Very Slow Recovery Process

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somedaysarediamonds
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 363
   Posted 9/1/2011 10:14 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm over 5 weeks post-op now and while the ACID reflux is better/mostly gone, I'm very surprised how weak I am. I just don't feel that well at all.

I mostly only tolerate liquids and extremely soft stuff as part of a very small diet and my weight continues to drop as I've lost 33.5 lbs as of this morning.

I still have nausea several mornings a week which wakes me up and I have to get up out of bed or feel as if I might throw up. My stomach remains "sour" a good bit of the time and I appear to have what the surgeon refers to as entra-esophageal reflux.

In other words, if I eat anything at all much after 4 pm it doesn't want to go past the wrap and it stays inside the esophagus and "refluxes" back into my mouth and wakes me up early in the morning.

I can tell my wrap is still very swollen and I have a lot of gas below the wrap. I had the most post-op pain I've ever had last night at a movie theater that was jam-packed and it was more trouble to crawl over people to get out than it was to sit there in pain so I sat there.

I took 2 Gas-X after the movie and it got better but my stomach looked as if I were 5 mos pregnant when we got home and I was in tears.

It's so hard to know what is something acceptable at this stage of my recovery and what is something I need to be concerned about. I live in a relatively small city and my surgeon seems somewhat perplexed at my slow progress towards recovery. I think maybe most of his patients are younger than I am although he hasn't told me as much because most of them I know are younger.

I think I've probably complained enough on this forum that some people don't want to hear it since it might discourage other people or they've just grown tired of it.

Everyone loves a good story with a perfect story-line and a happy ending but I suspect that there are others out there like myself who might not have the best of post-NF journeys and they become discouraged and leave the forum.

I'd like to think that whatever the outcome is from NF that people will be treated with compassion no matter how quickly they recover or if they ever recover completely at all. We aren't always completely in control of how or if we recover.

Just thinking out loud . . .
Rita
Falling down is part of life, getting back up is living. -Unknown

Lap Nissen Fundoplication August 1, 2011

Cindy123
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 9/1/2011 11:30 AM (GMT -6)   
Rita, I know exactly how you are feeling. I have had my surgery 7 months now and I am still not back to where I want to be. I still get bloated and gas. I still have to take gas x at night before I go to sleep. My burping is still not back to normal and not sure that it ever will. Are you able to burp cause that will help with the gas. I get frustrated at times and feel so alone. I feel as though I am the only one in Canada that has had this surgery....is there anyone out there that is from Canada that has a good ending. Many people on this forum (which by the way I think are wonderful) have said to me that this process takes a whole year and what I am feeling is normal...what I would give to be able to one day tell my story with a happy ending.

Rita, give it time, 5 weeks is still so so soon. My 5th week I was on very very soft foods. I ate nothing hard, nothing harsh. I drank only warm or hot liquids and still doing that. I read your post where you were contemplating doing this surgery. Don't look back. I used to do that...it only makes it worse. Look at it this way, your reflux symptoms are better than what they were 5 weeks ago. One wonderful lady on this forum said to me to baby my stomach, give it what it wants and only what it wants. You will notice a huge difference around your six month mark, I did and so did most of the people here. I was told that it takes a full year to heal.

I didn't know about this forum until after the surgery. Imagine my surprise when my surgeon told me that I would recovery in about 2 to 4 weeks. I have just completed my 7th month...however, I have to look at it in a positive way or I'd go crazy.

Hang in there, just keep saying to yourself that I am going to get better and don't look back.

Lots of love

Cindy

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 9/1/2011 11:39 AM (GMT -6)   

Hi Rita,

Everyone here is treated with compassion.  However, when someone has been responded to multiple times, and been provided with support and information regarding the patience and time it takes to fully recover from the Nissen surgery, it seems redundant to continue to respond with the same suggestions and advice.

