Hello, 1 year after Lap Nissen Fundoplication surgery

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rlopez75
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 199
   Posted 8/15/2010 11:59 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello everyone. I haven't posted on this board in a while. I thought I would make a post for those of you out there that are wondering what comes after a year of surgery. Some of you may remember me and my story and some of you may not. For those of you that don't know my story I will fill you in as quickly and with as short of story as possible.....sorry if its still too long

My problems started about 10 years ago with severe pain in my esophagus after drinking Red Bull drinks regularly every morning. This was followed by severe heart palpitations, an elongated beat, after certain meals. At that time I never put the 2 together. Other than that I had no other signs of GERD. This went on for about 10 years in which time my "illness" was addressed by trying to figure out what heart "defect" was causing my erratic heart beat and palpitations. I had pretty much every cardiac stress test in the medical books performed on me and was misdiagnosed more than a handful of times. This lead to depression and Anxiety disorder, which lead to panic attacks. It went as far as them wanting to put a stint in my heart "just in case" I had some blockage.....yes, this went on for about 10 years!!!

Finally in late 08 I found a doctor that heard my symptoms. By this time I knew my palpitations were caused by certain foods that I ate, but didnt know why. I explained this to him and he told me "it was very possible" and sent me to a G.I specialist. The GI specialist did an EGD and told me I had GERD due to a hiatal hernia, which was causing me severe erosive esophagitis. Again, he said this could be the cause of my palpitations as the esophagus passes very close to the heart. A manomitry test revealed I had a 4 out of 16 in pressure at my LES. This warranted surgery. It was up to me to find a surgeon and I found Dr.Khatkhouda www.surgery.usc.edu/divisions/nontrauma/cv-katkhouda.html www.laparoscopicsurgeon-online.com/ who is a professor of bariatric laprospic surgery at USC medical center. I met with him in late June and he told me "I can fix you". I will never forget those words as long as I live. On August 10th I underwent a Lap Nissen Fundoplication.

After a night of the most intense pain I had ever felt, I woke up on August 11 with no more palpitations and no more GERD symptoms. But it wouldn't last. The surgeon told my wife I had one of the most inflamed esophagus and stomach he had seen in a while. He said 25% of my stomach was herniated in to my esophagus which "could' have been bothering my heart enough to cause the palpitations. The next 8 months that followed were hard! My recovery was very painful for some reason and after the first 2 days post op the swelling began and the palpitations came back, though I have never suffered or felt any more GERD symptoms since I woke up after surgery. My swelling was so bad that it was very hard to even take a deep breath. It felt like something inside me would not give and let my lungs fully expand....

Fast forward to 2 months ago and it was like some one turned off a switch. The swelling is mostly all gone now. I say mostly because its still a bit difficult to take a full, deep, breath. When I do sometimes I get a 1 palpitation, but nothing like before. Physically I'm in the best shape of my life. I lost a total of 42 pounds, from 217 to 175. I'm running 2 miles a day and I'm doing light weight training 4-5 times a week to try and get my muscles back that I lost over my recovery period. I have not 1 symptom of GERD. I do get the sensation of wanting to burp or regurgitate some times but just feel pressure against the wrap. My diet consists of lean protein such as chicken and fish. No beef, pork, fat, complex carbs, or sugar in my diet at all. I have 4-5 small meals a day. At this point, on occasions where my stomach is completely empty, I can eat about 3 maybe 4 cups of food at one time considering that I have to leave room for water to wash the food down past the wrap so it doesn't sit in my esophagus and irritate it. But most days I can only eat a can of tuna and 8 ozs of water for lunch with out feeling discomfort from being to full.

Over all this surgery gave me a "normal" life back. Its been hard trying to adjust back to feeling 'normal". But it made me healthier and most of all changed my eating habits for the better. The Last EGD I had was last November and it showed my esophageal erosion had almost completely healed and showed a perfectly tight wrap. I do not take any PPIs any more.....I can get on with my life now :-)

Rafael

Post Edited (rlopez75) : 8/15/2010 12:08:04 PM (GMT-6)


couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 11623
   Posted 8/15/2010 1:32 PM (GMT -6)   
It's wonderful to hear from you again, Rafael.
I remember you being on here when I first came. My 270 degree wrap is doing well,too.
We've missed you here.
Joy

Problems too numerous to name. :)

opnwhl4
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4726
   Posted 8/15/2010 2:05 PM (GMT -6)   
Rafael-
It's been a long time my friend. Good to hear things are better now. Maybe you could pop in once in a while and help some of the people who are starting what you have just finished.

