Surgery concerns/fears?

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Catlady3
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 55
   Posted 8/18/2010 11:08 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm scheduled for the Nissen fundoplication on Sept 7. The Dr. said he will attempt to do it laproscopically, however, I had the traditional gallbladder surgery in 1987 so have a huge scar so he said will have to see when he gets in there. I had a very bad bout of asthma last fall and didn't realize GERD can make asthma worse versus the other way around. The inhalers I was using had steroids and kept getting thrush plus was eating too much citrus fruit so feel that is what really damaged my esophagus. I've been in pure misery since last October. Currently on Pantoprazole, Hyoscamine and Carafate but it's not enough. Still have acid coming up and a "fume" feeling in the back of my throat. Had the Bravo test and the manometry as can take this constant pain. By the end of the day, my stomach is in knots. Have lost alot of weight which is great but not this way. Been living on oatmeal and soup for months. After reading all these posts, now I'm super scared - my brother had the same surgery about 8 months ago and he said it was very rough but totally worth it.
I have even tried eating as little as possible but the acid builds up and get the same result as after eating - slow burn and then stomach pain. Unlike most people here, though I do get relief when I lay down - thank goodness but can't lay down all the time. What can you eat after surgery- I have a sit down job and try to walk and move as much as possible after eating.

Alcie
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Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5013
   Posted 8/19/2010 8:37 AM (GMT -6)   
Don't plan on going back to work immediately. This op is major, like your gallbladder. There are lots of good menues posted for post-op. I'm sure you will be given one by your doctor, but sometimes they don't give it soon enough so you have the foods on hand, and you certainly aren't going shopping post-op! Just web-search post-nissen diet.

You will be on clear liquids at first. Even if they allow full liquids right away, don't do it for at least 3 days. Then spend a week or two on full liquids. Don't try to swallow lumps! Liquid meds, or ground up meds only also! Then when you get to soft foods, stay away from bananas and mashed potatoes and breads. They stick going down, and you don't want to be gagging.

You can live quite nicely on soft foods. A food processor or blender will make mush out of anything.

But see the published diets.

One point - you are going to have trouble with gas in the gut (as well as the gas outside that they use to blow up the abdomen). Stay away from gas-producing foods! You can search nice lists of those also.
Alcie
 
 

opnwhl4
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Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4961
   Posted 8/19/2010 2:49 PM (GMT -6)   
Catlady3-
Welcome to healing well GERD forum. Do ask you doctor before you go to the hospital what kind of diet he wants you to have. Most are way different. Mine only wanted me on liquids for 2 days and then I was allowed to eat pretty much anything I could tolerate. Alcie is very correct about staying away from soft bread. It will stick almost everytime. Toast on the other hand will go down. What you have to remember to do when eating is chew, chew, chew , chew , chew. The closer it is to liquified the better at first. Your body will let you now. Also, only small amounts, like a 1/4 or 1/2 cup full. you don't want to over eat or you will be miserable.
I found oatmeal and grits were great foods for me right away because I could make them as thick or thin as I needed and they stay with you longer. I was able to swallow pain pills the next day without any problems with both of my Nissens, but some have issues with it.

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

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 8/19/2010 6:14 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm a teacher and I was at work by week 2. I took it very easy and did nothing strenuous. I sat a lot in my chair. It's very do-able to go back that early, but it is very tiring. I wish I had done half-days that first week back, though.

As for food- stock up on juices, puddings, popsicles, broth, jello, and high protein drinks like muscle milk, ensure, boost, or low carb slim fast.
After about three weeks add grits, vienna sausages, crackers, eggs, crushed fruits (pineapple, maybe mandran oranges), and applesauce.

Positive thinking will help speed the healing and cut the "worry warting" out. See it as the light at the end of the tunnel.
Joy

Problems too numerous to name. :)

Catlady3
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 55
   Posted 8/19/2010 11:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the tips - I think I will call the Dr's office now and ask for a diet list. My little brother has helped alot too since he went through this earlier this year. I seriously hate hospitals and I also have lupus so had to stop the Cellcept as it lowers my ability to heal. Had hip surgery several years ago and ended up with MRSA which is a horrible nightmare.
I'm so sick to death of oatmeal as have been living on it for almost 9 months but maybe the end is in sight. I do already drink protein drinks as a filler. I'm also concerned because I'm on alot of medication and none of it is liquid except Carafate.
I was just totally shocked when went on WebMD and saw what this surgery looks like - for some reason I thought something artificial would be placed inside. I just know I can't continue living like this- I have a very high stress job and I want to travel with my job but you have to be able to eat at restaurants which is nearly impossible now for me. I will certainly watch the post surgery diet posts and talk to my Dr and stock up pre-surgery. Thanks for your support!

