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Should You Have Surgery?

I remember when I had to make the decision to have my colon removed. It was one of the hardest decisions that I ever made. If I told you that I made that decision in one day, I would be lying to you. When considering having any type of bowel surgery, you need to ask yourself these questions:

  • Did you try all other non surgical options? When I was first diagnosed with Crohn’s I knew in the back of my head that surgery was an option. Make sure that you seek out all other options. Other options that could help regulate your Crohn’s are: medications, infusions, or “alternative medicines”. I remember when oral medications didn’t work, my gastroenterologist started me on IV infusions. The IV infusions had a very high percent success rate.
  • Get a second opinion: I had lots of respect for all of my gastroenterologists. All were very smart, and helpful. When one suggested that I speak with a colorectal surgeon, I went to get a second opinion. It’s always good to get a fresh set of eyes to evaluate you. Maybe one doctor has a different approach. I saw numerous doctors. Despite their best efforts, surgery was my only option.
  • Will surgery increase your quality of life? I am going to be straight up with you: Before I had my colon removed, my life was miserable. I was going to the bathroom over sixty times a day! Sometimes, I wasn’t making it to the bathroom in time. At one point, I was wearing adult diapers! What kind of life was that at twenty one years old? The stomach aches, dehydration, and trips to the hospital were getting too much. You want to ask yourself the question: What’s my life like now with Crohn’s? If you have exhausted all of your issues, and your quality of life isn’t so great, then surgery might be an option for you.
  • Are you healthy enough for surgery? I can’t give this answer. The only people that can give you that answer are you and your doctors!
  • What is the recovery like? I was very curious about my recovery time. I had to make sure that I could take that much time off away from work. I asked about pain management, tubes, and my duration in the hospital. I didn’t want to wake up with surprises. Don’t be afraid to ask these questions. Questions like these might sound silly, but they are important! You want to know all the information before the day of your surgery!

My first surgery, the one that I had my whole entire colon removed, went very well. My body was not ready for surgery! I feel that it was the immuno-suppressive medication that put my body into a state of shock post-surgery. I’m glad that I had my surgery, despite my complications.

Remember: every situation with IBD is different. The most important person to listen to is yourself. Don’t wait too long to get advice about surgical options.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.