TOMORROW..."WRAPture Day!!!

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GazeboGal
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 11/29/2010 5:26 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Everybody!

I am SO very glad that I found this forum!! I actually found it about 2 weeks ago and have been reading so many of your posts. I can't begin to tell you how helpful it has been to me!

My Nissen surgery is TOMORROW morning!! I've been comically referring to it as my day of "WRAPture", so I will be joining you all in the "wrapped club". :)

I am still a bit apprehensive and nervous about it all, but I am so looking forward to having some relief!! I have suffered from acid reflux most all of my life, but with unmanageable issues during the past 5-6 years. (I'm 44 now.) It went undiagnosed for so long...and other related problems (that I didn't realize were related at the time) just kept getting worse. (coughing, excessive phlegm, constantly clearing my throat, vomiting, allergy-like issues, etc.)

Finally, this past summer, I had the scope procedure where it was discovered that I had excessive acid, hiatal hernia, and acid burns on my esophagus, all due to a non-closing flap/sphincter. I was set up for a manometry test and the doctor told me I was a good candidate for the Nissen fundiplication procedure.

I'm a school teacher, and when I found all this out, it was the week before this new school year was to begin, so I asked the doctor if it'd be okay to put the surgery off until later in the year, which is what I have done.

So I am now off work until January, and I go in the hospital tomorrow (Tuesday) morning for the surgery. So after "stalking" this forum for a couple of weeks, I decided it was time to join up and post my own message. I need the support!!!

My doctor seems to think that I will be back to "normal" (activities as well as eating) within 2 weeks...but from what I have been reading from many of you, I think I should be expecting that to take a bit longer...especially the eating part. So I'm going to take it much slower and wait a while longer before introducing the solid foods. (I've bought up lots of soup broths, jello, and yogurt!!) I can stand to lose a few pounds, so while I'm NOT looking forward to the surgery and recovery, I AM looking forward to the possibility of dropping a few unneeded pounds. I can't see how I won't with these types of dietary restrictions.

I sure do appreciate any encouraging words or advice that any of you might have for me. I promise that after my procedure, I will post back to let you all know how I am doing with everything. I know how helpful it is for us to read others' experiences, and I know that I will also be able to get lots of great advice from all of you who have already had the surgery.

Looking forward to meeting some of you and corresponding. Thanks for your support!!!!

Lovie L
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 34
   Posted 11/29/2010 6:26 PM (GMT -6)   
Best wishes on a smooth surgery and recovery! My symptoms sound similar to yours, my "WRAPture" (love that term!) is next Friday, so I'll be looking forward to your updates.

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 11/29/2010 6:44 PM (GMT -6)   
Gal,
I'm a first grade teacher! Wow! Small world!
I had my surgery over Christmas Break (12/22/09). I was back at work by 1/6/10.
I took it very easy. I sat in my chair and taught. The children brought their work to me to check. I also had a para-pro and a student teacher who did most of the walking and shoe tying for me.
I had mostly liquids, yogurt, applesauce, and puddings the first weeks. I slowly added vienna sausages and watery grits to my diet.

Teaching is not too rough on your recovery. You just have to remember not to lift anything heavy (5 plus lbs) and not pushing heavy objects for six weeks. Bending over will hurt those first weeks, too.
Joy

ZhyKitty
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 171
   Posted 11/29/2010 7:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to the club!!!!! smilewinkgrin

Tomorrow is going to be a breeze - you won't have to do a thing but sleep for most of it! lol
Try not to be scared...just stay in the moment and go with the flow! I had myself all worked up beforehand and it went so smoothly I felt silly later for it! lol
Make sure you're your own best advocate and if you need more pain medicine, don't be a hero! Ask for it!
I was so loopy for the first few days on the dilaudid pain pump that they went by in a blur.
When I went home I had a bottle of dilaudid - and didnt even need half of it.

Take a pillow so you have one for your arm tomorrow.
You'll want it when you get to your room.

If your shoulders hurt after the operation...walk, walk, walk!!!!! It helps. Get up and shuffle around in the hospital unit!
I know that doesn't sound like fun but it's the best thing you can do for yourself...they have the pain medicine to make it easier than you might think!
I still take several walks a day but the pain in my shoulders is long gone...it comes from having the nerves cut...they radiate up into the shoulder. Don't worry...pain medicine and walks with heating pad = relief. Just be prepared!

I'm 27 days post surgery and since I went on liquids before my operation I've lost over 30lbs already - best diet I've ever been on in my life! lol I also woke up without anymore chest pain, coughing, choking, reflux, etc. It was the best decision I could have made and I wish you every joy and as good as result as I've had. Take it slow, pamper yourself, and try to laugh.....the first few weeks you're going to want to make sure you have plenty of gas-x strips...because you'll be tooting like crazy....that seems to be common for all of us.



We'll all be looking forward to hearing from you when you are up to writing!
I was on here the same day I had my surgery done since most hospitals have internet access.....

Best of luck tomorrow!!!!!!