Alcie
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Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5013
   Posted 8/20/2010 10:31 AM (GMT -6)   
Good news - you won't have to eat oatmeal for a while.  You won't be able to.  Stock up on Cream of Rice.  I really hate it, but adding a little applesauce made it tolerable.
 
Seriously - Get your doc to give you a work excuse for at least a couple of weeks.  You'll heal lots faster if you stay at home and relax.  It takes at least 3 months to completely recover from ANY major surgery.  Stress will make it take longer.  Even if you feel well, you won't be on the inside.  Hire a housekeeper for a couple of months.  Don't do anything but get better.
Alcie
 
 

dencha
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Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7184
   Posted 8/20/2010 10:32 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Catlady,
I also had the Nissen surgery because of GERD's effect on my asthma. It's DEFINITELY worth it, and in your case (and mine) there is no choice. It's a life-threatening condition when you have asthma that can't be controlled. I wish I'd had it after only one bad asthma season. I ended up waiting for four horrible years of uncontrolled asthma, because I was frightened of the surgery. Because of that, I had damage done by the high steroid intake I required to keep breathing. I also have allergic asthma, so it isn't completely gone, but far, far better than it was.

Bill mentioned that every surgeon is different regarding the diet they recommend. Mine, like Bill's, only had me on liquids for one day, and soft foods until I saw him on Day 5. At that point he told me I could eat anything that could be chewed to a liquid.

I had gathered all kinds of liquid foods prior to surgery, and only ate a few. I ended up throwing most of them out.

It's a good idea to check with your surgeon, so you know what to keep on hand.

When you say you're taking Carafate, is that the pill or the suspension form? If you're not taking the suspension, you should. That's what will really help you feel better. The pill just coats the stomach. The suspension coats your esophagus. If your insurance won't pay for the suspension form (which is by far the preferred mode), you could put the Carafate tablet into a little medicine cup and add some water, then stir it with a toothpick or something. Then take it like a "shot". At least it has a better chance of coating your esophagus, and not just your stomach.

Good luck with your surgery! Be sure to stick around this forum. There are lots of people who've been through just what you're going through! We're happy to support and encourage your through the surgery and recovery! Welcome!

Take care,
Denise turn

Catlady3
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 55
   Posted 8/21/2010 1:38 AM (GMT -6)   
Yes I do have the suspension form of Carafate. I'm just curious if I will have grind all my pills and disolve them in water to take them? AT least I have a bit to find this all out. Just pray it wiill be the small incisons and not like the big scar I have scar I have from Years ago. Just pray it goes wil!

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7184
   Posted 8/21/2010 10:12 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Catlady,
We're with you there! You should ask for liquid versions of whatever is available. (I still take liquid calcium, because those pills are so big and so rough on the outside). I also take small versions of things...for example, I take 2 150mg pills rather than 1 300mg. When I look for an antihistamine, one prerequisite is that it be small. You'll do just fine.

Glad you're on the Carafate Suspension...that's a godsend. Be sure to take it regularly. It's difficult because of the constant timing...2 hours before meds, one hour before meals, two hours after meals---I once checked with a pharmacist, who told me that if you take your meds before Carafate, they should have cleared your stomach in an hour, so there's more wiggle room there.

Be sure to post a new thread asking for things you need to have on hand before the surgery.

Did you check with your surgeon about post surgery diet? Bill's and my surgeons both trust their patients to make good food choices. My surgeon said he'd only had two of his patients make a mistake and get something stuck...they'd eaten a chunk of something without chewing it. He was very confident that we'd make the right choices...choosing only foods that can be chewed to a liquid. You could even test out some things before the surgery. That's what I did. As I said, I was prepared with soft and liquid foods, but never needed to use them. Personally, I prefer chewing and chewing and chewing to drinking my meals.

Don't worry. You'll do fine. Hopefully the laproscopic surgery will be a good option for you. If not, you'll join the many, many people who had open surgeries before laproscopic procedures were developed.

Try not to worry. The surgery is much easier to recover from than I'd expected. I figured I'd be on liquids for weeks and weeks.

