Questions Post Nissen Fundoplication/paraesophageal hernia repair

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AGreatDayToBeAPotato
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2014
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 6/25/2014 3:38 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello!
I had a laparoscopic nissen fundoplication performed 8 days ago. The surgery went well however I have some questions about the recovery.

1. I have often heard on this website mentioned that the swelling gets worst at day 14. What does this imply? Does this swelling impact swallowing, bloating, and early satiety? Because it seems at day eight that while my early satiety maybe getting better my swallowing is getting worse :O

2. Does anyone have any recommendations for supplements/life tips to avoid excess gas? I have taken gas x but it didnt help because I cannot burp the air up. (it works by helping collecting air bubbles to be belched up) So I am stuck with terrible gas problems, seriously after each meal I feel like santa claus after a 12 pack of old mil. If anyone could provide a timeline on when their bloating got better that would be sweet. :)

3. Timeline on swallowing? Mine seems to be getting worse. Tried pizza today and although I ground it up well I still felt like I was choking, scary stuff. Gonna stay on liquids for a while now.

4. My left shoulder hurts badly after I eat. Is this common/has anyone else experienced this?

5. Last question a tad specific, but I had a parasophageal hernia repair in addition to my nissen fundoplication. Does anyone know if the recovery for that is different from that of a normal nissen fundoplication?

If anyone can provide input on any of these you'll be doing me a huge favour :)
thanks!
-Jeff

Post Edited By Moderator (dencha) : 6/26/2014 1:53:38 PM (GMT-6)


dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 6/26/2014 9:29 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Jeff,

Welcome to the Healing Well yeah yeah yeahWrapped Club! yeah yeah yeah I'll do my best to answer your questions:

1. I have often heard on this website mentioned that the swelling gets worst at day 14. What does this imply? Does this swelling impact swallowing, bloating, and early satiety? Because it seems at day eight that while my early satiety maybe getting better my swallowing is getting worse :O

When I visited my surgeon on Day 6, he warned me that my swallowing would, "get worse before it gets better", as wrap swelling would be getting progressively worse over the next two weeks or so. It definitely interferes with swallowing, and cause various degrees of discomfort as the swelling increases. Once peak swelling is reached and begins to subside, you will begin to make improvements.

2. Does anyone have any recommendations for supplements/life tips to avoid excess gas? I have taken gas x but it didn't help because I cannot burp the air up. (it works by helping collecting air bubbles to be belched up) So I am stuck with terrible gas problems, seriously after each meal I feel like santa claus after a 12 pack of old mil. If anyone could provide a timeline on when their bloating got better that would be sweet. :)

Be sure to stay away from all carbonated beverages, and don't drink from straws. Be aware of the gas potential of anything you eat. Because of the swelling, it becomes more difficult for your wrap to allow any gas to escape through your esophagus, so everything has to go out the back door. This isn't a forever problem, so hang in there. It will get better with continued healing!

3. Timeline on swallowing? Mine seems to be getting worse. Tried pizza today and although I ground it up well I still felt like I was choking, scary stuff. Gonna stay on liquids for a while now.

Listen to your body. The first two weeks are very challenging, and swallowing can be extremely uncomfortable, with swelling. Remember that your upper GI tract has been revised, and along with surgical swelling and pain, you now have an unnatural barrier/flap that makes it more difficult to get food through. Once swelling decreases, you'll still have to take small bites and chew, chew, chew, but things will go down better.

It's way too early for pizza, even if it' well-chewed. Mozzarella cheese just doesn't chew well to a liquid, and bread is challenging at this point. Stick with liquids or soft foods. Anything you swallow that isn't liquid should be chew, chew, chewed to a liquid/creamy consistency. Your mouth/teeth can be a fine blender if you simply remember to take small bites, and chew, chew, chew. Anything that doesn't chew to a liquid shouldn't be swallowed. Keep a paper napkin handy to deposit those offending foods that don't chew thoroughly.]/i]

4. My left shoulder hurts badly after I eat. Is this common/has anyone else experienced this?

Your shoulder pain is referred pain from your diaphragm (along with the possibility of some residual gas left in your body cavity). I found it the most painful part of the recovery. Walk. Anytime you get up to go to the bathroom, take a few laps around the house. If you're up to it, get out and walk outside. Slow and steady at first, increasing speed as you heal. I found the more I walked, the less my shoulder hurt, and visa-versa.


5. Last question a tad specific, but I had a parasophageal hernia repair in addition to my nissen fundoplication. Does anyone know if the recovery for that is different from that of a normal nissen fundoplication?

