4 Weeks Post-Nissen Memory Lane

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Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 1/26/2013 11:40 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi All,
I was searching old posts for information to share with another member and came across this post.  (I've added it to my Early Recovery Journal in the Resources section.)  It's helpful to me as I try to answer questions here, since I really had forgotten exactly what I was experiencing at this point in my recovery.  I wish I could find all the other posts I made in the first 6 months, but it's easier said than done.
Anyway, for what it's worth, I'll copy the post here.  It might give early Nissen post-op members some useful information:

4 Weeks Post Op Thoughts

Just posting for all those people who are cruising the internet to learn more about the surgery as they try to make a decision:

As I've said in previous posts. If you have all the tests (I think manometry is especially important, because as you'll see in posts here and other places, swallowing problems can be a result of the surgery) and select a very experienced and competent surgeon (if you live in a reasonably large city with a good hospital system (my city is not that big--about 250,000--but has 4 hospitals, with a complex of 3 in close proximity, and a medical university) you won't have to go looking in a big medical center--you will do just fine.)

It seems as if a tight wrap (especially if coupled with swallowing problems) is the biggest issue. Perhaps with people who have had severe GERD for a long time, and have suffered esophageal strictures in the past this is an issue as well--I'm not sure. That was not the case with me.

Anyway, as of about week 4, I've been able to eat virtually anything. (I do find I still have trouble with melted mozzarella. It's not the bread of the pizza, it's the cheese. If I eat a pasta dish (crepe manicotti/eggplant roulettes, with melted mozzarella, for example, I have to remove the melted cheese first. I am not great with pasta or noodles, either. Bread is fine, though. Everything needs to be chewed to liquid...don't get me wrong. You have to be aware of your healing and be a responsible eater!)

That said, I never in a million years, thought the recovery from this surgery would be this comfortable and easy. Honestly, the many gastritis/GERD bouts I've had were FAR worse to recover from than this surgery.

I visited my surgeon at week 5, and asked him several questions:

1. I asked him how much weight I could lift…he was a comedian...
"How much could you lift before surgery?" So I guess I'm okay to use my own judgment.

2. Any activity limitations?

3. Eating?
He said that I can eat anything that I chew thoroughly. Even steak, he said, can be chewed to a liquid. On the other hand, mashed potatoes can be swallowed in a big "bolus", and cause problems.

4. Alcohol?
No problem...

5. Why do I feel full so quickly after eating just a small amount?
He said it's because the swelling causes a stiffness, and that stiffness makes you feel more full than you actually are. The resident I spoke to after surgery, said you lose about 15-20% of your stomach capacity with the surgery. (Actually at week seven, I am able to eat more than even last week.)

6. I asked him about the effect of coughing on the hernia repair. (I have asthma. Although it has responded amazingly to the surgery, and is MUCH better than it was before the Nissen, I had a lung infection that hadn't resolved, then last week got the flu...To make it even more fun, the tree pollen is giving me fits.)
He said that "even water can erode stone". He said that there is a cumulative effect of coughing, straining, etc., that will eventually weaken the repair. These things are unavoidable.

7. What size bougie did he use? 56 French (He uses the bougie to ensure that wrap is not too tight.)

So...all in all, I would recommend this surgery. If you have a real problem, the tests indicate that you're a good candidate, and you can find an excellent surgeon, go for it. By the way...when I asked my surgeon how many procedures like this he has done, he estimated about 300. He did two on the day he did mine. I didn't know if 300 was enough, but apparently so, because his skill has resulted in an excellent outcome.

SO STOP READING THOSE HORRIBLE POSTS that blame every problem that occurs after the surgery on the Nissen. I know that a botched surgery can lead to great suffering. That's why you need to make sure you're in good hands.
You can do this!
It's worth it!

GERD/Heartburn Moderator
Nissen Fundoplication 2/09

"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) : 1/26/2013 9:43:20 AM (GMT-7)

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