Hello everyone, I am new to the board. I had the lap surgery on July 16th and it has been a complete week for me now post surgery. I am a 49 year old male who was on Prevacid and/or Nexium for GERD for over 6 years and I have Barrett's esophagus.
First of all, I want to say that this board is a godsend. I was going out of my mind my first night home after surgery and truly thought I wanted to kill myself or die I was so miserable.
I hated myself for having the surgery because I was in so much agony. That evening, I found this website and I couldn't help but break down crying in relief that I wasn't the only one going through this. So I thank each and every one of you for your posts. I have been reading all of them and I feel a bond with you each of you on some level even though we do not know each other.
Because I was so blessed and touched by what others have shared, it is now my turn to share my experience thus far.
I had the surgery on Wednesday July 16th (Nissen lap with full wrap) I spent one night in the hospital and was released one week ago today. That evening was the most miserable night in my entire night. I felt like I was suffocating and choking to death and I felt like I was going to explode from within. I didn't know it at the time, but evidently I had so much gas inside of me that had not passed yet, that it made me feel this miserable. I didn't get any sleep at all that night. Finally around 4 am on Friday I called my doctor and he told me what was most likely causing the problem. He told me to walk around a bit if I could to help release the gas. I did and finally around 5 am the dam burst. I know it sounds vulgar but it was blessed relief. I have never been so glad to fart in all of my life!!! :)
I had excruciating pain in the left shoulder for the first few days even with the pain meds.
Finally over the weekend, that pain began to let up. I still have it especially in the evenings but to a much lesser extent. For the first 5 nights out of the hospital, I set up a chaise lounge with lots of comforters and nice sheets to sleep with my head raised up - otherwise I felt like I couldn't breath. As of Tuesday of this week, I am now able to sleep in my regular bed, but I still prop my head up with pillows. I normally sleep on my stomach but have been sleeping on my side of back due to the steri-strips/wounds as well as being able to breath better on my back or side. I'm not sure what I do during the night but I tend to wake up and I'm on my back.
Today, one week from the day of release from the hospital, is the first day that I've gone a full day without pain meds. For the first 5 days I took both the naseau medicine and the pain killers as soon as the time frame allowed. I started tapering off yesterday. I do have some nausea and pain this evening so will take a bit of both before going to bed to help me have a restful night. My doctor told me to not worry about getting addicted to the pain killers, that was my concern.
I've lost 5 lbs the past week. I have been drinking protein shakes for breakfast, lots of water and room temperature green tea during the day that I fortify with dissolvable fibre powder that doesn't thicken up. I've been eating lots of sugar free diet pudding and jello, yogurt, applesauce, and cottage cheese that I pureed a bit at first and am now able to eat small curd as is. I have been making lots of soups for dinner. My favorite is ground chicken meat that I brown with some pureed green onions and mild spices and then pour in chicken broth. I then puree the whole concoction to my desired texture. It is very satisfying and savory.
I'd like to share one of my recipes that I created on day two when I had a craving for peanut butter. I was skeptical at how it would turn out but it is wonderful. Take 3/4 cup cottage cheese, a few tablespoons peanut butter, a tablespoon or two of honey, and whir in a blender. If you don't like peanut butter, you won't like this, but if you love peanut butter like me, this will be like eating peanut butter mousse - yummy.
For the first five days I had no appetite whatsoever and was able to only eat tiny bits at a time. I find that my appetite is begining to increase and I'm able to eat a small bowl of soup at one meal which I consider to be great.
I'm taking liquid vitamins which I highly recommend to anyone since we're truly not eating a balance diet at this point. Centrum makes a good one and it's easy to find at your local drugstore. I am also adding fibre powder that doesn't thicken to my teas and beverages.
I'm finding since I'm off work due to the recovery, I am staying up until about 11:30 or midnight and sleeping until 10 am or sometimes longer even up to noon. I am allowing myself to do this since I know my body needs rest in order to heal.
Yesterday was the first day I left the house since the surgery to visit with some friends.
Even 2 hours out was tiring. I am taking short walks each day and doing household things in order to build my strength.
So, that is my experience and progress over the last 8 days. Yes, I had the one miserable night where I wished I hadn't had the surgery but now I can say that I am so glad I did.
I am completely off the Nexium and have had no reflux whatsoever the past 8 days.
Yes, I pass gas now like crazy but everytime I do, I think about that night where I wasn't able to and how miserable I was, and now I thank God with every fart that I am able to do so.
And, I do want to mention in closing that I am able to burp little burps. The first one came a few days ago and totally caught me by surprise. It hurt a little but I thought "Wow, I can burp!"
So, I wish each and every one of you health and healing in your body. I thank you again for the encouragement given to me by these pages and I hope that somehow what I have shared will help someone too.
So let's all hang in there together cuz we're gonna make it!!!