Nissen surgery in 3 days

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desilu51
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2012
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 6/23/2012 8:26 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello everyone! I'm scheduled for my wrap surgery on Tuesday. Back in March, I had started getting sick (nausea and diarrhea) every time I ate. My primary care doctor decided to draw blood to check for food allergies and also sent me for a colonoscopy and endoscopy. The blood tests came back positive for allergies to wheat, cows milk, eggs, and shrimp. Colonoscopy came back fine, but endoscopy showed that I have a hiatal hernia and significant irritation from prolonged acid reflux. The odd thing is that I've never really noticed a lot of acid reflux... But here I am getting ready for this surgery in a couple of days.
I've been reading a lot of posts on here from others who have had this surgery, and while I know it will be good in the long run (doctor is concerned about eventual esophageal cancer if this surgery is not done), I'm still pretty nervous. My mom and I have had a big trip planned for the past year that will take us out of state for just over two weeks. We are scheduled to leave just 9 days after my surgery. We will be driving and doing a lot of sightseeing and also attending a conference. I'm concerned about how I will be feeling during this trip. All of the plans and reservations have been made along with the conference registration; nothing can be cancelled at this point. Am I going to be completely miserable and a horrible travel companion?
I called the doctor as soon as I realized how close to our trip this surgery was scheduled, but he said I'll be fine by then, and it won't be a problem at all to continue with the surgery and trip as planned.

Also, I'm trying to prepare by stocking up on things I'll be able to drink/eat post surgery, but my food allergies are limiting what I can have... I'd like to be able to drink some protein drinks like ensure, but they contain milk. Once I can begin soft foods, I see a lot of people talking about scrambled eggs, but I can't eat eggs. I'll be able to have chicken broth, but later on, I won't be able to move to chicken noodle soup because of the wheat in noodles. I'll sort of be limited to premade "convenience" foods for those couple of weeks after the surgery because we will be staying at hotels and living out of our coolers. I'm going to get a magic bullet type of thing so that I'll be able to make my own milkshakes with my almond milk, but I was also wondering about possibly trying baby food to get nutrient variety in me. Has anyone else done this, and what is your opinion?

I'm sorry if this doesn't make much sense, I know I'm just rambling. I think I'm just starting to panic about all of this that is coming up.

CurbYourEnthusiasm
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2012
Total Posts : 31
   Posted 6/23/2012 8:45 AM (GMT -6)   
Desilu,

You will be fine. I had the surgery 5 weeks ago and already feel about 80% better. It's a long recovery, but just take everything in stride. Make sure you follow your Doctor's post-op instructions to the letter. Good luck and give us an update on how you're feeling!

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 6/23/2012 9:01 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi desilu51,
Welcome to the Healing Well GERD forum!  You're definitely in the right place.  I hope you'll have access to you computer as you travel, so you can share your experience and ask questions as you go.
 
If you haven't read my surgery/recovery journal, check out the Day 9-13 part of the post for my experience at that point.
 
At Day 9, you'll still be in the thick of recovery, as this surgery takes a full 6 months for most of the healing and a full year for the rest.  That said, if you have a realistic attitude about the fact that you'll be in the beginning stages of recovery from major surgery, and listen to your body, you should be just fine.
 
Baby food is one of the staples that many here have used to help maintain nutrition during the early stages of recovery.  You're in a tough spot because of your food allergies, and I can see you're already coming up with some alternatives. 
 
As you'll read (or have read) in my journal, my surgeon set me free to eat "whatever [could] be chewed to a liquid" at Day 6.  In that way, you have the convenience of carrying your own personal blender (your teeth) with you wherever you go.  The trick is to take tiny bites and chew, chew, chew.  If whatever you're eating can be chewed to a creamy consistency, you're good to go.  If you mistakenly start chewing something that doesn't chew completely, deposit it discreetly in a nearby paper napkin. 
 
Stay away from iced drinks (they can cause spasms and discomfort), and don't use straws (they introduce more air into your stomach and can add to bloating).  You'll want to keep your narcotic pain meds on hand to help with sleeping, as pain that is no longer with you during the day, can crop up at night, when everything is quiet and it's easier to notice.
 
I suggest that you start walking slowly right away (as soon as you feel able) after surgery.  My night nurse gave me that great advice, and I was walking the halls in he hospital whenever I had to get up to go to the bathroom.  If you walk as much as you're able right away, you'll be less likely to be bothered by the dreaded shoulder pain that can occur.  The added bonus is that you'll be keeping up your strength in anticipation of your trip.
 
Just listen to you body.  If it tells you to take rest, then rest.  I'm sure you'll be able to enjoy your trip, but with limits that your recovering body puts on you.  Go with the flow...follow your recovery and don't fight it. 
 
Do some research to see what soft foods you can eat.  Bread is a no-no in the early recovery weeks anyway, so you won't be missing anything anyone else doesn't have to miss as well.  If there are some gluten free alternatives, be sure they're toasted well and a bit crispy before trying them.  Then chew to a liquid, and you're in business.
 
