Help after surgery

Hi my mum has just had surgery to remove part of her colon and lymph nodes after them finding cancer of the bowel . She was discharged after 5 days sadly . Was back in the next day full of infection and put on antibiotics 3 times a day . They have discharged her again after another 5 days but she is not eating. I'm not medically trained and I'm taking care of her but my mum looks ill . I inject her in her tummy at night to stop clots, but I feel helpless . She is hot then cold looks dreadful and is not seeing her surgeon for 2 weeks . She has an upset tummy so think she is scared to eat . I don't want to take her back into hospital unnecessarily but I worry I'm over looking something. As anyone had this surgery ? Is it normal not to eat , going boiling hot then freezing and looks skinny . She has lost a stone already and she is only 8 stone 5ft 2 tall. what can I do to help ? Any suggestions are very grateful

Thank you

29 Replies

  • The best advice I can give you is to ring mums GP or hospital consultant or specialist nurse to get advice from them, good luck I hope it all works out good for your mum x

  • Thank you Jennymary . Yes I'm going to ring them at 9 and see if it's normal . She looks so poorly but after being in and out over 2 weeks in hospital she not happy she may gave to go back in but I'm scared to ignore the obvious really

    Thank you


  • Call the dr to the house I'm not a Dr but the hot and cold thing sounds like she may still have infection. She should be feeling like eating ,l had right side of my colon (large bowel) removed for large tumour. Couple of days after I felt like food just soft stuff. I lost a lot of weight to but I had no infection. If you are really concerned call an ambulance and they take to hospital she will be seen a lot quicker than if you took her in the car and especially because of her recent op. Hope this helps 🙂

  • Thank you so much . Iv rang the gp I'm waiting for a call back . The receptionist couldn't tell me what time this will be ? If she gets any worse il ring an ambulance . Thank you for your reply . I wish you all the very best x

  • Good luck honey remember you no your mum and how she normally is , some drs try to brush it under the carpet don't let them make you feel you are over reacting. If your not happy with what the dr says 999 even if mum says no. I was home after 5 days and I was eating more very tired and painful and haviñg some normal conversation. Recovery was slow but I just felt I could give you some idea of how it went. I wish you well and mum , my name is Tracy feel free to leave a msg any time x

  • Thank you Tracy . It's been a nightmare but it's reassuring to hear from yourself who has been through it yourself . Iv found it difficult to speak to the nurses on the ward but her surgeon was really nice . My only fault was that he discharged her last time full of infection ? I was told at 3pm she wouldn't be home as had an infection inside . She was home by 6 with paracetamol . I was at my wits end . They sent a nurse round who couldn't take her temperature as she had forgotten her device . She said the wound looked fine and left . I got the dr out , he found a swelling and told me to take her to hospital .6 hour wait later got a bed but no antibiotics till 24 hours later after me having to basically beg for them . I'm stressed worried and just getting fobbed off all the way . If she gets any worse today I'm ringing 999 . Iv had enough seeing my mum wasting away . Thank you Tracy

    Michelle xxx

  • Dear Michelle ,

    I have had a similar op twice now , the second time I also had a post op infection which needed

    Me back in hospital .one of the Doctors at the surgery came out to me.The hospital wanted me back as my blood test showed huge infection levels, I also did not want to go .

    I lost a huge amount of weight and it took me a long time to recover. Scrambled eggs have been my standard, at least they are full of goodness.

    I was given District nurses to

    Visit me , they are amazing .

    Please let us know how you are getting on


  • Thank you val . Didn't think to offer eggs maybe il try her today with some . The nurse is coming everyday now to dress the wound which is much better and she can keep an eye on this wound . I appreciate your advice as I'm unsure about everything . Never had to care for someone after surgery before , let alone my mum and cancer is something Iv not really known about . She prob had enough of me telling her when to eat and sleep etc but hope she recovers very soon . Thank you val . Michelle

  • So happy to hear that , I also had a passion for ice lollies . Even a little of anything nutritious is good , keep in touch

    Much love and strength

  • Thank you val x

  • Hi Michelle , how is everything going, I do hope you are making progress with these health professionals. As Val the lady who messaged you last said I also had a district nurse come in to me and I had a McMillan nurse right from the start. Keep on at them all that is what they are there for , and let us no how you and mum are getting on , take care , love Tracy x

  • Thank you Tracy . The Nurse is coming every day now rather than every other day which is better to keep an eye on this wound . It's a struggle to get her to eat anything , but i try a few things everyday , but the DR said it's normal not to want to eat but it's important to eat . I really appreciate your messages , thank you for spending time to help me Tracy . Michelle

