Should I even have the surgery?

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StellaNY
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 36
   Posted 1/16/2012 9:28 PM (GMT -6)   
I just joined as I will be having the surgery next month to repair my hyatal hernia and have the wrap. Listening to everyone's complaints has made me doubt the wisdom of having the procedure. Is anyone pleased with the result? We will be going on a cruise the end of May, that we have been planning for over a year, after 3 months will I be able to eat somewhat normally?

kyheart
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 515
   Posted 1/16/2012 10:04 PM (GMT -6)   
Stella

Please go into this surgery with an easy feeling.. I had the surgery on April 1,2011 and I am 62 years old. I have had no overwhelming issues with diet or anything else thanks to this forum and the friends that i have made here. The best advice that can be given is to have an experienced surgeon, relax into your recovery, do listen to your body, when it tells you no listen to it..

Yes by the time you have recovered 3 months you should have no problems with your cruise and your diet. You may still have some limitations but by 3 months I was eating a good variety of food.

I have not had any problems with reflux or pain from my hiatal hernia since I had Nissen surgery on April 1. I am happy with the results and if I had to ever do it again I would, in a heart beat. This surgery gave me my life back. I was throwing up every nite, I was clearing my throat, I had reflux induced asthma (all gone now), I took some kind of PPI for 12-13 years, yes I am happy with my surgery. BUT, you will have to change your eating habits for a while and you will probably lose some weight and this will not be a 2 week recovery. Your outside will heal quickly, your insides can take up to a year or more to COMPLETELY heal. That doesn't mean you will have restrictions for that long only that you will still be healing...

Please feel free to come to the forum to ask questions or to vent frustrations or to tell us about a road block you have jumped. We will advise you, we will support you we will listen to you and we will cheer with you.

I hope this has helped you in some way
Reach for the Sunshine... Rainbows will follow...
Sandi smurf turn tongue smurf tongue turn

StellaNY
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 36
   Posted 1/16/2012 10:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks, that is very reassuring. I will be 60 this week in fact. I too have been on a variety of meds for at least 25 years and while my symptoms are not as bad as you have experienced- I suffer from reflux with sore throats daily. My dad had esophageal cancer, so I am very concerned about getting that as well. I am prepared to take time to recover, I just do not want to worry about having my 2 week vacation ruined if I would still be suffering and not able to eat some amazing food! I have been thru back surgery and that did take a year to recover from. If the recovery would be a lengthy and awful one, then I would consider putting off the surgery until after our vacation, if necessary.

bowecho
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 146
   Posted 1/16/2012 10:47 PM (GMT -6)   
You will be fine by May. I had my surgery on November 22nd, and by Christmas I was able to eat pretty much anything except tough bread. Now I can definitely eat anything.

The surgery was the best decision I have ever made. My reflux was destroying my life, I was in pain 24 hours a day no matter what I ate. It was messing up my job, my relationship with loved ones, everything. I really had no choice but to do it. Now, 8 weeks later, I am back to the old me. I feel better than I have in a long time. My fiance and I are going out all the time eating and doing things I could never do before due to the pain. I am a huge believer in the surgery.

You will see a lot of negative stories online. Just keep in mind, someone who had a bad experience is much more likely to search online for similar stories and post their own. The majority of the folks that had a positive outcome are out enjoying the benefits of the surgery. I really have just stuck around because I like being a positive voice sometimes for folks that are struggling.

There is a trend you see on here, I've seen it many times since I started reading the board in mid November. Almost everyone second guesses the surgery during the first couple of weeks (I did), the first few weeks of recovery are pretty rough, I won't sugar coat it. Slowly over time you see posts about people feeling better, then a lot better, etc. I found you can only really measure the recovery by week. Its slow, so you won't really see many changes day by day, but if you look at it week by week, you'll see huge improvements. During the first few weeks you just need to relax, take your medicines and let your body heal. Its been through a lot.

Good luck!!

Tony

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 1/16/2012 11:05 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Stella,
Welcome to te forum!  Glad you've joined us.  I'll also join the 60 Club in June.  I had my surgery in February 2009, and can tell you that I was prepared for a much more difficult recovery.  Still, from my experience, it's better to expect the worst and find it is easier, than (as some do) think that it's an easy recovery (many if not most surgeons underestimate the recovery difficulty and time). 
 
Here's a link to my recovery journal from the first 19 days post-op.  If you haven't seen it, it might give you some insight into what you can expect.
 
Recovery from this surgery is much easier for those who can relax into it and go with the flow.  If you can surrender to it and follow it where it takes you, you'll find things much easier.  Those who struggle against it and try to rush things, find it very frustrating.
 
That's my only fear about having a 3 month deadline.  A cruise is all about great food and eating.  I really fear that the 3 month mark might be pretty tight.  Sandi has been through the surgery more recently, and can probably remember better what eating was like for her at the three month mark.
 
