Intro post- 2 weeks til Nissen

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Lovie L
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 34
   Posted 11/27/2010 7:59 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey everyone, found the forum and hoping to gain some insight/wisdom from those who have been in my position before. :)

Brief introduction:

I am 28. was first diagnosed with reflux in 2005 by a GI specialist who did a scope. I have been on varying PPIs since that time, but they have lost their effectiveness and I have developed side effects when taking them. First I found myself popping a tums or taking pepto a couple times a month. It has progressed to needing them multiple times a day despite being on PPIs. My doc ran out of things she could prescribe me, so I was sent back to the GI specialist. I figured I'd be getting a stronger prescription from him and be on my way. He explained that when he did the scope 5 years ago, my reflux was pretty severe. And that PPIs, while effective, are meant for short term and tend to lose their effectiveness after 5 years. He asked if I had ever considered surgery. I told him i was open to anything that would improve my quality of life. He set me up for a repeat scope and an esophageal manometry. The tests showed that my motility is good, but that my LES is still completely open and I have a hiatal hernia. He found some "areas of concern" during the scope and did a biopsy to test for Barrett's. It turned out to be "only" acid burns. With the cancer history on both sides of my family, that was amazing news and made me more motivated to correct the problem before it could progress. I was referred to a surgeon who spent a lot of time answering my questions and explaining every part of the procedure in detail, including what could go wrong and what would be done to correct the problem if it were to occur. (I had my gallbladder removed laproscopically several months ago, so they have a couple concerns regarding scar tissue from that).

The surgeon told me that whether to proceed was my decision, that they could try more meds at stronger doses/combinations if I wasn't comfortable with the procedure. But no amount of pills will close that sphincter and I do not like the thought of relying on heavy meds for the rest of my life. My surgery is on Dec 10th. I am a bit nervous, but I can't continue feeling like this. I have gotten to the point where I don't even dare eat red meat, chocolate, peanut butter, drink anything carbonated or sugary- it just tears me up. I have a constant ache where my stomach and esophagus meet. Depending on what I eat/how much, it varies from a dull, full feeling to feeling like someone is digging their knuckles in/a rock is sitting in there. I have to be careful to not bend over or lie down for a couple hours after eating, it worsens things. Sometimes I can feel the acid as food digests in the herniated portion of my stomach. Twice it has gotten to the point where I have felt so horrible I have induced vomiting to relieve the pressure.

I am looking forward to getting to a point where I can't feel my insides anymore. Where the burning is gone and I have a wrap to protect me from acid coming back up. I have other health issues that I am hoping may improve after the surgery as well- a lot of post nasal drip, sinus congestion and problems, acidic mouth that causes cavities despite stellar brushing habits... but I would settle for the stomach pain to go away. I am glad to have found the forum and look forward to looking around and seeing what kinds of tips I can pick up prior to my "big day".

Lovie

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 11/27/2010 9:06 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello Lovie and welcome to HealingWell,
 
You have done your homework well and it sounds to me like you made the best choice. 

about 90 percent of people are heartburn-free one month after anti-reflux surgery, and more than half have no symptoms 20 years later. Although long-term surgical results are generally very good, some people eventually may resume taking medications and a few may need a second operation.

Swallowing problems are common after surgery, but usually improve after the first few months.

I am sure you have read the indepth thread here in the forum on how to deal with post-op issues and questions re your procedure are always welcome.

I wish you the best on December 10th and know we care.

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"

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 11/27/2010 12:15 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to the soon to be "wrapped club". Feel free to ask away any questions you have.
Joy

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 11/27/2010 6:07 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Lovie,
Welcome to Healing Well and our Wrapped Club!yeah yeah yeah yeah We'll look forward to inducting you on December 10th! You're definitely in the right place. I found this forum just as I was getting ready to move forward with surgery as well. I had the fundoplication surgery in February 2009. My main symptom was terribly unhealthy lungs due to reflux irritation.

People here are experienced and can give you lots of pre and post surgery tips. Keep in mind that you'll hear about more problems and difficult results online, so don't worry. Many, many happily wrapped individuals never join our club. The percentage of satisfied customers is very high.

