My Recovery Journal from 2/09 Nissen

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dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 8/9/2011 6:10 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi All,

Bill suggested that I post my early recovery journal, as he thinks it might be helpful to those newly wrapped or nearly wrapped members.

It will give you an idea of what one person experienced during those early recovery weeks. Keep in mind that I had lung problems that had been caused by reflux and asthma, so disregard the coughing references!

Here goes...hope you find it helpful!

Nissen Fundoplication Surgery:
My Forum Journal


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.

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 dozed 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?


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?

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.

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 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. After helping out on this forum since my own surgery, I've come to believe that most of those scary posts were written by people in the midst of their early recovery with symptoms that disappear with healing. Often surgeons don't prepare their patients for the recovery they will face.

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. (NOTE: I'm now six and a half years post op, and I can confidently report that my surgery was exceedingly successful, and my lungs have healed and are once again healthy.)

I do know that as an open procedure, this is a 60+ year old surgical method, so it must have helped many people for it to have lasted this long. It continues to be revised and improved, and is considered the "gold standard" for treating GERD.

Laproscopic Nissen Fundoplication has been around a much shorter time (approx. 20 years). 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.
GERD/Heartburn Moderator
Nissen Fundoplication 2/09
Allergy/Asthma

"Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose”

“Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”
Eckhart Tolle

Post Edited (dencha) : 9/17/2015 7:12:39 PM (GMT-6)


Aug25myturn
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 30
   Posted 8/13/2011 8:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for sharing. I am scheduled for surgery on August 25. The surgeon was listed in this area as one of the best. I have had the pre-tests done, including the manometry one. That was rough, I continued to gag pretty much non-stop but eventually they got it in. It was terrible.
I am trying hard to stay positive. I've lost a good deal of weight already because I can hardly eat anything. The surgeon said I have every symptom. If it was meant to make me feel like I'd won a prize, it didn't.
My hiatal hernia was bigger when they did the last test, so they think it might be a sliding one, and that would explain why it looked bigger the first time.
I feel lousy all the time, breathing can be challenging at times, and the mouth sores? Oh my gosh...they are horrible beyond words. My gums are so sore. I sleep terrible most nights, and my throat always feels like I have a ball stuck in it.
I am thinking of keeping track of stuff too.
I find this blog and was thrilled to have stuff to read (more stuff to read).
I had a friend who had it done at George Town Medical Center. She had a rough time. But she has Barretts. So I wondered if they was why it was so rough for her. She still takes her Nexium daily.
I also puke when I come out of surgery.
I am pretty nervous, and hoping I don't become anxious the day of.
Thanks for sharing....

daddypig
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 90
   Posted 8/14/2011 1:27 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you for doing this post. Really quite reassuring as are many on this site. I just joined to post to thank you all for taking the time, these pages are really helpful. Good luck aug25, I am in tomorrow for the wrap myself.very twitchy now! -makes me chuckle to see how its called 'getting wrapped' -- but that is def easier to spell! The humour and human spirit on this site really cheered me up today, thanks.

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 8/14/2011 9:16 AM (GMT -6)   
I have posted the link to this Journal in our resources at the top of the page : http://www.healingwell.com/community/default.aspx?f=45&m=52985&p=1.
 
It is the third post in the thread so we can easily located it in the future.  It is a fantastic thread.  Thanks Denise for writing it and Bill for suggesting it be brought back up.
 
Hugs to both of you,
 
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 8/14/2011 3:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Aug25myturn,

Many people are bothered by anesthesia, and I know that there is something that can be done to counteract that. Your surgeon will want to be sure you won't be sick after surgery, as you can cause real damage with a lot of vomiting. Just be sure to be clear that you need anti nausea medication built right into your anesthesia and afterward as you recover.

Stay positive! You will be helped by this surgery. If you can surrender to the recovery and follow it where it leads, it will be a lot easier for you. Healing takes time, and you will have challenges at the beginning of your recovery. We all do. Still, it's well worth the improved quality of life once things settle down.

