Important questions about Nissen surgery - renamed

New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
[ << Previous Thread | Next Thread >> ]

Stockster
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2012
Total Posts : 54
   Posted 12/30/2012 10:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone,

I will tell my story and ask my questions in a minute, but I have to say that Denise (dencha) has single handedly made my mental life better. So thank you for your posts, journal, and positivity. I am truly grateful. Thank you for paying it forward....

My story is that I'm a 37 year old male, who never had too many issues with reflux personally until I found out I had thyroid cancer and had to have my thyroid removed. Since the surgery I have noticed the onset of the reflux more and more. Then finally I decided to have my radiation dose (pretty routine) in January 2012. From the day Swallowed that RAI pill I had graduated from reflux to full fledged GERD! I have had 2 endoscopies and a barium swallow that confirmed my gerd and that my LES is weak. The doctor actually wrote that I have spontaneous reflux on swallowing.

I have been as miserable as most with this and borderline depressed since the onset. This is not a fun one to get as every minute is a reminder.

My GI had me do a ph test and monometry. I get the result mid January, and this will help determine if I need surgery.

I've noticed that since my ph and monometry testing, that my reflux is so much worse. I officially have LPR, which sucks, but the frequency of tasting the acid in my throat and the constant sore throats and sinuses is getting out of hand. Im on 40 mgs of nexium twice Daily, with domperidone twice daily, along with 150 of the u2 blocker for the bad weeks, often twice daily.

My voice is raspy and weak and to top it all off, my uncle died of esophagile cancer. Needles to say, I'm a little worried.

Sorry for the novel, but I had to get it out in my first post....

Here are some questions I have:

1) have any of you who have had the Nissen contracted the flu or had to "vomit"? I know you can't barf after the surgery, but what happens

2) what did your doctors say about the life of the wrap? I've heard everything from it not working, to a 10 year lifespan.... I'm at a loss for what to do at my age....

3) does your life get back to normal. I mean, do you feel normal internally after all the healing is done? Can you drink alcohol and go out with friends and light up the town every once and a while? I work out of a suitcase a lot and find it hard to eat mindfully when on the road, especially in Europe.

4) I have a small hiatal hernia as well and wonder if others have the cronic hiccuping and burping that I have. Literally I often burp and hiccup at the same time. Kind of like a spasm. Does anyone else have this, and will it be fixed by Nissen?

5) after the surgery, can you sleep normally again? Im not able to sleep on my left side as advised because my LES just opens and the reflux comes right up. I'm elevated 6 inches and it doesn't do much, even with stacking the pillows.... Sleeping is not great for me

6) gas .. Bloating after Nissen. I tend to be in meetings for full days. I worry about having tremendous pains from potentially holding in my gas. Is this something to worry about?

7). If you need a redo on the Nissen, can they do it laproscopically? Or would you have to get the open procedure

So many questions, I know, but I had to get it out. Any insight on this would be appreciated


Thanks for reading

Chris


a ph test and a monomotry test ( still waiting for these results)

Post Edited (Stockster) : 12/31/2012 11:58:46 PM (GMT-7)


couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 12/30/2012 10:43 PM (GMT -6)   
1) I had gastroenteritis a few months after my surgery. I threw up for 12 hours every 30 minutes. My wrap has held fine. I have a 270 degree wrap.


2) I had my wrap at 41. So far it's been 3 years holding fast for me. I know one man who had his repaired at 20 yr point.

3) My eating is totally normal again. I don't drink so you need to ask someone else about it.

4) If you have a HH they will repair it in the process of doing the wrap.

5) Yes you can sleep normal after you are healed up. It will be uncomfortable for about two weeks while healing.

6) Yes, you will have some gas issues (flatulations). If you chew extra well and take antigas meds you may not have a lot. My gas issues are not as bad now but at first it's pretty heady.

7). Yes you can have it either way. It depends on your surgeon.
Joy
Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Glaucoma, Asthma, Hypothyriodism, Sleep Apnea, Degenerative Disk and Facet Disease, and Allergies

When life throws you lemons....
Pick them up and throw them right back at them! :))

Stockster
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2012
Total Posts : 54
   Posted 12/30/2012 11:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks couchtater,

I hope that I can get sme more responses from others who have also had the Nissen so I can get a better range on the outcome after surgery.

This site is so much more informative than the other major board out there.

Oh, one last question for this round.... Does anyone know the avg price to have the lynx or tif procedure done in the US? I'm a Canadian and if I was to consider these it would be on my own dime.

Thais for your response.

opnwhl4
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4961
   Posted 12/31/2012 12:12 AM (GMT -6)   
Stockster-

Welcome to Healing Well. Denise is awesome!