Be sure to insist on adjustments to your meds to make them more easily swallowed.
Good luck!
Denise

Catlady3
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 55
   Posted 8/23/2010 12:32 AM (GMT -6)   
The only medication I have that is liquid is the Carafate - have to use mail order so have 9 bottles of this awful stuff on hand! The surgeon said I may need it for just a bit after surgery - he mentioned some people do need acid reflux meds for a bit or even longer post surgery. I'm going to call this week and try to get a list of everything post surgery I will need. I take about 13 different meds daily and can't afford to try to get all the medications in liquid form so may need to grind them into powder.
Does anyone know if this feels similar to the Bravo test? That was painful trying to swallow. I preferred not eating at all with that in.
Also after the surgery, do you know if you have to use plastic sheeting and medical tape to cover the surgical area in order to try to sponge bathe or shower? I know these are minor details but I hate not being clean especially when it's been so hot and humid. That's why I'm hoping will only have one night in the hospital. I like to be in control and last time I was in, I had MRSA for hip surgery and one nurse came in to take my blood pressure, left all the lights on and the door open. I was connected to a would vac and an IV pole. Needless to say I was not happy! This was in the middle of the night- these are the types of things that make me dread the hospital! I know it's just a job to them but I was desperately trying to sleep and was miserable and in pain.

Catlady3
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 55
   Posted 8/23/2010 12:36 AM (GMT -6)   
Sorry meant a wound vacuum - had never heard of it until had one

WBiceII
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/23/2010 2:33 PM (GMT -6)   

I had the Lap Nissen on 19 August 2010.  After years of heartburn (GERD) the lower end of my esophogus is lifeless, or lacks motility, and does not move food those last few inches, into my stomach.  For this reason my doctor could only do the 270 degree wrap.  It is only the 5th day and I am back to work, which I am finding to be somewhat of a mistake.  I still have considerable discomfort/pain and I cannot take pain medication at work.  The up side is that I work at a desk in a level I trauma center in a major metro area (not taxing physically).  I can tolerate Jello, soups that are creamy, or just plain broth, and popcicles.  Liquids must be taken in small sips since the swelling prevents any air from escaping my stomach (Can't belch) so I am very flatulant.  I nor my doctor know how long these eating complications will last since the motility will not come back when everything has healed.  I have lost 8 pounds since the surgery (5 days).  Preoperatively I weighed 180 pounds at a height of 5'8" so I was a little chubby but not obese.  I have learned QUICKLY...nothing carbonated, nothing starchy or sticky (Mac & cheese bad idea), and nothing that creates a coating such as pudding or yogurt (I can eat yogurt if I eat really slow).  Cottage cheese seemed to be ok.  

Over the past few days I have been asking myself why I did this.  Truthfully the GERD wasn't as bad as what I have now, but I am hopeful that things will get better.  With the GERD my choices were not that great either...Take meds for the rest of my life that gave me a few of the symptoms I currently have postoperatively with the reduced risk of cancer.  OR, I could have just lived with the GERD and more than likely developed Barretts and/or eventually cancer.  My esophogus and throat have some permanent damage that seem to ne precursers to the bad things.  I am rambling.   


couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 8/23/2010 5:09 PM (GMT -6)   
Catlady,
Swallowing was not painful to me, just a little stubborn. Stick with liquids until the swelling goes down, about three weeks. I didn't need coverage for my cuts. They glued me closed. Just don't scrub over those places. Drip soap over them, rinse, and pat dry.

Welcome WbiceII,
Wow! And I thought going back at two weeks was early for me. Things will get better. The first four weeks are the hardest. How about starting your own thread for any questions you may have?
Joy

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5013
   Posted 8/23/2010 5:56 PM (GMT -6)   
I had no glue, just steri-strips. (I told them I might be alergic to glue, didn't want staples.) No stitches to take out. After nearly 10 months the scars are hardly noticeable.

I was allowed to shower, and pat dry the 3rd day, but I was monitored and couldn't do anything but sponge bath. (Couldn't even find a cute male nurse to help either. Rats! Oh well, at my age he would have been horrified and dropped out of nursing.)

WB - Can you get your doc to get you out of work for a while - complication or some excuse? I'm glad I'm retired! No way would I have been able to work that soon. You will feel better each day if you just relax and get someone else to do the work at home for a couple of weeks.
Alcie
 
 

Catlady3
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 55
   Posted 8/23/2010 11:53 PM (GMT -6)   
I talked to Dr today and he said I will be able to eat soft soft post surgery and will have to spend very little time on liquids and will be to take my pills. He said I won't need the Carafate post surgery post surgery at all - that remains to be seen. Also he urges his patients to get up the next day after surgery and shower with the steri -strips on so will see how that goes - I'm still a bit anxious. He makes it sound so easy.

