Welcome to Healing Well! I'm so glad you've found us...and welcome to our
You are definitely not alone on the planet! There are many of us who hang around this forum to share our experience and support. We've all been where you are, and that's the beauty of this forum. As you said, your surgeon can do the procedure and release you on a "liquid diet", but with all their medical expertise, they haven't lived the recovery the way we have.
Any, any, any time you wonder or worry about
a pain or symptom that concerns you, your surgeon should be your first resource. For everything else, your friends here can help you out!
I first found this site when I was trying to get the courage to have the surgery. My lungs were in horrible condition and my asthma and family docs both were certain that my reflux was causing the problem. My GI doc wasn't so sure, but after four years of struggling, he finally said that I might want to go talk to the surgeon (or I could continue on medication, which wasn't doing the job). Long story short, in February 2009 I had a Nissen and by mid-May my lungs were 100% better. Hooray!
I do not think that surgeons or GI docs prepare patients for what to expect post surgery. It is amazing to read posts here and see just how unprepared people are for what to expect during the recovery. I found out so much from other members here that helped me through.
Let's start with shoulder pain. I always thought it was so strange that one of the worst post-surgical pains you get is in the shoulder. Really? What does the shoulder have to do with anything? From what I've read it is caused by the gas that is pumped into your abdomen to create a field of view for the surgeon, as well as sutures in the diaphram muscle. This will diminish over time. I found that walk, walk, walking helped it a lot. The more I walked, the better it felt. It's worth a try...I walked around my house in February, but I did have a treadmill, which I hopped on and walked, slowly at first, increasing time and speed as I recovered. I can vouch for it helping tremendously. Now that it's springtime, you can get outside and walk, so you're lucky!
Another important thing...your wrap site will become increasingly swollen over the first two weeks, peaking at 14 days and then begins to resolve. Therefore, don't be at all surprised if you have more difficulty swallowing--it will likely get worse before it gets better. That's totally normal. I suspect that's why your surgeon has you on a full liquid diet.
Post-surgery diet protocols vary widely. Some surgeons, like yours, require full liquid for several weeks, others switch to plain liquids, while mine allowed solids that could be chewed to a liquid (after I saw him on Day 5).
I suspect that my surgeon simply has more trust in his patients and their ability to choose food carefully and follow his directions to chew thoroughly and eat only what chews to a liquid. Rather than blending the food, I took small bites and chewed very carefully.
I never had a moment's problem with that eating protocol. I once asked my surgeon if anyone has made mistakes in eating, and he replied that he had a couple problems in all his years of doing the surgery, but the vast majority do great. Hence, his adherence to his very liberal (and wonderful, from my perspective) eating protocol.
Look, I'm not one to go against a surgeon's recommendations, but I can tell you that I had the same surgery and don't see a thing wrong with what you're doing. Just remember...small bites and chew completely. If you're not having problems, go for it. Just remember you might have to back off a bit (or not) when the swelling increases. As I said, I was eating solid foods starting at Day 5. My surgeon said that just because food was soft didn't mean it wouldn't cause a problem..."a bolus of mashed potato could get stuck"...that's one reason he
opened the eating up sooner than many.
I was told anything except steak and bread. I was very careful, took small bites, and chew, chew, chewed. If something didn't chew to a liquid, I didn't eat it.
The bloating will subside as time goes on. Don't drink with a straw...it introduces more air into your stomach. Stay away from carbonated beverages as well...alll those bubbles add up!
Stick around and ask questions as they arise. I found this forum to be such a godsend when I had my surgery. People helped me so much that I decided to stick around and help others as I was helped.
I suggest that you start your own thread on the main page. Then it'll be easier for other members to find you.
Again, glad you've joined us! Hang in there...it'll get better!
Post Edited (dencha) : 5/3/2011 7:41:48 PM (GMT-6)