Cat

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 11/29/2010 8:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Gal,
Good luck tomorrow! You'll do just fine. As Cat says, "go with the flow". Your surgeon hasn't experienced the surgery first-hand, so I'm glad you've done some reading here. Some surgeons keep patients on liquids and soft foods for a long time. Mine was...liquids at the hospital, and soft foods until I saw the surgeon on Day 5, then I was able to eat "anything that could be chewed to a liquid. That eating protocol worked great for me. I was careful not to push the envelope--I took small bites and chewed very carefully.

It sounds like you've got a great attitude, and I'm sure you'll do great. We'll be here waiting to cheer you on and welcome you to the Wrapped Club! yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

Best wishes!
Denise

LdyJane
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 903
   Posted 11/29/2010 8:42 PM (GMT -6)   
don't forget the gas-x...it helps the pain int he shoulder..go figure, but it works!!
Denise?? how are you?

ZhyKitty
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 171
   Posted 11/29/2010 10:04 PM (GMT -6)   
That's the truth too! Gas-x makes ALL the difference. I was eating a box a day of that stuff at one point! lol

Cat

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 11/29/2010 10:12 PM (GMT -6)   
Janice,
I'm doing fine...I'll shoot you an email.
Hope you had a good Thanksgiving!
Denise

GazeboGal
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 11/30/2010 12:10 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks so much to you all, girls!! Your responses have really perked me up!!! Lovie, thanks for the support! I hope that I can give back to you with your upcoming wrap! Joy, glad to hear that you were able to go back to teaching with little problems! Cat, Denise, and Jane thanks for ALL the great suggestions!! Guess my first request tomorrow will be for my husband to stop and pick me up those all important gas-x strips! I'm not familiar with those at all, but it certainly sounds like they'll come in very handy and necessary!

Cat, I'm taking my laptop with me tomorrow, so maybe I'll feel like posting an update sometime later tomorrow evening! :)

SO very glad that I found this support forum and great info!!! Now, for a bit of sleep before the big day!! Just hours away now!

Thanks again! Oh, and my name is LeAnne. So very nice to meet you all! :)
GazeboGal
Nissen Surgery on 11/30/10

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 11/30/2010 10:40 AM (GMT -6)   

LeAnne

Welcome to HealingWell and I see you have already found out how awesome the members are.  I admire each and everyone of them who have had this surgery. Today you will become a member of the Wrapped Club and postop you will find these new friends supportive and very wise as they have been preop.

Wishing you the best of luck today and glad to hear you are taking that laptop with you as it is always good to have it available so you can stay in touch.

Sending you healing prayers,

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"

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 11/30/2010 11:15 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi LeAnne,
I just wanted to stop by and let you know that I'm thinking of you today! I'm looking forward to hearing from you once you're feeling up to a visit to the forum. I don't know if it will be helpful at all, but I'll copy and paste my post-op journal that goes to (I believe) Day 19. It might give you a framework the will help you as you go through similar experiences. Every situation is different, but it might give you some valuable information. Hope so!
Wishing you a great surgery and quick recovery!
Denise

It's probably too much information, but here it is!
PS--Just in case you didn't hear this yet, have your husband pick up some liquid Motrin, or Tylenol, because you won't need the pain meds they give you for long, and you'll be switching to OTC pain relievers.

Nissen Fundoplication Surgery:

Pre-Op
Hi all. Thanks for sharing your experiences on this forum! I am having surgery (provided my asthma allows it) on next Friday. I've read everything possible in the internet, and am going into this with eyes opened, but I'm glad to be moving forward. My asthma is just unbearable, and I have 3 doctors who are quite confident that ending GERD is the answer.

I've resisted for 4 years...since being hospitalized for an asthma attack set off by GERD. I've been nudged over and over by my doctors. I feel quite confident with my surgeon, who was recommended by my GI doc, and has checked out with other sources as well. He has excellent bedside manner.

rburnet, thanks for sharing your recovery experience. I'm a teacher, and am hoping that my recovery goes well enough that I can manage to go back to school in two weeks. Wish me luck!

If anybody has some advice for a fundo nubie, I'd greatly appreciate it. I'll let you know how I do.

Days 1 and 2:
Well, I'm on the other side! I had my surgery done yesterday morning at 9 AM. I had a hiatal hernia repair and laproscopic Nissen Fundoplication. My surgeon reported that things went well.

I did have one little complication. I have taken inhaled steroids for a long time for asthma, as well as having to take oral prednosone for about the past 10 days due to an asthma flare up. The doctor said that my tissue was very fragile as a result, so he took extra sutures in the hernia repair to ensure that it would hold.

Of course, I didn't know what to expect after waking up from surgery, and was pleasantly surprised. I had no nausea from the general anesthesia, my throat wasn't all that sore, and my lungs had handled the surgery well, with no asthma flare ups.

I had probably 3 doses of morphene through the day, before I switched to Lortab elixir. That worked very well, and is what I came home with.

My swallowing was a little spasmy at first, but got better as the day went on. I only had water all day, and a bit of chicken broth, and lemon ice at night.

Tips about the hospital stay:

Don't count on the nurses or dietary people to know what you should be eating and drinking.

Read lots about what to have and what to avoid.

I was greeted with a cup of water complete with straw. If I hadn't learned that straws are a no-no, I'd have gulped a lot of air into my stomach for no good reason.