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 8/24/2010 4:48 PM (GMT -6)   
I had my surgery on a Tuesday morning and took my bath Thursday morning. I did get up an walked a little around 4:00 the day of the surgery. I was very stiff and the "boots" were tricky to walk in. I had to wear them until I was dismissed the next day.
Joy

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7184
   Posted 8/24/2010 9:14 PM (GMT -6)   
Catlady,
I'm glad you had a chat with your surgeon regarding post surgical eating. The recovery is really much easier that I ever imagined it could be. I was ready for a very tough experience, and it just wasn't. If you keep a good attitude, and allow your recovery to lead you, rather than fight against it, you'll have a much more positive experience.

It's interesting how you hate Carafate suspension. I have a very sensitive stomach, and wrap, since my wrap was created out of my sensitive stomach, and I find Carafate to be a wonderful thing. It coats things up and makes everything feel better.

Be sure to hang onto it. You might find you will appreciate it more post-surgery, when your symptoms have improved, and you can notice its effect more.

Yes, I wish I didn't need it, but since I have that sensitive, reactive GI tract, Carafate is a very, very good friend.

Don't worry...be happy you're going to join the "Wrapped Club" and begin on your road to recovery and a better quality of life!
Take care,
Denise

Catlady3
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 55
   Posted 8/29/2010 11:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Yes I have 7 more bottles of that awful Carafate - it does help but so horribly sick of dealing with this and resentful that it's interrupting my career. I'm in the middle of a very exciting project and worried that it won't be handled properly while I'm gone and may all fall apart. Part of the worry is the cost of the surgery even with 2 insurances and also trying to wrap up a car accident lawsuit in which I got hit by a drunk driver about 18 months ago - I know worrying makes the acid production worse but I'm a control freak and an over achiever by nature. Maybe that's why my stomach and esophagus is wrecked to begin with! Anyway my little brother also gave me some good tips too on what he was able to eat and his wife sent some suggestions for things she bought when he first had surgery. I'm going to try to relax but I hardly know the meaning of the word - I may try to sleep more and get back into my art work. Does anyone know if you can go to the gym and do any kind of light exercise? I will ask the Dr but was wondering.
I'm just not much of a stay at home relaxing kind of person - I'm always doing something or going somewhere - my idea of relaxing is going to country music concerts - in fact have a concert in Denver 2 weeks after surgery so guess I will have to relax and heal so will be able to make it!

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 8/30/2010 3:02 PM (GMT -6)   
You can do some slow walking, but no bending or lifting for at least six weeks. You'll want to rest those first weeks. You can't eat much and your energy will be low. I'd relax with art work and take the time to stop and smell the roses.
Joy

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7184
   Posted 8/30/2010 3:45 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Catlady,
I had a treadmill in my own home, and got on it right away...slow at first--2.0 to 2.5mph...then as I moved toward recovery gradually increased the speed. I totally get that you don't want to sit around. Once you can get to the gym, you can start with a slow speed, then work it up...or you can walk slowly outside this time of year. You'll know when you can increase the speed. You'll feel it.

If you can pop your attitude into positive mode, it will go a long way towards making your recovery a better experience. The more you struggle against it, the more difficult it will be. Go with the flow. Make the best of the time you have, and cultivate some of those things you haven't been able to do because of our hectic job and lifestyle!

Take care and best wishes for a great outcome.
We'll all be here rooting for you, and welcoming you into our "Wrapped Club"!
Denise

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 8/30/2010 8:35 PM (GMT -6)   
2.5 is slow, Denise? Goodness I must be a turtle! ;)
I'm huffing and puffing at that speed and feel like I can't get any faster. To me slow is 1 mph. That's about as fast as I could go after the surgery those first weeks.
Joy

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7184
   Posted 8/30/2010 9:12 PM (GMT -6)   
Joy, LOL! I may be overestimating, but I think it was about 2.0-2.5...but I'd been walking a long time. Bottom line--everyone knows their limits. I was afraid of falling or something in the beginning, so I took it easy...as time went on I got faster and faster. Also, I didn't have any incline at all in the beginning, either.
Hope all is well!
Denise

joe1619
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2009
Total Posts : 293
   Posted 9/3/2010 4:19 PM (GMT -6)   
catlady, just got wrapped tues, that day clear liquids..then full liquid afterward. not sure if im moving too fast, but thats what they fed me in hospital. going to try soft carrotts tonight, still popsicles, juice, chicken soup. i just take small bites, mush it around. i think its as we tolerate it but go slow. the commentes before mine are from much more experienced memebers. for me im going to try something new every day or to and go slow, little bites
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