Post Nissen Stress

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New Member

Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 3/28/2012 10:41 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm 3 1/2 weeks post Nissen, and I'm suddenly having anxiety that I just can't overcome.

My recovery had been going very well until last night. Last night I got a little bit of reflux symptoms, and today, I had to fly out to the city where I had the surgery done (I had it done by a top-surgeon, and I had to travel to him, of course). Today, on the plane, I really started experiencing symptoms that I hadn't felt since the surgery.

Over the past few days, I've been feeling some discomfort and mild pain underneath my primary incision locations.

Before that, I wasn't having any pain, and I think I got carried away thinking I had recovered enough to resume normal activity, including in the past few days a couple of very significant cardio workouts. That was probably stupid, but my doctor had told me that I could do it. He said that basically my wrap was "bulletproof" for normal kinds of activities.

I know that yesterday and today I started to expand my diet to include salmon last night, and a turkey sandwich for lunch today - and then I flew. But I can't shake the fear that I broke my wrap. Otherwise I would have expected an upset stomach, but not reflux.

Is that possible? Could I have done something that undid the wrap? Can something like that happen with just some minor pain, or would it (as I hope) really hurt?

I'm seeing my surgeon in 6 days, but I don't even know what he would be able to tell me without tests or something. I'm just really worried that I have this new (albeit very modest) pain, and this new feeling that really feels the same as the reflux that caused me to have the surgery in the first place.

Anyone have any experience with a wrap failing like this, or do I just need to calm down?

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 3/28/2012 11:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Obsidian,
You asked...I'll answer.   Calm down!  You're just three and a half weeks out.  It's normal at this point to get some pain, and even reflux.  Actually, in fact, the esophagus is a dumb organ, and interprets all pain as reflux. 
While during these early weeks of recovery, reflux is certainly possible, I'd guess that what you're experiencing is a reaction to overdoing it both physically and with your eating.
Believe me, I understand your fear and anxiety.  I also experienced it at your stage of recovery.  I was getting some reflux feelings, and was very fearful that my surgery was a failure.  (I had very bad lungs, and I coughed hard and incessantly, so I was sure I'd damaged my wrap.)
Sandwiches are a no-no at your stage of recovery.  Bread is very difficult to swallow and it becomes clumpy, rather than becoming a liquid consistency.
At 3 weeks post op, you need to be taking it easier than what it sounds like you're doing.  I'm confident that your surgeon is correct and that your wrap is still snug and intact.
It's just that your upper GI tract has been through major surgery, and you need to understand that it is not going to be happy for quite some time.  If you've been turned loose to eat "anything" at this point, be sure to choose things that can be chewed to liquid.  Take very small bites and chew, chew, chew.  Stay away from anything that doesn't chew up completely, and choose less spicy and acidic foods for a while.  Be gentle with your healing wrap/stomach.
Laproscopic surgery is deceiving.  Our outsides heal quickly and we're ready to get back to our normal activities.  Still, our insides have been through a tremendous shock.
You will know when you overdo it, because your stomach and esophagus will let you know.  It's important that you listen to them, and adjust your behaviours accordingly. 
It takes a full 6 months for the majority of internal healing and adjustment, and a full year for the rest. 
Hang in time you'll be back to all your normal activities and eating.  Until then, understand that your poor stomach has been through a lot, and deserves some TLC.  Treat it kindly, and you'll receive kindness in return! 
If yo can surrender to your recovery and follow it where it leads things will go much easier.  Try not to rush things.  Just go with the flow.
I'm sure if you take it easier for a while and are more careful with your eating, you'll get back to feeling better again.
Don't waste a moment worrying that you've done anything to your wrap.  Believe me, I understand your concern, but what you're experiencing is very normal at your stage of recovery.
Relax, and be patient.  Take it a little slower.
You've just had major surgery...
Best wishes,

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 3/28/2012 11:33 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you Denise

Even though I've read you tell this kind of thing to others before, it's just so hard not to be fearful - especially when it seems like I've taken a step backward.

I'm trying to be gentle with my stomach, but I knew that traveling would be hard. It's just that I was expecting more of a bloating problem, and not pain and reflux symptoms.

Anyway, you do a lot of good for a lot of us I think. Even thought it really, really feels like reflux, I'm just going to trust that you've been through this before, and that what I'm going through is normal :)

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 3/29/2012 7:32 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Obsidian,
Of course it's hard not to be fearful.  That's natural and human nature.  But will it do you any good?  You're at three and a half weeks post op, and you're barely off the operating table. 
I remember when I was at your stage and had eaten Pad Thai (minus nuts) and the rice noodles had been too much for my wrap to handle.  It was my first experience with reflux, and like you, I panicked.  We came to this surgery because we had reflux issues, and it's certainly natural to fear that our surgery failed when faced with reflux sensation.  I was almost afraid to mention it to anyone for fear it would clearly mark my surgery as a failure.
You can make yourself crazy worrying, or you can realize that your upper GI tract has been through a trauma that is not evident by looking on the outside.  You're back living your life, and it's hard to believe that your insides still have months of healing and adjusting to do. 
Worrying and struggling with this recovery only makes it much more difficult.  It will take lots of effort, but try to trust that while you can't see it, your healing is progressing as it should.  If you can surrender to what IS (even if it's feeling like you have reflux) and just follow your recovery where it takes you, it'll be so much easier.
If you're getting some symptoms, your stomach and esophagus are telling you that you're overdoing it, and you need to back off on introducing "normal" foods.  Be sure you're taking very small bites and chewing, chewing, chewing.  Move back to smoother, easier to swallow foods.  Be even gentler to your stomach, because it's complaining, and if it could talk, that's what it would say.
Patience, trust and surrender. 
You can do this!
Words of wisdom by Eckhart Tolle:
"Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose”

“Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”

Post Edited (dencha) : 3/29/2012 6:36:22 AM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 29
   Posted 4/3/2012 8:03 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Obsidian,

I am about 9 weeks post surgery and I also had a bad bout of anxiety about 3-4 weeks out. I had dealt with anxiety and panic attacks several years ago and took zoloft for a few years. I decided that I didn't need it anymore and quit it about a year ago.

The stress of the surgery, losing about 20 lbs rather quickly, not being able to eat, etc... sent me back into a week long battle with anxiety and panic attacks. I started taking zoloft again and was able to get things back under control.

I worried so much about what I ate, how many calories I was getting, and every little pain or sensation that was going on in my stomach. I can tell you worrying just makes it worse. If you can find a way to surrender to your recovery and take it slow I think it will help you immensely. It took zoloft for me to do that but as I said anxiety has been an issue for me aside from the surgery.

I turned a corner at about 5 weeks and was able to get back to a relatively normal diet and now I can eat pretty much anything I want. I still stay away from sodas and go very slow with bread just to be on the safe side but otherwise I eat whatever I want and just chew chew chew.

Best of luck to you in your recovery!
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