Glad you've joined us. We'll answer your questions and offer support before during and after your recovery. You can be a member of our Wrapped Club!

Take care,
Denise

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 8/14/2011 3:13 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Daddypig,

I'm so glad you've joined us! When you visit us again you'll be a full-fledged member of our Healing Well Wrapped Club! Good luck on your surgery today...we'll look forward to hearing from you tomorrow!

I'm glad the re-posted thread was helpful to you. That's why I wrote it as I was healing. I was searching the internet high and low for information about the surgery, and like you, it led me here. I found this place to be very positive, yet realistic. Some of the people who helped me then are no longer posting. I decided that I would stick around and pay forward the help I'd received.

Again, good luck with your recovery! Surrender to it, and you'll do much better. Let the recovery take the lead and you just follow. If you can do that, you'll be much happier. Struggling against it is what causes people difficulty and frustration. It is as it is. Anyone who is resorting to this surgery has dealt with much worse than this recovery. I was prepared for a horrible experience and was very pleasantly surprised.

Best wishes!
Denise

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 8/14/2011 3:15 PM (GMT -6)   
Kitt,

Thanks for posting the thread in a handy place. Then nobody will have to go hunting it down whenever it might be helpful.

Bill has a great feel for what is needed by new members. Thanks, Bill for reminding me to pull that old thread out of the archives!

Hope you're both having a great day!
Love,
Denise

daddypig
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 90
   Posted 8/16/2011 12:22 AM (GMT -6)   
HI DENISE AND AUG25MY TURN

I have been out of surgery twelve hours or so now. I thought I would post incase it helps. I was nervous and made a point of asking everything so I knew what to expect and when. It was weird, when I am upright I tend to suffer only a bit, so I felt a bit of a fraud heading off to theatre. I had made sure that anti sickness meds were on my chart.

I went into an antiroom next to theatre where they knock you out. This was mercifully quick. The doctor saw me being nervous and didn't tell me and just did the injection. He said that I needed a little oxygen before he did anything and I did my best to breathe it, probably six breaths total. Next I knew it was all over.

I was in recovery and had some issues with coughing and low oxygen levels. They gave me liquid morphine and anti sickness. The coughing lasted a few hours then.just stopped. I had the mask on for about two hours too. It tasted a bit funny but was nice when you let yourself go with it.
Symptoms wise the shoulder pain that I feared is not too bad. It might come.out over a day or so but feels like a bang from a football game. My stomach feels sore, and I hold it to cough, or move, which helps. That is quite sore but no where near agony or anything. I refused morphine last night as that adds to nausea.

The worst thing is fear of being sick. I have had four lots of antisickness meds now, and want more. I sat up to go to toilet last night and was very very nearly ill. My wife has been wih me the whole time and she talked me through it. I would have been lost without her. Anyone going in, company would be a big help if you can.

I eventually made it to loo at quarter to three, took twenty five minutes there and back! Not really a physical thing but a nausea thing.

The other thing is talking. I was really out of it, only.really feeling myself last few hours. You.drift in and out of sleep. My throat was sore from the pipe that they put in to help you breathe so I havent really spoken.much. Its fine when I dont though.

Drinking is odd. Very small sips. At first I felt 'normal' but recently I have begun to notice what my consultant called a 'sleeping policeman' in my chest. Thie must be the wrap swelling like I read about on this site. Glad I had read that! Drink pauses on the way down then you hear a bubble and it passes. It is more disconcerting than sore. Worse if you forget and have a normal sized drink. It will take hours to have a drink. I have been working on some juice for.four hours and have had about an inch!! Then again I am in no hurry, I am not going anywhere.

All told the last twelve hours have been short, and I am feeling much more human now. The thought of breakfast - or lack of is interesting but I dont feel hungry so no loss there. I am glad I did it and I will let you know how I get on.

Kevin

Ps apologies for any typos writing this on my phone!