It is important, though, that you are prepared for what to expect post surgery. It seems to me that many surgeons don't adequately prepare their patients for the recovery, as many people who post here seem to think they'll be back to normal eating in a couple of weeks.

No...that isn't the case. However, it sounds like you've been suffering with GERD long enough to appreciate that the recovery challenges are worth the effort, in hopes of a better quality of life after healing.

There's a great group of experienced people here, so as Joy said, ask your questions, and you'll get answers from people who've been there, and done that!
We're glad you've come to our Healing Well Forum!
Denise

Lovie L
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 34
   Posted 11/27/2010 7:49 PM (GMT -6)   
thanks for the welcome! I chose this forum because it was one of the few I could find that was a) active and b) not totally negative.

Luckily, so far my surgeon has seemed very straightforward and informative. He told me up front that I would be on liquids and soft foods for up to 2 months after. It will be tough, that I know. But if the end result means a chance at a life free of this pain then I am ready to take it on. I've always been a bit on the fragile side and the more I read on GERD, the more ties I find between what I've dealt with and reflux: chronic sinusitis resulting in 3 surgeries to remove polyps, engorged, pitted tonsils that were eventually removed to try and reduce the recurrent strep and sinus issues, headaches, etc. I know it is a long shot but I can't help but hold out hope that perhaps the Nissen will help some of that as well.

I have hit bottom as of late with my GERD. I can't tolerate eating anything other than bland cereal or brat diet foods. I tried having 3oz of turkey and 1/4 each of mashed potatoes and stuffing for thanksgiving and spent the rest of the day in tremendous pain that led to vomiting. I was hoping to be able to go out for a last meal of sorts the day before surgery, but the way I feel now I don't dare. I don't want to be afraid to eat anymore. Or afraid to bend over after eating.

I'm finding a lot of great things here and plan to keep this forum close by post-op. :)

newlywrapped
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 11/27/2010 8:07 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Lovie,

I am 27 y/o and had my surgery almost 4 weeks ago. It was the best decision I could have made. I had been on PPIs for over 10 years so it was way over due! I have had no reflux post surgery and I even stopped taking my nexium. I am so glad I finally went through it and would do it 100 times over! Life is so different and much better without reflux! There are new things that come along with having the surgery, but they should pass and nothing is as bad as my reflux was! Good luck!

NW

ZhyKitty
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 171
   Posted 11/27/2010 8:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Lovie! Welcome!
I'm only 25 days post Nissen Fundoplasty surgery/Hiatal Hernia repair myself and like you, I came here just before I had it done to get the low down on what to expect.
I want you to know that I was scared and concerned before the surgery, but like you I was down to eating almost nothing because of the reflux & chest/throat pain. I woke up from the surgery without it - it's like being freed from prison after years in a dungeon.
No more reflux and now that I'm healing - no more pain.... no more meds for reflux either - I dont need them!
(Newlywrapped and I had our operations on the same day!)
I have to take it easy but at day 25 I feel human again. ; )
I'm not just on liquids anymore either - I can eat now - I just can't hold much and I cant get some textures past the wrap yet but then that's what they tell you to expect and that's how it goes for all of us with that part of it.
The rest of it is a little different for all of us in some ways but your description of your presurgical condition sounds SO MUCH like mine - so I just wanted to offer you some encouragement.
The surgery was a GREAT decision for me, I couldn't be happier with it!
I'd do it again to feel this much better if I had to and I'm not even close to all the way healed!
You wont starve afterward either - the swelling in the stomach is read by the brain as "full" and as you heal you can put a little more of this and that in there - you just have to go slow and toss what you used to think of as the proper size for a meal to the side. You won't need all that anymore, at least I don't. I eat about a cup's worth of food when I eat. I've lost 32lbs so far! lol
I had it to lose though so I'm sure that's not the same for everyone... : )

Positive thinking! I had so much preparation and encouragement from everyone here that I went into the operation over-prepared and hoping for a good outcome - it turned out even better than I'd hoped.