I also had caffeinated tea on my dinner tray (which I switched out)

This morning I had a can of ginger ale and another straw. Also caffeinated coffee. (All no-nos)

I had to ask for a gas-X product (simethicone) to be ordered, and it was a bit of a challenge to get it when I wanted it.

I'm home now, which is a huge positive.
Honestly, I've had much worse experiences with actual GERD episodes that burned my esophagus so badly that I couldn't eat a bite. This (so far) has been more comfortable than that. I've just got to remember not to get too feisty, and let myself heal.

IN THE HOSPITAL:
Everything went very easily. Pre-op and post-op procedures were fine. Recovery was a pleasant surprise. I didn't know what to expect, because I'd never had general anesthesia.

Once back in the room I just dosed on and off with the morphine. I didn't have any adverse effects from that, either. My swallowing wasn't as good in the beginning...little sips. As time went on, my swallowing got quite normal (water only), but I tried to be careful not to overload my stomach.

The nurse switched me from morphine to Loritab, so I could see if it was effective, since that's what they'd send me home with. It worked fine.

AT HOME:
Here I sit at the computer. I haven't had any pain meds since about 6 AM, so I'm feeling some discomfort.
Mainly in my left rib area...according to the resident, that's the port that gets the most activity and movement during the surgery.

I do have some of that famous left shoulder/collar bone are pain. They blame it on the co2 they pump into your gut so they can see what they're doing. It's uncomfortable, but bearable.

I had part of a soft scrambled egg, because I was really pretty hungry. It went down well, but I think my new valve is tired of working at the moment, and doesn't feel as good as it had when I didn't challenge it as much.

OVERALL:
While I know I'm in for some ups and downs, I feel that this is a very "doable" process, and I'm very glad I went through with this. I know that there are a lot of hurdles to pass, and I won't know of its ultimate success for quite a while.

I had to do this, though. Although the percentage for the lap Nissen's effectiveness in curing things other than GERD is only about 70-80%, I had to try this procedure. My doctors were just maintaining me. They had nothing else to help me, and really wanted me to give this a try.

Just before leaving for the hospital I had a severe GERD episode, and of course I could take nothing for it. I immediately started coughing and wheezing, and it took an nebulizer treatment in the hospital to get my lungs to calm back down. IT WAS A MESSAGE TO ME; This surgery will help your asthma, and the GERD definitely is irritating your lungs.

I stupidly did something I shouldn't have just now. I bit into a Dulcolax "softgel" to see if it was chewable, and got actually swallowed the liquid. It was quite irritating to my throat. Hopefully I haven't done something that will screw me up! Oh well...don't make that mistake!

I'll keep you posted.


Day 3:
Well, I've made it through my third day post-op, and I'm still here! My stomach felt more comfortable today. I'm on oral prednosone (due to persistent, severe asthma), and have been on it about 13 days (IV in the hospital), and that is very tough on the stomach. Because of that, I gave up the hydrocodone pain meds, and switched to extra strength liquid Tylenol (chosen because it's the easiest on the stomach). I use ice for the surgical pain. My left rib area is the most painful location, and I'm keeping ice on that most of the time. I'd rather deal with some pain, than an upset stomach right now.

By the way...my family doctor did call in a nausea script (suppositories) for me to have on hand. He understood that peace of mind is important at this time.

This morning, I don't know what I was thinking, (I guess I wasn't thinking)--I swallowed two 10mg prednosone tablets whole. They seemed to go down okay, but I won't do that again. I'll cut them into smaller chunks tomorrow.

So far, my swallowing is pretty good. I handle liquids just fine. My doctor sent me home to a soft diet, and I seem to be doing pretty well with it. Before my surgery I made up some fresh frozen squash, applesauce, and homemade chicken broth. Today I made whipped potatoes, and topped them with some locally made low fat turkey gravy. I also had some squash. A Thanksgiving dinner minus the turkey! I don't eat much, though...a quarter cup total. I don't want to challenge my stomach. I just eat tiny meals whenever I feel like it.

I slept from midnight to 6 AM last night...so that was good.

I have been trying to walk around the house as much as possible. At the hospital I walked a lot. A night nurse told me to walk whenever I got up to go to the bathroom. She said that was the trick to getting the gas to move out of the body. I still have some shoulder pain, but it seems to have subsided a bit. It's just a dull discomfort...not excruciating at this point.

Overall, I'd say..so far, so good. I was prepared for anything. I've had more torturous episodes with my uncontrolled GERD/gastritis that was caused by intolerable antibiotics.

I do have some phelgm in my lungs that I'm coughing up. I'm assuming this is not just limited to asthma patients post op. I'm assuming that many people experience the need to cough up some gunk. Am I right? I'd like to hear your experience.

Hope this record of my post surgical journey helps someone else who is struggling with their own decision to take the surgical route.
Best wishes to all.


Every day is an adventure. Still, to all those people out there who are fearful of this surgery (as I was)--in my experience, Days 1-4 have been much better than I had hoped. FYI--To help with others who are trying to relate to this experience...I'm a nearly 57 year old female. I don't think I'd mentioned that.

