn't rain.

Just to let you know, we are thinking of you and hope all is well. Let us know, will you?
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