1 Year After Nissen Surgery

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Cindy123
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 1/27/2012 11:50 AM (GMT -6)   

Sorry guys, but I just need to vent a little.  I am feeling sorry for myself.  I understand that many of you have suffered with acid reflux and definitely appreciate the nissen fundoplication surgery even though there may be some quirks that you have to live with.  I can’t imagine having to live with heartburn day in and day out or the endless wake-up at nights because of the acid.  For those of you who don’t know my situation, I had the surgery a year ago.  I had silent reflux that was causing some damage to my esophagus.  I got scared, panic and went straight for the surgery only after discovering that I had acid reflux three months prior to surgery.  I did most of the tests except for the motility text. 

After a year, I am still not where I want to be.  For the most part, I can burp but there are times that I can’t i.e.  if I am lying down.  I still get pains where the wrap is.  I used to be a bit of a health freak….I used to take i.e. psyllium husk (fibre) and fibre cereal almost every day.  Today I tried it and it was pure hell.  I am not a big meat eater so that doesn’t really bother me too much.  I eat lots of veggies and fruits, yogurts and cottage cheese and of course oatmeal.  I drink wheatgrass,  aloe vera gel, take probiotics and sometimes an enzyme with my BIG meals.  I take my vitamins.  My stomach still hurts if I feel hungry but don’t have the time to feed it right away.  I sometimes get a slight pain at the tip of my shoulder when I am hungry and of course I still deal with gas but I attribute that to either the veggies or can’t burp all the time.  The gas is  not there all the time so that’s basically minor. 

Can someone tell me please if all this is still normal.  Here is what I thought, I’d go in, get the surgery where I fix the acid problem and move on with my life, never expecting the recovery to be so long or the little quirks I might have to live with for the rest of my life.  Before the surgery, I could eat and drink any and everything.   Nothing bothered my stomach. wink


dencha
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Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 1/27/2012 12:25 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Cindy!
yeah   yeah yeah Happy Wrap Birthday! yeah yeah yeah You've made it through your first year...keep in mind that you'll likely get some additional fine-tuning of your upper GI tract into the second year.  Still, this surgery creates a back-up flap that protects the esophagus from errant acid that might sneak through the LES and damage your esophagus (or lungs, etc.)  Because of that fact, it will keep everything in the stomach better--including gas. 
 
You did a good thing for your esophagus.  That was your goal, wasn't it?  I do think that people who don't have severe reflux or LPR symptoms have a very difficult time with accepting the changes caused by the Nissen.  If things seemed peachy before the surgery, it will be very hard to see the positive afterward. 
 
It's unfortunate that you weren't able to talk to someone before the surgery who could have provided you with more information as to what you would experience after the wrap surgery.
 
I definitely do not think this surgery can be taken lightly.  It DOES create changes in your digestive system, and it DOES NOT repair the LES to the condition it was in when you were a teenager.  It DOES help keep acid in the stomach where it belongs.  In order to do that, a part of the stomach is wrapped around the esophagus, where it then becomes the gatekeeper of the stomach.  Everything you eat has to get through it. 
 
For those who've suffered with either extreme reflux symptoms, or LPR symptoms that are decreasing health and quality of life, the Nissen surgery is a lifesaver.  For me, it was literally a lifesaver--my lungs were dangerously affected.  Those of us who have suffered in this way find the "quirks" that remain after surgery to be well worth the effort. 
 
If anyone is considering this surgery it is important to know that there WILL be changes in the way your upper GI tract works and feels.  It has been changed.  For many people, that change is well worth it to be rid of the GERD/LPR issues they've been suffering.  It is something that is gladly accepted and is a welcome trade off for what they suffered prior to the surgery.  Still, it requires acceptance and a positive attitude.
 
Cindy, I know how hard your recovery has been, and I wish I could have helped make it easier.  I'm hopeful that you'll find some small additional improvements as time goes on.  I did.  I wish that you had been better informed, so you would have been able to decide if the changes would be worth it for you. 
 
I do think you may be extremely sensitive to these feelings, so they bother you even more.  I believe you're very tuned into your body, and probably have a heightened awareness of these changes.  I do think it's probably easier to notice them when you're feeling just fine prior to the surgery. 
 
I do think that what you've described is normal.  I do think that things like shoulder pain and some of the gas issues will continue to improve over the next year.  Still, there will always be differences. 
 
I hope you find peace with the whole thing.  I know it has been extremely difficult.  You know I'm with you all the way!
Take care,
Denise
 

Cindy123
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 1/27/2012 1:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Denise, you have always helped me to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you. I was feeling a little down today because of how much I hung on that one year recovery period thinking that my body will go back to functuning the way it was. You are right when you say that most people appreciate the surgery because of how much they suffered before the surgery . I am finding it hard to appreciate especially when I had no symptoms. I will continue to baby the stomach and hope for the best. I am seeing my surgeon on Monday to discuss my biopsies.

Thank you Denise.

Cindy

aeshleyrose
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 656
   Posted 1/27/2012 1:57 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Cindy!

Would you mind telling me what your symptoms were prior to surgery?