A few things that I'm noticing (and would appreciate experienced members to comment on):


Day 4:
1. Lung Issues

As I've shared, I have asthma issues, so my lungs are more problematic than in other cases. Do other (non asthmatic) recovering patients experience mucous in their lungs as well?

I made the mistake of trying the Unisom Melts, and they worked great in getting me to drift off to sleep again, but I ended up paying for a few extra hours of sleep with dried out mucous in my lungs, and a wheeze that won't quit. So--to anyone reading this who has asthma, I would recommend against the Unisom. (They're just Benadryl--which is an antihistimine/drying agent, that makes you sleepy) Lucky non-asthmatics, it works great for snoozing, and is definitely non habit forming.

I've been coughing way too much today, which hurts and worries me a bit. I'm also tapering off prednosone, so that could be part of the problem as well. I've emailed my doctor for advice. I'm sure this too will pass. Just one of those little bumps in the road.



2. Burps.

My surgeon told me that I wouldn't be able to burp, but burps are slipping out here and there. I'm not purposely burping, but every so often a burp is allowed--which is actually very nice, since it allows the bloating to dissipate.

The surgeon (another in the practice) who discharged me, said that I MAY be able to burp. I guess he was right!

Do I need to worry that because I can burp it will mean that reflux will also be allowed to pass out of the stomach? The resident said that the flap can allow a bit of air to escape without letting stomach contents out.

What has been the experience of others who've been through this? Are burps okay?
YES

3. Wrap swelling over the first two weeks.

I noticed today that "lump" feeling--the feeling that I'm swallowing a big gulp of air--when I swallow food. I figure it's the beginning of the swelling, and expect that it will probably become progressively more challenging to get things swallowed, until the swelling begins to subside. So far, though, swallowing has been fairly easy. Better than I had hoped. Very "do-able", and much less scary than I expected.

Is it common to have this experience? Do the wraps always swell?
YES

I'm determined to go with the flow of the recovery process. I wish my lungs weren't giving me fits, but oh well...that's why I'm here to begin with. The surgery isn't a magic wand! It's so important to maintain a positive attitude, and be patient, patient, patient!

Anyway...in case it helps anyone, I'm sharing my experience. If anyone has anything to add, or can help me through some of these issues, I'd appreciate it! Best wishes to all!


Day 5:
Another day, another adventure.

I went to the doc today regarding my lung issues. I'm back on an antibiotic for a suspected lung infection--I was being treated for one before surgery, and I guess it didn't totally resolve. I never really got a full course of antibiotics. I'm also continuing on 20mg prednosone twice a day to protect my lungs as well.

Because of those meds, my doctor put me back on Protonix for a while, to protect my stomach, which is very sensitive.

WRAP SWELLING
I knew this was coming, but it's not too much fun. I've got that lump in my throat that doesn't want to cooperate in getting food to my stomach. No complaints, though. I knew this was coming before I made the decision to go forward. I was a lucky one. After the surgery, and before the swelling, I had no difficulty at all, swallowing liquids or soft foods. Now it's definitely a challenge.

It will probably get worse before it gets better. I am determined to go with the flow. This too will pass.
AND IT DID

SPASMS?
When I eat, I feel like I'm getting (non-painful) throat spasms, as things move at the unmovable wrap.

MUCOUS!!
When I drink or eat, and start having spasms, etc., my mouth begins making huge amounts of thick, "mucousy" saliva. I can't even stand to swallow it. It only happens during eating or drinking, and subsides shortly afterward. Has anyone experienced that?

INCISIONS
I haven't used pain meds in 3 days (even Tylenol)...I've been icing. The only incision that hurt is in the left rib area. OUCH. Ice takes care of it. Actually, lately it hasn't even hurt enough to ice. Coughing does flare it up.

WALKING
I've been walking for 10-15 minute intervals on my treadmill...all day long. A nurse told me to walk whenever I get up to go to the bathroom, so I try to follow that advice. I had a blood clot after my last surgery, so it's important to keep my legs moving...it's also good for my lungs. I also think it has help my shoulder/neck referred pain/loose gas pain.

FEELING REMARKABLY GOOD
I'm amazed at how quickly you can bounce back from laprascopic surgery. Nobody should fear the surgical pain aspect of this surgery.






Day 6:
Just a quick update:

1. VISIT TO SURGEON
All was well with incisions. He assured me that I don't have to worry about healing on prednosone. I'll heal. He's not worried that the tissue/sutures won't hold through coughing. He put extra sutures in the hernia repair (it was a small hernia). He's confident that all is fine with the repairs.

BURPS--he thinks I'm fortunate that burps are escaping, and that it's very normal, and a bonus for me. Burping does not mean reflux.
From my perspective, burps have been a lifesaver. When my stomach starts feeling bloated (after drinking or eating), the pressure shifts around, until a little bit of air escapes. This may repeat several times. I don't "belch"...the burps just happen on their own.

SWELLING OF WRAP--My surgeon reinforced the fact that the wrap will continue to swell over the next two weeks. He said I could eat anything I can manage--things that can be chewed thoroughly. He said that if the wrap makes it hard to get food through, (being sure to take small bites), just sip water/tea until it goes down. It will get through.