I had a 4 month goal because that's when we took a vacation.  I do remember that I was able to eat pretty much anything at that point. 
 
I would hate to see you spend your first three months of recovery stressing over your progress and worrying that you might not be ready for your cruise.  It really depends on how flexible you are regarding what you want to feel like on your vacation.  As they say, on those weight loss commercials, "individual results vary".
 
I don't want you feeling that we misled you!
It's a decision only you can make.  We'll be here for you, though.  If you'd like any further information before you make that decision, ask away!
 
Again, glad you've joined us!
Best wishes,
Denise
 
 

Post Edited (dencha) : 1/17/2012 7:51:49 PM (GMT-7)


imstarryeyed
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 95
   Posted 1/17/2012 2:13 AM (GMT -6)   
Stella, I had the surgery to repair a very large hernia just over a month ago. Most of my stomach was in my chest. I haven't tried to eat EVERYTHING yet, but I feel I could. I've had no problems eating at all. I no longer have any pain although I'm careful not to lift or do anything strenuous. If your recovery is like mine you'll be just fine to go on your cruise and enjoy yourself. That being said, everyone's recovery is different. BTW, I'm 59.

Best wishes,
Starry

StellaNY
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 36
   Posted 1/17/2012 5:26 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks so much for all your posts, I am feeling calmer now .I did find reading your journal was VERY helpful too. I may print it out to show my husband. I did my "homework" and I did meet with 3 different surgeons, after discussing the surgery with my GI. And I was sent for all the key tests, the manometry and barium swallow, had the endoscopy already. I had less issues/concerns when I had surgery, maybe 5 years ago for a spinal fusion, and that had a terrible, painful recovery with NO improvement either. I guess it is because we are going on this amazing cruise to Greece and Italy and I really really want to enjoy the food! What type of food restrictions should I expect 3 months after surgery? There is so much that I have not been able to eat in years and I am really looking forward to the pleasures of having a glass of wine, something that I always regret now.

tracks83
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 149
   Posted 1/17/2012 5:52 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Stella,
I see your from NY. I am as well. Is your doctor in the City? I'm a sufferer myself and I'm at the point where I think I'll have to have surgery. My colleagues friend used Dr. Sonett from Columbia Pres. And he feels terrific. Lives a normal life. I'm hesitant but after meeting my colleagues friend it look encouraging.
Let us know how you feel. If you want you can email me I would love to hear your results and if you could share your dr I may look into them.
Good Luck... I'm sure you'll be fine.
T.

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 1/17/2012 6:26 PM (GMT -6)   
I was enjoying everything at 3 months, but I was limited some in how much I could eat.
Joy

imstarryeyed
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 95
   Posted 1/17/2012 7:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Stella, I saw my surgeon today, 5 weeks post nissen, and he told me no food restrictions, just chew really well, and don't eat too much at once.

Starry

StellaNY
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 36
   Posted 1/17/2012 9:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks- that does sound very doable. If I cannot eat too much then less likely to gain weight on our cruise. My husband has been telling me for years that I eat too fast anyway. Always thought that was because I grew up with 3 brothers and wanted to make sure that I got seconds, if I wanted any .

How are you feeling now as to energy levels? Almost back to normal? Back to work? I have my own business and have decided to pretty much take off for at least a month- so no pressure as to getting back to work and I have a home office anyway. How much weight did you all lose?? While I would love to lose a few pounds, I am only about 5 feet now and cannot afford to lose more then 10-15 pounds. Then I would finally be back to "wedding weight."

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 1/17/2012 9:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Stella,
Hey, I forgot that huge benefit.  You'll lose weight effortlessly, and be ready to wear that bathing suit! 
 
I was back to teaching a class full of second graders by that time, and it's a very energy-intensive activity!  I don't really remember having any energy problems.
 
My husband and I never stopped going out for dinner, and I'm sure by month 3 I was able to eat a wide variety of foods.  You'll definitely have to learn to slow down and chew, chew, chew. 
 
Also be sure to order tea or non-iced water with your meals.  If something gets a little stuck (I remember this one cherry tomato...) you'll be able to keep swallowing to get it down.  When that happens you will likely get some discomfort at the wrap site, but it will pass.  Just relax.
 
Just so you're flexible regarding how much you'll be able to eat, you'll do just fine.  You'll be able to sample widely, but you won't be able to eat huge quantities without suffering GREATLY.
 
Good luck!
Denise 

imstarryeyed
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 95
   Posted 1/18/2012 1:39 AM (GMT -6)   
Stella, My energy level is pretty much back to normal. In fact, it was soon after surgery. I was Christmas shopping 6 days after surgery and just had to take breaks more often. All people are not the same. I feel very lucky but by 3 months you'll be fine, I'm sure.

