Nissen Fundoplication - 2 Months On

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New Member

Date Joined Dec 2011
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 1/7/2012 6:46 AM (GMT -6)   
I've read a lot of useful resource on here both pre and post op so thought I would share my own experience and see if anyone could relate to where I am now following their own surgery. I'm a 33 year old man. I had a large hiatus hernia and serious reflux and medium damage to my oesophagus. I had a laparoscopic nissen fundoplication done on 2 nov 2011.
The first few days were pretty rough and getting anything down was fairly uncomfortable. I wasn't expecting it to be much easier. I lived of mainly soup and sloppy breakfast for the first two weeks then slowly introduced things like pasta, potato, mince etc. Around the 6 week mark I could eat pretty much anything as long as I chewed it up properly and gave thought to it. I had my first steak a few days ago, made it on the rare side And managed fine. Although yesterday I had a toasted panini with cheese and onion, didn't chew it very well as I was chatting, it got stuck for about 25 mins which was a little distressful but managed to shift it with water eventually and a few attempts to be sick which just isnt possible for me yet. I've had a few of these episodes but I was expecting it and my food used to hold up in my hernia so I was mentally ready for it. Overall the eating side of it was much as I expected and got easier over time and I'm expecting it to keep improving I can eat most things now and managed Xmas dinner ok. Although I will say my portion sizes are smaller and I can't eat as much as I used to and get full much quicker. That is positive though. In terms of drinking I had wine 4 weeks after my op and fizzy drinks and alcohol about 6 weeks after and managed fine without any discomfort although alcohol does seem to set me back a few days in terms of discomfort and bloating.
I've had no heartburn symptoms at all since the op and not taken any ppi's whatsoever I worry about not leaving the house with any but never have any problems. Which is great and the main reason I had it done.
My only worry has been physically I still dont feel myself. I've lost a stone in weight going from just over 14st down to just over 13st which hasn't done me any harm. I work in an office and returned to work 2 weeks after surgery. Some days are ok and others are difficult I can feel bloated and sick and struggle to see out a day at work even sitting at my desk. I'm putting this down to the discomfort of sitting up and it squashing my stomach and creating bloating and feeling sick. I can't help feeling if I did a physical job I wouldn't of been able to work since the op in fact Im fairly sure I wouldnt of been able to. Some days I've gone into town shopping and had to come home after half an hour due to feeling sick uncomfortable and bloated. The weird thing is as soon as I get home and lie down for half an hour I feel fine and the wind seems to pass as flatulence. I could belch from around 4 weeks and I know when I could do that it helped massively. Im seeing my surgeon in 2 weeks and am hoping these feelings will subside in time as I've heard it can take months for it to heal properly and feel normal again. I do want to be more active and get to the gym again but it's not possible at the minute. So in summary for myself the eating was fine and got better as expected but physically I'm not as capable at this stage as I thought I would be and hope this daily uncomfortableness will subside.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 1/7/2012 10:27 AM (GMT -6)   
Dear Elrobbie,
Welcome to the Healing Well yeah yeah yeah Wrapped Club! yeah yeah yeah Glad you've joined us.  It sounds as if you're making excellent progress.  I think it's quite amazing that you've already eaten steak.  Untoasted bread and steak are two of the toughest things to swallow. 
Like you, my surgeon set me free to eat anything that could be chewed thoroughly (he said "to a liquid").  I also found that I could handle anything that fit that category. 
While your outsides heal quickly it takes much longer for your insides to recover.  Organs were moved around, your hernia was repaired, and your stomach was stretched, wrapped and stitched.  It takes time for your upper GI tract to become accustomed to the changes and heal throughly.  I was told it takes a full six months for the majority of healing and a year for the rest.  I found that I continued to improve into the second year.
It is natural that your stomach would be reactive at this time.  It has been through a lot!  You might want to baby it a bit.  Let your stomach tell what it likes and doesn't, and be understanding if it is unhappy so soon after surgery.  It takes time to heal.
When you get something stuck, try to relax and just keep swallowing either room temperature water or warm tea.  A warm drink helps to relax your esophagus and helps it work better.
When I was at your stage more experienced "wrappers" here told me that when something got stuck I should think of it like a "hairball" that cats get and need to cough up.  I have found in all cases I was able to swallow whatever it was, rather than cough it up.  Just try to keep your mind on chewing and swallowing when you're eating. 
As far as vomiting, I don't know what your surgeon told you, but I was told by him and here that I should avoid vomiting at all cost, especially in the early stages of recovery.  An episode of bad retching or vomiting can damage your wrap and make it fail. 
That said, at the two year mark a vomiting bug snuck up on me.  I didn't know if I'd be able to vomit (my surgeon said no), but I did.  Immediately, though, I took my anti-nausea drugs to stop a repeat.  This situation happened another year later.
If you haven't gotten a prescription for anti-nausea drugs, be sure to do so ASAP.  You'll want to be prepared.  I carry them wherever I go, just in case.  Most here use Zofran and Phenegran.  I've found suppository form Compazine works really well for me, although I take Zofran with me because a tablet form is more easily taken.  With the Zofran, though, the dissolveable ones are preferred in my experience, as they melt under your tongue and can be absorbed that way.  Once something gets into a sick stomach it's more likely it'll be vomited out before it starts to work.
It's totally normal that your stomach is fuller much more quickly than before.  This is mostly due to residual swelling of the stomach, which is interpreted by the brain as fullness.  This will resolve over time.
Remember you had major surgery (laproscopic procedures give the impression that healing is complete much earlier than it actually is), so it's totally natural to be more worn out.  As time goes on you'll recover that energy.  Be patient.
If you can surrender to your recovery (it seems that you have) and accept it as it is, you'll find things much easier.  You can't rush it...your healing will happen in its own good time.  It sounds as if everything is progressing as it should be.
Again, glad you've joined us!
Best wishes,

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2011
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 1/12/2012 4:55 PM (GMT -6)   
Wow, thanks so much for the detailed reply it's very kind of you to take the time to read and reply.
Another week on and I would say I'm definitely learning to live with uncomfortableness its causing. I'm pretty sure most of it is down to wind if I'm honest I need to burp a lot which I think is putting strain on my wrap and when lie horizontal I pass an awful lot of wind which seems to ease the general pressure and bloated feeling I have.
The steak I had was fairly pink and well chewed up so didnt create any problems. As you said as long as I chew sufficiently I would say I can eat most things now. Drinking fizzy drinks seems to be ok too although I need to belch a lot which creates strain.
I havent been back to gym yet and it's 10 weeks on now. I'm a bit worried to be honest but want to give light exercise in the gym a try soon.
When I'm lying down I forget I've had anything done and feel normal, except when I lie on my side and move from side to side then I can feel the tenderness.
Sitting in a chair for a long time is still definitely uncomfortable and walking fast seems to shake things up and remind me things aren't quite normal down there. I'm definitely learning to accept it and have moments when I wonder if it's going to settle down and others when I completely forget it's there. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what is going on sometimes but I'm confident I'm on the mend and I've had no heartburn at all and taken no ppi's and that was the main reason for getting this done.
I will say one thing I think drinking alcohol sets me back a few days. I like a good drink so it's not the best idea, that probably contributed to my condition worsening in the first instance.
I will update when I can. Hope my info helps people the way other info on here has helped me understand.
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