Take care,
Bill
opnwhl4
Moderator: GERD/Heartburn
Nissen 6/06 and 5/09

Moo'sMum
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2010
Total Posts : 234
   Posted 8/15/2010 3:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Great to hear from people like you Rafael. It gives people hope. So glad you are feeling better

rlopez75
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 199
   Posted 8/15/2010 8:25 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you for the welcome back. Bill awesome to hear your redo is doing well. Joy, thanks and I will be around more often. In the past it depressed me a little to lurk around because reading about people in pain brought back so many bad memories for me. But I'm working past that. You can bet that I will pop my head in here more and more. I have learned so much here that I owe some information to those who I might be able to help.

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 6720
   Posted 8/16/2010 7:15 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Raphael,
Welcome back! It sounds like you had a long uphill hike to where you are today, but you sound great! When I first came around this forum, I heard that complete healing takes a year, and you're evidence of that. Glad to hear that you're so fit, and are feeling physically healthy. It's great that you're exercising and taking care of yourself. Not being able to eat huge portions is really a good thing. Do you know that when a person has been on a reduced calorie eating plan for a long time, their stomach shrinks, and they get full much quicker? I'd be willing to bet that's part of why you fill up so quickly. If you don't stretch your stomach with large portions, you're likely to be satisfied with less food, which is a good thing in the long run.

Bill's right. It would help people if you'd stop by occasionally and give some of the wisdom you've gained during your recovery. It's a scary procedure, and GERD can really interfere with a person's life and health. Hearing from someone who's made it to the "other side" can be very helpful.

We did miss you! Glad to hear from you, Raphael.
Take care of yourself,
Denise turn

rlopez75
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 199
   Posted 8/16/2010 9:45 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you Denise. Your very right about my stomach shrinking. My surgeon told me the fundoplication takes away the top 1/3 of your stomach as it is, and eating less does make it shrink even more. I did binge for the first time last Thursday while having some delicious Chinese food. I didn't leave room for water and when I took 2 drinks I felt that I couldn't even breath!! My wife says she has never seen that look on my face before. She actually got scared. Worst pain since surgery. It actually swelled me a bit and the palpitations came back for a bit. You can bet I will never, ever do that again. I suffered a bit all last week but that was of my own doing. I don't attribute that to the healing process.

What I have a problem with the most is loosing the sensation of being full. I was told by my surgeon that its because the Fundus, the part that gets wrapped around the esophagus, is the part of the stomach that tells your brain when you're starting to get full. My brain tell me to continue eating, my mouth keeps salivating, but my stomach tells me IT'S STARTING TO HURT! STOP EATING, lol! It takes abit of getting used to but I rather "feel" hungry than be in pain from over eating.

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 31814
   Posted 8/16/2010 3:53 PM (GMT -6)   
Rafael
 
Good to see you here and glad things are going well for you now and I am glad you kept putting one foot in front of the other on your post-op journey.
 
Stick around and know we are all here for you. 
~~Kitt~~
Moderator: Anxiety/Panic, Osteoarthritis, GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.
www.healingwell.com

"If you can't change the world, change your world"

rummaan
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 92
   Posted 9/17/2010 9:49 PM (GMT -6)   
Rafael,
I'm at 6 weeks post op and the recovery is going rough. Many previous symptoms are still present and many are gone. I'm trying to get off the PPIs but after 10 days without my evening dose I wake up with the feeling of nausea every morning, that doesn't let me lay down. Morning dose of PPI plus eating something help a lot. I'm very distressed about my slow progress. Eating is mostly normal now, but I eat very small portions. Swallowing is fine and I'm able to produce small shallow burps. Gas bloat is there but it's not bothering me much.

But this nausea in the morning and then sometimes through the afternoon is really making me miserable. When I eat it disappears and after an hour or so it may come back for a little bit again. Evenings are usually fine. Rafael, am I hurrying too much with my recovery? My surgeon also said that I had one of the most inflamed esophagus in his practice! It was showing on the outside! I'm also trying to get off a very small dose of Remeron (3.5 mg, was prescribed for sleeping back in Feb 10), I'm sure that is not helping either.