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 8/16/2011 6:52 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi, Kevin!

Welcome to the Healing Well yeah yeah yeah Wrapped Club! yeah yeah yeah

It sounds as if you're having a good start. I love reading your insights into what's happening to you at this very early stage. While we're all different in the way our bodies experience this surgery, there are some things that transcend those differences.

I remember my first swallowing after the surgery. The anesthesia does something, too. After more hours pass, you may find swallowing easier. Keep in mind, though, that the wrap swells more and more throughout the first two weeks, then begins to reduce. Many, (myself included) find it easier than they expected at the beginning, only to discover that the swelling changes all that. This too, will pass.

If you can get up and walk, it can help keep your shoulder pain at bay. The more you walk, the better--even if it's just around the house. While I was in the hospital I walked the halls A LOT.

It is interesting, isn't it, the way that liquids sit at the wrapped site and trickle down? Even now if I chug a lot of water I can feel it sitting there.

The wrap is doing its job.

Keep on top of the nausea, though. You can cause harm to your wrap by retching. Don't be afraid to take the nausea drugs regularly. Many here use Phenegran and Zofran. I think the Phenegran makes you sleepy, so they chose that one at night or when they wanted a nap.

Happy Healing! So glad you've joined us.
Denise

daddypig
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 90
   Posted 8/16/2011 9:38 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you Denise, and thank you for your support these past days.

I hear what you say about walking, and the swelling, I won't count my chickens just yet. They told me at hospital that the shoulder pain may yet get worse too.

So I managed to drink a little and weird as it was I took a llittle over an hour to have a weetabix. They let me go at 11am my time-England- and I've been sent home with anti sickness pills and painkillers. I am still sleepy but managed some soup, easier than the cereal. I cant believe that I was in and out in 24 hours! I had been booked in for three nights. Looking forward to seeing my two year old daughter soon and will try not to drive my wife too crazy!

Kevin

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 8/16/2011 10:16 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Kevin,

Glad they sprung you from the hospital! They probably book a longer time, just in case they need it. Generally we are in and out in 24 hours in the States, too. A few people have issues that require a longer stay.

Is Weetabix a hot cereal and therefore soft and easy to chew to a liquid? It sounds like it's full of fiber, which is something you'll want to avoid for a while, as fiber is very gas-producing.

What were your doctor's directions regarding what you can eat? I went home on a soft diet, but on Day 6, I switched to "anything that can be chewed to a liquid". That was such a blessing, as it opened up my eating possibilities.

Have a good day, and don't drive your wife too crazy! turn
Denise

PS--Walk, walk, walk, to keep the shoulder pain at bay!

glasslady
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 8/16/2011 11:19 AM (GMT -6)   
Nissen Fundoplication Surgery:
My Forum Journal
Hi, thank you so much for your journal. It reassured me so much as I have had a very similar healing experience. I was in the hospital for two days because I was unable to swallow at all for the first two days. Once I was able to swallow and I could take my medication that only comes in pill form I was free to come home. My doctor had to experiment with my pain management as all the usual pain meds make me itch like crazy. I came home with liquid Percoset and that worked out well. I only had to take it for about a week and a half and was pain free after that.
My issue: This is week 3 of my surgery and I have had my two week follow up visit. I was told I could move on to soft foods, from strictly liquid, and I was so "starved" for real food that I overdid it. Overeating is the worst thing you can do and I felt miserable. I am experimenting with what I can eat and how much I can eat but it looks like half a cup of bland food like scrambled eggs, oatmeal, mashed potatoes, etc. is about my limit. Ensure has been my friend and I am taking chewable vitamins and calcium.
The good news is I have had no heartburn since the surgery and I feel great. The bad news is I run out of steam around mid-afternoon and have to lay down for a nap that goes from an hour to two hours depending on how tired I am. I guess that is not bad for my third week post surgery. Yesterday I was reaching for something high on a shelf and I was hit by crippling pain that went from my sternum to my back. It felt more like it was in my back. I could hardly breath for about three minutes and it began to ease off. about an hour later I twisted at the waist to look at something and the pain hit me again, this time lasting for more like 5 minutes with a lot of soreness left for another 15 minutes or so. Now I'm afraid to move though I slept well and woke up feeling well. I don't know if anyone else has had this experience but I am hoping I didn't do any damage like pull a stitch or something. If anyone has had this experience, please let me know.
So far I have lost 5 pounds so I am down to 99.5 pounds. I am afraid to lose more weight as I am already quite small. I am 5 feet tall so that isn't a horrible weight yet, but I do hope I can keep it at only 5 pounds.
I asked my doctor if I could puree homemade vegetable soup and he said I could. That has been a lifesaver when I have to have something that isn't sweet. Also, he warned me against sweet juices because they cause gurgling and foaming at your throat that is very uncomfortable.
Another question I have is, how soon can I do exercise other than walking that will not hurt? I am used to doing yoga flow, aerobics, elliptical and stair-stepper and now I'm afraid to do any of those things. Can I pull a stitch or hurt myself just stretching? It seems so but I would like to hear what your experiences have been.