Do you have anti-nausea pills?  If not, they may be helpful.  You said you had gastritis before the surgery, and gastritis takes a long time to heal.  I am sure that it wasn't helped by the trauma of surgery.  I have spent months healing from gastritis, so it's not surprising that you're still struggling.  Be sure you take precautions and do not throw up, even though it seems like it might make you feel better.  Nausea is no fun, I know.

It is extremely common to lose a great deal of weight post op.  It all comes back with a vengeance, once you are healed and you are eating normally again, unless you are very careful.

I don't know how many ways I can say that the recovery will take 6 months for most of the healing, and a year for a full recovery.  I continued to improve through the second year as well, although I don't hear that mentioned much.  Little quirks and problems I'd had after one year have subsided further.

Of course some bounce back quicker than others.  There are many who have suffered as much as you post surgery.  You are not alone in that.  All I can say is that it will take all the patience you can muster to get through this. 

I have said this to many:
If you can surrender to your recovery and take it where it leads you without struggling against it, it will be much easier. 

Yes, you will have many challenges as you recover, but from what you've written your challenges were even harder to live with before your surgery.  It is easy to forget, once we've been wrapped, the unbearable condition that led us to take this very difficult step.

It's not easy.  I think that's where surgeons drop the ball. Whether they're afraid that people will back out if they know the full story, or just don't really know what the recovery is like, they definitely don't educate their patients enough.

My story of recovery is a very positive one.  That's because I chose to make it that.  I could have gotten on and moaned and groaned about all my pains, discomfort, and difficulties eating,etc., but I made the concerted effort to look at the positive, rather than the negative.  I asked questions, and when I feared that the reflux feelings I had might indicate that my surgery was a failure, but I didn't expect others to feel sorry for me.  Instead I was looking for information and others who had experienced what I was experiencing.  I was also looking for encouragement and courage to maintain a positive outlook during a very difficult recovery.

I chose to have this surgery.  I knew that it would be a difficult recovery.  In fact, I was so prepared for the worst that I was very surprised that it was as manageable as it was.  That said, it was not easy.  I know that. 

If you focus on the negative and don't think about what you would have been like if you continued to suffer with severe GERD, your recovery will be that much more difficult. If you can dig deep find the courage to take the attitude that your recovery, no matter how difficult, is well worth the effort, things will be much easier to handle. Otherwise, you will have a very long and difficult recovery.  Keep reminding yourself why you chose this path.

Attitude is everything here.  That's the reason Bill is able to cope with his many and continuing challenges so well.  Sure he/we get down sometimes--that's to be understood.  But time and time again, he chooses to fight the urge to be negative.  If you can put on a game-face and act "as if" things are going in the right direction, you will begin to believe it, and feel it,  and life will be more manageable and pleasant as you recover.

It's good that you're beginning to figure out what works and doesn't.  It's a trial-and-error process.  Hopefully you'll be feeling much better soon.

I hope today is a good day for you. 
We are here to support and share our own experiences.  There are many things we could be doing in our lives other than continuing to respond and support others on this forum.  We do it because we care, and appreciate the efforts of others who cared before us.

Hang in there.
Denise

Post Edited (dencha) : 9/1/2011 11:51:30 AM (GMT-6)


somedaysarediamonds
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 363
   Posted 9/1/2011 12:35 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks, Denise. I'll keep working on it.

Rita
Falling down is part of life, getting back up is living. -Unknown

Lap Nissen Fundoplication August 1, 2011

somedaysarediamonds
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 363
   Posted 9/1/2011 12:39 PM (GMT -6)   
Oh yes - Denise. I do have three kinds of nausea meds and I use them. I also use Gax-X when needed.

I have never been able to tolerate pain medication with any surgery I've ever had and this one was no different. I had no pain meds after leaving the hospital at all except for a few Advil. I've had to tough it out unmedicated.

Thanks.
Falling down is part of life, getting back up is living. -Unknown

Lap Nissen Fundoplication August 1, 2011

mudmagnetmum
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 1604
   Posted 9/1/2011 1:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Rita,

We're all here cheering you on - I'm sorry it's taking so long, but you mustn't translate your slow recovery into an assumption that you've made a mistake. You have a new hill to climb, but this one has an end - you will get there!

