MY JOURNEY TO FUNDOPLICATION SURGERY (3/5/12) AFTER YRS OF GERD/HIATAL HERNIA/DAMAGED ESOPHOGAS

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WrappedGal27
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 3/9/2012 12:36 AM (GMT -6)   
I am very thankful for this forum and have been truly encouraged reading everyone's experiences deciding to have the Fundoplication Surgery. Denise's Journal was especially comforting as I just recently had the surgery (Monday, March 5th) and would like to share my story. I have noticed many similarities amongst the group but would like to know if there are others out there who have had a few of the symptoms/problems that I have had with my GERD and now as I begin my road to recovery from the surgery.

Firstly, I would like to provide a little background about myself. I am 43 years old and the mother of two 'tween' children. My symptoms of GERD/Acid Reflux began about 5 years ago. It was not that bad at first and just taking a prolisec or any other over the counter medication seemed to help control the symptoms which began very gradually.

After 2 years, my symptoms became worse and I was put on Nexium. If I missed one day of this pill, my night was HELL. Also, sleeping with pilllows propped up or in a recliner became my bedtime routine. This went on for another 1 and 1/2 years and began to disrupt my sleep severely. Little did I know at the time, but I would constantly have a perpetual 'cough' or 'cold' that I did not associate with the GERD at the time and my voice changed and was filled with so much mucus. I just thought that I always had a cold and could not shake it. I had no idea at the time that GERD had these types of side effects. I did not have 'insurance' at the time and visits to the doctor for routine check ups were infrequent.

I was constantly clearing my throat from the pleghm build up, my voice seemed to change as well and I was always tired or out of breath. Also during this last year and a half, I began to slowly put on weight and my diet had not changed at all. Over the course of this past year, I gained 45 lbs and the GERD became unbearable.

I was then told by my Dad that he was just diagnosed with Barrott's Esophogus (He is in his early 70's) and he felt it would be a good idea for me to have an Endoscopy done to 'rule this out'. I had just recently began working for a great company that had great medical benefits. I scheduled the Endoscopy one year ago in March of 2011.

When I awoke, I was completely surprised and blown away by what the doctor had to tell me. Firstly, he said that while I did not have Barrott's Esophogus, I did have a GRADE D rating which is the worst rating you can get when performing an Endoscopy. He said that we needed to discuss the medication I was on and if my Esophogus & GERD did not improve, I would most likely need the Fundoplication Surgery. In addition, he informed me that I also had a Hiatal Hernia which was also adding to the GERD pain I was experiencing.

We immediately changed the Nexium to twice per day. This did not do anything and after 2 months of taking this medication, they changed the medication to Dexilant; which was a new drug that truly only required one pill per day. After 2 months of taking this med, they increased it to two times per day and said that if my symptoms did not improve, Surgery was around the corner. Well, at this point; I was having so much pain at night, no matter what I ate or didn't eat, the REFLUX and BURPING would be an all night affair that I was literally running to have this surgery.

Even with all the 'bad experiences' that I did end up reading on the internet, for me...it was better than what I was experiencing. To have this excessive weight gain (5 ft 8 in tall and never weighed over 145 lbs to now be at 190 lbs) as well as to find out that my mucus build up was also associated with the GERD and that I had a HIATAL HERNIA for God knows how long? I wanted to know what did I need to do to get this moving.

Well, I was referred to a top notch specialist in Charleston, SC and then also needed to have an UPPER GI SERIES as well as the Mamometry done (which was the worst test I have ever experienced in my life). They wanted me to do the PH Monitor Test and I refused after I went through the Mamometry. I mean, can't they knock you out and surgically implant something in your esophogus to take these measurements? Apparently, they can because I saw a show on The Doctors about a week after I took this HORRIFIC TEST and wondered why doctor's were still pushing these INVASIVE tests (Mamometry & 24 hour PH TEST) on patients who have already been suffering from GERD pain to know be AWAKE and have a SNAKE SHOVED UP THEIR NOSE DOWN THEIR THROAT? Worst PAIN EVER.

In any event, they were able to review all my Tests and I met with the surgeon last month who told me I was a perfect candidate for this surgery. She also proceeded to tell me that the opening I had which allowed the hernia to slip up was quite large and she would be able to repair this as well. So, in my mind we are fixing all the problems - GERD/HIATAL HERNIA/ESOPHOGUS GRADE D will NOW have time to HEAL and be downgraded in the future.

I have to say after 4 days POST OP, I am extremely happy with this surgery. Here is what I have been experiencing that I have not noticed from anyone else on the forums. I do NOT have any stomach pain. Yes, my stomach is bloated but it doesn't look that much different than prior to surgery and because I have 50+ lbs that I want to loose, I am hoping that my stomach will 'go down' slowly. Yes, I have the Upper Left Shoulder Pain from the CO2 that was injected in my belly and I have been taking the advice of others on the forum and walking to try and have this pain subside. It is still painful and I was given liquid Oxicotin to take and I have only been taking this twice per day. It doesn't really help me much except 'sweat' and I could really use something that will KNOCK ME OUT and help me SLEEP.

