My post Nissen experiences

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cat98037
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Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 80
   Posted 4/3/2013 8:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello all.

I am posting this thread in hopes that I can reassure/help at least one person out there.

A little about myself, pre-NF......I am 51. Ive had years of reflux episodes but never sought treatment until I aspirated into my lungs. Prior to this, I had mild asthma that was easily controlled with a rescue inhaler. Waking up with a mouthful of gastric contents evolved into uncontrolled coughing and vomiting.....on a daily basis. That's when I had no choice except to seek medical help. A rescue inhaler turned into many, many duonebs,medications and 2 hospitalizations. I had severe gerd and a paraesophageal hernia. I've been on steroids since November 2012. I was told by both my pulmonoligist and surgeon that if I did not have NF, that I could die at anytime from it. My NF was scheduled for 4/2. This is my experience and incredible journey to find healthy lungs again. I will post updates of my post op period on this thread.

Day of surgery: Feeling very, very anxious. This is my first "major" surgery....and I'm not going into it in the best of health.....and very concerned about my steroid dosing during surgery and after. I woke up in recovery room with the worst back pain ever!! I didnt have surgical pain but assumed that this was the gas pain from surgery.....it just located to my back instead of incisions and shoulder. I also woke up with a swollen, cut upper lip. I went to my room 4 hours later. I didn't have any real pain once I got settled in my room. Only needed a few doses of Morphine 1mg. My dressings look great and my stomach (upper) looks smaller than prior to surgery. This could be an illusion of grandier. Off to sleep.

1st post op day: (today): I got out of bed early this morning and have walked, walked, walked. I am told thatI can not have anything to eat or drink untilI pass gas. It's 8pm and still havent passed gas. Very hungry and thirsty. I have some slight abdominal discomfort at wound sites but nothing that is unbearable. My lungs are very, very clear.....a major accomplishment forme. I used my rescue inhaler once today. I'm told that I can go home tomorrow ifI pass gas......so naturally,I am on a mission to produce!! One more thing. My surgeon told me that he did not cut the vagus nerve. Is this normal? Stay tuned......

cat98037
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 80
   Posted 4/4/2013 8:33 AM (GMT -6)   
POD #2: Still have not passed gas so no food and can't go home. I have beenup walking like crazy!! Abdominal discomfort is a little bit more pronounced,esp when wallking. My neck and upper back really hurt. This has to be related to the gas. A hot pack helps. My lungs have a few wheezes this morning but that is such a huge improvement. Still on steroids. Hope to taper off soon.I have been using an incentive spiromatry,as well.So far,everything is as expected to be. I never thought that I could be so hungry for jello!!! Ho0efully,the gas comes this morning.

dencha
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Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 4/4/2013 6:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Tammy,
Welcome to the yeah yeah yeah Wrapped Club! yeah yeah yeah Glad to hear things went smoothly!  It's good that you're on a mission to walk, walk, walk.  There's nothing better that you could do!  Sorry that gas is so stubborn, but it'll start moving soon, I'm sure. 
 
I'll bet your lungs are having a little party about now! turn Glad to hear they're already better.  Remember that their healing is a process that will take some time. I can't remember...do you have allergies?  Hopefully not, so you can avoid al the Spring pollen issues.
 
Not cutting the Vagus nerve is a good thing.  I believe that it is sometimes done purposely for certain conditions, including weight loss.  However, from what I've read, it's a disadvantage and mistake/accident when it does get cut, and can cause some problems.  So it's a big positive that your surgeon was careful and didn't injure it.
 
Keep walking!
Happy healing,
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

cat98037
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 80
   Posted 4/4/2013 9:56 PM (GMT -6)   
POD #2 evening: The gas finally arrived! Lol. I was starting to worry. I just finished a small jello and 1/4 cup cherry sorbet. I allowed myself time to consume this....1 1/2 hours. I think I was getting full. It felt like a little knot around my navel area and I was satisfied. Learning to eat slow and chew will be a process for me. I'm still walking. My lungs are still clear. Denise, no seasonal allergies, just asthma. Overall, I am doing very good and expect to go home in the morning. This forum has really helped me to know what to expect and what not to do. Until tomorrow........cheers.