If you think about it, if you'd had a hysterectomy you'd expect to feel weak for about 6 weeks and then you only have an empty space to recover from - your stomach has to heal whilst still doing it's daily job of digesting - not an easy task!

This may be about as much use as a chocolate teapot to someone who's feeling as poorly as you - but I mention it just in case it helps. Morning nausea has always been a big feature of my GERD and is the symptom that drove me to the meds. It got much better once I started taking my ppi about 2 hours before bed. Occasionally I still wake up feeling a bit sick (possibly, I think, if I've slept on my stomach) - I find chewing some DGL knocks it on the head. Have you tried things like ginger tea or peppermint tea - you could keep some in a flask by the bed, ready for the morning (if it is the sort of thing that helps).

Are you still sleeping with the head of the bed raised? (Presume you are, but sometimes the obvious gets overlooked when we're feeling overwhelmed!).

Lastly - can you (or have you) get checked for anaemia? Anaemia slows down healing and makes you feel terribly tired and weary.

Oh - also zinc helps wound healing (some good science around to support that). Maybe you could search for some liquid zinc, or crush a zinc tablet and mix it with a small amount of liquid?

I'm probably not helping......... but I'm trying !! turn

MMM xx
New stuff: GERD. Interstitial Cystitis
Lifelong stuff: Food allergies, eczema, asthma

somedaysarediamonds
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 363
   Posted 9/1/2011 2:37 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks so much, MMM

Yep. We have an ergonomic/elevated bed which we purchased about 11 years ago when my GERD first started getting bad about the time I began meds on a regular basis with the GI.

I had the hysterectomy a couple of years after the gangrenous gall bladder was removed and they were indeed a walk in the park compared to the recovery from NF.

I've had recent blood panels and all is good as far as anemia goes.

I have a great deal of difficulty with supplements of any kind due to gastritis and anything I've tried post-op has been worse than when I still had reflux. Maybe because more of the acid was refluxing and now it stays in my stomach due to the wrap itself. I am bad on Nexium for a few more weeks as Tagament/Pepcid etc constipated me too much.

I'm actually following a blog now posted by a woman who had NF last year and I can go back and read day by day her very slow and complicated progress. Sometimes this kind of thing is better for how my brain works in that it is letting me see the bigger picture day by day - both up and down, back and forth - that this particular person has experienced. And we are similar in our recovery at this point.

She is doing well but at the same stage I am now, she was not doing all that well either and she is nearer my age than most people on Healing Well.

Maybe during these days of being confined to the house due to 100+ temperatures, being weak due to low intake of food and my stomach still trying to adjust to the trauma it is experiencing, having more than one outlet for expressing oneself is not a bad idea.

I never meant to be bothersome or hard-headed or difficult for anyone to relate to. It is what it is for me as far as my recovery goes.

By the time you're nearly 65 your body has been through a whole lot of things and mine also went through tonsillectomy, sinus and deviated septum repair and a general reem-out of my nostrils just to try to correct what could be causing all the sinus drainage. It was the GERD causing it. The NF was worse than all the sinus/tonsil surgery by far.

I'm a tough old broad and have been through a lot but this is still one of the hardest things I've ever gone through.

Who know. Maybe it really will get better.

Thanks for the encouragement.
Rita
Falling down is part of life, getting back up is living. -Unknown

Lap Nissen Fundoplication August 1, 2011

davinci817
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 119
   Posted 9/1/2011 7:55 PM (GMT -6)   
I don't think you are troubling anyone at all. Anyone with half a brain knows that most with really great stories don't stick around for long, if they seek these sorts of forums. It is usually those with a great deal of compassion or those that have suffered as well that are on these forums. You are in a really great place for what you are going through. It is very natural to seek out advice and comfort from others who have been where you are.

