12 days post Nissen

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ScarletJ
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 1/16/2010 12:02 PM (GMT -6)   
First off, I'd like to thank everyone here on HW for sharing their experiences. This place has been a tremendous resource of information for me.

I had my LNF last Monday and wanted to get people's reactions to my progress.

The steri strips have fallen off and the incisions are healing nicely, though the ones above my belly button and under my left rib cage are both still tender.

As far as swallowing goes, I expected to have much more trouble than I did at first. I was eating soft scrambled eggs on the third day without issue. But a couple of days later I had a terrible incident with mashed potatoes that I thought was going to kill me. What pain! It was like I swallowed softball. I thought the wrap was going to burst. So, no more of anything with that consistency for a long time. Anyway, I was doing pretty well until a few days ago when I started getting these horrible hiccup/burp incidents whenever I start to eat or drink anything. It's like the air can't come up and just is getting caught right at the wrap. It's very annoying and painful. I've been working through it though. Have others had a similar experience? If so, when will this resolve? I'm terrified to go back to work and look like I'm choking to death at my desk from just taking a sip of water.

Anyway, my biggest fear is that I'm still feeling symptoms: burning right around the area of the wrap and I've felt the lump in my throat from time to time. How is acid coming up if air can't even come up? I'm terrified that the surgery wasn't successful, or that it just won't resolve my GERD. Has anyone else felt symptoms at this point that resolved at a later point? BTW, I'm still on Aciphex twice a day and Zantac at night.

I go back to see the surgeon on Tuesday.

Thanks in advance for your feedback.

Cheers,
J

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 1/16/2010 12:23 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi Scarlett,

Congratulations on becoming one of the "wrapped"!  Now it's upward and onward to healing and a better quality of life!

Believe me, I understand your fears.  I was wrapped on Feb. 27th, 2009, and thanks to the people at the GERD forum was able to do so with a positive attitude.  I don't know if you've read any of my old posts, but I'd be glad to post the links if you haven't.  I tried to journal my recovery through about 19 days, i believe.

I was warned by someone who had been wrapped 2 years earlier (an aquaintance) that about Day 4 or 5 things get dicey.  And they did.  With me, it was difficulty swallowing, and I was making gallons of saliva.  I just kept spitting it out, because I didn't want to swallow it.

My surgeon warned me that the wrap would become progressively swollen through the first two weeks--peak at 2 weeks, then begin to reduce.  It is very normal for the increased swelling to cause you to feel like you're going backwards rather than forward in the healing process.  Relax, though.  It will get better.

As far as feeliing like some acid is slipping through...I discussed this with my surgeon (actually called him because i was so scared) because I was feeling like I was still having reflux.  He said that with the swelling pretty much anything is possible, so not to worry.  Until the healing is complete, the wrap isn't settled in to do its job.

If you irritated your wrap with the potato incident, the hiccup reaction is very normal.  I would get spasms really bad, but they'd resolve in a few minutes.  Try warm/moderately hot tea or just warm water, if that happens.  I found it helped to get past the spasms.  To this day if I overdo something (too much rough foods/salad entrees, etc.) my wrap can complain.  I don't get the spasms, but I can notice the wrap.

Yes, these things will resolve over time.  We all have to accept, though, that we're not going to be like we were before we had any GERD problems.  We will always have some little quirks or differences.  As for me, they are well worth the other positive outcomes, and I am very happy that I got the wrap.  I was suffering from uncontrolled asthma, which caused complications after the surgery, but things have settled down.  Another quirk I have is a very reactive stomach.  I get acid going like crazy, and since I have a loose wrap, I do think I can occasionally get a bit of reflux.  No big deal, though.  My lungs are doing fine, thank goodness.  If I ever need a redo, I will not hesitate to go forward with it.

I agree--thank goodness for the good people here at this forum.  I was afraid to move forward with the surgery for years, because of all the negative comments on the iternet.  This was the first place i found people who had a positive (yet realistic) attitude towards the procedure.  They saved my life. 

Take care, Scarlett, and keep posting!  There are lots of very caring people who will give you support and information.  Best wishes with your healing!  If you can surrender to the process, and let your healing lead the way, it'll be much easier.  Try not to get frustrated or panic.  All will be well.

We're here for you!

Denise


opnwhl4
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4961
   Posted 1/16/2010 1:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Scarlet-
Welcome! Denise gave you some very good advice and information. Mashed potatoes are deceiving, they can pile up at the wrap and cause all kinds of pain while you try t get them past it. Watch out for bread that isn't toasted also. It can do a similar thing.
I have dealt with the trapped air feeling with both of my Nissens and it does go away, but takes time. You are at a very frustrating stage right now, You see the incisions healing up and can't help but think the same thing is going on inside, but it's not. You have a LOT of healing to do inside yet. This is also the worst time for swelling of the wrap and it will cause some very uncomfortable issues until it subsides. Everything you are experiencing is about the norm. Most of us have gone through it to one degree or another.
As Denise said, try not to panic or get frustrated. It will get better. We are here for you if you need us.

Take care,
Bill

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 1/16/2010 1:56 PM (GMT -6)   
Yeah, the hiccup/ burp is painful. I found out I get them when I overeat.

If you eat potatoes again thin them to a runny soup. I like soupy grits.