Surrender to the recovery process...it makes it lots easier.

I'll be going back for a follow up with him in a month.


2. LUNGS
I do have some fluid in my lungs. Hopefully the antibiotic I'm taking will take care of any residual infection from my pre-surgery lung issue.
Patience is a virtue!

I did have a bout of loose stool/diarrhea...I have a tendency to react to GI issues (even my endoscopy) with that problem. Also, being on the antibiotic...

3. OUT TO DINNER
Before coming home, we stopped at Friendly's for supper. I ordered a cup of decaf tea and a bowl of clam chowder. I just worked around the clams and enjoyed the broth, potatoes, and vegetables. Of course I didn't eat a whole bowl. I get stuffed before I eat much. I was also able to eat saltines...they chew up to total mush. YUM. It was a treat to have crackers and soup ! I brought the rest of my soup home to enjoy later.

All in All...
I'm keeping active...walk daily on my treadmill--10-15 minutes at a time...no incline...1.9mph. SLOW. It feels great, though.
Things going as well as to be expected...I was prepared for pretty much anything.
Heal well!


Days 9-13
First of all...to anyone who is agonizing over this surgery, stop. It is nothing to be afraid of, provided that you do your homework, take the required tests, and find an experienced surgeon.

I was very frightened, and struggled against the decision for four years. Granted, at 13 days, the jury is still out as to it's effectiveness in my case, but I can speak to the surgical experience.

I was ready to be tortured in recovery. I expected my stomach to shut down, and that I may not be able to swallow anything but liquids, and that I would have unbearable bloating and gas. I didn't know what to expect, and prepared myself for a horrific experience.

This fear was totally unwarranted. Once the anesthesia wore off, I had no trouble swallowing liquids. I went home after just one night in the hospital, on a soft diet. Within 6 days post surgery the surgeon told me I could eat anything that could be chewed thoroughly--warning me against sandwiches/bread/steak.

I have had a few moments of swallowing spasms during the 9-13 days post op, but very few. Actually Days 4-5 seem to have been my most difficult hurdle, swallowing-wise.

Throughout this time, I was having difficulty with my lungs, and coughing did hurt the incision at my left rib area. Over time, that incision has healed, and although I still have some coughing (better, but still mucous to raise), my rib area is much more comfortable. I don't even need to ice any more, and can just hold my arm there when I cough. Much improved on that front.

I'm now walking on my treadmill--no incline--2.5mph. I truly believe that my emphasis on walking and getting up and around right after surgery has made a huge difference with the shoulder/neck pain gas issue. It has resolved quite quickly, and is only occasionally felt--and then, very mildly. I would recommend getting right up and walking as much as possible throughout the recovery process.

I'm feeling much better--stronger--more comfortable, and I have lots more energy at this point.

I'm noticing that my stomach is beginning to accept more food without feeling so bloated and uncomfortable. I'm not getting as much gas, either. My surgeon said I wouldn't be able to burp, but my stomach does burp. I've never been one to force burps, and I don't now. My stomach burps itself whenever necessary, which really reduces the gas issues.

I took two weeks off from work (I'm a second grade teacher) after surgery. I've got enough sick time available that it wasn't a problem. I'm going to start back to work next week--mornings only--to give myself a chance to regain my strength before going full force. My family doctor, who is following my lung recovery, is very conservative in that way, and wants me to take it easy so as not to relapse.

My lungs are still far from perfect, but they're already better than they were pre-surgery. Also, everyone who sees me comments on the fact that my voice sounds so much better--I was very, very hoarse before the surgery.

I'll check in again as my recovery continues. Hopefully those who are seeking the information they need to make an informed decision will find these posts helpful.
Happy Healing!

19 Days:
Once again, I'd like to begin by reassuring those people who are searching these forums for information as they try to decide whether or not to go forward with a Nissen Fundoplication surgery. I know how hard it is to find positive comments on the web. I found so many negative blogs and forums that I waited way too long to make the decision to go forward with the surgery.

This surgery isn't as difficult to recover from as I had expected. I've posted earlier reports, so I won't repeat that here.

1. For those who want to avoid or alleviate shoulder pain (due to gas forced into body during surgery)--walk,walk, walk. Mine improved greatly with walking. In fact, when I went a couple days without walking as much, the pain came back. Once I went back to walking a lot, it went away again. The more you walk, the less pain you'll have.

2. Rib/incision pain subsided by the end of the second week--I didn't even need to ice. I think it would have healed more quickly if I hadn't been coughing so much. (I had a lung infection that started before surgery.)

3. By day 15 or 16, my stomach began accepting more food. (Not a lot, mind you...but still more than before.) Be careful not to overdo it, though. You'll be sorry if you stuff your stomach. Several small meals are better than one larger one.

4. Bready foods--even when chewed well--still seem to challenge the wrap.

5. I was able to eat stew cooked in the crock pot (for hours). Even the meat was able to be chewed to liquid form. If you can handle soft foods, you can (carefully) experiment with the slow cooker.

6. Creamy Chicken Gnocchi soup at Olive Garden is a great choice. Actually small bites/careful chewing--opens up a lot of options. Just don't swallow anything that you can't chew to a liquid/mush.