My GB removal pails in comparison but I was sure that something else was the matter and only six weeks out did I notice that I actually felt better. Desperately searched for others like me and now at least I can tell the next person that comes along that they will survive a horrible experience. It is very difficult to stay positive when you expected so much more. Gal, I am 41 and always been healthy up until my experience with GI problems and it still took me 6 + weeks to heal from what is normally a very successful and simple surgery that everyone else jumps merrily back from.

Not trying to me me me this but just wanted to show that what you are feeling isn't abnormal for some of us. Toss in the anxiety on top of it and it is extreme to us at the moment. You keep on venting until one day you are going to be telling someone else...."took me twice as long to recover as everyone else but I DID RECOVER"!

I wish there was a bit more that one of us could say or do that could make you feel better. Not trying to belittle your experience but you are still only 5 weeks out and your body has been through hell! IT WILL GET BETTER even when you feel your worst! Keep in mind that you can't take these nice drugs that everyone else gets to take, so your recovery is going to be more difficult. Something is going to give in a matter of time, it really will.

xxooxxoo
Bethanie

somedaysarediamonds
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 363
   Posted 9/2/2011 9:42 AM (GMT -6)   
Bethanie honey, your words above were like a sweet and soothing elixir from the gods this morning. I never recuperate like other people do and it always disappoints me but I always recuperate. I think the overall weakness at my age combined with how many years I was sick before the surgery has all contributed to a less than spectacular recovery for me at this time in my life.

I've very blessed to have people around me who understand including my wonderful husband who has waited on me hand and foot when I was just too nauseated ans swollen to do anything for myself. I can never thank him enough to begin to repay him.

Everyone at Healing Well has supported me in their own way and has been as patient as possible with me. I look forward to days of getting better and better and you have been such a blessing to me with your understanding and patience.

This is our high school reunion weekend and I'm going to attend if it kills me. I want to see all my old friends and enjoy the dancing and partying and show off my new nearly 34 lb weight loss. Vain, I know but it feels good at 64.

I appreciate you and your kind words more than you can imagine and look forward to the day I'm as recuperated as the rest of you. It will be a day I'll mark on my own calendar as the first day of the rest of my life.

Your friend,
Rita and big (((hugs))) to you as well.
Falling down is part of life, getting back up is living. -Unknown

Lap Nissen Fundoplication August 1, 2011

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 9/2/2011 4:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Dear Rita,
 
I am your age so I understand that as we get older things often seem tougher to overcome and I am sorry to read you are having a rough time post op.  Now tell me something positive.  :-)
 
What works for me is thinking about the good in my life and knowing that I will have tough times ahead but that I can handle the ups and downs.  I remember that life is not always easy but nobody ever promised me a rose garden so I must grow my own.
 
When you dwell on the negative aspects of life and compare your failings to another's successes, you can become depressed and discouraged.  You have heard that a positive mental attitude will imporve your outlook but you may find it hard to see the silver lining when the dark clouds loom.
 
Understand that even if you can't control outside circumstances, you can control your reaction to them.  Trust that people here in the forum have your best interest at heart. 
 
Be Well and stay positive.
 
Kindly,
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"

davinci817
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 119
   Posted 9/2/2011 5:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Rita - you rock out that 64 year old body of yours. At least there are some positives in this right? :P Maybe getting out and distracted will help distract you for a little bit too. Have a great holiday weekend with friends and family!

Bethanie

kyheart
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 513
   Posted 9/2/2011 7:06 PM (GMT -6)   
RITA

I am truly sorry to hear that you are continuing to have problems.. I am almost 63 and I am at 5 months post -surgery and I try always to be positive about the things happening in my recovery.. I have nausea every morning until I am up for a while and I have had to stop drinking coffee.. I love a good strong cup of coffee, but after my wrap, I drank it for a while with out a problem, then I realized that it was making me nauseous, so I stopped, I found out through trial and error that my tummy likes cold drinks in the morning.. so I do cold drinks now.. I just found out that traveling for too long at a time can cause my stomach to rebel also, traveling on vacation yesterday and today, I found that I can only eat very tiny amounts or my tummy will spasm.. thats ok, I get to see my kids and grandkids.

