4 months post op

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jennidj
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 4/14/2012 3:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi I'm Jennifer. I have been reading here since right after my surgery but this is the first time posting. I would like to start off by saying thank you. All of your post have been so much help to me even as a lurker I could mostly find the information I needed just by reading the answers to other peoples questions.

I had a type IV para esophageal hiatal hernia. I was asymptomatic until November 19th when I went to the ER with severe chest pain. The hospital I went to was a very small community hospital so they inserted an NG tube ran preliminary test and then transferred me to UVA. After four more days of test my surgeon tells me that my whole stomach, intestinal loops and possibly my spleen is herniated into my chest. What caused the pain though was my stomach had slightly twisted and folded over on it's self. (gastric volvulus) I was released from the hospital with instructions to come back in a week to schedule surgery and oh by the way, only eat very small amounts of soft foods until then.

On December 15th I had laparoscopic hiatal repair with a collis gastroplasty and fundiplication. I was released on the 18th. At two weeks post op I was again admitted to the hospital to have a chest tube inserted. The now empty space in my chest had filled with fluid and had collapsed the bottom of my left lung. Three days later they removed the chest tube and sent me back home.

My recovery has been extremely slow and I have mostly blamed that on the nature of this surgery and the fact that my hernia was so very large. I have basically cycled through every gastrointestinal symptom I could think of. For example for a few weeks I stayed nauseated just when that started to subside it felt like someone was squeezing my esophagus then it was very painful to swallow... The advice my surgeon gave me was to just be patient. It does not seem to matter much what I eat or drink the symptoms just will not go away. Right now I get nauseated several times a day, always belching, constant heartburn, pain in my chest whenever I swallow bread of any kind, (even tiny pieces) and now I am getting painful spasms in my throat. So instead of cycling my symptoms are now stacking up and the throat spasms are new to me and rather concerning.

Will this ever end? Is there anything I can do to make this better? Another thing is even very gentle exercise still wears me out and makes my symptoms seem worse. I really don't want to sound whiny I just feel like I can't take it anymore.

ericapeace2000
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 1110
   Posted 4/14/2012 5:34 PM (GMT -6)   
Wow, I am so sorry. I know this is a small thing but chewing gum may help the heartburn, and esophageal spasms.

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 4/14/2012 7:49 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi jennidj,
Welcome to the yeah yeah yeah Wrapped Club yeah yeah yeah at Healing Well!  I'm glad to hear that you were getting help from the posts here before you joined.  I'm glad you've become a member!  I'm sure that others will gain lots of information and comfort from following your posts and learning from your experiences.
 
First, your surgeon is right.  Patience is what you need about now.  Your surgery was extremely difficult because of all the herniated organs that had moved into your chest.  This will make your recovery longer and more difficult. 
 
If you can surrender to your recovery and follow it where it leads you, it will make things much easier.  I know it's difficult to deal with the painful and bothersome symptoms you're having.  You can't rush things...your body will recover when it's good and ready. 
 
Yes, it will end.  You're just at 4 weeks post-op.  It takes 6 months for the majority of the healing to occur and a full year for the rest.  You're still at the beginning stages of healing.  As I said, things will go a little slower for you since you had such a severe herniation.
 
The problem with laproscopic surgery is that your outsides heal so well and quickly that it's easy to forget you've had major surgery.  Your insides have been through a LOT, and it's understandable that you're still struggling.  Even with a normal hernia repair and wrap, 4 weeks is too early to expect much.
 
Stay away from ALL bread for at least another 4 weeks.  It can't be chewed properly, and goes down in a clump which is hard for your wrap to handle.  I was told that I should not eat bread, sandwiches, or steak for at least 8 weeks.  If you toast the bread it makes it easier to chew to a liquid.
 
Whatever you eat should be in small bites and chewed to a liquid/smooth consistancy.  Stay away from iced drinks and straws.  No carbonation, either.  You still would be wise to avoid spicy or acidic foods in any quantity.  All these things can set you back if you're already sensitive.
 
Patience.  It will get better.  At best the recovery fromt his surgery is challenging during the early weeks.  Your body has been through more than the average Nissen patient.  Unfortunately, this means that your recovery will be slower.
 
Hang in there!  I guarantee that it WILL get better.  Just relax into your recovery and go with the flow.
We're here for you!
Best wishes,
Denise
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) : 4/15/2012 8:09:54 AM (GMT-6)


Cylon101
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 68
   Posted 4/15/2012 9:44 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Jennifer

Lots of good advice on this site from people who have gone through the operations and the recovery. I'm sure more will chime in with their experiences. Stick around, its' a good place for support.

jennidj
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 4/16/2012 5:59 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you all for responding. ericapeace2000 I do find that chewing gum seems to help a little, I do not quite get why but I don't have to as long as it works.
Denise, I am actually 4 months out from surgery not 4 weeks. When I first added bread back to my diet it did not bother me at all, it has only been in the past couple of weeks that it has started to hurt, so I have mostly backed off of it for now I will try eating it again eventually. On most days I really do get the fact that it may very well take at least a couple of more months to get back to my old self, then there are the days when it seems that it will never end and I will be stuck feeling like this for the rest of my life. I get discouraged because it just feels like everyone around me thinks I should just be over it by now. Also I don't see anyone else that is still this week at 4 months, honestly there is no way I could do a physically demanding job yet. I am a stay at home mom of two girls age 5 and 7 and just keeping up with them and the house is too much some days.
cylon101 thanks I have lurked here for a while now and am very grateful for all the support I have seen offered here.

ericapeace2000
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 1110
   Posted 4/16/2012 6:06 PM (GMT -6)   
chewing gum stimulates saliva production which is alkaline and will help neutralize the acid in the esophagus.