I'm at week 4 and I still eat small meals (if I behave). The firmest food I'm consuming is chicken nuggets and vienna sausages. Anything else is hard on my stomach. I try not to put too much in because I feel a small leak when I do. Ouch!

The healing will get better. Take it easy.

Joy

opnwhl4
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4961
   Posted 1/17/2010 12:24 AM (GMT -6)   
Joy-
The hiccups is what reminds me I have eaten enough and stop NOW! That;s a signal I get and have learned to heed it well. LOL! I keep forgetting that you are just a month or so into healing. Please remember tat even though the incisions are looking good you are still doing a lot of healing inside and will for a few more months.

Take care,
Bill

soliver38
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 140
   Posted 1/17/2010 10:19 AM (GMT -6)   
hello. sure the hiccups and belch will be resolved by time.give time to urself n u will feel better.after 2 months u will be a new person who wouldnt regret the Nissen

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 1/17/2010 1:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello and welcome to HealingWell ! I am Kitt and I just wanted to drop in to say hello. You have already met some of our wonderful, wise and caring members.



Do stick with us and know that we care.



I am very proud to be a member of this great forum. I hope you will come to feel the same way.



Gentle Hugs to you,



Kitt

mookiemoomoo
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 150
   Posted 1/18/2010 4:36 AM (GMT -6)   
hi scarlett . i am at nearly 4 weeks post opp and like you am still having little problems i do manage mash ok and mashed veggie . did have some meat yesterday just a small bit off pork . it went ok . just listern to your body it knows best
Michelle


dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 1/18/2010 8:38 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Scarlet and Mookiemoo,
You're both still very early in the healing process. I can tell you what my surgeon said--you can eat anything that can be chewed to a liquid. The main thing you need to do is chew, chew, chew. He also said that a bolus of mashed potato can cause you trouble, while something much harder can be chewed to a liquid and handled easily. As far as bread goes--toasted or crusty edges are your best bet. You can experiment with everything. I found that I could eat beef early on when I cooked it as a stew in the crock pot for hours, so if you've got a taste for beef, that will work.

My sugeon's approach worked best for me--I could eat real food (appetizing, because it wasn't mashed and in a baby food form), and did the mashing myself, bite by bite. The other advantage is that you get to really enjoy the taste of the food as you did the chew, chew, chewing you need to do to swallow properly.

Beware of uncooked veggies...I'd stay away from any of them for a while. I had some problems with cherry tomatoes at a restaurant...I didn't chew it enough, and it got stuck...whenever something like that happened, I'd get spasms in my throat, and would just keep drinking until it went through. Tea is better than cold water. Actually, very cold water caused some discomfort for a while.

Hope this helps...Actually I went on vacation four months post op, and was able to eat and drink anything I wanted to. Just a bit less of everything, but pretty much normally.
Before you know it, you'll both be back to normal eating. Those of us who are wrapped will always have some quirky things about our GI tract, but as for me, they're well worth the improvement in my overall health.
Best wishes!
Denise

ScarletJ
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 1/19/2010 7:55 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you to everyone for their responses and advice. I so appreciate it.
 
I went for my follow up with the surgeon today. Pretty uneventful, overall. Incisions are healing well, and the swallowing is improving slowly but surely.
 
However, what isn't improving, is my reflux. In fact, today is the worst day yet (It's day 15, BTW). I'm praying that this will improve over the next week or so. I can't imagine what I would do if the surgery didn't work. My surgeon seemed surprised to hear that I was having sypmtoms at all. That certainly didn't reassure me. Anyway, I know that Denise mentioned that her surgeon mentioned that some acid can still slip through until the healing is complete. I'm really banking on that being the case here too.
 
Thanks again to everyone. I'll keep you updated.
 
Cheers,
J

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 1/19/2010 8:49 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Scarlet...
Yes, my surgeon did say pretty much anything is possible during the healing process. The swelling (which, by the way is pretty much at peak in your recovery right now) can warp the wrap and keep it from doing its job properly. He also said that (and I've heard others say) the esophagus is a "dumb organ" and can't differentiate between reflux and other irritations. It may be interpreting pain as reflux.

I judge the success of my wrap from the condition of my lungs, and since surgery, (once they had time to heal from the pre-surgery constant acid assault), they have been great. I do have a loose wrap, which can allow a little reflux occasionally. (At the moment I'm recovering from gastritis, as I have an extremely reactive stomach and it is a mess. It is improving, though.) The fact that it's loose has made my recovery much easier--my stomach can burp itself, relieving bloat, and my swallowing is great. I found out last week that I can vomit, which I didn't expect.

A surgeon is faced with a dilemma...how loose/tight the wrap needs to be to keep the acid in, but allow comfortable swallowing.

I know just how you feel. We all share the fear that our wrap has failed, or that it will in the future. It's just an insecurity that we'll all have to learn to live with. I remember panicking at your stage of recovery. Actually, I was fairly panicky not too long ago, after the holidays when my stomach was hyper-acidic and I was experiencing some burn in my esophagus. That is resolving, though, as I baby my stomach.

You're so early in the recovery process that I'd guess you're experiencing normal problems. Everyone's experience is different. Some never experience anything that resembles reflux after surgery, while others do.
Try not to worry! Be sure to continue posting any questions or concerns you have.
We're here for you!
Take care,
Denise turn
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