Had GERD Nissen Fundoplication Done Recently

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kleiss
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 2/13/2012 1:44 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey everyone.. My name is Kevin, I am 21 years old and have barretts esophagus due to bad GERD. I had a lap nissen fundoplication in order to halt any further damage to the esophagus, and the procedure was performed on December 23rd, 2011. My surgeon is very reputable from what people have told me, and he also has done this surgery over 680 times, so I was trusting everything I had in him. I didn't have to bad of a recovery the first few days - It was surgery, it wasn't fun, but it seemed like he was cautious with the surgery to not make things anymore painful than they had to be.

I am now 5 weeks and 5 days I believe it is, and I understand what everyone is saying about the gas and bloating etc., it is very annoying. What I am more concerned about is the feeling in the back of my throat or chest, and sometimes at the bottom of breast bone in the center, is burning, i mean it feels like reflux. Not as intense, but it certainly feels like reflux. I am getting worried - Is this normal to be experiencing this at this stage? Please anyone with experience who has been at this stage before let me know because I get worried with me already having barretts esophagus about getting adenocarcinmo eventually, and I don't know if it is normal to have this feeling and it seem like I have heartburn still thats annoying and what not, or if this is actually pain. It seemed as time went by, the burning increased more frequently or slightly stronger than when I first was when i wokeup from the procedure compared to now. Any help or advise is truly appreciated.

dencha
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Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 2/13/2012 2:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Kevin,
Welcome to the Healing Well yeah yeah yeah Wrapped Club! yeah yeah yeah What you're experiencing is absolutely normal, and you don't need to worry that your surgery is a failure.  We've been there, and know how you feel.  As it was explained to me, the esophagus is a "dumb organ" and interprets all pain as reflux.  Therefore, normal surgical/healing pain feel like heartburn to us. 
 
At your stage of recovery, it's likely you're still experiencing swelling at the wrap site.  While I'm sure it is going down gradually, your experience with bloating, etc. indicates that your wrap is pretty tight--much of which I'd bet is related to the healing process, and will resolve as your healing continues.
 
I don't know if your surgeon told you, but this recovery takes a full 6 months for most of the healing, and a year for the rest.  I even found improvements into my second year as my GI tract continued to adjust.
 
It's very likely that some food is being held back at the wrap site.  While it sits there it can ferment, and become irritating and cause the "reflux" symptoms you're experiencing.  Try to remember to take very small bites and chew, chew, chew, chew.  Sip some water or warm beverage to help move things through.  Once there's irritation, it may take a little time to feel better, but it will.
 
Again, glad you've joined us!  I'm sure others will be by to welcome you and weigh in on your questions.
Best wishes!
Denise

kleiss
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 2/13/2012 7:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you Denise! I sure hope you are right, I get scared that I have heartburn every couple days that feels similar to before and I have to take a nexium or something. I hope others post as well here and there, everyone's input is always helpful when you undergo something of this magnitude for my age - I certainly do NOT want esophagul cancer. DO NOT.

kleiss
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 2/13/2012 8:23 PM (GMT -6)   
Also Denise - Everyone keeps saying to chew chew chew! Is this just so that it doesn't get stuck, or is there other reasons for this? I have noticed recently now that I am technically almost 2 months in that I can swallow bigger bites, they don't seem to get stuck and cause a scene like they used to, sometimes they get hung up a little bit but they go through.

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 2/13/2012 9:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Kevin,
It is still important to chew your food thoroughly. The food can get held up, and can irritate the wrap. The way you are chewing your food could be causing some of the irritation you are feeling.

2 months is still very early in the healing process. It is possible that you could actually get some reflux at this point. Many surgeons suggest that their patients take PPIs during this early healing phase.

Continue to be careful what and how you eat.
Happy healing,
Denise

Dimkom
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 2/14/2012 10:26 AM (GMT -6)   
Denise,

I did my Nissen 13 days. Since approximatelly day 10 from the surgery, I feel I can swallow very hardly. I mean, even if I drink some water, small amounts, I get this tight pain in the chest that keeps on for even 5 minutes. Eating and drinking becomes really hard. After some bites, the pain reduces and the food goes down easier. However, after a couple of hours, the same occurs all over again. I did have this pain during the first 2-3 days after surgery, but not in the intermediate time. Is this normal?

Thanks,

DK

opnwhl4
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4961
   Posted 2/14/2012 3:42 PM (GMT -6)   
DK-

You are right about the peak swelling time. This will make swallowing more difficult and possibly more painful. The swelling will go down slowly. During this time chewing your food extremely well and eating and drinking slowly is the way to go.

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

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 2/14/2012 9:33 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi DK,
Bill has said it very well.  It's totally common to have pain on swallowing in the early days/weeks of recovery.  I remember dreading swallowing as I was recovering, so I know what you're feeling.
 
My surgeon told me (when I saw him on Day 6 post-op) that my wrap would become increasingly swollen over the "next two weeks" to peak somewhere around the 14 day mark.  After peak swelling has occurred, your wrap swelling will gradually go down.  As my surgeon told me, your swallowing will get worse before it gets better again.
 
