Welcome to Healing Well! It sounds as if you're in the right place. I found this forum nearly five years ago, just before my Nissen.
Good for you, seeking a second opinion, and finding someone who is willing to help. Your story sounds very much like mine. For about
six years, my asthma became progressively worse. I had extremely sick lungs. However, my GI doc did not think my reflux was causing the problem, and was certain that surgery would not help. My DeMeester score (PH monitor) was never very high...and he just didn't think the reflux was bad enough to cause me lung problems.
On a side note...my asthma doc says that most GI docs don't know anything about
how reflux affects lungs. They're focused on its effects on the esophagus. They don't understand that even a small amount of reflux can create havoc in the lungs.
My PCP worked hard to communicate with my GI doc about
the seriousness of my condition. He said my lungs were life-threatening. I was on high doses of inhaled steroids, and boosts of oral steroids to try to keep me breathing. Even with peak PPI dosage twice a day and 300mg Zantac at night, my lungs were horrible. Whenever I got a cold, or my allergies kicked up, my lungs would get even worse. I had frequent lung infections.
Still my GI doc didn't believe surgery would help. My PCP had a different opinion, and finally sent me to a surgeon himself. The surgeon did more testing, and I took that testing to my GI doc. I had learned enough to know that it's important to select a skilled Nissen surgeon to ensure a good result.
I guess at that point, my GI doc decided to take my PCP's concerns seriously, and told me I could either continue treating my reflux with medications (which is a joke, since they weren't helping), or he'd arrange for me to be referred to a surgeon (and he told me it was no rush to see the surgeon)
I went to see the surgeon he recommended, and had surgery 3 weeks later. I didn't know if the surgery would work for me, but I was out of options. I had adrenal insufficiency as a result of steroid overuse, my skin is thin and tears and bruises easily. The damage was done. I had a lung infection at the time of my surgery, but they did it anyway, as it was a "Catch 22"--my lungs wouldn't improve until the surgery was done.
I had the surgery in February 2009. My lung infection persisted, so I was on Rocephin shots, as my PCP wanted to bypass my stomach, which doesn't like antibiotics. Since my stomach was compromised by the surgery, I think it was a wise decision.
It took about
3 months for my lungs to heal, but heal they did, and they've been healthy ever since. I still have allergies/asthma, but now it's totally controllable. Coincidentally, I started Xolair injections last February, as my pollen allergies are bad. Even with bad pollen effects, my lungs are still 100% better than they were pre-surgery.
BTW, here's a link to my post-op journal. You might find it informative as you prepare for your upcoming surgery.www.healingwell.com/community/default.aspx?f=45&m=2183443
I understand your frustration. I just wish I'd pushed the issue during those six very sick years of constant coughing up junk. I'm a retired second grade teacher, and my bad lungs made every cold and bug I caught that much worse. My allergic asthma was much worse, too, since it was on top of already very sick lungs. Layer upon layer of inflammation.
I'll try to answer your questions:1) How long did most people stay on the a) clear liquid diet b) regular liquid diet My surgeon was very progressive in his diet recommendations. I was on liquids in the hospital, but he sent me home on a soft diet, and when I saw him at Day 6, he told me I could eat "anything that could be chewed to a liquid/creamy consistency." I took tiny bites, and chew, chew, chewed. I didn't swallow anything that didn't chew to a liquid. It was much more pleasant to use my mouth/teeth as my blender, as that's the best part of eating!
It's trial and error, but very doable, and makes life much more pleasant. He did say no untoasted bread (toasted is fine) or steak. The crock pot/slow cooker is a godsend. Things that are cooked for hours and hours become very soft and easy to chew. 2) Did you take liquid vitamins of chewable vitamins? I stopped multivitamins for a while, but took liquid calcium. If you can get liquids, it would be the easiest. Some people don't have trouble swallowing large pills. I still can't, as they get stuck. A little quirk that doesn't bother me in the least! The results of the surgery are worth that little inconvenience!3) How did most people feel by week 2? I return to work at that time.
As I said, I was a teacher. I planned to return half days at 2 weeks, but because of the condition of my lungs, and the many sicknesses in my classroom, my TA, principal, and PCP said "No way!" I ended up staying out for 6 weeks, which is ideal, as when I went back I felt great, and was able to go full speed ahead. Two weeks will be challenging, as you'll be recovering from major surgery. You'll be tired and sore. There are others who've done it, and hopefully they'll be around soon to provide their thoughts on the subject.
I suggest you copy and paste your introductory post in a new thread on the main page, so you can ask questions and get support more readily. Here's the link. www.healingwell.com/community/default.aspx?f=45
Just click on the "Post New Topic" button in the upper left-hand corner of the page. Once you do that, I'll copy and paste this response there as well, since it might be helpful to someone else searching out information regarding a Nissen for lung issues.
Again, glad you've joined us! We'll be here to support you through your surgery and recovery, as well as answer whatever questions we can!Best wishes,