Posted 4/1/2011 6:02 PM (GMT -7)
Welcome to Healing Well! Be sure to consider starting your own recovery thread, so people will find your questions more easily.
Yes, yes, yes. Difficulty swallowing is the norm at your stage of the game. You're just past the 2 week mark, and that is the peak of swelling. You've had a major revision of your GI tract, and although laproscopic surgery makes it seem like no big thing, it IS.
I have noticed that surgeons don't prepare their patients for what to expect post surgery. They give some general directions, but since they've not lived through the recovery, I don't believe they think it's as difficult as it is.
That said, I had researched the surgery fully before I finally had it in February 2009. I honestly found the recovery far easier than I had ever hoped. Yes, I went through the swallowing issues, the spasms, the shoulder pain, etc., etc., etc., but I expected much worse.
My doctor put me on solid foods Day 5 post surgery--however, only foods that could be chewed to a liquid. Believe me, that provides a lot of leeway.
I'm not sure how your swallowing is, but I will tell you this. You can not chew and swallow the way you did before surgery. You are in the early recovery stage, and you need to take very small bites, and chew whatever you are eating until it is a full liquid. If you enjoy tea (You live in England! You must!), it will help to relax your swallowing and help get things through your wrap. If whatever you're eating doesn't chew to a liquid, don't swallow it. Also, no steak or bread for a couple months. Surprisingly, if you simply toast the bread well, it generally chews to a liquid easily.
Don't drink things that are too cold, as they can cause spasms. Before I had the surgery, other more experienced members here told me to expect that my food might get a little stuck. They even described how they had coughed food up that was stopped at the wrap site, and compared it to a cat's hairball.
You will need to chew your food very carefully for a long time. To this day, I still try to eat slowly and chew my food completely.
Be sure to stick around and ask whatever questions that come up! We've been where you are now, and were helped by others here. We stuck around to pay it forward, and help others as we were helped.
Glad you've joined us!