I wish I could be as reassuring as Denise, but I haven't had the surgery. But I hope that her advice takes you to where you want to be, recovery-wise :)

Take care,
Ashley

Cindy123
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 1/27/2012 2:12 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Ashley, I had zero symptoms. I started feeling a slight pain one day right where my esophagus meets the stomach, so I thought it was gas pain. I treated it for gas for a few days but somehow the pain wouldn't go away. I went to my doctor and he told me without doing any test that I have acid reflux. He wanted to put me on some acid pills. I refused to take them. I asked him if I can get an endoscopy done to see if there was something more serious...I was thinking cancer. He reluctantly gave me the paper to have it done. I had it done at a clinic…the results came back saying that I had acid reflux and some damage to the esophagus. Again, he said take the pills and in three months you’d be fine. I didn’t want the pills. I started goggling on the internet and got scared when I read about Barrett’s esophagus because of my silent reflux. I went back and asked to get a referral to a surgeon, hence my surgery. The surgeon ran his own set of tests and told me that I would be a good candidate for the surgery. I went ahead with the surgery because I asked the surgeon about the side effects of taking these acid pills, he said that they don’t know. I made my decision then without knowing any of the side effects of this surgery. I didn’t even know about the forum. I found it after the surgery.

I did it and I can’t look back. I can only work on getting better.

Ashley, are you planning on getting the surgery?

aeshleyrose
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 656
   Posted 1/27/2012 2:27 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Cindy,

Thanks for answering! I know you're having your own troubles right now so it's very touching that you will take the time to ask after me.

I'm really up in the air right now. I've been thinking of it as surgical Oz - like everything will be okay if my symptoms continue because I can always use my last resort by having the surgery. PPI's work for me day to day as long as I follow bland vegan diet, but any deviation from that (even a single slice of pizza) gives me heartburn. I also still regurgitate a lot, although it's painless when it happens.

However, I have only been seeing my GP this whole time, and the only tests he has done are physical examinations, an EGD (which was normal), and an ultrasound which revealed a 2-cm gallstone.

I see my GP again on Monday, where I will beg for a referral. I've been seeing him for 8 months now and I don't even have a diagnosis (I'm on an NHS system). I have no idea if they'll want to remove my gallbladder, which I would be more nervous to have than a Nissen - from what I have read, it's a 50/50 shot at making reflux either better or worse.

Gaa! So many things!! :)

Please keep us posted on your progress! I really have my fingers crossed for a complete recovery for you. I know what it's like to set a health goal and not have it happen - it's so disappointing. But I see that you are a strong woman and that you will get through this and be better on the other side. You've come so far already!

Ashley

Cindy123
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 1/27/2012 2:39 PM (GMT -6)   
Ashley, to give you some encouragement, my cousin just did the surgery 2 months ago and she is completely happy with it. She was worse than you. A piece of toast would give her severe heartburn. She would throw up constantly. She would go days without eating becauses of the consequences. This went on for almost 16 years. She didn't know she could fix it with surgery. She had even stopped taking the pills. Now she has ZERO heartburn, she can eat and drink any and anything i.e. orange juice, tomatoes, pizza...you name it, she can eat it. When I complain, she yells at me. She would do the surgery again in a heartbeat.

I can honestly say that if I was going through what most people on this forum are going through or went through, I would be completely happy with what I have today. I am bit of a perfectionist. I want to fix everything and has it has to be right away. I wish you luck in decision. I hope you are able to get your referral. Can you not demand it.

I live in Canada but I am very assertive with my doctors.

Take care...it was nice chatting with you. As for Denise, she is wonderful.

LocalGuy23
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 620
   Posted 1/27/2012 2:53 PM (GMT -6)   
Cindy,

Do you take any acid reducing medicines now?

I initially tried medicines without no help....this is what led me to my decision to go with surgery.

I am booked for February 6th.

I no it's no cure but I hope it betters my situation now.

Hope you start feeling better...

Cindy123
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 1/27/2012 3:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Maximus I took some zantacs before my surgery but nothing after. I don't get any heartburn just mostly gas and more a discomfort feeling now even after a year....very disappointing. It's almost as though my stomach is still healing.

Good luck with your surgery. I know you will benefit from it greatly. At least you have this forum before going into surgery. You know what you are getting yourself into, know about the recovery time and the little quirks that might come after. You are prepared for it. Please let me know how things go after the surgery. I will you all the best.

Take care

Cindy

LocalGuy23
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 620
   Posted 1/27/2012 11:45 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Cindy. I wish you the best as well too.

It's countdown time....9 days left till surgery. I'm getting more nervous as it gets closer. But I guess that's natural.

I just finished watching a movie called 50/50 and it kinda freaked me out a bit.

It's about a boy who recently found out he has cancer and has to under treatment and surgery.....I was like wow....that kinda sounds like what I went through except the cancer part. But anyhow I hope for a good outcome from the surgery.

Take care.

Max

Cindy123
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 1/28/2012 8:44 AM (GMT -6)   
Max there is no question that it's a scary surgery. You have more fear than I did. I didn't know any of the consequences of the surgery. I trusted my surgeon completely. There are so many things that could have gone wrong. I didn't even know at the time how many of these surgeries he performed before.