As you ask this question, I'll bet you have an idea of the answer. Yes, of course. A paraesophageal hernia is a bigger, more difficult repair, so it makes perfect sense that it will cause more challenges as you heal. there are several people here on the forum who've had that repair. I'll make a change to your title so you have a better chance of attracting their attention to your question.

Stick around the forum for support and information! Many here have "been there, done that!" I had the surgery in February 2009 and stuck around to help others the way others helped me. There is so much negative information out there that it's important to be able to find people who've had a great experience with this surgery. I'm so happy I had it done. It has improved my health and quality of life tremendously.

It's important to surrender to your recovery and follow its lead. You can't rush it. Your body needs time (and permission) to heal in its own sweet time. Attitude is everything. If you struggle against what "is" and try to rush things, you'll have a much rougher experience.

It takes a full six months for most of the healing and a year for the rest. It's all worth it, though!!

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

Post Edited (dencha) : 6/26/2014 8:33:01 AM (GMT-6)


AGreatDayToBeAPotato
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2014
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 6/26/2014 1:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Denise, thanks very much for your reply!
I have to say immediately after I had my surgery I was freaked out because I thought it was a failure, felt like hell for the first 5 days and I started reading horror stories online. Then I found healingwell, saw many of your posts and info here and calmed down. You do a great thing here! I hope to stick around after my recovery and provide information to others as well. I can say at this point I am already feeling better than I was before the surgery and look forward to further healing.

Thanks again for the information, and hope to hear some replies from those who have had a parasophageal hernia repair :)

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 6/26/2014 11:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the positive comments. This forum is a great place to get helpful information and support, so stick around! I do hope you will share your recovery experience, as it will help so many others! That's what makes this forum so great.

Most surgeons don't prepare their patients for the recovery experience, and it's scary to go through it alone. Thankfully, the internet can connect us with others who've been there, done that!

Your positive attitude is the key to a positive recovery experience! Hang in there...You're in the midst of the roughest part of your recovery. Once you get past peak swelling, things will begin to improve. Relax and go with the flow. Sometimes it's really hard to remember you've had major surgery when it's laproscopic. Your insides have been through A LOT.

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

AGreatDayToBeAPotato
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2014
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 7/9/2014 9:07 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Denise,
it's now just 22 days after my nissen fundoplication, and while almost everything is better, I have one near-infuriating problem. Every time I try to eat solid food, it still takes a while to go down, but more frustratingly it feels like it has really irritated something on the way down, or is stuck there. This feeling remains for hours afterwards. I am really hoping that it goes away, but this far out after surgery I fear it is here to stay. Have you heard of anyone who has had a similar issue?
thanks a million
-Jeff

SusieDawn
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2014
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 7/9/2014 3:55 PM (GMT -6)   
To "a great day to be a potato" In regards to your question about gas, I had and still have problems with this also, I think it has to do with our small intestines not working quite right or not having the right bacteria. Two things that help me with that but that do not cure it, but definitely help are probiotics, you need a good probiotic from your doctor or an integrative doctor. That will help with intestinal bacteria and the second thing is whenever you eat gassy foods like broccoli and beans take bean-o just prior to eating, or even better eat very little beans and broccoli at a time, mix them with other veggies so that you don't get too much in one sitting and eat small meals at a time, which means you might eat 5-6 times per day to feel satisfied.

SusieDawn
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2014
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 7/9/2014 3:56 PM (GMT -6)   
btw Potato, I would not eat anything like pizza with gerd. Cheese produces mucous and free radicals and tomato is a huge no-no with gerd....sorry to tell you!

SusieDawn
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2014
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 7/9/2014 4:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Denise thank you for the info on the hernia surgery! I have been wondering about that, none of my doctors even address it, I have a small hernia, and they all dismiss it, I feel this is a mistake since it is likely the hernia caused my other problems, like LPR.

AGreatDayToBeAPotato
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2014
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 7/9/2014 4:14 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Susie , thanks for the info. Have you had the nissen surgery done?

opnwhl4
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4961
   Posted 7/9/2014 8:21 PM (GMT -6)   
AGreatDayToBeAPotato

Something very important to remember about this surgery....it takes a long time to heal and recover from. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

While 22 days seems like a long time, for this surgery you have just begun. You most likely are still quite swollen inside. This will continue to subside, but will take time. Thin weeks to months. I know the surgeons don't do a good job of informing people about this recovery. It stinks, but the majority of them have never been through it.

The food hanging up will get better. In the mean time remember to chew VERY well, to a liquid if possible. As you advance your diet expect setbacks, it's going to happen. When it does back off your diet to easier foods for a couple days and try again slowly.