I need some reassurance. I'm seeing my doctor tomorrow and I'm sure he's going to say "everything is normal", but I want to stop suffering, I never knew it was going to take so long to recover! I hope I don't have GERD continued.

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 6720
   Posted 9/18/2010 2:26 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Rummaan,
I'm glad you're going to see your doctor to ease your mind as to the progress of your healing. At 6 weeks post op, I was far from back to normal. I will be very surprised if your doctor thinks your experiences with healing are far out of the ordinary (if there is ordinary!).

It took me at least 8 and a half weeks to heal my lungs and see a change post op. (delicate, inflamed tissue takes a lot of time to heal...I'm guessing your esophagus inflammation is a similar situation.) In addition, I continued to have to eat carefully and small amounts. By four months, my eating was pretty much back to normal. That said, I think you'll find that most people who've had a Nissen will always have a quirky upper GI and some adjustments will need to be made. It's well worth it, though!

I don't think that surgeons/doctors do patients justice by not preparing them for what to expect post-surgery. It's not right that so many people (it's obvious by posts here) go into the surgery totally unprepared for the recovery afterward.

I hope your doctor can help you get a handle on what to expect over the next weeks.
Best wishes for a speedy recovery and a subsiding of the nausea issue.
Try to be patient. Your upper GI tract has undergone a major revision, and it will take time to heal and adjust.
Take care, Rummaan,
Denise

Kiwee
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 2/25/2012 5:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone, I had the nissen fundoplication done in 1999. At that time my Dr was newer to this procedure and little evidence of successful cases over an extended period. Well after the surgery it was learning how to eat all over again, losing 40lbs, constant vomiting and finding out I have high blood pressure. Slowly put my weight back on and taking minor doses of a prilosec med. I am physically active guy, now 56years old. Roughly 2 years ago I felt like a minor muscle catch under left breast when exerting or turning around. Recently I went back to my Dr and he scoped and suggested that I have it redone. With some reservations I did 2/22/12. On awaking he said the old wrap had come undone so was a good call to redo. All is well after 3 days, and I feel like I could eat solid food even though I am on full liquid diet. Am slowly testing it and no nausated feeling like previous times. Maybe used to the wrap from first time and learning how to eat. Do have some soreness from lap surgery but that is to be expected. Being careful on raising body up and down, coughing, sneezing and laughing, which all hurt. Still time will heal and can't wait to start working out again. Dr also told me to stop the prilosec. Have read a lot of blogs where many people have had bad experiences with the procedure. Initially I did but I put this down to learning to eat again and discovering high BP. Everybody is different, so you have to find what is right for you. Also think you have to be in reasonable shape for quick, full recovery. Another important point is the Dr doing the procedure. You must be confident and put your trust in him. This will go a long way. I truely felt like I was not just a #, but a concerned patient. Can anyone advise me on quick healing procedures for stomach soreness after this procedure. Will a heat pad help? I welcome any questions, please stay healthyeveryone

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 6720
   Posted 2/25/2012 9:03 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Kiwee,
I used ice for pain once I went off the narcotic med and liquid Tylenol.  I had a lot of pain in my left rib area, and ice did the trick.
Happy healing!
Denise

roses050481
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 4/15/2012 9:18 PM (GMT -6)   
I have a question - I am 8 months post-op and have been eating a LOT of carrots sticks lately, the other evening I ate an abundance and now have some pain in my stomach. Not terrible that I am crying to go to the hospital but enough that it hurts me. Can you "bruise" you wrap area or something to that affect? I do not think I harmed the wrap, well I hope not.

My doctor gave me very little post op instructions, most I have found online so coming here for help. Thanks!

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 6720
   Posted 4/16/2012 10:19 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi roses,
Absolutely...I wouldn't call it bruising...just really irritating.  I'm 3 years post-op and I still limit my raw celery and carrot eating.  When I eat a lot of salads and raw veggies (which I do sometimes, because I enjoy them enough to deal with the results), I'll have an irritated wrap for a few days. 
 
It's easy to understand why...your wrap is making it harder for things to enter your stomach (and leave, which is the best part!) and things can scratch past if they're not full chewed and have a rough consistency.
 
