When I decided to do this surgery, my eyes were wide open. I had read extensively, and had heard many, many horror stories reported by unhappy patients. As I've said...this forum offered the most balanced view I had ever seen. The people who have posted here to report their experiences--both positive and negative--have done so with an open heart.
As I prepared myself for the surgery, I really appreciated all the regular members who shared their tips and hints to prepare me for post surgical recovery. I thank you all.
My swallowing got more difficult on Days 4 and 5, and became easier again on Days 6-8. I don't know why. I have wondered if the prednosone I'm on has decreased the inflammation and swelling in the wrap as well as my lungs. It's an interesting question. I'm sure I'll be up and down with swallowing.
I've been walking on the treadmill at 2.0mph the past two days...about 10-15 minutes at a time (no incline). I just hop on periodically throughout the day. It feels really good to do it, and I know it'll help me get my strength back. It's also good for my lungs and legs (previous blood clot after surgery).
When I eat, I fill up really fast. Since seeing the surgeon, I've been a lot more adventurous in regards to eating. I do chew, chew, chew, until there's nothing solid left. Small bites are important.
I've eaten things like cream of potato soup, saltines, toasted banana bread (no nuts, of course), a half slice of toast with peanut butter--really anything that can be chewed to liquid. That is a lot of variety.
Tonight my husband wanted to get out, so we went to Olive Garden.
I had some chicken and gnocchi soup--delicious, and very digestible. Of course I could only actually eat about a quarter cup. The waiter was wonderful, and gave me a fresh bowl to take home, so I'll have a few meals there.
I also ordered manicotti. I didn't eat a lot of sauce, and only actually ate maybe a quarter to a third of a cup. My husband helped me out by eating some, and I brought some home. The pasta wrapping the manicotti required some chewing, but it was very good.
I found I could eat the outside of the breadsticks...nibbling the crust off.
Bottom line, if it's chewable, and you chew it lots and lots, it's edible.
I know nobody really cares what I'm eating. I'm just including the information, to let someone who's trying to decide whether to take the plunge, that in about a week (God willing), you can actually eat real food.
The only glitch...you can't eat very much at all. For some reason, the stomach gets REALLY full REALLY fast.
I do have a stomach that burps itself at times...I think that has helped with the bloating. Doesn't solve it all, but helps.
So there you go...my own experience to this point. I know I'm in for a long road back to eating more normally, but being able to eat interesting things makes it easier.
Most important--select an extremely experienced surgeon. We considered going to a medical center, but finally decided to find the best surgeon in this area that we could find. So far it has worked out very well. I'm sure my continued recovery will be an adventure.