No matter what I have to give up or go through now, I cannot say that I wish I hadn't had the surgery. Yes I have some limitations that I wish I didn't but, I can lay down and sleep at nite without worrying about jumping up to make it to the bathroom to throw up acid.. I can also go a whole day, every day without pain from my hiatal hernia. I no longer take asthma meds, I no longer cough almost continuously.... there is so much I am thankful for that I directly attribute to the NF.

I know you do not need to hear me sing the praises of the NF when you feel less than jubilant about yours but, I have to agree with the others.. you are at 5 weeks, at 5 weeks I was still on semi soft foods and still asking my body "What do you want, what will you let me eat" in a way, I still do that, I continue to try to eat bread (toasted or otherwise) and my tummy says a resounding NO! I also cannot eat beef unless it is finely ground. I do ok with other meat such as pork chops and chicken and seafood, I eat very small portions still and I chew thoroughly.
I have pretty much come to terms with the fact that in order not to be sick, in pain and miserable, I will be a bit nauseous occasionally for now I have to give a few things up, maybe I'll have to give something up permanently but any of that is better than the alternative was.

I have lost about 45 pounds total and I don't know if I have stopped or not.. it didn't hurt me at all, as a matter of fact, I have lumbar stenosis and the weight loss has allowed me to cut back on the NSAID I take for that. My back doesn't hurt nearly as much as it did before the weight loss..

I sincerely hope that you find your catalyst to recovery.. mine is, I'm not as sick or fluffy as I was before and I am aiming not to get there again... I will have to work at it and concentrate on it, but I will accomplish it!

We all are here because this forum has helped us in some way, large or small and we all need to help, support and care for everyone else here.. you are one of us, help us support and care for someone else...

I hope that you wake up to a good day tomorrow!!

Sandi

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 9/2/2011 9:34 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Sandi,
 
Never fear...your healing will continue.  After my second year NF anniversary I suddenly realized that some of the things I'd struggled with off and on since the surgery had resolved.  I mentioned it to my husband in amazement, and he agreed.  Although they say that the remainder of the healing takes a year, I beg to differ!  I continued to heal throughout the second year as well.  So patience...it definitely takes time, but it's time well-spent!
 
I'm always looking for those rainbows! yeah
(((Hugs,)))
Denise

Cindy123
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 9/4/2011 3:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey guys, I tried to post my own thread but somehow I couldn't get it to work. I type this twice, this is my third time. My name is Cindy and I had the nissen wrap January 31, 2011. On the whole, I would say that I am doing okay, but I have a couple of questions that I am hoping that somehow can answer for me.

I can't seem to burp if I drink a tea or coffee first thing in the morning without eating something, i.e. toast, cereal or oatmeal etc. Why is that????? Sometimes I just want to have a drink without eating. I am also still having the problem of having to eat every two-and-half hours or so or the gas starts to build and becomes uncomfortable. Anyone have any suggestion. Will this go away in time?

I am scheduled for an endoscopy or possible dilation on September. I am afraid to have the surgeon do the dilation. I just want to hear from someone that this will go and there is no need for the dilation. If I could fix these two problems, I would have a wonderful story to tell. It's annoying .

Please let me know your thought...

Cindy

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 9/4/2011 3:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Cindy,
 
Actually, your post did show up in your new thread.  It's a mystery to me that you can't get to it! confused
 
Did you get my post regarding the new member who is looking for someone who has had the surgery in Toronto?  If not, scroll down the main page to find her.
 
Happy Holidays!
Denise

Cindy123
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 9/4/2011 8:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Denise, I did get your post and I responded to it about the girl in Toronto looking for a surgeon to have the wrap done.

Did anyone respond to my post...do you have an answer.

Cindy
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