Here's a great eating resource...you can check on which of the recommended foods you can eat with your allergies:
 
I'm sure others will be by to share their experience and tips.  Be sure to continue to ask any question that come to mind, and we'll do our best to provide answers.  Everyone's recovery is unique, but we all go through certain experiences that seem to be universal. 
 
Good luck with your surgery, and have a wonderful trip!
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.”

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 6/23/2012 9:12 AM (GMT -6)   
 
I would have to caution you that post op day 9 really sounds a bit soon to be off on such a long journey.  Remember  the rule of thumb is no driving 2-3 days after surgery  or longer while taking narcotic pain medications.  You will have a weight restriction therefore lifting heavy suitcases etc has to be factored in. 
 
Also are you having the Lap Nissen or the open surgery ?
 
I would strongly suggest that you ask your surgeon as you mentioned your Dr. but did not specify which Dr. Also keep in mind that no Dr. can gaurentee that you will feel "fine" on Day 9.
 
Just my opinion.  Good luck with your surgery.
 
Awesome, I see Denise has been here and advise you with her wisdom from experience.
 
 
~~Kitt~~
Moderator: Anxiety, Osteoarthritis,
GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.



"I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship" ~ Louisa May Alcott

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 6/23/2012 12:45 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi desilu,
Kitt is entirely correct.  It's important that you discuss this with your surgeon, which I assume you have.  As she said, NO doctor or surgeon can tell you just how fine you'll be in 9 days after major surgery.
 
You're not the first person to come around the forum looking for encouragement that they'll be fine to travel or work after surgery.  In my experience, surgeons definitely underplay the difficulty of recovery.  Still some here recover very quickly and don't have any problems to speak of by the second week. 
 
I wouldn't have wanted to travel at Day 9 post op. I guess the big question is, could you postpone the surgery until after your trip?  I know it's 3 days away, but you wouldn't be the first person to postpone a surgery at this point.  Just a thought.  If you've spent a lot of money on this trip and don't want to lose it, you have two choices...take your chances that you'll feel well at Day 9, or reschedule your surgery.
 
Thanks, Kitt, for bringing some important realities back into the conversation.  As I said, desilu, others will be by to share.  I'm sure you'll get a variety of opinions and input.
 
Good luck!
Denise

kayakgirl
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 6/23/2012 6:59 PM (GMT 0)   
I felt like I could travel well at 21 days, but not b4 that.
-kayakgirl

rager201216
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2012
Total Posts : 107
   Posted 6/23/2012 7:51 PM (GMT -6)   
I agree with everyone - it actually took me 6 weeks to go back to work and I would not want to drive for 3-4 weeks because every bump etc will cause you pain.

desilu51
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2012
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 6/25/2012 11:57 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you everyone, for your words and advice. Denise, I read your recovery journal. Thank you so much for posting that; it is very helpful for those of us who are anticipating (and panicking over) our own surgery and recovery.

Yes, I spoke with my surgeon last month about my concerns of having the surgery so close to the trip, but he said I'd be fine and that we could go ahead and keep the surgery as scheduled (I'd like to know if he's ever actually HAD the surgery himself and if he's qualified to tell me I'll be fine enough to travel so soon!). This trip is kind of a "mother-daughter" trip that my mom and I have been planning for quite some time, and we are also meeting others from other parts of the country and attending a conference, so unfortunately, the trip cannot be changed. I'm also a bit limited because I am a teacher (and I teach early childhood special education, with lots of lifting involved), so I will only agree to a summer surgery because I know that there is no way for me to limit my activity and lifting at work. We are just going to see how I feel and, if we need to, we can shorten the trip by making less stops, but that will mean longer times in the car without moving around. We'll just have to take it as it comes and see how things work out...

I'm also getting ready to close on my new house any day now, and will be working on reflooring and repainting that as soon as we get back from our trip (no, I'm not handy at all, so I won't actually be doing any of the heavy work). Overall, I think this was just a bad summer to have surgery, but I guess it's better to just get it done and over with.

I'm trying to be calm and just accept things as they come, but really I'm just in panic mode.

Jamie

desilu51
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2012
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 6/25/2012 11:58 AM (GMT -6)   
Oh, and Kitt, I will be having the Lap Nissen.

rager201216
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2012
Total Posts : 107
   Posted 6/25/2012 3:15 PM (GMT -6)   
Jamie,

if you really need to go on that trip and then buying the house, I would say you reschedule the surgery - don't listen to the surgeon as they have no idea what recovery is like - it could be very long and very tough. Remember that you will be in pain and will not be able to sleep much which will make you very tired and you will not want to do anything. Every move you make, it will hurt and every bump when driving you will feel.

You said: We'll just have to take it as it comes and see how things work out..." - No, this is not a small surgery that you will be able to just recover - this trip will be miserable for you if you do the surgery. I know because I had it done 10 years ago - I couldn't lift anything for 6 weeks and also stayed home for 6 before going to work. I am not saying you will have such a hard time, but you may and then the trip will not be enjoyable and wasted.

You need to see what is important to you at this point - you can go ahead and have the surgery and then go on the trip - hopefully you will be fine and I wish you all the best, but you need to put your health ahead of everything else.

