I am 19 and just had a nissen done 3 months ago. In general, the recovery was not nearly as bad as this forum made me think, but you do have to be prepared for the worst in case that ends up happening to you. The pains from my reflux were killing me from my diagnosis in 2009 at age 14 until this past December when I had my operation.
I cannot say I had a hard time deciding between the two surgeries since in the end I did not qualify for the LINX surgery being under 21. It's a requirement that probably none of the designers put much thought into seeing the average age of GERD patients, but when I went to request the surgery as someone under 21, I was told that that rule wouldn't change for me and I would have to pay for it all without insurance. If I did have the choice, I would have been very happy choosing the LINX, but now I am as happy with the nissen as I thought I would be with the LINX.
I have a recovery journal if you want to look at that. It has all the details from my surgery up until now and I will continue to update it. You can find it from my profile. In general, immediately after my surgery, I had a very restricted diet of all liquids for 2 weeks and then slowly added back foods after that. 8 weeks after the surgery, I was back a full diet and have been able to swallow anything and everything since then. The difference between now and before surgery is now I chew much more thoroughly and eat a lot slower, but that has never created any problems and isn't a bad thing in any way. In the 2 weeks that I ate mostly jello and sherbert, I managed to lose 20 pounds, and I have successfully kept 15 pounds off, dropping from 240 to 215. If you are on the other side of this weight loss topic, you can ask for advice on how to gain more weight without eating a lot of food. There are options out there.
Other than food, there were a few pains that were new immediately after the surgery, but only lasted a couple weeks and were much, much better than heartburn. If you can avoid tasks that specifically make these abdominal pains worse (which very few activities do), you can continue to live a normal life while your recovery slowly progresses. The recovery does take a long time, but that's because there are several different things that need to heal and not because nothing gets better until then. I have had zero heartburn since my surgery and my teeth have stopped melting, which is great, but there are still some pains that I will have to wait longer to heal.
When I woke up from my surgery, my surgeon told me he was stunned how the outside of my esophagus was just as inflamed as the inside of my esophagus. Literally the entire length of my esophagus was scar tissue from years and years of acid exposure and having my esophagus saturated with acid. To me, this means the fact that my surgeon was surprised means that not everyone that has a nissen has this much scar tissue, but no matter what degree damage you have, that scar tissue will take a long time to heal. Right now, the only pain still remaining in my esophagus is from this scar tissue. Even though it is no longer getting damaged, it will continue to hurt me for a long time until it heals. This is what takes around 6 months for most people, and will probably take longer for me, but in the meantime I am actually living a normal life and getting to do most types of exercise that don't hurt my surgical site too much.
Right Temporal Lobectomy 4/5/12
Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication 12/17/13
Diagnosed with GERD, Eosinophilic Esophagitis, and Epilepsy.
Studying biomedical engineering to research a better fix to at least one of them.