7. My doctor put me on Carafate to counteract stomach problems/acid/wrap irritation. It coats my stomach really well. I take it 4 times a day--1 hour before/2-3 hours after meals. I put the pill in a little medicine cup and add a bit of water to make a slurry that I can drink easily. It did work well to counteract the wrap irritation that was waking me up in the early morning (3AM and on).

8. Expect some irritation feelings around the wrap site. Expect some resistance at the wrap site. It's normal. Things get better, though. Just don't get too frisky with your eating. Your appetite gets better before your stomach can handle a lot. I found that when I became too frisky/eating too much, eating things that might be a bit too chewy, I paid dearly, with more wrap irritation, and stomach problems.

When that happened I backed off and started measuring my meals--a half to 2/3 of a cup is about all I can tolerate comfortably.

9. I've lost about 14 pounds, which I'm glad about. I can lose a little more without a problem. If I start losing more than I want to, I'll just pick my nutrition intake with some snacks in between meals.

10. I still have a persistent lung infection, and am now on injected antibiotics to get rid of it. I can't take antibiotics orally (except amoxicillin) without getting gastritis, which I don't need now. So I'll be going to the doc daily for some (ouchy) shots. I just want to get my lungs cleared. My asthma is the best it's been in years. So far so good there. My lung problem is the reason I finally had the surgery, and so far so good...once I get over the infection. I'm off prednosone as of tomorrow, so that's a happy development.

Hopefully this little journal helps someone who's looking for information and trying to imagine what the recovery will be like. It has been so much better that I had ever dreamed.
This is a great forum. There are many supportive and experienced members who will help you through.
Best of luck to anyone considering/or is scheduled for surgery.
Denise

Nissen Surgery Failures: My Thoughts:
Yes, there are many very disturbing stories all over the internet--enough to scare anyone away from this procedure. I spent four years searching the web, looking for information to help me make an informed decision. The internet sources I searched out provided me with an overabundance of reasons not to go ahead with a surgical fix.

It is clear that pre-testing is crucial to ensuring that a patient will be helped by this surgery. Motility tests (manometry--tests the strength and effectiveness of your swallowing muscles, as well as the strength of the LES valve.), 24hr PH Monitor, Barium Swallow, and perhaps a stomach emptying study, are all tests that can spot problems that could complicate this surgery.

Choosing a skilled and experienced surgeon is also critical. A surgeon who does an overly tight wrap can create swallowing problems--especially in someone who has slipped through the testing cracks, and has a swallowing problem to begin with. Careful selection of a good candidate is most important. Don't rush your way towards surgery. Go to a good GI doc, and thoroughly explore all your options. Once you have a trusted specialist, it's likely that he/she will be able to recommend a surgeon who is skilled in the procedure. Then check that surgeon's credentials further.

Make an appointment with one or more surgeons...ask lots of questions. Just because you meet with someone doesn't mean you have to go through with surgery. My family doctor recommend a surgeon, and I met with him/had tests done/was told I was a good candidate for the surgery. I was not ready to make that decision, so I went back to my GI doc, who looked at the results of the tests the other surgeon did, and ordered an additional test. After testing was done and we discussed the results, he suggested that I just go and talk to the surgeon...no rush...just discuss the procedure, and start to think about what I wanted to do. I ended up meeting with his recommended surgeon twice, and made the decision to go through with the surgery.

Keep in mind that many, many people have a Nissen Fundoplication and never enter any comments in a forum online. It's more likely that people who had bad outcomes will search the web for reasons for their suffering. Many, many successful surgeries happen, and you just don't hear about them. The more problems a person has with the outcome, the more likely you'll hear about his/her poor results.

It is too early for me to know if I'll be in the ranks of the successful, or unsuccessful procedures. I understand that I can not speak with any authority in that regard.

I do know that as an open procedure, this is a 50 year old surgical method, so it must have helped many people for it to have lasted this long.

Laproscopic Nissen Fundoplication has been around a much shorter time (approx. 10 years, I believe, but I may be off on that number). From what I've read, the move to laproscopic Nissens has been beneficial, in that fewer surgeons are qualified for to do non-invasive procedures, and it creates a situation where a few surgeons get lots more Nissen surgeries--which provides ample opportunites for developing skills necessary for successful outcomes.

So yes...it seems that there is a disproportionally large number of Nissen failure when you read forums such as these. If you go to surgical sites, though...read medical journal entries, you will find that the success rate is quite high. That doesn't solve the problem for people who have had poor outcomes, but it should create more confidence in someone making the decision to have this life-changing surgery.

Don't let scary stories make up your mind for you. Do the work to find out if this procedure is right for you. Then make an informed decision and go with it. Best wishes to anyone trying to make this difficult decision.
Also...good luck to those who are struggling with surgeries that didn't work out the way you had hoped. I hope you all find solutions to your medical problems.

Thanks again to everyone who shares their experience and hope on this forum. It has made a big difference to a lot of people.

GazeboGal
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 11/30/2010 4:38 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Everybody! I have my laptop with me in the hospital, so I'm going to try to give you all a quick update. (Thanks Kitt and Denise for the further support! Denise, I am looking forward to reading through your experience! Thanks so much for posting it to me!!)