Not for nothing but one of the ways I kept my nutrition up before I went in and kept the reflux/pain down was by drinking GNC whey protein in 1% milk. That might not SOUND great to you but it's delicious - comes in lots of flavors I prefer the chocolate - and it'll keep you going. I'm still drinking it in place of breakfast, etc. I've just gotten used to it and it's what I crave now when I get up. You'll want to take a look at their bottles of Isopure as well - I lived on it for the first week after surgery. They're clear liquids/proteins that aren't high in sodium and sugar. Just remember - if you drink a protein drink, drink the same amount of water or more. Keep the kidneys happy! Cutting out most of my solid food before surgery made the "no solids" part after the surgery a breeze. I have never felt hungry or sad because I couldn't eat during this early healing time... I mostly feel relief now that the pain from the operation is all but gone. You being 10 years younger than I am I bet you heal that part even quicker.

The main thing is to remember to just "be" in the moment and let your body do it's thing.... people who fight their recovery seem to have a hard time.... but if you can laugh and just accept and go with the flow, you'll be so happy with the results.
Also, make sure your surgeon does a whole lot of these procedures - that seems to be key in determining outcome.

We'll all answer any questions you may have and tell you what to get to get ready for the surgery so that when you come home you're prepared and set to go! : )

Cat

Lovie L
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 34
   Posted 11/28/2010 7:03 PM (GMT -6)   
Cat, thanks so much for the suggestions for keeping my nutrition up. I'll definitely check it out. Does the whey have less sugar than carnation instant breakfast? I picked up some packets of that to try, but they are so sweet they irritate my stomach and throat.

I've spent a lot of time reading the threads on here and feel a lot more prepared. I plan to send my husband some key links as well to try and prepare him/help him understand how I feel. Try as he might, it is hard for him to understand what I am feeling. For someone who only has occasional light heartburn (lucky him!) he can't fathom the contestant pain or fear of eating.glad to find you all. Easier to bear it when there are others to commiserate/compare notes with.

Catlady4520
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 11/28/2010 7:53 PM (GMT -6)   
Good luck to you - I did have a few challenges since my surgery but like others who have posted on here - it's totally worth it! I lived with severe GERD for almost a year and was in horrible misery - would come home from work and just cry was so miserable and barely eating anything. After the surgery and when I could eat soft foods, I ate vienna sausages, applesauce, pudding. Anything soft and not too harsh on my healing esophagus and wrap. I loved the sensation of being able to eat very little when it was swollen but that feeling didn't last long enough. I ate way too much at Thanksgiving so now back to eating small amounts to lose weight. Hope it goes well for you!

ZhyKitty
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 171
   Posted 11/28/2010 9:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Lovie, I couldn't tolerate the carnation drinks myself, too sweet for me. Several of the different brands protein drinks are just cloyingly sweetened and as a person who has hypoglycemia, that REALLY matters to me as much as too much sodium does, since I also have high blood pressure.
The GNC is the best one, I think.
Others are either too sweet or taste - just gross. I forget but I think myoplex might have been the name of one premade protein drink that I just could NOT drink even though it cost more than I wanted to pay.
I've learned by trial and error - GNC whey protein seems to be the best "bang for the buck", so to speak without as much of what I try to avoid in my diet.
Also, if you have not discovered Smart Water, look into it. I still live on it. It has everything good in it that you get from gatorade but none of the sugar, color, sweetness, etc. I had tons of it put aside for the hospital and after and am still drinking it. Great stuff and during the time when you cant get as much into the body as maybe it needs, it's a great boost, in my opinion.
At 26 days post surgery, I still can only hold about a cup of anything in my stomach, perhaps a bit less, so I try to make sure the value of what I swallow is going to count.

I tried to get my clan ready for the way things would be when I had my operation - and you're doing the right thing by trying to get your husband prepared I think. It's kind of a commitment taking care of someone who has just had an operation of this kind.... things don't go back to normal for a while, it would seem, and you really need support, especially at first.
I found that they don't really get what I was going through since none of them know what the reflux and choking, etc was like, and I hope they never do, but then since I found this place and people who DO get it I felt like I had the support I needed - it just came from different sources in different ways.

I wish you the best on your journey, and that's what it is, and I hope for you the same freedom from pain that I got from my operation. The quirks of learning how your new stomach works and the healing from the operation are so worth it to end the agony that life was just a few weeks ago for me and probably is right now for you.
It's going to get better! : )
Hang in there and keep asking questions if you have them! : )

Cat

Post Edited (ZhyKitty) : 11/28/2010 8:35:44 PM (GMT-7)

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