Teeth cleaner
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2013
Total Posts : 88
   Posted 4/5/2013 4:33 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi cat98037,

Thanks for posting your recovery journal! If you dont mind me asking who is your surgeon and was your procedure done lapriscopically? Are you still in the hospital? How are you feeling now?

cat98037
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 80
   Posted 4/5/2013 6:55 AM (GMT -6)   
Teeth cleaner,

My surgery was laprascopic and my surgeons name is Dr. Eugene Cho. He is a brilliant doctor. He does a lot of teaching digestive procedures to other local surgeons. I live in the greater Seattle area Tacoma. I'm still in hospital but only because my doctor wanted to ensure that I was passing gas. I expect to be discharged this morning. They kept me a few days more than most because of my lung issues. I have done extremely well post op. Key factor before ND; find good surgeon. Key factor after surgery: walk as soon as you can. I've made so many trips around the nurses station and halls. So far, my expectations and experiences have been incredible.

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 4/5/2013 8:44 AM (GMT -6)   
yeah   yeah yeah YAY!!! Gas!!! yeah yeah yeah Did you ever think that would be something to be cheering???  Have a great day!
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

Teeth cleaner
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2013
Total Posts : 88
   Posted 4/5/2013 5:21 PM (GMT -6)   
cat98037,

I'm so glad you are doing so well! A few more questions...did you have a full wrap or partial wrap? Can you still BURP??? My lungs are acting up right now too and I really feel it is reflux related. My GI doc is extemely hesitant to refer me for surgery though because of my Aerophagia. He feels that I will be miserable with gas bloat. Yikes!!

cat98037
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 80
   Posted 4/5/2013 11:02 PM (GMT -6)   
POD #3: I was discharged this afternoon. There is no place like home! My hospitalstay/surgery was all positive. My incisions are all up very high and appear to be healing well. I've lost 4 pounds already. Probably just water weight. I do find that I am more hungry when I got home. It must be a trigger because my stomach feels full. There has been no nausea or pain. I hope that I am an exception here and never experience that. Until next time......cheers.

cat98037
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 80
   Posted 4/5/2013 11:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Teeth cleaner,

I had a full wrap and yes, I can still burp some. I like the feeling of burping but I wonder sometimes if it has become a habit. The burps are small. My surgeon said the burps mean there is a bit of air above surgical site and will continue until swelling goes down.

As far as gas bloat, I haven't experienced any of that and hope that I don't. I just know that I needed to walk, walk, walk and I will continue to do so at home. The walking was essential. I have IBS as well, so I was concerned about GI issues.

Regarding your lungs, it is possible that it is related to your reflux. My pulmonologist said that everytime I coughed, I was inhaling micro parts of reflux, which continued to irritate both my esophagus and lungs. That is why I could never taper off Prednisone. Post Nissen, my lungs have been clear since surgery and we are in the process of tapering off Prednisone. I'm still short of breath on exertion, but much improved. I have amazed my doctors. When you get to the point that your reflux is causing lung issues, it is time to really seriously consider surgery.

I would at least get a surgeons opinion about your condition. Sometimes swallowing air is something that we can control a bit of. It has been an ongoing experience for me to learn not to eat fast or talk while I am eating. For me, the Nissen is a life changing experience.

Good luck with everything. Let us know of your decisions but I would at least get a surgical opinion.

Teeth cleaner
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2013
Total Posts : 88
   Posted 4/6/2013 6:32 AM (GMT -6)   
cat98037,

You are right, there is no place like home! It sounds like this whole Nissen experience has been really positive for you! That's good to hear! Some people really struggle with this surgery and I really don't understand why it affects so many people so differently. At the risk of sounding negative, I'm afraid I would fall into the "not do so well" category! As I mentioned before, my areophagia is severe for what ever reason (probably anxiety) and has been for years! A tighter sphincter and a tummy full of GAS for me would be a recipe for disaster! But having said that, I'm on a mission for a surgeon that understands me and all my issues. I had a consult just this week with one. He was a nice person and I feel from what I've heard is an excellent surgeon. No doubt this guy would do the surgery on me in a heartbeat but I felt a bit apprehensive when he hadn't reviewed any of my records. Oh well, going to see a few more surgeons in a couple of weeks for more insight. This is just the beginning for me. I will search hi and low for the perfect surgeon that understands me as a person and not another procedure! If I end up with a full Nissen wrap it will most definitely have to be a loose one! I'm thinking the Hill procedure would probably be best for me though. Anyway, I will continue to pray for your healing and quick recovery! I know you have to be relieved that the surgery is behind you now and all you have to focus on is a smooth recovery!

cat98037
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 80
   Posted 4/6/2013 2:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Teeth cleaner,

Finding the right surgeon is key. I'm glad you are seeking out more opinions. You must remember, if reflux is affecting your lungs, its time to seek some serious solutions.

