When is it time for surgery?
There are surgeries that are emergent and you have no choice about them. Then, there are surgeries that are "elective," and you get to make a decision about whether or not to have them and when.
I hate the term elective for these surgeries. They may be medically necessary to prevent the progression of your disease. Or, they may be the best option you have to improve your quality of life.
For those of you who have had surgery or those considering it, what made you or would make you decide surgery was necessary?
For me, it was when I told my GI that I wanted to talk about what my options were. He sat down with me and said here are your options... and if it were me, I would have a colectomy. Most of my patients who do, wish they had done it sooner.
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I was getting sicker and sicker and none of the treatments we were trying were helping. I was very reluctant to do surgery, but when I met with the surgeon he told me "you can choose to do this and schedule the surgery, or you can wait and get airlifted in here in an emergency."
That was pretty much all I needed. I wanted to be able to make choices and feel like I had some control (while everything felt so out of control already). Scheduling my surgery meant I was choosing to accept it and do it on my terms. That mattered a lot of me. I knew after that conversation I would need surgery regardless, so it became more about what was smarter, safer, and would help me most emotionally and mentally.
I've been in the same boat and recently elected for surgery. How did yours go?
For someone who has IBD and who’s sibling also have IBD, when he went through this, I remember what he did was is basically analyze the risks and benefits. He ended up not moving forward with surgery but he took a long time in figuring out “what would be best for the quality of life I want?”. I think this question helps me every day, I always try to make sure, whatever I choose to do to respond to my illness, I do because I feel like it will improve my life. (:
It's time when your gastroenterologist doesn't believe medication will help at this stage. It's also time when you're sick and tired of being sick and there aren't any good options to help. Remember that this has to be a shared decision and that it is important to work with your mental health counselor and dietitian, if you have access to them, to ensure you do well from the diet and emotional perspective.
Care Partner of Adult
The October 11th, 2022 webinar discussed this exact topic. Check it out under "Education", "Webinars".
Surgery is often presented to us like it's the "last chance saloon", and I think that needs to stop. It should be a constant conversation, and option, between us and our healthcare team.
I've had seven bowel surgeries. A few of which were emergencies. For me, it's been a pretty simple scenario of medications no longer keeping my condition in remission.