I hope this helps.

bowecho
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 146
   Posted 6/25/2012 3:55 PM (GMT -6)   
If you go on the trip, I recommend you take it easy as much as possible. Your body will still be healing inside, so you need as much rest as you can get. You will get tired very quickly.

In my own situation, I would have been unable to travel after 10 days. I had tickets to a show 10 days after my surgery (they had been purchased long before I even scheduled the surgery), which would have required 3-4 hours of standing and very little sitting. I was unable to attend as I was still getting tired very easily and had pain. At 10 days, the most I had done was a quick walk through the grocery store, and that even felt like a big achievement.

My first time actually getting out for a real social event that lasted several hours was a Christmas party at 2.5 weeks. I had discomfort and couldn't eat anything, but I was fine and enjoyed it.

It may be difficult to find and eat meals suitable for a Nissen recovery while traveling. At 10 days I was still on a liquid diet. May want to try to pack what you can so you make sure you can eat. I basically lived off Ensure, juice and liquefied soups for 2 weeks. I didn't try to eat anything even remotely solid (mashed potatoes) until that 2 week mark.
Nissen Fundoplication - 11/22/11

desilu51
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2012
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 6/28/2012 7:53 PM (GMT -6)   
Well, I had my surgery on Tuesday, and today (Thursday) I'm still feeling sore, but overall I'm not feeling as poorly as I thought I would be. I came home from the hospital yesterday afternoon and took a dose of pain medication when I got home and another before going to bed last night to help me sleep. I haven't taken any pain meds today, and am feeling okay (the pain I have is bearable, so no need for medicine). I have the "lump in the throat" feeling that I assume is from the swelling inside. It's annoying, but not unbearable. So far, my biggest discomforts are the gassy/bloated feeling and the pain that I get when I have a hiccup. Again, they are uncomfortable, but not unbearable. I know I still have a long recovery ahead of me, but I'm optimistic that it won't be a difficult recovery.
Thanks to everyone for your words of encouragement!
Jamie

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 6/28/2012 8:10 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Jamie,
Welcome to the Healing Well yeah yeah yeah Wrapped Club! yeah yeah yeah I'm glad to hear that you're doing well.  You have a great attitude, which is half the battle.  If you can surrender to your recovery and follow it where it takes you, it'll be much easier. 
 
You'll have ups and downs...that's very natural. Your outsides don't show it, but your insides have undergone MAJOR changes and will require a lot of healing and adjustment.
 
Be sure to ask questions before you head out on your trip.  Hopefully you'll have internet access all along your trip, so you'll be able to reach us if you need any advice or support.  There are lots of experienced Nissen patients here, so take advantage of this great resource. 
 
Happy healing!
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.”

desilu51
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2012
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 7/2/2012 6:34 PM (GMT -6)   
So, today is day 6 post-op. I actually feel really good! Yes, I'm still walking slower than usual and I get worn out easily, and I can feel that my incisions are still healing under the tape, but other than that, I feel fine. That lump in my throat feeling is gone (which I've assumed is from swelling), but I've read several posts that say that the swelling will peak around days 10-14. Does this mean that I'll start feeling worse again?
My diet has consisted mostly of juice, water, popsicles, mini coconut milk fudgsicle bars, and chicken broth. On Friday, I had a little bit of cottage cheese (I'm allergic to dairy, but in very small amounts I can handle it), and it went down fine. I also tried mashed potatoes and gravy (again, I'm allergic, but in small amounts, I'm okay), and those have been great! I want to start trying more foods, but I think it's just because I'm feeling so good, that I think I'm more healed than I am (and because it seems that there are a lot of restaurant commercials on TV lately that are absolutely torturous!) Are there any other good foods that I could add in at this point? I've lost 15 pounds in the last 6 days, which is fine, I'm a bigger girl, so I can afford to lose all the weight that will come off during this time. But I'm also afraid that I'm not getting proper nutrients. I've had trouble throughout the last few months getting all the proper nutrients since I found out about all my food allergies, and I could feel how much I was dragging and how sluggish I felt, both physically and mentally. I hadn't built that back up before the surgery, so now I'm worried that I'm getting even less of what my body needs.
Jamie

kyheart
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 513
   Posted 7/2/2012 7:16 PM (GMT -6)   
desilu

It is possible that you will feel a bit worse than you do now, but everyone's recovery is different, at 6 days there was no way I could have eaten cottage cheese or mashed potatoes and gravy and not felt bad from it..
I was eating/drinking full liquids, jello and soups that I had put in the blender. That is how I got my nutrients. Just about all soups can be blended. it is a bit thicker and sticks with you a bit longer. I was drinking 5-6 "meals " a day at this point.
Please listen to your body when it comes to introducing new foods. Also, until you peak swelling, you may have a hard time with anything but liquids and very soft foods. If your body says NO, don't do it. Believe what it tells you.

Stay with us and ask questions, everyone will try to help you in any way they can.
Rainbows are on their way...
Sandi smurf tongue turn turn smurf
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