Saturday, February 14, 2009

Surgery to remove section of small intestine

On Feb 2nd I went in for surgery to remove an inflamed, infected section of my small intestine (about 10" was removed) -- the surgery was called a small bowel re-section. The problem had shown up a few days before in a Cat-scan indicating a perforation of the small intestine (jejunal loop area) had occurred leading to the body countering that with a mass of tissue accumulating. The source of the 5 stomach pains bouts was found.

So at 8:30 am, Monday Feb 2, surgery at the Stanford hospital was performed by Dr. Shelley Marks of PAMF. The surgery we were told went well and that led to 3 1/2 days of recovery at Stanford. The surgery was performed laprascopically, leaving three small incisions (about 1/2 inch each) and a larger (2 1/2 inch) incision above my belly button --- the larger incision was necessary in order to remove the mass of material and the small intestine intact.

My care was good, and the amount of pain was limited, only being acute if I coughed. As expected I was weak after the surgery and ended up losing about 10 pounds from the lighter eating prep period before and the surgery aftermath.

I was released Thursday afternoon, Feb 6, to continue recovery at home. The only pain I was feeling was from the incision and that was pretty mild, except when I coughed. Holding a pillow against my stomach helped a bit but it still would hurt. Gradually the incision pain has receded, all my bodily functions have returned to nearly normal until today, Feb 14, or 12 days after surgery.

Throughout this period of time I only took two vicadin (sp?) pills for pain and then a few days worth of Tylenol. No other pain meds since. In the hospital I only had morphine as low levels 3-4 times. I have felt fatigued which is normal throughout the time after the surgery. Hope to be back on the golf course within a couple of weeks and on the tennis court as well. Just need for the incision to be able to take the movements.

After a visit with Dr. Marks on Thursday, Feb 12, she said everything looked good and that full and final recovery would continue for a couple of months. Fully normal activities could be undertaken as I felt able to do so and the fatigue would go away soon. The best news was a call from PAMF indicating that there was no cancer. Hooray!

The official diagnosis is that I have diverticulitis of the small intestine (bowel). The removed section seemed to contain the only affected parts of my small intestine or colon (where it is quite common for people to have diverticula --- 50% of those over 60 have it). Turns out it is quite rare to have diverticulitis show up in the small bowel, or at least to have complications leading to a performation as I had. My surgeon thinks there may not be any reoccurrence as the tissue in both the small intestine around the removed section and in my colon looks quite good.