I was like you. I was very apprehensive about this surgery. It is major surgery and I had gone into it as high risk due to my lungs. I also knew that I really didnt have a choice. My lungs and breathing were the most important thing. My surgeon and pulmonologist worked together as a team to develop the best plan of care for me. The anesthesiologist was also aware of my steroid dependancy and ensured there were no problems during the actual surgery. All of these doctors must work together to develop the best plan for YOU. As you said, every person is different, including yourself, so your doctors need to personalize your plan of care.

I think if you can find doctors who communicate well and have your best interest at hand, you would feel more assured about a NF. This was the case for me.

Good luck and keep us posted.

cat98037
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 80
   Posted 4/6/2013 5:11 PM (GMT -6)   
POD #4: I have experienced my first case of dumping......I think. I was eating some yogurt and by the time that I realized that I was eating too fast, I had to run to the bathroom. Also, I realized that I drank broth before the yogurt. I started feeling full/bloated shortlyy afterwards. The feeling subsided fairly quick. I am on a modified liquid diet for two weeks. In addition to clear liquids, I can have pudding, ice cream, cream of wheat, oatmeal and mashed potatoes. Right now, these foods are filling......except when I see pizza commercials. Ok. Lesson for today: make a more conscious effort to eat slowly. Until next time......cheers.

Teeth cleaner
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2013
Total Posts : 88
   Posted 4/7/2013 4:22 PM (GMT -6)   
cat90837,

Hi cat! Just wondering how you are feeling today?

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 4/7/2013 6:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Tammy,
It sounds as if you're doing well.  The dumping issues will likely be intermittent, and do seem to be related to eating choices.  Often the culprit is sweetened foods.  Here's an anti-dumping diet for you to check out, just in case you're finding it a problem:
 
It's great that you're taking the time to post your recovery experience.  It's very helpful for others searching information and the confidence to move forward with the surgery.
Happy healing!
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

cat98037
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 80
   Posted 4/7/2013 7:47 PM (GMT -6)   
POD #5: I have slept most of the day. Not sure why I am so tired. I am usually the opposite. I've had diarrhea a few times......unrelated to the food because it woke me up. I think I may have got something stuck at my wrap earlier. I ate a Ritz cracker.....not on my diet. I chewed until liquid. I swallowed small pieces followed by juice......and the choking feeling hit me. Naturally, I quickly drank juice again. This made it worse. I got up and walked, took deep breaths and it subsided quickly. I was also burping, which I have been able to do since surgery. Lesson learned: Do not stray off the diet that my surgeon has ordered. I have lost 10 pounds in 5 days despite eating frequently. I could lose the weight but wish it was a more healthy way. I am now trying a small amount of oatmeal.......with a lot of liquid in it. I woke up nauseated so I took Reglan. This is the first time that I have experienced nausea since surgery. I have also broke out in a cold sweat and feel lightheaded. This could be from many reasons. I'm tapering down prednisone by 10mg every 3 days, I've lost a lot of weight quickly or it could be menopause......or a combination of all. Hard to tell. I will notify my doctor if I feel this way tomorrow. It's not unbearable by any means. I just need to ensure that my prednisone taper isn't too fast.

Denise, maybe you can weigh in on this.

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7181
   Posted 4/7/2013 8:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Tammy,
The cold sweat and lightheadedness sometimes goes along with dumping:
 
However, Joy (couchtater) swears it's "liquid in, liquid out" and that the diarrhea will subside after you start eating more solids. 
 
I will say this...when I had dumping during recovery, it never follow eating...I would be able to hear my stomach gurgling, but I wouldn't have diarrhea until a few hours later.  TMI, but FYI... turn
 
The steroid taper does add a little muddiness to the whole picture.  It's great that you can taper, though!  Yay!
 
You are in the roughest part of the recovery.  You'll have up and down days.  I remember that Day 4 or 5 was especially difficult.  On one of those days I started getting tons of saliva, and since swallowing wasn't fun, I just had lots of tissues handy and didn't swallow it all.  That subsided after a couple of days.
 