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 4/16/2012 7:04 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi jennidj,
Try not to let it get your down.  I remember that there were quirks and problems I figured would never resolve, but some even improved after the year mark.
 
If you're taking care of two kids, it's pretty strenuous work...don't underestimate how much that has been taking out of you during your recovery.  You're "JUST" taking care of 2 kids and your house?  Seriously?  That's a HUGE job, and it's no wonder that you haven't been able to kick the exhaustion!
 
There may be certain types of foods that will always bother your wrap--even when you're full healed.  Make sure that you're chewing your foods completely. Even after you're fully healed you'll need to chew carefully and completely.  Your LES was weak and food went through easily.  The wrap offers resistance, so you have to help it out with your chewing.
 
Hang in there...you're still recovering.
It'll continue to get better. 
Best wishes,
Denise turn
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.”

cuicui
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2012
Total Posts : 35
   Posted 8/3/2012 3:27 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Jennifer,
I am just wondering how you're doing today, now that months have passed since surgery. I was just diagnosed with a type 4 paraesophageal hernia and the surgeon is telling me I need an open surgery. I have kids at home too, and I can't be laid up for very long. Yikes! How are you doing now?

Deb

mschreiner
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/4/2012 2:31 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi I'm megan. I'm six weeks post op Nissan and I had a hiatal hernia repaired at the same time. I did not realize all of the ramifications involved in this extensive surgery and wish I would have seen this site beforehand. Either way surgery is over and I'm still dealing with some similar problems that have been posted before myself. I was told I'm not the typical patient because I'm only 26 and have always been in great shape. Its been really tough to look at people who are my age have a lot of energy and eating is at times quite defeating. If I would have done better research I probably would have thought twice about the surgery. I have had two egd done with dilation because I had problems drinking liquids and keeping them down. I have been able to eat some foods but it is difficult to become so disciplined at eating tiny bites then wait for hiccups or a burp to get the food the rest of the way down. My Dr told me as long as I didn't continue to lose weight this was normal and to wait for swelling to go down. My question to everyone is have you had problems with sex? I notice now it hasn't been as enjoyable and at times painful. I wasn't sure if this was normal BC of the healing process. Please let me know your thoughts....

buzzmoz
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 52
   Posted 8/5/2012 9:09 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Megan
It is normal and yet very frustrating to have some problems, not unlike yours when you are only 6 weeks post op. I had a dilation done too that did improve things, but unfortunately not as yet resolve them. You do need to give it a little while longer for things to settle down somewhat. I am unable to burp as yet and I am 4 and half months post op. My surgeon says that the wrap is probably too tight as I should be able to burp.
As for the sex part, i'm assuming that you mean your abdomen is painful during sex. Of course any weight on your abdomen or any vigorous activity would be painful/uncomfortable around your surgical site. Keep in mind too that your surgery was major and as you are having some difficulties, this maybe hindering your ability to focus on the task at hand and is therefore, making it less enjoyable.
If the pain is south of the abdominal border, then I am affraid that I am unable to suggest anything helpful.
All the best
Buzz

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 8/6/2012 9:53 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Megan,
At 6 weeks post-op, you're at the very beginning of your recovery.  This recovery takes 6 months or the majority of healing and a full year for the rest.  I even had improvements into the second year.  Your upper GI tract has been completely revised, and it takes time to heal and adjust.
 
The problem with laproscopic surgery is that your outsides don't show the mayhem that went on inside your body.  Your incisions are healed and on the outside you look recovered.  On the inside, your organs have been moved around to get to the surgical site, and your stomach has been stretched, wrapped, and stitched, and is complaining loudly about now.
 
As far as the sex discomfort goes, keep in mind that your insides have been through a lot, and it will take time to get comfortable again.  Look for positions that put the least amount of stress on your internal organs.  This isn't a forever thing.  You'll find that as healing progresses, things will improve. 
 
It's a bummer that you needed this surgery at such a young age, but it's not all that uncommon as I'm finding on this forum.  Still, with time you'll be glad you did it.  Most of us find it hard to deal with the early recovery months.
 
You do have to be very careful with taking small bites and chewing carefully.  I went by the rule that I wouldn't swallow anything that couldn't be chewed completely.  I'm 3 and a half years post op now, and I'm still careful to eat more slowly and chew my food completely.  The wrap creates a barrier that works both ways...less acid refluxing, and a more challenging entrance for food to get into your stomach.
 
You're having continued swelling at your stage of recovery, which makes it more difficult to swallow than it will be after your recovery is complete.  Although I'm still careful, I can now swallow things that aren't completely chewed.  Some things don't chew to a liquid...clams and carrot sticks for instance.  I can eat everything now, but as I said, I eat more slowly and chew more completely than I did when my LES was loose. 
 
Still, I'm very happy with the results.  My lungs, which were badly affected by my reflux, have healed and are doing just fine.  My voice is back and I can sing again--that was a long haul, and it's just now gotten to that point.  I'm just so happy I had the surgery, and I'll bet you will be, too, once you've completed your recovery.
 
Good luck, and hang in there!
Best wishes,
Denise
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.”
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