Feelings of reflux 4 weeks post Nissen

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Gooserstein
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2013
Total Posts : 57
   Posted 5/28/2013 9:20 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone,
I had my 360 nissen done about 4 weeks ago. I've been healing pretty well and been keeping a journal on here as well. I wanted to some feedback from those of you who've been through this surgery. I've been feeling what I interpret as reflux for the past few weeks. It's a gnawing pain at the base of my esophagus. No acid taste or sensation of choking on acid like I use to have. I don't think I have food stuck. I'm swallowing fine. It is starting to upset me since I really don't want to do all this again. I'm wondering if it could even be gas pressure since antacids don't really help (I'm not taking PPIs but occassionally I'll take Tums or Carafate). Did any of you experience anything similar?

Thanks for your help.

Erica

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7180
   Posted 5/28/2013 2:12 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Erica,
What you're experiencing is totally normal.  At four weeks, you're at the very beginning of a healing process that takes six months for most of the healing and a year for the rest.  My surgeon told me that the esophagus is a dumb organ, and that it interprets all pain as reflux.  You're getting healing pain/swelling pain, and your brain is getting the signal from your esophagus..."reflux". 
 
Even though you're swallowing fine, your wrap is likely irritated and swollen.  If you have Carafate suspension, I suggest you get as many doses in each day as your eating and meds allow.  Be sure to drink plenty of water after taking other medication. 
 
Take the Carafate two hours before or after medication.  Take it an hour before or two hours after eating.  After taking it, wait to drink water for at least 10 minutes, to give it a chance to adhere to the esophagus and wrap.  It should help calm things down. I know that it's hard to get doses in.  If you generally wake up in the middle of the night, it's a good time to get a dose of Carafate in. 
 
Generally at 4 plus weeks, people start introducing more challenging foods into their diet, which is rougher on the wrap.  All in all, you need to remember that you are at the very beginning of your recovery, even though it feels like it has already been a long time.  Try the Carafate for the gnawing pain.  Liquid antacids like Maalox coat and can relieve the gnawing, but Carafate coats and lasts longer.
 
I well remember worrying greatly about the possibility that I was having reflux and that my surgery was  failure.  That is not what's happening here.  It's totally normal to worry, but what you're experiencing is definitely in the realm of the normal.
 
Even when your swallowing seems fine, you can be getting things held up a bit at the wrap site and irritating your lower esophagus and wrap. Take sips of water or tea after eating to ensure that the last bits make it through and into your stomach.
 
Hang in there!  It'll get better...
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

Gooserstein
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2013
Total Posts : 57
   Posted 5/28/2013 5:38 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you so much Denise. I just need a little reassurance. I think you're right about the pain. If I swallow a large gulp, I actually feel the resistance above the point where I'm feeling the gnawing pain. So, I don't know if my nerves are irritated or if my wrap is too high. I've heard if the wrap is too high, it tends to cause dysphagia- which I don't have.

It's weird. I feel like I've been recovering from this for months, when I'm just reaching my month mark tomorrow.

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7180
   Posted 5/28/2013 6:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Erica,
I know what you mean about it seeming longer than a month.  You've just gotten thorough the worst part of your recovery.  You've still got a LOT of healing to do, but it will gradually get better.  If your wrap is bothering you, back off the foods you're eating and try more liquids/soft foods to be easier on it. 
 
I doubt your wrap is too high.  You need to baby your wrap until it is more healed...Even after being fully healed there will be times when you overdo it and can irritate your wrap.  It is an unnatural barrier, and if you eat a lot of irritating foods, it can bother you.  It will just take a couple days to feel better again.
Hang in there!
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

opnwhl4
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4961
   Posted 5/29/2013 5:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Erica-

I agree with Denise. You are still very early in your recovery and the esophagus is a "dumb" organ and senses any pain and irritation as heartburn.

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

Gooserstein
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2013
Total Posts : 57
   Posted 5/29/2013 9:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Bill and Denise. I'll be backing off of the tastier foods. I'm trying to be gentle on my wrap. It just feels pretty angry with me right now.

opnwhl4
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4961
   Posted 5/30/2013 3:42 AM (GMT -6)   
Erica-

That happens from time to time during recovery. You gave a good plan in place and should notice improvement in a few days.
It is hard not to get a bit anxious with your diet.

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