Anyhow, as for how long the wrap lasts and if you can have a redo lap vs. open. I was told with all 3 that on average expect 10 years, but there are people who have gone 20 yrs. Some have to have redoes sooner. The latter ones I feel are do to the surgeon's skills and if they did all the tests to see if they are a good candidate for surgery. Yes they can redo it lap also. My 1st redo was lap, but my last redo was done open. I am an exception to most of the rules concerning the nissen as I have had an esophageal tear.

The recovery for this surgery is a long haul. Think of it as a marathon vs. a dash. Once everything is healed and your body adjusts to it's new design things are basically normal. I am one who cannot vomit, so I keep anti nausea meds on hand. I haven't been able to feel the wrap except when eating. That's not all the time though. Usually when I forget to chew properly I feel it at the wrap.

I haven't had to make any modifications to how I sleep once all is healed. As for drinking, I can drink sodas, beer, and moonshine without any problems. Well except for on tap beer, too much carbonation for me. The bloating does go away, but can take several months to fully go away.

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

Kanbus
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2012
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 12/31/2012 4:18 PM (GMT -6)   
I, too, am very interested in answers to these questions as I consider the surgery. Perhaps you can re-title your post to something like Questions about Surgery.

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 1/1/2013 1:24 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi Chris,

First, thanks for your very kind words. I know how much it meant to me to find positivity when I was looking for information and support. It seemed like everywhere I looked online there was another Nissen horror story. I've discovered that if I approach a challenge with a positive attitude, no matter how difficult, it makes it more bearable and easier to handle. I just can't get into the "poor me" mode. It just makes me feel worse!

 

Now for my marathon answers...by now you know I'm not a woman of few words... wink

 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:

1) have any of you who have had the Nissen contracted the flu or had to "vomit"? I know you can't barf after the surgery, but what happens
I was told that I wouldn't be able to burp or vomit, and I can do both. I can't actually make myself burp, but my stomach burps itself. This started right away, and at first I was worried that my wrap was too loose...but no, it's just right.

 

In the four years since I had surgery, I've vomited twice. Both times the vomiting snuck up on me and I had no nausea to warn me that it was coming. It was a little harder to get the first bit out, but once started I vomited normally.

 

It's important to try not to vomit if you can, as it's hard on the wrap. I took anti-nausea meds as soon as I knew I had a stomach bug, and didn't vomit after the first time each episode. I found Compazine suppositories to be the best, but I have a script for Zofran as well, which is a small dissolvable tablet.  Some people find phenegran to be a good option.  Once wrapped, you should always have anti-nausea meds handy.

 

I was told by more experienced members here that if you suspect food poisoning once wrapped, a trip to the ER to get your stomach pumped is in order, but I’m not sure anyone has done that.  I haven’t actually heard of an incident like that, but hey…it’s good to keep tucked in the back of your mind, just in case. 

 

During the healing period when the wrap isn’t firmly established, vomiting and retching are very risky.  It’s important to ask your surgeon for anti-nausea drugs.  I got the pills from my surgeon and the suppositories from my PCP who knows I have a very sensitive stomach.


2) what did your doctors say about the life of the wrap? I've heard everything from it not working, to a 10 year lifespan.... I'm at a loss for what to do at my age....
Generally studies mention a ten year lifespan only in that most studies follow up with people at the ten year mark.  Internet forums aren’t really the best place to get an idea of wrap lifespans, since most people who search for information and post online are those having problems.  There are many “wrappers” who have the surgery and go on their merry way and don’t post a single online comment.

 

On the forum, the longest lasting wrap I’ve heard of was 20 years.  This is the thing. You’ve got a bad problem that can be helped by surgery.  If you don’t have the surgery you’ll be suffering with reflux.  Which is worse—the risk of having a redo, or suffering with reflux?  My asthma doc has a wonderful quote by St.Thomas Aquinas that he uses when he or a patient has to decide to do something that may seem risky:

If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship,

                        he would keep it in port forever.”
Sometimes we have to take risks in life when the potential benefit is great.  Just weigh your options.  I took the risk (and after seeing so many scary posts online, it wasn’t easy to do) and benefited greatly.  I would have a redo without a second’s hesitation if I needed it.


3) does your life get back to normal. I mean, do you feel normal internally after all the healing is done? Can you drink alcohol and go out with friends and light up the town every once and a while? I work out of a suitcase a lot and find it hard to eat mindfully when on the road, especially in Europe.
Absolutely.  My husband and I go out to eat all the time, and have lots of fun with our friends and family.  I have two boys—one 30 and one 35, and they like to party with us!  I’m not a heavy drinker, but I enjoy beer, wine, and an occasional mixed drink.  My favorite is beer, though!