Your wrap is becoming more swollen by the day.  That's normal.  Because of that, swallowing can get more difficult and uncomfortable.  I remember at one point, it felt like I was swallowing a big bubble of air, and it hurt.
The recovery is what it is.  Remember that you have had major surgery, and your upper GI tract went through an "extreme makeover"!  There will be surgical pains, swelling, and swallowing problems.  It gets better, though, but you can't rush it.  If you can surrender to your recovery and follow it's lead (and it sounds like you're doing that), it will all be easier.
 
Don't worry about the weight loss.  Some may be water loss due to cutting back on the steroids.  Believe me, once you've recovered you'll have to be very careful not to gain it all back. 
 
Happy healing!
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

cat98037
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 80
   Posted 4/8/2013 9:51 PM (GMT -6)   
POD #6: I'm feeling pretty good today. No further nausea. Occasional diarrhea. Weight loss of 11 lbs so far.I'm craving meat and bread..........oh, that's the toughest part for me right now. Can still burp. Can still swallow without issues. I have a follow up Wednesday with my surgeon. I started on Prednisone 20mg today. So far, so good. Until next time, cheers.

Teeth cleaner
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2013
Total Posts : 88
   Posted 4/9/2013 3:04 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you for taking the time to update us everyday of your continued healing progress! I look forward to reading your post. It's encouraging to know you are doing so well for those of us who are so scared to take the plunge! I'm really struggling with fear and anxiety over this surgery. hopefully I will find peace soon! You are in my prayers every night!

cat98037
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 80
   Posted 4/9/2013 4:54 AM (GMT -6)   
As my pulmonologist once told me, "You're going to feel much better once you have this surgery." I didnt belive him but I respected him to know he had to be right. And he was. That's why it is imperitive that you find doctors who work together on your behalf. Don't be scared, dearheart. It can be a lifechanging experience. Be sure to get as many second opinions as possible. In my case, my pulmonologist referred me to my surgeon. I never had a GI doc

Tammy

cat98037
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 80
   Posted 4/9/2013 4:58 AM (GMT -6)   
PS: I had lots of anxiety, too. Tell the anesthisiologist. He gave me the good stuff before leaving for the OR. He also put a scopolimine patch on me to help with nause for 3 days post op. Worked like a charm.

Teeth cleaner
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2013
Total Posts : 88
   Posted 4/9/2013 8:45 AM (GMT -6)   
My problem is getting my docs on the same page with each other. I have many docs but they all don't agree! This makes it hard on me to know what to do. My ENT which is an airway digestive specialist is the only one recommending surgery. My pulmonologist and GI's are quite "old school" and don't think I have enough supporting evidence (low deemester scores on diet) to recommend surgery. Even despite my pulmonary issues!!! It's crazy! All I know is when I eat I cough and clear my throat for 30 minutes or so and that's on a pretty strict diet! As I said before I also burp constantly and tast bitterness in my throat and it's there most of the time when I wake up in the morning too. Oh well...what to do, what to do. Anyway, looking forward to hearing about post OP day #7!

cat98037
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 80
   Posted 4/9/2013 6:42 PM (GMT -6)   
Get a new pulmonologist for second opinion and several surgical opinions. I was on prednisone for 4 months due to the aspiration pneumonia. You don't want that....trust me. Your pulmonologist should know an excellent GI surgeon because often times, they provide referrals for people like me.

Don't give up and don't wait until you have aspirated. Have you had a esophagram? Mine showed a paraesophageal hernia with severe reflux......anfd was noninvasive.

Teeth cleaner
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2013
Total Posts : 88
   Posted 4/9/2013 10:22 PM (GMT -6)   
Yes, I've had many esophagrams! Nothing has shown up there except one that showed slight reflux a few years ago. The last one I had was this past November and It was clear. I wish my case was more clear but I know in my heart that something isn't right for sure. I'm also an anxious person and don't know how much my anxiety is fueling all of this. How has your post op day #7 been? Hopefully you are still feeling as good as yesterday!

Wendy

cat98037
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 80
   Posted 4/10/2013 12:01 AM (GMT -6)   
Wendy, try cutting the Gi doc out of the picture. See your doc and ask referral to a digestive surgeon.These are the two main people involved in your care.Did your esophagram show abnormalities? Mine did along with my esophagram. Gi docs just dont get it sometime. You have already had lung issues,which will concern your pulmonologist. open communication between them is imperitive. You willl get there. Communication is essential my two doctors had wonderful plans for me. Don't give up hope.
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