Can I please get your opinion?

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BTownGal
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 9/22/2010 9:44 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello Everyone,
 
First, I just want to say that since joining a week ago, I have learned so much and I want to thank everyone who has responded to me and who has posted their own story. 
 
I am scheduled for Nissen Fundoplication surgery on Dec. 21st.  As I have been listening to everyone, I can hear people stress how important it is to have a surgeon who is experienced in this surgery.  Honestly, I had not asked how many of these surgeries my surgeon has done in my appointment - he was referred by my gastro doc.  So I called today and he has done 1,500-1,600 of these surgeries.  To me that sounds like he has A LOT of experience in this area -- but I am just wondering others thoughts.
 
Thanks everyone!
 
Sharlene

stkitt
Elite Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 9/22/2010 10:55 AM (GMT -6)   
Sharlene,
 
That sounds like a lot to me !  If you have researched your  Doctor and are satisfied that he is an expert at what he does,  has good outcomes and you are comfortable with him then I think you have advocated for yourself.
 
Just think by December 22 the surgery will be behind you.  ((((((((Hugs)))))))))
 
Kitt
 
 
~~Kitt~~
Moderator: Anxiety/Panic, Osteoarthritis, GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.
www.healingwell.com

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

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5028
   Posted 9/22/2010 11:29 AM (GMT -6)   
That's pretty good, but what's his success rate? If your gastro referred you to him it's probably good. Ask one or both of them.

It's also important to be getting the correct operation for your particular case. I presume they have done the testing to see how well you swallow. That is critical to get the wrap tight enough but not so tight you can't swallow past it. I had to have a partial wrap. also, if he only does one type - is it the right one for YOU?

It's critical, to prevent reherniation and other complications, to get the esophagus dissected down into the abdomen so they can even do the wrap. That's one of the things they determine during manometry - how long is the esophagus before being brought down? Things can look just fine when you are pretty much upright on the table - gravity working to pull the stomach and esophagus down, but then they put you back down flat and it all shrinks back upwards. (Yeah, TMI.)

Since you were referred, your gastro must trust him.
Alcie
 
 

BTownGal
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 9/22/2010 12:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you both!

First, he has a 90-95% success rate with less than 1% of patients having any serious complication. I had the motility study, pH test, and endoscopy. My motility is fine - but my valve pressure is SUPER low (5.4). He said a partial wrap wouldn't do it for me because the valve is too weak, so I will have a full wrap.

I have definitely researched his background - he was valedictorian of his undergraduate class and graduated medical school with highest honors. He has done post-graduate work in advanced laparoscopic procedures and his area of interest is GERD and transplantation. ...not to mention, he actually has social skills, was very nice, and spent the time to walk me through everything I have done to this point, explain why it is not working, and talked me through the surgery I would have.

Sharlene

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 9/22/2010 3:15 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Sharlene,
It sounds like you picked a winner. You must live near a big city to find a surgeon with that much experience. I'm sure your GI doc wouldn't refer you to someone he/she thought was inept, but it's good to check and recheck just to be sure. There's nothing more important you can do.

The next thing, is to prepare yourself for the recovery. Lots of surgeons seem to downplay the challenges of recovery (I might say most or all)--probably because they've never experienced them.

Now, I was pleasantly surprised by the recovery (I had the surgery in February 2009), but believe me, I was prepared for the very worst. The first weeks have their difficulties, but you'll get through them just fine. Your wrap will become progressively more swollen through the first two weeks, peaking at two weeks, then gradually swelling reduces. Obviously, your swallowing gets worse before it gets better.

It's not easy, but if you can get rid of all expectations, and try not to force your recovery, things will go much better. Your recovery will be as it will be. You need to just follow along the path it chooses. I see lots of people come through here who just can't wait to get better. (Don't we all feel that way?) However the more you rail against what is, the more difficult that reality is.

I was told by a more experienced member here, that most of the healing takes place in the first six months, but it continues for a year. That's not fast, is it? You'll heal quickly on the outside, but your upper GI tract will be revamped, as the cobble up a new LES for you. It takes time for it to heal, settle in, and get used to its new form. That's to be expected, don't you think?

Your stomach will be swollen at first, so you'll feel full with very little food/liquid. You'll want to eat small meals throughout the day. Once time gets closer, you can start a new thread asking for pre-surgery advice, and how to get ready for post surgery challenges. If you have the right attitude, you'll find the recovery very "doable".