daddypig
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 90
   Posted 8/16/2011 2:36 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Glasslady. You are in front of me so I might not have anything useful but I wish you luck. I can say that my doctors told me to avoid bread and salad for three months, nothing fizzy for one month, and liquid for 2-7 days, after that mush, after 6-8 weeks semi-solid then three months on hopefully 'normal' or drop back if needed to.

On the physical side, I would get checked. My doctor told me I would be ok to pick up my two year old if and when stitches healed. Im not convinced!

Denise- yes if you add enough milk its a mushy cereal, ill keep an eye.

Kevin

glasslady
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 8/16/2011 4:11 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you so much for your reply. I had been feeling so well at two and a half weeks that I'm sure I rushed the food and the physical exercise. My doctor said not to lift more than 15 lbs but that may be too much for a small person. I've been given clearance to eat everything but bread and steak but since I can't even swallow my larger pills I think I will stick with small amounts of soft foods for at least another week. Also, extra vitamins really help. The new gummy bear vitamins are great and go down well. I'm scared of stretching in any direction now so I guess rest and walking are my only alternative. Thanks again, glasslady

glasslady
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 8/17/2011 9:53 AM (GMT -6)   
Rest and soft foods for a day have helped return me to my previous state, free of pain. I guess I just overdid my activities because I felt recovered. Don't let that fool you. Follow doctor's orders.
Glasslady

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 8/17/2011 3:09 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Glasslady,

I'm glad the recovery journal was helpful to you. I know what you mean, though. When you're recovering you have no way of knowing if what you're experiencing is normal or indicative of a problem!

Unfortunately, surgeons don't seem to really communicate much about the recovery. In my experience they tend to underestimate the challenges.

That's why this forum is so great! Many people here have had the surgery and know just what you're going through. I got a lot of support when I was in your place, recovering from surgery, so I decided to stick around and see if I could help someone else. I know how little good information there is out there.

Glad you figured out what was causing you problems.
Hang in there...be patient. Things will get better!

Take care,
Denise

daddypig
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 90
   Posted 8/17/2011 4:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Glad you got back on track. That is a relief well done! I'll take your advice, but can understand the impatience!

I had a rough day today, two days after op. felt very sick at six a.m. Stocked up on pills and fresh air, just about did it. Felt out of it a lot today, had lots of wind issues which were painful, but lots of sleep. On the plus side I Seem to have escaped with little shoulder pain tho so that's good. Am bracing myself for the swelling that you mention Denise, best to be forewarned! Glasslady did you notice a swelling change? Hang in there.

Kevin

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 8/17/2011 4:30 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Kevin,

The first few days are the toughest. Hang in there...you'll feel better soon!

