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To surgery, or not to surgery?

Hi guys, was just wondering if i could get some advice please?

I was diagnosed with Crohn's about 5 years ago, and it seems as though my main problem is a stricture about halfway along my large intestine. For the past 18 months I've been taking Remicade, and this has for the most part left me absolutely pain free (bar a couple of flare ups in the lead up to a couple of infusions).

My GI consultant has told me that I should potentially consider surgery to chop out the stricture. He says that the stricture is not getting any smaller, so the remicade is just acting to maintain my current 'wellness', but is not improving my Crohn's. He has just upped my infusions to one every 6 weeks (from 8). He has booked me in to have a chat with the surgeon in a couple of weeks time.

Now my personal situation is that I have recently had to turn down a job in Australia, because I would likely have had to pay for my own treatment, which I just couldn't afford. I was absolutely gutted that I couldn't make the move, but I felt I had to stay in the UK to carry on with the excellent (free) treatment I am receiving on the NHS (which I am ever so grateful for!).

I'm wondering whether I should have surgery or not, as I'm hoping that this might be a magic cure for me, would stop my requirement for Remicade, and ultimately enable me to make the move to Oz to start a new life with my beautiful wife!

It seems as though I could continue with Remicade, which would not allow me to move to Oz, or I could go down the surgery route, which would potentially enable me to move, but would leave me without half my large intestine and any potential issues this may lead to further down the line.

Hi hoons! I would think if your GI has recommended surgery and set up a consult with a surgeon than it is probably a good idea. I would also suggest having surgery before you are in severe pain every day. I contemplated it for months and ended up in agonizing daily pain before I finally made the decision to do so; and then had to wait 3 months to for the surgery. My insides were also a mess (stricture, 2 fistulas, severe fissures, fused to my pelvic side wall, etc..); worse than they thought from the scope, MRI, and CT. I definitely wish now that I hadn't waited so long as even though I'm only 3 weeks post-op; I feel so much better than I have for at least six months!

Did your GI say you could stop the Remicade after the surgery? My GI did take me off Cimzia after mine; however I have read other's stories where they are kept on biologicals after surgery.

I hope that you figure all this out and you're able to join your wife in Oz. :) Good luck!
I had surgery about 2 weeks ago and I continue to feel better every day. The decision to have surgery is never an easy one, but remember this is a disease that causes problems like strictures and fistulas which do not get better without intervention and the longer you leave it the worse things become. In my case, my ileum and ascending colon were a complete mess and two fistulas had entered my sigmoid colon. I ended up with a right hemi-colectomy, ileostomy and a partial resection of my sigmoid colon. Don't wait for it to become an emergency, get on and do it while you are feeling reasonably healthy and hopefully it can be done laparoscopically so the recover time will be shorter.
Thanks guys. I'm really open minded about the potential for surgery, so I'll discuss it through with the surgeon and see where that takes me.
Heather, GI didn't mention stopping remicade, but i didn't ask him to be fair. I'm seeing him again in 6 months now i'm up to 6 weekly infusions, so will ask him then. I'm lucky to have one of the top GIs in the UK, and he's an absolutely top guy too, so I feel like I'm in good hands :)
Hope you're getting on ok JMC following your surgery :)