I will be seeing my surgeon in two weeks and I will need to follow up with her on prescribing a good sleep aid because I have been extremely RESTLESS as a result of the surgery. I have been able to 'burp' here and there but nothing which causes any pain or alarm. The BIGGEST PAIN I have had since DAY 1 is CHEST PAIN in the middle of my diaphram and the INABILITY to take a FULL BREATH or YAWN. I can't speak too long because I feel the wind has been KNOCKED out of me.

When I mentioned about this CHEST PAIN the next day in my hospital room, the surgeon did inform me that my surgery was a little more extensive then they had thought. Apparently, not only was my Hernia slipped up into my chest but part of my STOMACH was there too. So, they needed to put all these organs back into their original place and CLOSE UP this MASSIVE HOLE that I apparently HAD (genetics?? HOW??) and then wrap the FUNDUS around the ESOPHOGUS which is why my pain is centralized in my upper Chest cavity.

I have been following the Liquid Diet and having Yogurt and will be following the POST NISSEN DIET to a T. I feel full most of the time and agree with many who said that they don't need to eat as much because they feel full sooner. This is a blessings, for sure and I pray that all the excessive weight gain (which I would like to know if others experienced this too because from what I have read, most people LOST weight with GERD but I had the OPPOSITE effect as I couldn't loose weight when I tried??!!)

Thankfully, I was approved for a six week post surgery short term disability and will take one day at a time. I do not want to have ANY complications and I do feel very tired in the middle of the day. As someone else said on the forum, just because the surgery is done laproscopicly does NOT mean this surgery is a WALK IN THE PARK. There is alot going on in there and it needs to take its time to heal. Given the added issues I have had, I do NOT want to have a REPAIR OR TEAR happen because of this LARGE openING that they needed to SEW UP because my opening was larger than the average gal.

I would GREATLY appreciate any advice the wise sages of this forum has to offer as I truly believe KNOWLEDGE is POWER and it is better to be prepared and know what to EXPECT BEFORE something happens. This forum has been a blessing and I have added it to my daily TO DO List. Blessings to each and everyone and if you are contemplating this surgery, please find an experienced Surgeon and one that comes recommended by someone you know is even better and get it down. So far, after 4 days I have NOT had any REFLUX and that is worth its weight in GOLD in my book!!




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WrappedGal27
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 3/9/2012 12:40 AM (GMT -6)   
One more comment. **I have not yet had a BM** The doctor has prescribed a stool softener that I have been taking two times per day. I started the softeners 3 days ago. I'm sorry if I'm being too graphic but will this be painful? How many days POST SURGERY will this occur? Should I be concerned yet? Thank you in advance for answering my questions -

WrappedGal27

LBIsummers
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 3/9/2012 2:04 PM (GMT -6)   
WrappedGal27

I found you from the comment you left on avantrip's (Amy) thread. I'm having my surgery on Wednesday 3/14...same day as Amy!

I'm having my LNF in the Boston area by Dr. Gryska. I'm told that he's one of the best surgeons in the area that specializes in this surgery. I really like him and he is very confident that I will no longer have reflux after the surgery. Even with his positive words I'm a wreck waiting for Wednesday!

I'm happy that you had a good experience with your surgeon and hospital. I hope you are still doing well and healing quickly.

I'll be in touch to ask you questions as I go through my recovery.

~ Carole

WrappedGal27
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 3/9/2012 3:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Carole,

I will be praying for you and I'm sure that your surgery will also go smoothly. I am curious to see if others have similar side effects that I am experiencing (still cannot 'yawn', cannot take a full breath without it hurting in my chest area, no BM as of today, still feeling 'full' and 'bloaty' BUT NO REFLUX WHATSOEVER!! All the other side effects are a walk in the park so long as that darn GERD and vomit does not backflush up in my mouth...YUCK!

And, if I can shed these 40+ lbs over the next few months in the process, I will recommend this surgery to every ACID REFLUX sufferer in the WORLD!

Please keep in touch and let me know how your surgery goes, And, if you can swing the '2 days in the hospital AND your insurance will pay for it; then do it'.....especially if you are happy with the Hospital & Staff as I was.

Blessings,

WrappedGal27

LocalGuy23
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 620
   Posted 3/9/2012 3:25 PM (GMT -6)   
Wrapped Gal27,

Hi there, do you know if you had a 360 wrap? And do you know how tight it was done? Did you have liquid reflux only or vapor reflux as well? Any burning in your mouth? Thanks.

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 3/9/2012 3:39 PM (GMT -6)   
WrappedGal27
 
Congratulations on a great job of advocating for yourself, learning all you could about the procedure and being ready to go slowly with your healing process.  I noted you posted you see your surgeon in 2 weeks - give yourself permission to call your Dr. as ask for something to help you sleep as you need your rest. Balance rest and exercise will help you through your recovery. 
 