 

 I can eat whatever I want at restaurants without any problem.  I remember watching people who were able to eat spicy foods, etc. before my surgery and think that they didn’t understand how lucky they were!  Now I’m one of them. 

I do have a sensitive stomach, so have to be a little careful because of that, but it’s not at all related to my wrap.


4) I have a small hiatal hernia as well and wonder if others have the cronic hiccuping and burping that I have. Literally I often burp and hiccup at the same time. Kind of like a spasm. Does anyone else have this, and will it be fixed by Nissen?

Can’t help you with this one…I’m sure somebody else will be by to share.  I do know that some people get hiccups early in recovery due to irritation of the diaphragm, but it goes away with healing.  I'd guess that the hiccuping and burping are reflux related and once healed, will be resolved by the surgery.

5) after the surgery, can you sleep normally again? Im not able to sleep on my left side as advised because my LES just opens and the reflux comes right up. I'm elevated 6 inches and it doesn't do much, even with stacking the pillows.... Sleeping is not great for me
Because of my asthma (and the fact that small amounts of reflux are possible even after surgery—just “normal” amounts—if the wrap was tight enough to keep reflux to zero we wouldn’t be able to swallow) I still sleep with the head of my bed elevated.  It’s just a precaution. I sleep fine, though.  BTW stacking pillows isn’t that great for you pre-op, as it can put you in a position that puts pressure on your stomach and can cause more reflux.

 

Most people sleep flat after their surgery and happily sleep in all their old favorite positions!


6) gas .. Bloating after Nissen. I tend to be in meetings for full days. I worry about having tremendous pains from potentially holding in my gas. Is this something to worry about?

During the first few weeks bloating can be a problem.  Most bloating resolves gradually over the first year of healing/adjustment.  My stomach was able to burp itself, which is not a bit uncommon.  I never really had bloating problems to speak of, even in the early healing days. 

 

If you can burp even a little after surgery you won’t have any problem with bloating to speak of—every once in a great while, I’ll get some bloating, but it’s not enough to be a problem.  Even people with bloating problems in the beginning don't have the problem after they heal.

 

The last time I had a bloating episode was in August when we were toasting our younger son’s engagement.  I had two glasses of champagne, which, apparently is pretty aggressively carbonated.  I find that if the gas gets ahead of the wrap flap’s ability to burp itself, the gas pushes it tightly so it can’t escape.  This is extremely rare.

 

BEANO is great to avoid gas when eating gassy veggies.  I used it a lot during my first year when bloat is more likely.  I really never use it now, even when eating chili, broccoli, etc.  Gas-X is a handy thing to carry if you can burp a little post-op.  It helps get the gas out.


7). If you need a redo on the Nissen, can they do it laproscopically? Or would you have to get the open procedure

Because of all the coughing I did early in my recovery I was very fearful that my wrap would be damaged and I’d need a redo. I’d always assumed that they had to be done as an open procedure, but my GI doc said that they could be done laproscopically.  That was a relief.  Still, Bill, a moderator here, had an open procedure and found it very easy to recover from.  That was another relief!  Either way I’d do fine.

 

Good luck with your decision!  It's wise to search out all the information you can.  Glad you've joined the forum...it's a great place for information and support!

Happy New Year!

Denise


GERD/Heartburn Moderator
Nissen Fundoplication 2/09
Allergy/Asthma

"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.”
Eckhart Tolle

Post Edited (dencha) : 1/1/2013 12:27:15 PM (GMT-7)


Stockster
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2012
Total Posts : 54
   Posted 1/1/2013 11:33 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Denise,

Your comments really eased my mind about the potential of surgery. The idea of taking max doses of acid supressors to aid in GERD, for life, may also have so e adverse effects over time. Since I am still fairly young, I do not want to think about how nexium and H2 blockers would effect my body if I takebfor another 50 years.

Let's hope that surgery is an option once I meet with my GI mid January.


If anyone else can comment on the hickup/spasm issue then that would be great. If not, I will start another post soon.

All the best to everyone in the new year

Chris
New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
Forum Information
Currently it is Monday, June 25, 2018 11:59 AM (GMT -6)
There are a total of 2,975,074 posts in 326,238 threads.
View Active Threads


Who's Online
This forum has 161327 registered members. Please welcome our newest member, jmack1.
406 Guest(s), 15 Registered Member(s) are currently online.  Details
Balladeer, rocketphd, Jasperilla, redskinsfan, Asnape3228, Andrina, pcspouse53, Admin, Healing98, EdTheRed, Ticsic, RobLee, dabiri07815, jmack1, Lewis Michael