I had this surgery (I am male, this matters), first off let me say I bet many of you have been reading all the horror stories and are scared to death. My experience was not a horror story. First off let me tell you that I talked to multiple doctors and nurses and most said that this surgery is performed much more than you would think and mostly with great success. I had a gastroenterologist try banding to no success and recommended me to a general surgeon (I had intense bleeding every day). I am a certified EMT so I know a bit about medicine and the body. Here's my advice, I hope it helps at least one person.
1.) Have a consultation with a gastroenterologist about your roids and make a plan, like try the banding, etc. Stick to the plan, listen to the doctor.
2.) If surgery is recommended go buy the following things (be prepared, like a boy scout):
Bidet - you can get them on Amazon, Luxe I believe, about $70, easy to install and feel wonderful, great for roids in general.
Pudding, Jello, crackers (I did ritz and cheez its), fish, white rice, eggs, benefiber (little packets you dump in a water bottle), ice packs, heating pad, stool softener (I got the pills that are softener + laxative), Tylenol, sitz bath, 4x4 gauze pads 50 pack, fleet enema, soups, chicken noodle, etc, pop sickles. You get the point. Long pillow to sleep with leg over the top. Comfortable shorts, like silk basketball shorts.
3.) A good surgeon, ask the hospital he works at, I talked to the nurses asked them who they would have do this surgery to them, find out how many times he's done the procedure, how many malpractice suits (hopefully none). I was referred by my good gastro guy. Listen to the doctors, ignore the internet.
4.) Support from family, I had my parents come stay with me for 4 days, honestly just having them around was an enormous help.
So I had the surgery about 7:30am and was in recovery by 9am. In recovery they had many things plugged in to me, they did general anesthesia, I had to urinate before I could leave. This was very tough. They will numb your anal region and it effects your bladder, makes you feel like you have to go but you can't. It took me about an hour and 5 attempts before I dribbled a bit out. The day of the surgery, with the numbing there wasn't much pain, the nurse gave me 2 Vicodin before I left (1 might work for you, I'm a big guy 6'2"). The ride home I had to sit on my hip because they packed everything with gauze, including the bunghole, this was extremely uncomfortable. When I got home this was the first thing to go, it took quite a bit of courage to pull it out (instructions said to remove all dressing within 6 hours). I had stitches on both sides of my bunghole, was scared to touch them. At this point my biggest issue was the urge to pee but barely being able to. The hospital gave me a number to talk to the nurses, I called and they suggested I sit in a tub of warm water, this worked, I didn't pee in the tub but when I got out I got a stream going and got quite a bit out. Now if you can't void your bladder you might have to hit the emergency room for a catheter, this is just until the anesthesia wears off. DO NOT let your bladder back up into your kidneys, all kinds of problems…
After arriving home I ate some apple sauce, pudding and took 2 Colace stool softeners, changed into a t shirt and comfy shorts. If you can, ask your surgeon for Valium or something to relax you, this is KEY, relaxing is your goal. Everything down there will swell so use ice packs, they will be your friend and also alternate a heating pad, and this worked well for me. I slept the first night on and off getting up to try to pee about every couple of hours, keeping an ice pack on my taint and butt most of the night. For you guys, when the swelling happens it might push on your prostate and bladder, this is uncomfortable so the icing to get the swelling down is key. I think I took like 5 Vicodin throughout the night, I know they can cause constipation but that’s better than the pain, don’t get behind the pain and have to chase it with more pills. When I felt a bit of an ache I took 1.
Second morning I woke up early and things were sore, this is normal, you went through quite a bit of trauma. This is where I started sitting in the tub for 15-20 minutes, the heat relaxes everything but also made me have to pee which was still challenging at this point. When not in the tub I would ice, lying with the pillow between my legs and pack sitting on my butt. I ate some rice for lunch, more Colace, always have stool softener. I was drinking tons of water, don’t overdo it, especially if you are having problems urinating. Not much action on this day, a little aching, peeing uncomfortable but not too bad. The second night I had to get up at 3am and sit in the tub, I had this urge to pee but couldn’t and I knew a BM #2 was coming. I stopped the Vicodin and took 2 x 500mg Tylenol preparing for the BM, be careful follow prescription instructions. DO NOT take Tylenol with NORCO, let the Vicodin wear off first.
Third morning, here’s a bit of advice you will thank me for, when I decided to try the first BM I iced for about an hour first, numbs all the stitches and such. I drank a big cup of coffee, get the metabolism cooking. I sat on the bowl, tried to put my feet up on a stool but it stretched the stiches too much, ouch. I was completely afraid of pushing so I just sat there, then I remember an old trick, I reached down and grabbed my ankles and wala! Rabbit pellets started popping out, not a lot but I hadn’t eaten that much, a little pain but not much and just a speck of blood. Warm bidet the bottom. I had done it and with minimal pain. When done I jumped in the tub for a 15 minute soak, then showered with soap, remember you have open wounds, keep them sterile as possible. Then after getting dressed I went and took a Vicodin, do not let the pain get ahead of you but pay attention to the Tylenol, etc. I felt like I climbed a mountain. Over the next few days the BMs were easier and I stopped taking the Vicodin. Still using stool softeners and lots of fiber, that’s good for you. The third afternoon I had another BM, much bigger and without much pain, soft serve if you prepare right.
Follow the hospital and doctors’ orders to the letter. I did use some recticare on the stitches (lidocaine) just to numb them but nothing else. No Epsom salts, no salves, just let things heal. I did use the gauze pads (between the cheeks) because the stitches were seeping a little bit but no big deal. I did have a few spasms but this is where you need to relax, anal and urinary retention is mostly mental, the more you relax the easier it is. This is where the valium would come in handy (I didn’t have any). Once you relax your BMs they are easier also.
All in all it wasn’t fun but it’s better than dealing with roids for 30 years, in my humble opinion. If you can make it through the first 3-5 days you should be good.
I do feel for those who are miserable and maybe doctors screwed up but you have to play the odds, that’s all we can do, do your homework, be prepared, be tough!
Reply with questions, I will not answer medical questions but can provide tips for getting through this.
Your shopping list was helpful, too. I think being prepared is a huge factor in a good recovery as well as having supportive family nearby; I don't know how anyone can do this alone, even being well-stocked with food and gauze pads, etc. That plus following your dr's advice as well as not being hesitant to bug the nurses with any questions (I did it twice)...and just accepting that intense pain is part of the whole package. Appreciate your sharing your experiences!