Thank you for taking the time to journal your recovery here in the forum.  Every story helps the other members who are facing surgery or going through the recovery phase.  You have a great attitude.
 
Kindly,
Kitt
~~Kitt~~
Moderator: Anxiety, Osteoarthritis,
GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.

www.healingwell.com

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
It's about learning how to dance in the rain."~ Vivian Greene

WrappedGal27
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 3/9/2012 6:50 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you, Kitt for your kind words of encouragement. I actually had a very bad night of 'non-sleep'. The liquid oxycodin does nothing to help me sleep but instead makes me restless and very anxious. I have been up the entire night. I will definitely be calling the doctor tomorrow and asking for some good ole' fashion 'tylenol w/ codeine' as this has ALWAYS helped me in the past when I have had surgery.

This forum is a blessing and I will keep everyone updated on my daily recovery and I encourage and appreciate all suggestions and feedback to what has worked for their healing and recovery process.

Blessings -

WrappedGal27

Lilred08
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 54
   Posted 3/11/2012 1:27 PM (GMT -6)   
I am in the early stages of just discovering that I have acid/non-acid reflux and will see a surgeon next month to discuss options.  Thanks so much to everyone who is sharing their experiences here. 

mintpepper
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 22
   Posted 3/11/2012 3:44 PM (GMT -6)   
Congratulations on getting your surgery successfully over with. I had my surgery mar. 7th, came home on the 10th. My original symptoms were difficulty sometimes in swallowing, sometimes even liquid. and reflux at night. I finally went to the Dr. and after the upper GI they told me I had a large hiatal hernia and gave me some prevacid once a day. That was like heaven and I had no more reflux or swallowing problems, and that was well over 10 years ago. Recently I started having some stomach pains and developed asthma and a cough. They did another upper GI and 1/3 of my stomach was in my chest. Surgery was recommended and I found a great surgeon (chief of surgery and head of a heart and lung institute). I still had no reflux problems or other problems and was afraid I was trading my relatively pain free existence (I could eat anything and any time I wanted) for swallowing problems forever. I had the manometry test which was not awful just uncomfortable, surgery came and went and they found most of my stomach in my chest. I am 4 days post-op(he did a 2/3 wrap) and so far things are good. I can burp tiny burps. I have had broth, juice and today I have had a carnation instant breakfast vanilla flavored that seemed to go over well. I had to take my omeprazole by opening the capsule and taking the little beads with applesauce, but that worked ok too. I have lost about 6-7 pounds already and don't want to lose more than 5 more, so am looking to add calories to my intake.

Sounds like your surgery went well too. Let us know what kinds of foods you can tolerate or something different that people don't mention consuming. Best of luck in your recovery and take it slow.

Post Edited (mintpepper) : 3/11/2012 3:47:39 PM (GMT-6)


WrappedGal27
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 3/11/2012 5:42 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you mintpepper for your post. We had very similiar situations as far as where are 'anatomy' was but you were blessed not to have suffered the GERD/REFLUX effects like I did which ruined my throat, changed my 'voice', continued excess build up of phlegm, and worst of all the excessive weight gain these past few years.

I have had a rough few days as far as 'sleeping' is concerned. Basically, I can't sleep and my pain medication is not helping me sleep but rather makes me anxious and restless. I have probably slept 2 hours these past 3 nights since I came home from the hospital.

I just sent my fiancee to the local pharmacy to try and get me some type of sleep aid and NyQuil so I can try and get some hours tonight. I'm calling the doctor's office first thing tomorrow to ask for their help with this issue.

Good news was that I FINALLY had a BM yesterday night. Bad news is that I am more 'gassy' and need to be 'near' a bathroom pretty quickly because I don't know when the next BM will come on...but when it does come, it comes on suddenly.

I have not had an appetite at all really which is weird. I have been drinking two milkshakes a day and really don't desire anything else. I am going to tell the doctors that I just feel very 'full' and 'bloated' and the feeling to eat is just not there and I don't feel comfortable just force feeding myself,--especially when I can afford to loose these 40+ lbs.

So, please if anyone can recommend a good sleep aid for future reference, I would appreciate it as well as if anyone else has had severe INSOMNIA and/or RESTLESSNESS from their Nissan Surgery. I feel like not many people out there complained about this and I'm concerned that there is something else going on that is not right..

Blessings and have a great week!

WrappedGal27

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 3/17/2012 1:10 PM (GMT -6)   
WrappedGal,
Some experienced members told me (when I was first wrapped) that Unisom Melts worked well for them.  I didn't use them because of my asthma...they had some drying effects and I was suffering from lung congestion.  I tried one (it did help the sleep as I recall) but it created some wheezing, so I stopped.
Good luck!
Denise

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 3/17/2012 1:12 PM (GMT -6)   
WrappedGal,
Also...it's totally normal to not be hungry or fill up quickly.  Makes sense when you remember what your stomach has been through. 
The filling up quickly is a result of the swelling, which the brain interprets as fullness.
Denise
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