Mandy's personal stories

Mandy Kloppers

Diary of a right hemicolectomy

Right hemicolectomy – my personal story

This is my story of a recent hemicolectomy that I had two weeks ago:

Well, that was bloody tough going. FFS…

I had a portion of my right colon (right hemicolectomy) removed two weeks ago (recently,a 3.5cm polyp was found and the biopsy result was malignant) and thought things were progressing nicely. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, my small bowel blocked up completely about 6 days after the operation.. I began vomiting at 5am and spent the rest of the day throwing up at the rate of about once every hour, feeling very ill inbetween.

I was wheeled off for a CAT scan and was sitting in the waiting room on my hospital bed throwing up in front of everyone. Great…. I must’ve looked a sight, dirty hair crudely tied up away from face, no make up, one boob hanging out of my rather flattering pink hospital nighty. Okay, maybe not the boob bit ..but the rest is true. I was just trying to paint a realistic picture.

So, I was there wishing someone would just shoot me when a doctor came along to stick a nice long tube down my nose into my stomach. Yay! It’s called an NG tube (nasogastric, I think) and it stops you throwing up. Once the tube is inserted, the contents of your stomach can be aspirated out through the tube to release pressure on your bowels.

The problem was getting it in – must be one of the worst experiences I have ever been through. They had to try four times to get it down and each time the tube got to the critical bit that activated my gag reflex I would go into ‘freak out’ mode and start fighting the insertion even though my brain knew I needed the tube to go in.

As the tube got to the ‘fork’ between the oesophagus and the trachea, I was asked to keep sipping water. Your gag reflex furiously tries to stop any objects going down the wrong way and it feels so uncomfortable. Once you get past the trachea/oesophagus bit, it’s easier to insert.

I was in agony for 3 full days and had no food (received liquids intravenously) and only today, 5 days later do I finally feel a little bit human again.

Boy, things really change when you feel so ill. Priorities become so different. Survival mode takes over. I could do very little for myself and lived hour by hour for a bit. Having Cystic Fibrosis complicates bowel surgery for me as I generally suffer from IBS, constipation and generally sluggish bowels. I think my food intake was reintroduced too quickly. Now I am back onto liquids only.

I always like to share my experiences because when this happened to me, I wanted to find stories of what others have been through. Hopefully, things are improving now.

The NG tube came out this morning. I am nervous about eating again but I guess that’s normal.

I am still waiting to find out the ultimate results of my colectomy – whether the cancer has spread to my lymph nodes. One thing at a time.

Mandy X


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