Take care,
Denise

daddypig
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 90
   Posted 8/17/2011 5:07 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks, will do. Thanks again for the support it has really helped.
Kevin.

glasslady
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 8/17/2011 6:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Went out for lunch to meet friends from out of state. The only thing on the menu I could risk was soup but it was so good. Still can't eat much but it reminded me to post that a great meal is to purée vegetable or even chicken vegetable soup. Half a cup is all I can handle but its so good after all the sweet drinks like Ensure. Though I'm grateful to have it too. A little walk in the morning also helps keep that gas moving out! Thank you all for the great advice.
Glasslady

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 8/17/2011 8:04 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi glasslady,

I always went out to dinner throughout my recovery. In the beginning I ate precious little...the remainder of a bowl of soup would make me three more meals!

My only warning with your delicious vegetable soup is that it's possible it could cause some gas. Probably with the small amounts you're eating now, it wouldn't be a problem.

I agree, though. Enough already, of the sweet liquids!

Have a good night!
Denise

Darryl
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 100
   Posted 8/18/2011 10:23 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Dench,

Want to thank you for the post. I have just posted a new thread (Nissen countdown, 21 days) and if you read you may notice my underlying anxieties therein. Now reading what you've been through has given me considerably more courage than before.

Thanks for sharing. Good luck with the rest of your recovery.

Darryl

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 8/18/2011 6:33 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Darryl,

I'm glad my thread was helpful to you. I wrote it for just that reason. When I was in your place I was looking everywhere to get an idea what to expect. Many posts on the internet are very scary, and I was glad to find this forum and meet the fine people here. They helped me through my recovery and now I'm trying to do this for others.

I'm very glad that you started your own thread. That way you won't get lost in an older one and it will be much more accessible.

Welcome to Healing Well!
I'm glad you have joined us.
Take care,
Denise

MrsOrr
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/20/2011 9:54 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you so much for your post! My husband just had the surgery 5 wks & 2 days ago. I am wondering if you could give me a little light at the end of his tunnel. He is still having good days and bad days. He is really questioning if he should have had the surgery. Now the words from our surgeon was that he would regret having the surgery, but would then feel 100% better after the 6wks. Well my hubby is thinking he should be better by now. Will it really get better after 6wks or will it take a few more?

Thank you so much!

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 8/21/2011 10:05 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi MrsOrr,

Welcome to our little corner of Healing Well! I'm glad you found the journal helpful.

Tell your husband not to worry. He WILL get back to normal, but 5 weeks is WAY too early to be expecting normalcy.

Unfortunately, surgeons underplay the recovery time. I can't decide if it's because they haven't experienced it themselves, or that they don't want to discourage their patients from going forward.

When I came to this forum looking for answers before and after my Nissen, I was wisely told that most of the healing takes place in the first six months, and the remainder takes a full year. I would add that I have felt continued improvement throughout at least the first two years. Now I'm two and a half years post-op, and one day I realized that I'm even better than I was after the first year.

Your husband has had his upper GI tract completely revised! It takes time for him to heal and adjust. The outsides heal quickly and are deceiving. Keep in mind that his insides were mixed up with a beater. (Obviously an analogy.) Just because the outsides have healed does not mean that the swelling and healing issues inside have resolved. It takes time and patience.

I can just say that my goal after surgery (Feb. 28) was to be able to enjoy my summer vacation the beginning of July. That was 4 months. While it's hard to remember all the mileposts (I'm sorry I stopped posting my experience after the early weeks) I can remember my vacation milepost easily. I was able to go out to eat and could eat anything I wanted.

So although 5 weeks is far too early to expect smooth sailing, it will come. Is he being careful to take small bites and chew carefully and thoroughly?

If he can relax and surrender into his recovery's path, he will do much better. It doesn't do a bit of good to fight it. It will take its own sweet time! Still, he can look forward to better days.

He will be very glad he had the surgery. Right now he needs to be patient and allow the healing to occur.

Again, glad you've joined us! Please feel free to ask any questions or post any problems your husband is having. People here will be glad to share their own experiences and support.

Hang in there!
Denise turn
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