  • Your more than welcome , the dr can prescribe a build up drink it comes in milk shake or juice, my dad is 85 and came out of hospital in November lost so much weight , but he has now gained good weight through ensure milkshakes and little and often soft foods . Or another you can do is make milk shake and put ice cream In as it's high in calories. Also after my op when I didn't fancy a meal my partner put my dinner through the blender so all veg potatoes meat and gravy to the thickness I preferred is tasty and like soup. And of course you can use for more than one meal which will give you a rest to you have to keep yourself well and it is draining being a caretaker, you keep us updated ok

    Tracy xx

  • Yes I think a nurse mentioned those drinks for when you need calories . Think il ring her GP In the morning and see if I can get them for her . I feel terrible trying to make her eat when she doesn't want to but it's a case of just trying . Il be glad when she is gaining weight and over the surgery . Yes it's draining being the care giver , I feel that it's roles reverse me being the mother ha poor mum but I do try my best . Thank you for your advice Tracy , it means a lot right now .

    Michelle xx

  • Speak again soon Hun take care xx

  • My phone is doing its own thing that should have said carer not care taker x

  • Mine is always spelling words wrong too ha xxx

  • My love and support to and your mum. I had bowel cancer 3/4 years ago. Yes it was pretty scary - but I'm fine now although minus a good part of my colon. It takes time to recover from such major surgery and it seems like infections are all part of the process. I can remember having milk drinks from a bottle! Try them and it's good you are having the nurse call on you. Take care of yourself - it will be okay - sending love and keep in touch



  • Thank you jean . I'm so pleased your well again . It's a scary time but I'm hoping to see mum improve over the next few weeks . I'm so glad I found this site as it's been really nice hearing from people like yourself who have been through it and got well again . Thank you jean and best of luck for your future xxx

    Michelle xx

  • Hi Shellvet. I had my surgery on 28th Dec and after that I didn't eat about 9 days. I vomited over a week and I was feeding parenterally. Also i had infection like your Mum. After 2 weeks I was discharged. First I ate what I liked because my taste gone. Food was disgusting 😖 My first tasty meal it was vanilla ice cream, later I started to eat a lot of vegetable soups. Day by day i tried new flavors and today (3weeks after surgery) I eat everything. Your Mum need a time. Try to give her soft food, small portions but often. Is she like sweet, sour or bitter? And ask GP for protein drinks -Fortisip.

  • How are you now Renika ? Sorry to hear you have been poorly. Are you eating again now ? How are you feeling . Hope all went ok with the surgery

    Michelle xx

  • Hi again, I edited my comment and wrote you how I feel after 3 weeks 😊 don't give up! It's just a time 👍

  • Thank you Renika . So glad your getting better and eating again . It's always good to hear from someone who has been through it themselves . Wishing you well and hope for your future

    Michelle xx

  • Hi Michelle , how are things with you honey, it's Tracy xx

  • Hi Tracey , thank you for asking . Mum is having the build up drinks as she had lost over a stone in weight . She is either constipated or running to the loo . But the DR said this is normal after having the operation . He said this will take time to settle down . Mum hasn't left the house , just to the hospital . I think she is a bit depressed . How are you Tracy ? I hope your well .

    Michelle xx

  • I'm good thankyou, yes the dr is right I had this problem to. For me the constipation was the bigger problem out of the two. I was told drinking two litres of plain water every day was important, it was a struggle at first but a big help and I still do that every day now. I also found movement when I was well enough just walking around the house helped things to get normal . Weetabix with semi or skimmed milk helped a lot to balance things to as to high fiber can be painful ,I'm pleased she is having the drinks that's good news xx

  • Yes I think more water would help her . Mum lives on tea but Iv been encouraging her to drink more . She still isn't eating much so think that has slowed her toilet habits too . It's just time I think now just to recover and get back on her feet . I appreciate your advice Tracy as you have been through this yourself . Thank you for finding the time for your advice and help it's been really helpful xxx

  • Hope your Mum is much improved from the earlier days after being discharged. I expect everyday you can see alittle improvement. 5 - 6 small meals aday you can mix Ensure powder into things she is eating which will give her a few extra calories. I expect you are seeing that your Mum is getting good oral hygeine as sometimes everything you try to eat & drink tastes funny so then you font want to have anyore. Lemonade without the "Gas" so flat is a good mouth rince freshens up the mouth and feels nice. Have you tried Creamed Rice its easy to digest & goes with lits of different fruits, I stared off with Pears ( stuck to Pears for a few weeks then started introducing Tinned Peaches. The recovery time is different for everyone, so try to go with the flow. I expect you have got a freezer, I made up small serving off food in plastic containers which were very handy to get and heat up without having dishes all over the place. ( Correction servings of ) . Hope this finds you both well and on the mend. Anne

  • Thank you Anne she is slowly getting there , still not eating much but I encourage a little bit of this and that . I appreciate your tips Anne , it's reassuring to hear from people who been through it themselves xx so good to hear your getting better yourself . Take care


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