My surgery went really well. I've pretty much been sleeping on and off today since I got back to my room. But I've had no complications at all!! When I first woke up, I was in a bit of some pain, but it was fairly quickly controlled and I napped quite a bit. (getting ready to nap again, I think..having trouble keeping my eyes open to finish typing this!)

Deep breaths are a bit difficult right now, but manageable. I've gotten the hiccups twice today already and it was not fun! I'm tolerating sips of water very well. I sipped down my chicken broth soup, but passed on everything else (they had apple juice and jello on the tray, but only stuck with the broth.)

I have a catheter inserted into my bladder...did anyone else have that? I don't recall reading that, so I wasn't expecting that, but may have missed it. I had a couple of times that I began to feel nausious so they got me some meds for that.

But so far, so good!! My husband has been an awesome support to me all day and is going to stay in my room with me tonight (on the reclining chair).

More later, as I'm having a lot of trouble finishing typing this. But wanted to let you all know that things went really well so far! Thanks again for allof your support and great information!!!

LeAnne :)
GazeboGal
Nissen Surgery on 11/30/10

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 11/30/2010 5:58 PM (GMT -6)   
LeAnne,
 
You are now a member  of the famed Wrapped Club !  WTG and glad to hear you have made it through.  Sounds like all is going well and it is good to know your hubby is so supportive.
 
Thinking of you with lots of encouragement and know we are here for you !
 
Gentle 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"

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 11/30/2010 6:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Nope, no catheter for me. My surgery was fairly quick (hour) and I was told no need with it being so quick.
Joy

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 11/30/2010 8:14 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi LeAnne,
Yay! Now you're on the other side, ready to heal and move toward a better quality of life. Glad things went well with your surgery. It sounds like you are right on target. You're lucky your surgeon arranged for a proper diet. Lots of us get all kinds of things we shouldn't eat or drink on our tray! Remember, no straws. They introduce too much air into your stomach--creating a bloating situation you don't want or need!

I think the catheter is an individual surgeon decision. I didn't have one, but I have heard of them being used--a male poster here had one put in. I can't remember who it was.

Well, relax and get ready to follow your recovery wherever it leads. If you can surrender to it, you'll have a great recovery. Those who struggle against the path their recovery takes find it a much harder experience. Just go with the flow, and accept it as it is, and you'll do just great!

We're here to answer any questions that might come up!
Rest and heal. Don't forget to walk whenever you get up to go to the bathroom. It'll help to keep the shoulder pain down.
Hugs,
Denise

ZhyKitty
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 171
   Posted 12/1/2010 4:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Congratulations LeAnne! Welcome to the club!!!!

I woke up with a catheter too.... don't sweat it. They'll take it out.

When they do, you walk like Denise said... it'll help.

So glad to hear that things went well!!!

Cat

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5004
   Posted 12/1/2010 7:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Congrats LeAnne
I had a catheter, but I wasn't walking the first day since my surgery was 5 hours. I loved it, saved pain of having to get out of bed.
I had a tube in my nose for the first day too, wouldn't have tolerated it if not being kept mostly unconscious with too much pain meds. I had to try not to swallow or I would gag.
I had a hand to elbow bruise from the radial artery line they used to monitor my blood pressure during surgery. Not everyone gets that either.
Alcie
 
 

GazeboGal
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 12/1/2010 7:14 PM (GMT -6)   
Just an update...hey everybody!

I came home today from the hospital about noon. I've slept most of the afternoon/evening. It's good to be back in my own bed and not woken up every 2 hours for diagnostics.

I've been swallowing really well. Much better than I had imagined that I would be. I haven't had much of an appetite at all, and have had to make myself take small bites. Yesterday I had some chicken broth and that was really yummy. I drank an ensure at dinner time, and this morning I had a couple of small tiny bites of bland oatmeal and vanilla yogurt. Since then, I had about half a cup of more chicken broth (which is my favorite by far).

I haven't been up walking as much as I probably need to...and I am experiencing a lot of left shoulder pain as many others have discussed having. It hurts most when I am standing/walking, so I've tended to walk just a bit, as much as I can take, and then lie back down since it doesn't hurt when I'm lying down.

This morning when I woke up, I was in much more pain than yesterday....I think it had to do with some of the pain medication wearing off during the night...and it took a while this morning for them to get that pain under control, but thankfully I did finally get some relief. (At the hospital, I was on a morpheine drip and this morning, they added in loratabs by mouth, so that is what I'm on at home now. (Plus they sent me home with a script for nausea med too....just a couple of bouts with nausea, but no throwing up or heaving, thankfully.)

I have suffered with hiccups several times, and they do hurt! I have to make myself drink really really slow to try to avoid them...but I've still gotten them.

I've had some mucous that I've needed to bring up, and that's been a bit difficult, but bearable.

And so far I have been able to burp automatically as needed. (My doc had told me that I would likely be able to burp, but I knew that some of you had commented about not being able to.)