Just avoid scratchy, rough foods for a while and you'll get back to normal.  Also, while your wrap is irritated, stay away from spicy, acidic foods, and probably take it a little easy with alcohol.  Given a chance your wrap will get back to normal pretty quickly.
 
In the meantime, sometimes a swig of Maalox or something like that, can coat your wrap for a while and comfort it.
 
Glad you stopped by for a visit!
Take care,
Denise

shariuzz
New Member


Date Joined May 2012
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 5/17/2012 10:04 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi,
I am 69 and 18 days post-op. It was an emergency Nissen wrap because my complete stomach was cut-off and inside my upper chest area, so it was a lot of pain before the nasal-gastric tube emptied it, followed by the surgery.

One side effect of the surgery is that both my left and right hands (I'm right-handed) were numb from the outside of the wrist/palm to the ends of the little finger and half of the one next to it. The left had numbness has subsided, but there has been little change to the right. I'm hoping this will not require yet another surgery, but I DO need all the parts of my right hand.

I am finally home on my own, and finding how slowly the recovery process really is, even though my doc said I would be almost completely back to normal in 4 to 6 weeks. I'm struggling to get enough calories and proteins in me every day because it takes very little to make me feel full, so I have myself on a schedule - eat something every 2 hours. It helps to take GasX every 4 hours - otherwise my whole system is so bloated I can barely make myself eat anything even though all I'm eating is the prescribed "mechanical soft diet". Haven't had to take any pain meds, including tylenol or other OTC stuff for about a week, so that is good. I DO still get some nausea, though so I plan to ask my doc whether I can keep up with the anti-nausea drug if only when needed.

This site has been really helpful. Since yesterday when I found it, I've found a lot of posts full of information that makes me feel a lot better about my recovery. I don't know what "degree" wrap I have - my next appointment with my surgeon isn't for 2 weeks, but I'll be certain to ask her then.

Just wondering how much weight loss to expect? My doc said maybe about 5 pounds, but I know I'm well beyond that already, since I barely ate more than about 500 cal a day for the first 2 weeks. Doing a lot better now that I have a schedule (and drinking that awful Ensure stuff), so I'm getting more like 900 to 1200, depending on the day.

Thanks for listening. I'd love to hear back from more of you if you have the time.

Thanks
Sharon

cda77
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 6/14/2012 11:35 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Rlopez,
Just curious if the surgery helped with your anxiety and panic attacks? I am scheduled to have the surgery soon. It seems that when I eat certain foods I get that anxious "brick in my belly" feeling that leads to anxiety and I'm hoping this helps alleviate it some - in addition to stopping the horrendous gerd. Thanks for the feedback!

suzb
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 6/14/2012 12:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi. I had a lap nissen surgery on 4/9 and am still experiencing problems with swallowing and very sharp pains between my shoulder blades that radiate into my neck, jaw and even into my head. I had similar problems before surgery and thought it was gallbladder but my GI doc and surgeon both said my gallbladder looks ok. The problem is intensified since surgery x 10. Gas X is the only thing that relieves it. Can this be simply trapped gas ? The pain is excruciating. I vomit at least 1 or 2 times a week when something gets stuck. I try to follow all the rules but its very depressing since my surgeon seems to think I should be able to eat more. I had long term GERD that no longer responded to med. Also have Barretts esophagus. I WISH I HAD SEEN THIS FORUM BEFORE I HAD SURGERY! Luckily I don't have any nausea or bowel issues. Has anyone else had pains in they"re back?

shariuzz
New Member


Date Joined May 2012
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 6/14/2012 5:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Suxb,

Yes, I have pain between my shoulder blades (feels like my back) when food gets stuck - this goes along with hiccups that hurt. However, I CANNOT throw up - when food is stuck I can't even burp - not even a little tiny burp. It's very uncomfortable, and it can last from 10 minutes to almost an hour. Before the surgery I DID have pains in my neck and jaw - my GI guy told me that was related to GERD. I've had very little neck or jaw pain since the surgery, so that's a little bit of a relief.
My surgery was on 4/30, and yes, I had to take GasX 4 times a day (the maximum dosage) up until about 7 or 8 days ago. That seemed to help a lot with the bloating, but I haven't found anything to stop food getting stuck. I'm petrified of vegetables mostly because that's what I'd eaten before my emergency surgery, and what got my stomach all out of whack, and pushed entirely up into my chest where it was incarcerated (yes, a lot of pain). So, I didn't have a choice about the surgery - I had to do it. But I've made some pretty good smoothies with fruit and vegetables, so I CAN get a few veggies in that way.
I HAVE found that food is more likely to get stuck when I'm trying to rush a meal - maybe took a bite a little too big, or swallowed before chewing everything completely. Also, some foods just didn't go over very well - like most breads, or anything that is a little too textured or thick. When I was having problems getting enough food to nurture my body, liquid meal replacements went down very easily (again, I had to drink them slowly), but they helped me get over the hump so I could get enough calories to gradually build up my strength and endurance again. And it hasn't been easy to change a lifetime of my poor eating habits; I am still in the process.