Don't worry.  It's normal.
Happy Healing!
Denise

kleiss
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 2/14/2012 10:25 PM (GMT -6)   
I am almost 2 months post nissen surgery. I saw my surgeon 2 days ago and informed him that i worked for the police department and was eager to get back in the gym and start lifting again and asked if this was plausible or not. He told me to have at it, full blown go for it. Does this sound right or should I give myself "more cushion"

GerdyGirl
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 69
   Posted 2/15/2012 2:25 AM (GMT -6)   
Careful with things that increase the pressure inside your chest (like lifting weights) because the increased pressure can pop the wrap.

Dimkom
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 2/15/2012 5:38 AM (GMT -6)   
Denise and Bill, thank you.

DK

kleiss
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 2/15/2012 10:29 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you GerdyGirl. Also, how often did everyone generally experience reflux like symptoms at my stage? (2 month stage) and when did it seem to go away?

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 2/15/2012 10:44 AM (GMT -6)   
Kevin,
I would do more exploring on the topic.  Personally, I wouldn't do it.  It takes a full 6 months for complete healing, and lifting at this point seems very premature.
I'm no expert, though.  Honestly, I'm very surprised your surgeon said that.  Who am I to disagree? 
It just seems very risky.
Denise

Dimkom
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 2/15/2012 3:29 PM (GMT -6)   
My doctor told me that after 6 weeks from surgery I can return to any activity I did before. I used to run and lift weights. He told me that, specifically for weights, I should wait 3 months. Running is OK after 6 weeks. I am on day 14 after surgery today, and still have severe problems with my swallowing.

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 2/15/2012 3:39 PM (GMT -6)   
DK,
As we said, Day 14 is on or about peak swelling.  It is expected that swallowing will be especially troublesome at this point in recovery.  If you have concerns about this, be sure to contact your surgeon's office.  I'm sure they will be glad to assist you.
 
We're with you!
Denise

kleiss
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 2/15/2012 10:26 PM (GMT -6)   
Are other people experiencing reflux - like - pain or feeling after their procedure in the early months of recovery?

LocalGuy23
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 620
   Posted 2/16/2012 1:48 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Kevin,

Did you ever have issues regarding your throat? That's what I'm currently dealing with. I had stomach pains and discomforts pre op and that went away from the surgery. I'm just waiting for the throat to heal. 6 weeks until lifting again......do you do free weights, machines, bands?

I use to be a free weights kind of guy but I recently bought some bands for my recovery period. You should try it.....check out bodylastics.....it's not as strenuous on the core as free weights would be.

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 2/16/2012 7:58 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Kevin,
My surgeon explained it like this--
 
1.  The esophagus is a dumb organ.  That means it interprets all pain the same--as reflux.  So if you're getting (understandable) post-surgical pain (remember, your upper GI has experienced a major revision--on the outside it doesn't look like much, but on the inside it's another story) you'll feel like you're having reflux.
 
2.  At the early stages of recovery "pretty much anything's possible".  He said that when the wrap is swollen, it is often misshappen, and could let a little reflux through.
 
Many surgeons keep their patients on PPIs for a while after surgery, so they can protect the healing wrap and don't subject their patients to rebound effects while they're healing (see #2 above).
 
Hang in there...you're at the beginning of healing, and have a long road ahead.  You'll gradually improve over time, but it is true what they say--6 months for the majority of healing and a full year for the rest. 
 
Denise

kleiss
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 2/16/2012 8:14 AM (GMT -6)   
Maximus, I have experienced reflux pain in the back of my throat before if that is what you mean but it isn't as intense as it was before - the burning I experience now seems to be around the breastbone and midway up the chest or so. I havent tried free weights or machines yet, I have been sticking with bike riding for now and figured id give myself more time to "heal" before I lift. What I don't get it is they tell you 6 weeks, but then they say it takes months to keep healing.

Denise, thank you again! I just get really nervous because its a few times a week that this is happening and I am scared that the wrap might have failed etc.

LocalGuy23
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 620
   Posted 2/16/2012 10:54 AM (GMT -6)   
Biking sounds great. I was never a outdoor bike person but biked inside the gym time to time. Walking has helped me get some exercise in through these early days of recovery

Dimkom
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 2/16/2012 12:57 PM (GMT -6)   
By the way, I was curious to ask, how much did this surgery cost you. I am from South Europe and did it on a private hospital. Due to an insurance, hospital fees for two nights were approximatelly 150 euros. Doctors charged me approximatelly 1000 euros. How much,approximately, is it in the US, for example?

DK

kleiss
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 2/16/2012 1:31 PM (GMT -6)   
I do not know what the conversion from USD to Euros is. I just got my bill in not long ago, after insurance, we only had to pay about 1,000 US dollars for the procedure, hospital fees, anesthesia fees, etc. Originally, the bill I believe was somewhere towards the 10,000 US dollar range without insurance, for the laparoscopic method, hospital bills, anesthesia fees, etc.

Dimkom
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 2/16/2012 1:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Kleiss, I believe this is a very good value. 1000 USD is approximatelly 760 euros. Actually, in the US, I expected that the price was going to be higher than 3-4000 USD. I am talking about the laparoscopic method ofcourse.

DK

LocalGuy23
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 620
   Posted 2/16/2012 2:06 PM (GMT -6)   
I didn't get my bill yet buy with my insurance the most will be about $2500. It would've been free if I did in December but decided to put it off until the next year.

kleiss
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 2/16/2012 2:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Yeah it will depend on your insurance in the end, but just to give you a rough idea!!!
DimKom did you have burning around 1-2 months of your procedure that felt similar to the heartburn?
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