Be sure to ask your surgeon (if you haven't already) his eating protocol after surgery. Some here have had to be on liquid diets for weeks, others are put on liquids at first, then soft foods. My surgeon had me on liquids in the hospital, soft foods for the first five days (until I saw him), then anything I could chew to a liquid (being warned to stay away from steak and soft breads). He trusted me to make good eating choices, and I did. You'll want to take small bites and chew, chew, chew. Many people follow their swallowing with liquids...water or tea.

So...hope I haven't thoroughly confused you! It sounds like you're making the right (only) decision to join us as a member of the "Wrapped Club". You'll do just fine, and will be glad you had the surgery, once you get past the early weeks of recovery. By four months (probably earlier, but I remember the four months for sure) I went on vacation, and was able to eat normally...that's not too long to wait!

Congratulations on making a tough decision...don't worry about the post-op pain. It's very bearable, and doesn't last long. You'll read about shoulder pain caused by the air they pump into your stomach so they can do the surgery. Walking helps a lot. I had some, but walking helped me...some have it worse.

Good luck with your surgery! We'll be here to support you before and after!
Take care,
Denise

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 9/22/2010 4:37 PM (GMT -6)   
December 21st... I did mine one year ago on that date.
The nurses are very attentive during that time, because the number of people in the hospital during the Christmas Holidays is lower.
Remember to go with the flow during the recovery. Don't fight the recovery.
When you're tired-rest.
When you can't swallow easy- drink liquids.
Gas pains-walk.
Joy

BTownGal
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 9/22/2010 5:41 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello Denise and Joy,
 
Thank you so much!  Yes, I do live an hour from a bigger city.  I will have my surgery in Indianapolis and while I don't live there, my parents do - so I will stay with them the first week post-op for the x-mas holiday and return home (I want to be in my own house with my sweet doggy).  I have MANY friends who are able and willing to help me out.
 
Since I work for a university, I am having my surgery during winter break.  I will have 3 solid weeks off before I return to work.  I have not a single plan during that time, other than to rest and let my body start the process of healing.
 
While I will technically be returning to work full time at the 3 week mark - since I am salary, basically if I can make it 4 hours, that counts as a full day "technically" and my colleagues and supervisor are all completely supportive.  I am a little worried because I teach a class - but my plan is to just lecture sitting down if I need to.
 
I am someone who wants every ounce of information possible.  I actually watch a video of the surgery online last Friday during my lunch hour.  Yeah, I know not everyone can do that.  smilewinkgrin   I laughed out loud when the surgeon said, "This guy doesn't have the largest fundus ever" as he is careful not to pull it too tight.
 
I am sure that I will continue to post as it gets closer and as I begin my recovery.  I have been lucky that I am currently not experiencing the heartburn side of GERD that much now -- it's just when I hit a pothole when driving I basically choke as everything shoots up.  Not pleasant!
 
Sharlene

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 9/22/2010 7:03 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm a first grade teacher and I was back at work in two weeks. I sat alot in my chair and taught sitting on a stool. I made sure not to bend too much and wear loose jeans. I remember rubbing my belly a lot. It grumbled something terrible.
You will have a lot of gas the first few months. Try to avoid gassy foods.

I was eager for information, too. This site helped me a lot in preparing and afterwards. I saw that video, too. It's hard to believe that was done to me less than a year ago.
Joy

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 9/22/2010 7:53 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Sharlene,
I'm sure you'll do just fine! You have a great attitude, and a very sensible approach to the whole thing. We're here to support you and answer whatever questions we can!
This forum was a lifesaver for me. I'm glad you've joined us.
Take care,
Denise

BTownGal
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 9/23/2010 7:27 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks, Dencha. I do feel like attitude if part of the process. I need this surgery. There isn't anything else that will fix my problem, so I want to go into this with a positive attitude - get all of the information I can - and accept whatever my process of recovery is going to be. I really appreciate all of the great feedback and advise here. What a great place!

Sharlene

stkitt
Elite Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 9/23/2010 8:17 AM (GMT -6)   
Sharlene
 
Good Morning !  It sounds like you have done everything possible, within your power,  to pick the right surgeon.  I love your attitude and I am glad to see you have planned out your post-op recovery well.  It is wonderful that your parents live in the same city where you are having your surgery so you will have them to support you.
 
Having family and friends is a great asset so know we will be your online family and help you in any way we can. 
 
Sending you good vibes.
 
Kindly,
Kitt
~~Kitt~~
Moderator: Anxiety/Panic, Osteoarthritis, GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.
www.healingwell.com

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

BTownGal
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 9/23/2010 9:46 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you so much, Kitt. I really appreciate it. It will definitely nice to have people to talk to who have been through the surgery before.

Best,

Sharlene
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