OIC: A Quality of Life Issue
When I was 54, I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. To treat my cancer, I underwent three surgeries: a lumpectomy; a surgery to implant a catheter and a small inflatable balloon to be used for five days of targeted radiation therapy; and finally, a total hysterectomy to rid my system of estrogen, because my breast cancer was what my doctor called hormone receptor-positive. Two years later, I had to get a spinal fusion in my back. And recently, I had my gallbladder removed and I am the proud owner of two brand-new titanium knees.
Needless to say, I’m very familiar with surgery and the uncomfortable aftermath—and I’m not just talking about the pain from the incision site. I’m talking about opioid-induced constipation (OIC). After surgeries, it’s not unusual for me to go three and a half days without a bowel movement because of the opioid pain relievers I’m prescribed, like Vicodin or Percocet.
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