I retired from teaching last year so I don't have a job to return to. I could easily be back at work now if I was still working. I walk everyday and do my usual activities.

I haven't weighed myself lately but my first doctor's visit, 3 weeks post op, I'd lost 9 lbs. My surgeon told me if I didn't want to lose weight to drink milkshakes.

Best wishes,
Starry

StellaNY
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 36
   Posted 1/18/2012 9:23 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks, this is all so helpful. I usually do not get "cold feet" after I have made key decisions, but after reading so many of the entries here, I was beginning to have doubts. I do not mind losing maybe ten pounds, but more then that and all my clothes would no longer fit. Not quite ready to have to buy an entire new wardrobe. So, what would be the most challenging part of the recovery? I like to feel that I am ready to handle the worst, as long as it would be for the short-term

imstarryeyed
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 95
   Posted 1/18/2012 1:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Stella,

I think the most challenging part of recovery, for most people, is the restricted diet and difficulty swallowing. I didn't have that problem but I was mentally prepared to have nothing but liquids for a month, if needed. When I was released from the hospital, 2 days post op, my surgeon told me to eat soft (soup, pasta, cooked veggies) and everything went down fine. I was cautious and chewed well, small bites.

You can't get around the pain you'll have for a while so remember to take pain meds as long as you feel the need. You may need nausea meds too. I asked for them in recovery (IV) and haven't needed them since.

Everyday will get a little better and by week 2 you'll feel MUCH better. It helps to have a comfortable place to sleep, like a recliner, because it's hard to sleep on your side. That took me about a month. I slept in a chair for a few nights.

Some things that gave me comfort in recovery was warm tea with honey, saltine crackers (well chewed) and a rechargeable hot water bottle. I also bought yoga pants with a soft wide band which I wore a lot. Just be ready to do nothing but pamper yourself for a month. If you do have problems getting food down and start losing weight, I'd have a high calorie protein supplement on hand.

Be prepared for the worst and you'll probably be surprised at how well you do.

Starry

opnwhl4
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4961
   Posted 1/18/2012 2:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Do ask for anti nausea meds to have on hand at home. You don't want to even come close to vomiting after this surgery. Mot only is it very painful, it can damage the wrap. I keep these meds with me at all times.

Take care,
Bill
opnwhl4
Moderator: GERD/Heartburn
Nissen 6/06 and 5/09
#3 on 8/24/11

StellaNY
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 36
   Posted 1/18/2012 7:46 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks all, I was seriously considering canceling the surgery after reading other posts online. I will be seeing my regular doc tomorrow to get cleared for surgery.

So, I need : anti-nausea meds, liquid Tylenol, Gas-X, and ginger tea. Anything else that I should have in the house beforehand? I read somewhere about getting a pill-crusher too. My husband, who has become the cook, has promised to make me home-made broth and whatever else that I will be able to eat. February will all about catching up on my reading and lots of bad movies.

opnwhl4
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4961
   Posted 1/18/2012 8:32 PM (GMT -6)   
As for the negative posts online, please remember those people that have positive experiences usually won't post anything. Now anyone with negative issues will search out and post with like minded people. also most people with problems early on jump the gun post bad experiences without allowing their body to heal. this takes way longer than just a couple weeks that a lot of people presume.
This is a tough recovery, I will not sugar coat it, but the end result is SO worth the the trials we have during recovery.

I have seen a big swing in new people here that after a few days to a week believe it is a failure. Not so, after a few more weeks most of them are way better and seem like totally different people. This can be life changing for someone who is deemed the right candidate for this surgery.
I can't stress enough that you have to look down the road to the 4 to 8 week mark. Yeah the liquids and soft foods only for the first few weeks in a pain, but this allows our body to heal. After the swelling goes down around 2 to 4 weeks most people start improving very quickly.

I probably should be angry as how mine have turned out, but the relief I get when it's healed is so much better than I have felt in 20 years. I am not the poster child for normal nissens either. I am on my 3rd in 5 years or so. I am so impressed with the results I couldn't wait to have mine repaired again this past August. That one was done as an open surgery and I am thrilled with the results. In case you haven't read my story I will post a link to it. Some think it's an interesting read and my GI thinks I should start a blog on my experiences with this.

www.healingwell.com/community/default.aspx?f=45&m=2276616&g=2300908#m2300908

It is the 8th post by me I believe.

Take care,
Bill devil
opnwhl4
Moderator: GERD/Heartburn
Nissen 6/06 and 5/09
#3 on 8/24/11

linann923
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 2/8/2012 12:44 AM (GMT -6)   
Denise, thank you for your journal. As I am going through my recovery, it is helpful to read your account of the same time frame. You had different issues than I, but many phases similar. Again, thanks much.
 
Linann turn
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