Also remember to eat several small meals a day, about 1/4 to 1/2 cup at a time. It's easier on your stomach to eat smaller meals and it keeps something in your stomach to use the acid it is producing now.

The damage that was done from reflux and such happened over time and will take time to heal. The body is an amazing thing.

Take care,
Bill
opnwhl4
Moderator: GERD/Heartburn, Kidney disease

Nissen 6/06 and 5/09
#3 8/24/11

SusieDawn
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2014
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 7/10/2014 2:53 PM (GMT -6)   
No I have not had the surgery done. I hope yours will turn out to be successful!

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 7/10/2014 3:59 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Jeff,

Bill hit the nail on the head! At 22 days you're just at the very beginning of a recovery that lasts 6 months for most of the healing and a year for the rest. I found improvements into the second year.

I started on solids at Day 6, when my surgeon told me I could eat "anything that could be chewed to a liquid". You should be taking very small bites, and chew, chew, chew, chewing your foods into "oblivion". They should be a creamy liquid consistency before swallowing.

Don't eat anything that doesn't chew completely, to a liquid/creamy consistency. There are many, many things that chew really well, so just experiment. I kept a paper napkin handy to deposit those things that didn't pass the chew test!

Certain things just don't chew well...for example, mozzarella cheese, and untoasted breads. My surgeon told me no sandwiches, untoasted bread, or steak for 8 weeks. That was just a guideline.

The most important thing is to take small bites and chew, chew, chew.
Hang in there...as you heal, things will improve. Also, at 22 days, you're still pretty close to "peak swelling". My surgeon told me that my swallowing would get worse before it got better, and that my wrap would become increasingly more swollen over the first two to three weeks.

Also, I can identify with the fact that when you swallow something that isn't creamy/liquid, and it irritates the wrap, that irritation will persist for a while. During the first one to two years, my wrap didn't like too much raw veggies or large salads. When I ate too much of them, my wrap would become irritated and that irritation would last quite a while. I'm 5 years post op, and for the last few years, I can eat as much salad and raw veggies as I like without a problem.

Hang in there...it gets better! If you can surrender to your recovery and accept what is you'll find things much easier. As much as you'd like to eat solid foods with abandon, you're not there yet. Surrender to your recovery and follow its lead. Give your body permission to heal in its own sweet time! It'll thank you! Struggling against the reality of your recovery won't make it go any faster. You can't rush this. Just go with the flow!turn

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

Post Edited (dencha) : 7/10/2014 3:02:10 PM (GMT-6)


AGreatDayToBeAPotato
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2014
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 7/10/2014 4:41 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks so much to both Bill and Denise for your replies.
Its so true that I am seeing things in a smaller scale and have to look at the bigger picture. A big problem for me is the two years before my surgery I was living in an a very difficult position. I dropped out of university, quit my part time job and was very depressed due to my Gerd, and worse the trouble swallowing from my parasophageal hernia. Now that I feel I have a chance at life again its been very hard for my to be patient - and to feel like what I am going through is normal. The trouble swallowing I have now feels the same as I had before the surgery - and its a scary thought to think it might be here forever. But now I understand it will not, and that it is in fact very normal. My only wish is that my surgeon would have more clearly outlined the recovery process for me.
Just cant wait to be able to go out for a meal with my friends again, go back to school and get on with my life!
thanks again for your responses
-Jeff

KitKat880
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 132
   Posted 7/11/2014 7:24 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello! I am 9 months out from my nissen (I had LPR). As Bill and Denise have said, it takes a while to recover and you might experience some unusual things along the way, but it does get better!

At 22 days out, I think I would have done just about anything to be able to eat pizza, and I probably pushed a little harder than I should have with food a time or two. I remember eating just a little bit of something I should not have had; I ended up howling on the kitchen floor with an esophageal spasm, my mother laughing at me because I was stupid enough to test my luck (tough love in my family).

I still have some residual effects from surgery. Very rarely I will get horrible gas pain in my stomach, but it passes in about 20 minutes or so (oh but those 20 minutes are awful). If I drink cold water too fast, everything sort of locks up and it takes a minute to go down, almost as if there is a funnel in there.

There are some habits I developed before my surgery that I still try to stick with. I eat small meals so I don't push the envelope, so to speak (I get headaches if I eat a lot anyway). I also try not to eat or drink within 3 hours of bedtime. I'm probably paranoid, but I'm young, so I need this nissen to last.

Hope this info is reassuring; best of luck with your recovery!
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