You'll be fine. Put your trust in God and know that he is holding your hands. Say a prayer before you go into surgery. It doesn't matter what your faith in. We all know there is a higher power out there.

Think of the brighter side and the reason you decided to go for this surgery. It's a short term pain for long term gain. You are doing the right thing. Only you know how much you suffer. This is no way to live if something can be done. Don't let my store scare you. Anyhow I was feeling a minute of what you are going through I would have opted for surgery.

Take care. Keep us posted. I love this forum. It helped me a lot.

opnwhl4
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4961
   Posted 1/28/2012 1:14 PM (GMT -6)   
Cindy-

I am curious if you have any problems with getting food to pass through your wrap? My reason is since you have so much gas pain issues that maybe yours is just a bit tight and may settle in better after a few more months.

thanks for sharing your story with us. It's good to hear from everyone good and bad as it helps others with their surgery decisions and to know what to expect.

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

Cindy123
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 1/28/2012 10:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Bill I think I discovered what my problem is. I have not been chewing my food properly. I have been eating the way I used, rushing to finish my food. I changed all that today and have been fine. When I see the doctor on Monday I shall let you guys know.

Thanks. I really need to get a better understanding of how this wrap works.

Thanks

Cindy

opnwhl4
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4961
   Posted 1/29/2012 12:05 AM (GMT -6)   
Cindy

Glad you figured it out. I too had a problem with changing how I ate. Hope everything keeps getting better.

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

LocalGuy23
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 620
   Posted 1/29/2012 1:21 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Cindy. 8 more days till surgery...eek! But you're right I'm doing the surgery for a reason. Thanks.

Cindy123
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 1/29/2012 10:11 AM (GMT -6)   
Bill this forum is wonderful and even though I read a hundred times about chewing my food properly, it didn't sink in. I was perfectly fine yesterday. I ate smaller portions and chewed it thoroughly. I am so happy now. Before these two days, it took me less than five minutes to finish my food. I had very little gas yesterday.

Bill are you saying that if the wrap is a little too tight that it's possible over time it will loosen up. I hope so and can anything be done to fix that? Please let me know.

Max you are one more day closer. I am rooting for you.

Cindy

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 1/29/2012 10:44 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Cindy,
I know your question was for Bill, but I'll add my two cents!  Yes, wraps do tend to loosen a bit over time, so as that happens you'll likely have more relief via burping.
 
Wow.  I can't believe in all the times we've chatted I never even thought about discussing chewing your food well!  Yikes.  I'm not a very good mentor, am I?
 
Yes, even after the surgery you need to eat slowing and chew throughly.  That's because your wrap is tighter than your LES, which is why it works.  Whenever I forget, or am in a hurry, I always suffer afterward.  Eating slowly is good for us anyway. 
 
On Friday I went to a breakfast put on by one of my neighbors, and as I ate my first serving everyone else had seconds.  I enjoyed my meal thoroughly, and was satisfied with just the one serving...If I was wolfing food down, I'm sure I'd have had another helping as well.  Chewing thoroughly gives us a chance to really enjoy our food!
 
My apologies for not thinking of that!
Silly me.
Give me a call so we can chat!
Denise

opnwhl4
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4961
   Posted 1/29/2012 5:53 PM (GMT -6)   
Cindy-

Yep Denise got it. It takes some time, but it will settle in and make it easier to burp. I also forgot to mention eating slowly and chewing very well. Guess there are just so many little things to remember about this recovery.

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

Cindy123
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 1/29/2012 8:36 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Bill and Denise. I appreciate all the help you have given me.

Cindy

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 1/29/2012 9:20 PM (GMT -6)   
yeah   yeah yeah Our pleasure, Cindy! yeah yeah yeah yeah

Cindy123
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 1/31/2012 9:08 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey guys I did say that I would let you know my results from the endoscopy and colonoscopy.  Everything came back normal.  My surgeon said that I don't have any acid reflux happening.  My esophaugus is fine.  He did mention that I might get some accumulation of gas where the wrap is and to avoid that, I should eat small amounts every two hours and to stay away from foods that cause gas or limit them to small amounts.  I don't need a colonoscopy for another 10 years. 
 
I went out celebrating with well-deserved dinner and drinks.
 
What a relief!!!!!!! turn turn turn turn turn
 
Cindy.
 
p.s.  Bill and Denise, eating smaller portions and chewing properly really really works.  Thank you.

aeshleyrose
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 656
   Posted 1/31/2012 9:35 AM (GMT -6)   
Woo hoo, Cindy! That's great news. I am very happy for you!! Let us know how the smaller portions more often works for you!

Ashley

Cindy123
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 1/31/2012 9:41 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Ashley. I have been eating the smaller portions for three days now. I feel great. I can manage this now.

Cindy

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 1/31/2012 11:44 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Cindy,
Could you check out birdiesic's bloating post on the main page, if you haven't already?  She's looking for help, and I know that bloating was a big issue for you during your early stages of recovery...
Hope you're having a good day!  We'll have to chat again soon.
Denise

Cindy123
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 1/31/2012 12:27 PM (GMT -6)   
Denise, I will

Cindy
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