Keep on talking to your docs, and keep a stiff upper lip. Things will likely get better, with patience and time.

Sharon

suzb
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 6/14/2012 7:05 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Sharon, I get the hiccups also. When I upchuck it's not from my stomach but from my esophagus. I have a bad habit of eating too fast also. Hard to break.but sometimes these pains hit me hours later. Almost unbearable. Nutrition was an issue for me at first also. My stomach didn't tolerate much including fruit drinks.it's discouraging when I talk to my doc because he says I should be able to eat anything as long as I chew it well. No one else mentioned shoulder blade pain and it's very scary and happening more often. Thanks for your encouragement. I guess I was expecting faster recovery. I wish docs were more upfront about what to expect. Keep in touch.
Suzie

shariuzz
New Member


Date Joined May 2012
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 6/14/2012 7:14 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone,

I'm just wondering. This blog is SO helpful, it's amazing how much I've learned about this whole process. Of course everyone's body is different, so it makes sense that our recoveries will be similar but not entirely the same. I LOVE this website, and all the encouragement and knowledge I've gotten from it.

But, I'm wondering if a support group would also be helpful. Does anyone out there know if there is a national support group or association for patients having had the Nissen wrap surgery?

I'm in the Seattle area. Of course, I will Google it and see if I can find something here myself.

Keep on keeping on . . .

Sharon

barbstew
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2012
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 10/3/2012 8:18 PM (GMT -6)   
What is the difference in the 360 or 270 wrap or a full and partial wrap?  I don't understand that.

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 6720
   Posted 10/3/2012 9:03 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Barbstew,
Welcome to Healing Well!  Glad you've joined us!
 A full wrap is a traditional Nissen fundoplication, which is the 360 procedure.  A partial wrap is what 270 refers to.
 
Here's a good link with information about these options.  If you scroll down, you can see a picture of the two procedures:
 
Good luck with your search for answers!
Denise
Words of wisdom by Eckhart Tolle:
"Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose”

“Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”

missallday
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 1/17/2013 12:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Everyone! I'm new to this site and am quite glad I found it. It has almost been a year since my surgery. I had it done 3/13/12. I'm 29 and have had issues with GERD and stomach pain all throughout my 20's. Three months prior to my surgery I was in and out of the emergency room with horrendous stomach pains, nausea, and vomiting blood.

My dad had the Nissen surgery 10 years ago (his came undone and had to have it done over by a different dr.) anyway, he referred me to his surgeon. After the endoscopy they found a massive hernia (stomach was up in esophagus) and Barretts esophagus as well. My surgery went well I was out of the hospital after 3 days. 3 days later I was back in because nothing would go through my wrap, not even water. It would just come back up. So I went back and they stretched my wrap. I was out after a few days. Same thing happened and I was back in. This time they just had me on an icecube diet and figured it was just very swollen.

I was on a liquid diet for probably 2 months after my surgery. Since I've not had any GERD issues. I can't vomit. I get dry heave spells every now and then, just out of the blue, which is weird. I burp but only when I drink something and it's trying to pass through the wrap. I have really bad gas pain and bloating now. I think I'm gonna start taking gas x. Does that have any side effects? Another this is that recently the last two months occasionally when I drink something it will go through but some will come back up foamy. I'm wondering if it's still to tight of a wrap. Food get stuck when I eat to fast or something to thick. I just drink water and it goes down.

Overall, I'm glad I had the surgery. My dad hasn't had any issues besides the occasional food getting stuck but he just grabs some water and walks around a bit. So that's ten years of success and still going for him.

Hope everyone is well! yeah
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