The most pain I am experiencing is with my shoulder and my left side of my chest, which seems to be the most common. So far I am thrilled with my results and am so glad that I found a great surgeon and went through with it. I'm taking the recovery very slowly. I'm off from work until January, so I have plenty of time to take it slow. I'm not going to push the solid foods at all right now....of course I'm on full liquid until next Tuesday when I go back to the surgeon, but even with that, I have not been able to eat more than a half a cup or so of liquids and just a few bites of the soft stuff (yogurt, pudding, etc).

I haven't had any trouble swallowing my pain caplets, and I was a bit worried about that, but all went well.

My husband, Joel, has been an awesome caregiver...I know that he will be glad to actually get some sleep tonight...I don't think he slept more than 30 minutes last night in that "uneasy" chair. :)

Thanks again for all of your support. Your sharing has been tremendous to me and I hope that my own sharing will help those of you getting ready to go through this! (Lovie, if you have any specific questions about my early experiences, let me know! I know that yours is next Friday.)

Hugs to all,
LeAnne :)
GazeboGal
Nissen Surgery on 11/30/10

Lovie L
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 34
   Posted 12/1/2010 8:58 PM (GMT -6)   
So happy for you LeAnne! Been thinking about you, glad to hear it all went well. Take it easy and keep us updated when you feel up to it. :)

drgrcr
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 129
   Posted 12/1/2010 9:26 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the update LeAnne. Sounds easy.....;) I am glad it went well for you today. Met a fellow in a auto parts store today who had the wrap 10 years ago, sez he has been living good since. Sounds like you will sail right through this.
Pat

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 12/2/2010 8:46 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi LeAnne,
I'm so glad to hear you're home and on the road to recovery. Be sure to keep the pain medications on a regular schedule until the surgical pain subsides. It won't last too long, and you'll be able to switch to liquid Motrin or Tylenol.

Have you tried ice on your left side? It worked great for me. I was coughing due to horrible lungs, and my left rib incision was the most painful. The surgeon said it was the place where they did the most manipulation of the scopes, etc., so that's why it hurt more.

If you can get the pain in control and get up and walking, you will help your shoulder pain. It always seemed so weird that people having stomach surgery get shoulder pain. Go figure!

Hang in there...things will get better gradually and consistently. It sounds like you have a very positive attitude, and that's a big part of a good recovery.

Hey, I'm a teacher too! I retired in June after teaching 25 years--mostly second grade. What do you teach? Enjoy your time off. I know you went through a lot of hard work getting sub plans together! Now sit back and enjoy your restful holiday season.

((((Healing Hugs))))
Denise

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 12/2/2010 8:52 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Pat,
I'm glad you're hanging around to observe others who are having the surgery. You would be surprised how many people are out there in the world enjoying a post-surgery life. As I said in an earlier post...the majority of fundoplication patients never post online. You can make yourself crazy reading posts written by people who had bad experiences.

Unfortunately, there are surgeons who go ahead with doing the surgeries when they are unqualified. Those are most often the surgeries that go wrong. Your most important job, as you contemplate this repair, is to thoroughly research your choice of surgeons. If you select the right surgeon, he/she will schedule all the right tests--barium swallow, manometry, endoscopy, and 24 hr PH monitor. Those tests will determine if you're the right surgical candidate, and what type of wrap to perform.

I know what you're going through. I experienced the same worries, concerns, and inability to commit to the surgery. Actually, this forum was very helpful to me. People here had a positive, yet realistic attitude toward the surgery. Even people who were needing redos were happy to have them, as the results of the surgery were worth the difficulties.

Good luck making your decision!
Denise turn

GazeboGal
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 12/2/2010 9:49 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey Denise! I teach 5th/6th grade! I'm the computer lab teacher at my school, so I teach everybody. I had built up my sick days so it was not a problem to take off these 3 weeks before Christmas break. It works out great that I'll have the additional time to recover and rest up before returning in January!

This is my 21st year. I'm also considering retiring at 25 years! Yes, it was quite a pain to get all my lesson plans and things in order before being out..but hopefully everything will go fine while I'm out. (They know that I have my laptop with me, so they haven't hesitated to email me questions so far, which is fine, but I'm hoping that those become less and less during the next 2 weeks!) :)

I'm going to try your ice trick today...my left side of my chest/incisions is where it hurts the most. Sounds like that's the main spot of activity during the surgery. Hopefully that will help.

So are you completely retired now or did you start doing anything else? I also teach online college classes, although I finished up my last class just before Thanksgiving and I'm not taking another class until Spring, so that is good. I figure that I can keep up the college classes after I retire and that will give me some additional income as needed. You might think about doing that! I've really enjoyed it!

Take care! I'll let you know how the ice works for me!
LeAnne
GazeboGal
Nissen Surgery on 11/30/10

ZhyKitty
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 171
   Posted 12/2/2010 2:45 PM (GMT -6)   
So glad to hear you're making progress!
It's going to get better every day...so hang in there!! : )

Cat

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 12/2/2010 4:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Computer lab teacher, I don't envy you. Our computer lab is run by whoever brings in the class. I spend most of my time running from crisis to crisis. It's amazing what trouble a 7 yr old can get into on a computer.

If you're still coughing gunk make sure to hold a pillow over your belly. It makes the pain less. I carried a small pillow everywhere the first week.
Joy
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