Post-surgery fatigue: Normal or cause for concern?

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HungryHamster

Hello,

I had my emergency colectomy on 17 March this year and I was in quite a state for a few weeks leading up to that, so I was warned that my recovery would take some time. I was extremely malnourished, weighing just over 50kg but being around 6ft tall. I was also very anemic and was diagnosed with toxic megacolon on the morning of my surgery, hence the emergency. It has been just over 12 weeks since the surgery and I feel fine generally, but some nights I feel absolutely knackered for no particular reason. For example, last Friday I spent the morning in the hospital with my brother who was having some scans done, then spent the afternoon with some friends just walking around the city and having lunch. Nothing particularly strenuous. That night, however, I fell asleep on the couch from around 9 until 10, then went to bed and slept pretty much all the way through until 9 the following morning, aside from waking up to empty the bag twice. Contrary to what many would expect from an 18-year-old boy, before my surgery I was never one to sleep for much longer than 8 or 9 hours a night, and I would very rarely feel as tired as I did last Friday. This sort of thing has happened rather frequently since my surgery, but obviously more often in the weeks that followed the surgery. Do most people still get exhausted for no apparent reason this long after surgery? I know it has not been that long since my surgery, but in pretty much every other aspect of life I feel as I did before I got smashed by colitis for three weeks, so I don't really know why I still get so run-down on occasion. The only explanation I can think of, other than my body still adjusting or healing, is that I still have a rectal stump which has the remnants of my colitis, so could my body still be fighting that and causing me to feel really drained some days?

Thanks for reading,

Hamish

Hanaleah

Hi:

I am an RN. I worked in the OR for many years. It can take up to a year before your body is fully recovered from the effects of anesthesia and surgery (trauma) to your body. Three months is not very long. It took me a little over a year to feel totally like myself again. I did get exhausted in the beginning, but I was able to function, but I rested a lot.

I think you just need to be patient, listen to your body, and one day you will wake up in the morning and feel like your old self.

Good luck

Pray for peace, Hana

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collegeprof

Hamish - have your doctor check your ferritin and hemoglobin levels. It could be that you are anemic.

paulaAZ

Hamish ... We all recover at different speeds and it sounds like you are doing pretty good for 3 months out. I agree with collegeprof to get a checkup with your doctor, just to make sure -- but remember that your body has been through quite a bit, even if you did sleep through it :) And it will take a while to bounce back to your full capacity.

On the Friday that you described you did not, as you stated, do anything that "strenuous" but you were up and about and moving around. Sometimes just sitting, as you did at the hospital with your brother that morning, can be a little tiring. And walking, as we all have been told many times, is one of the best exercises you can do -- so it may be a little more tiring than you think.

At your age, what you did on that Friday definitely, under normal circumstances, would not be considered something to tire you out -- but given the surgery you have had, it definitely can tire you out. So sleep as much as you feel you should -- rest is an integral part of recovering back to full speed! Of course, correct diet too, and remember to drink lots and lots of fluids so you do not dehydrate as being tired can come from dehydration!

Hope this helps!

Paula

Immarsh

Hi Hamish,

I'll ditto what the others have posted.

The fact that you're up and around, doing "normal" things tells you that you're well on your way to recovery. But like Paula and others said, your body has been through a major shock, and if you find yourself sleeping more every so often, then that's what your body needs. Ulcerative Colitis is an "autoimmune" disease, and the fact that the colon was removed doesn't change the fact that the "disease" is still in your system (plus the rectal stump). That alone can account for more fatigue than you're used to. Your body is still adjusting to the lack of colon and reduced ability to absorb fluids. Remember to drink a lot, even if you're not thirsty. If I remember, June weather in Australia is delightful, cool breezes but hot sun. You could dehydrate and not know it. Check your urine to make sure it's not too yellow. If it is, you need more water.

Best of luck to you... Hope to visit "The Gold Coast" this fall.

Marsha

 
Staying Hydrated with an Ostomy with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
Immarsh

Hi Hamish,

I'll ditto what the others have posted.

The fact that you're up and around, doing "normal" things tells you that you're well on your way to recovery. But like Paula and others said, your body has been through a major shock, and if you find yourself sleeping more every so often, then that's what your body needs. Ulcerative Colitis is an "autoimmune" disease, and the fact that the colon was removed doesn't change the fact that the "disease" is still in your system (plus the rectal stump). That alone can account for more fatigue than you're used to. Your body is still adjusting to the lack of colon and reduced ability to absorb fluids. Remember to drink a lot, even if you're not thirsty. If I remember, June weather in Australia is delightful, cool breezes but hot sun. You could dehydrate and not know it. Check your urine to make sure it's not too yellow. If it is, you need more water.

Best of luck to you... Hope to visit "The Gold Coast" this fall.

Marsha

HungryHamster

Thanks for the replies everyone. I suppose I'm probably being a bit hard on myself and expecting too much too soon. I am definitely drinking enough water as I don't feel dehydrated and my urine is almost clear in color. It is more of a sleepy tired rather than a fatigued tired, so I probably just need to accept that I will be sleeping more than I used to until I'm fully healed, by which time I'll probably be back in hospital for my J-pouch surgery. That's just the way it is I suppose. Thanks again for the replies. Sometimes I think I need to hear what I already subconsciously know from someone else to realize the reality of the situation.

NotDeadYet

You usually stay up until nine?

Wow. I'll bet you even do that without two two-hour naps a day. Honey, you're fine.

But we're here if you want to talk about other stuff, too.