Six months on from APR surgery

  • 27 replies
  • 41 subscribers

Hi all, just wanted to write this in case anyone is facing APR surgery or has recently gone through it and now recovering. 

I had APR surgery for anal cancer on 27th July 2023. It’s now 2nd Jan and I have just ticked off my first day back at work. I was hoping to go back in November originally (I don’t know why but that seemed the best idea when I first went off!) but my body had other ideas and my wound on my bum dehisced and took nearly six months to heal in the end. I won’t lie - it has been literally a pain in the arse to get this far. However it CAN be done. Having the surgery is stressful for you, difficult for your family and may seem like the last resort but I promise it is doable. Having a stoma takes some getting used to but it’s doable. There might be complications like I have had but it’s doable and hopefully you can come out the other side and be OK. 

I’m nervous about an upcoming scan but I am proud of myself for getting through a major major surgery and coming out the other side.

Happy New Year to you all and please get in touch with me if you ever have any queries about this surgery, I found threads like this very useful after my diagnosis.

Kirsty x

  • Hi  ,

    It’s absolutely great to hear from you & thank you so much for updating us on your progress. As you’ve said posts such as this can be the light at the end of the tunnel for anyone facing this major surgery. It’s great to hear also that you’ve returned to work, it may be a few weeks later than you intended but you’ve done amazingly well, personally I think under 6 months after such major surgery is some achievement! You’re bound to be nervous about your pending scan, the scanxiety is real, we can all relate to that one. 

    Thank you again for your update, it’ll be good for others to read that have the possibility of facing APR surgery. I’m over the moon that you’re doing well & wishing you a very happy & healthy 2024. 


  • Hi  

    Thanks so much for this update - it’s the content I need having been told that APR is the next step for me. I had chemo/radiotherapy in Apr/May last year and, although it shrunk it, unfortunately, there hasn’t been a full response. 

    It’s so helpful to know others’ APR experiences as it’s difficult to find accounts of recovery.
    I’m really pleased you’re at the stage you feel well enough to return to work. I hope your work are being gentle with you!

    I’m just waiting for a PET scan and then hopefully, my surgeon will be able to tell me exactly what the extent of the surgery will be. 
    Take it easy back at work and thanks again.

    Claire xx

  • Kirsty

    Thank you SO much for returning and posting such a helpful and honest message to those facing APR surgery.  It has been a long haul for you but, wow!  Your first day back at work is a huge step and I hope it went well.  You have every right to feel proud of yourself, and I hope that your good health continues.

    Big hugs for 2024!

    Irene xx

  • Claire

    I am so sorry to hear that you didn't have a full response, I can imagine that must have been so very upsetting and disappointing to hear.  I don't have experience of APR surgery but am pleased that MrsKS account is helping you.

    And I hope that things move very quickly for you, the waiting between appointments is so stressful.

    We are all here to support you too, should you need it, I am thinking of you.

    Irene xx

  • Hi Claire ( ),

    I’m so sorry to hear that you’re now facing surgery after going through the chemoradiotherapy. I’m pleased we have members like Kirsty that update on their progress to offer encouragement to others facing this surgery. It’s scary facing such a major operation but take comfort that there is good quality of life to be had through the other side. I hope you’re not waiting too much longer for your PET scan & you get to see your surgeon soon after. 

    Thinking of you. 


  • Hello! Ah I hope I can be helpful to some people in the future and they can know it’s not the end of the world to have this surgery on the horizon. I will try and update after my scan and hoping for positive news. Really got everything crossed that 2024 is a better year!

  • Hi Claire and please accept my apologies for such a delayed reply. I’m very sorry to hear your initial treatment wasn’t successful and you’re facing this surgery. Please look at my profile if it might help - I have documented my recovery in quite a lot of detail after the surgery. I wrote some right from my hospital bed so it might be helpful but equally if you would prefer to just know some vague stuff I am happy to answer any questions. Wishing you so much luck for the upcoming weeks and months. Kirsty x

  • Thank you so much Irene. Your lovely words are much appreciated! Kirsty x

  • Hi Kirsty

    That must feel such a milestone to get back to work after everything - thanks for posting this update & well done on coming through it.

    I’ve read your bio as well as was told I’ll need APR after chemoradiation due to the size & location of my tumour. So am 3 months post treatment, waiting on my 1st scan results & more info on when or if they will recommend the surgery. I had my stoma prior to treatment so am used to it & one less thing to have to worry about.

    The surgeon mentioned Flap reconstruction but the colorectal nurse has subsequently told me that they don’t do these at our hospital & that patients cope well enough without it?? So bit confused why he mentioned it then!

    Do you mind me asking if this was part of your operation or if you had it without? I’m most daunted by the wound healing aspect of it & v encouraged that you’re where you are - after albeit one tough journey.

    Only just come back on here hence only reading this now!

    Many thanks & well wishes


  • Hi Ninka,

    Sorry for my delayed reply - life has suddenly got very busy again now that I am back at work!

    Thank you for your good wishes but sorry to hear you will have to have the same surgery. It’s very daunting to face it but I am convinced it was the best option for me. As you already have the stoma it will probably be a bit easier to get your head around! Do you know if they are able to do it robotically or keyhole? That wasn’t an option for me as they removed large diseased chunks of my bowel from Crohn’s at the same time but I know it’s a less major op if it can be done that way.

    I didn’t need flap reconstruction as I have not already had chemoradiotherapy but my surgeon did mention it once my wound reopened. Luckily I didn’t need it in the end, I think plastics have to be involved if you did have it. I was at the Christie so I think I was very lucky to have most options available to me.

    I wasn’t too worried about the bun wound if I am honest, more so about the tummy one as it is a very large wound. However that one healed absolutely fine (for me) and my bum wound became infected but it wasn’t picked up quickly enough. Unfortunately I was in CCU for so long without being able to turn or stand I think it just had too much pressure on it. I think I was an unusual case those as I had major problems with low blood pressure after the surgery. If at all possible try to be on your side from early on and hopefully that will stop the bottom wound from being an issue!

    Kirsty x