Posted 12/10/2018 2:20 PM (GMT -6)
First, let me say thank you to all the individuals who've posted about your recoveries. Thank you for allowing me to get a better picture of what I can expect post-surgery than what very little information I've been officially given.
***Surgery is set for this Wednesday, December 12***
Personal Health History
My story actually starts with my father's history of GERD, Barrett's esophagus, a hiatal hernia, and his fundoplication. He was about my age and in the military when he had his surgery, however, it was not laparoscopic. I did inherit the GERD, but thankfully, I do not have Barrett's. I'm almost 40 and have had GERD since college, when I was a healthy weight. 11 years ago, I was diagnosed with PCOS and hypothyroidism, therefore losing and keeping off weight has not been an easy, nor very successful process. I've also had four children in the last 11 years, none by c-section. I have been also diagnosed with allergen-induced asthma, allergic and non-allergic sinuitis, and post-nasal drip. My asthma has been worsening in the last two-years, so I was referred to an ENT, who later sent me to a surgeon to discover the degree of GERD. They soon discovered that I have a "small" hiatal hernia, leaving me the option of continuing the PPI (Nexium) the ENT had prescribed or surgery.
My asthma has been steadily growing worse over the last year of being on the PPI. I was ready to do surgery in March, however, the doctor had neglected to inform that she required a 5lb. weight limit for picking up things for 3 months. As I have a small child, I opted to wait until he was able to better understand, among other reasons. In my research, I have learned that my asthma medications can negatively impact GERD and the GERD medications can negatively impact my asthma. So to stop this cycle, I am only able to have one problem fixed, so nissen surgery was a no-brainer.
As I mentioned, I am not a healthy weight. I do, however, have an active lifestyle. For the last nearly five years, my steady source of vigorous exercise has been in a pool 5-6 days a week, I started with water aerobics and eventually progressed to swimming laps. Earlier this year, I was averaging 5 miles per week in the pool. This year has been a challenge health-wise. I had my first visit to an ER due to asthma, migraines at least 2-3 times per week for two months (due to the lack of magnesium caused by the prolonged use of Nexium), lack of energy (due to decrease of Vitamin D caused by prolonged use of Nexium), multiple cases of laryngitis, many days of poor breathing. Every day where breathing has not been an issue, I've been in the pool or purposely active. Despite this and watching what I eat, my weight has stayed unchanged until my surgeon gave me a prescription to help me lose weight. She requires that her patients have a BMI of 40 or less. My BMI was hovering between 42-43. My BMI is now at 39 and I believe she plans to have me continue the medication post-surgery.
My surgeon also requires all patients for ten days pre-op to do a low-sugar, low-fat diet to aid in surgery by shrinking the liver.
This link has a nearly-identical diet: https://www.iersurgery.com/files/2017/09/preop-diet.pdf
I don't mind the liquid diet, but the low calories plus low sugar has made many days very hard. I added up and if I were to eat the maximum allowed, I would be at around 800 calories per day. The Atkins drinks are awful but I found that the dark chocolate ones are much more tolerable than the milk chocolate high protein. I'm eating Oikos Triple Zero, and personally found that the peach and strawberry hide the Stevia aftertaste better than the berry or vanilla. So most of my ten days thus far has been drinking 1-2, usually 2, Atkins drinks and eating 2 yogurts. Although broths are allowed, and I did attempt, they are not to my taste and I would rather just drink water. I don't drink diet drinks, although on previous occasions, I have added stevia to tea but have not during this diet. I've had some V8 Fusion juices and a few no-sugar added natural fruit popsicles too, but mostly I drink water. I've had unusual hunger pains (always hungry) for over a year, the cause has yet to be discovered, but with this diet they've been almost unbearable at times, which is why most days, I've had 2 Atkins drinks.
Prior this pre-op diet, I usually ate 2 meals, a light lunch and supper, and limited breads/grains to 2-3 servings a day/max. We cook the bulk of our meals from scratch, so that cuts down on the excess sodium and additives, plus we try to pick healthier choices (i.e. brown rice versus white, butter versus margarine). Some days post my morning swim, I'd eat a banana and a small handful of peanuts. I don't drink soda often, a few times a year. Water has been my primary drink since high school. I'll drink a glass or two of slightly sweet tea when we eat out, usually once a week at most. I don't drink alcohol as I've never cared for the taste. I don't keep sweets or junk food in the house as a rule. I think I've mentally prepared as best as I can for the diet restrictions post-surgery. The biggest thing that is and will continue to be an adjustment is the fresh fruit and veggies. I will be following a post-op diet that is actually stricter than my doctor's, in hopes that I will avoid many of the issues others have had. Therefore, I researched and researched until I found the most restrictive plans available online. I have combined the post-op diet plans for OSU and UPMC, using the restrictions from both.
OSU plan: https://patienteducation.osumc.edu/Documents/DietNissenFundoplication.pdf
UPMC plan: https://www.upmc.com/-/media/upmc/patients-visitors/education/unique-pdfs/dietaftrnissen.pdf
The nissen surgery will be my first ever surgery, so there will not be complications due to a previous surgery (like c-sections). As far as I can tell, I have a high tolerance for pain, however, I do not expect to be Wonder Woman post-surgery nor do I expect to have a speedy recovery. On that note, my hubby has taken off through early January, beginning surgery day, and our parents and friends are ready to lend a hand when needed. All that said, I have elected to complicate recovery by having a second surgery the following Monday. Next Monday, a different surgeon will be removing my thyroid as testing has revealed a 50% chance of having a cancerous nodule. The recovery for thyroidectomy is similar enough to nissen recovery that I wanted to have them as close together as possible, so that my overall down-time will, hopefully, be less than having spaced the surgeries weeks or months apart. My expectation is that post-surgery, I will be on full liquids three weeks or more before being able to move to soft foods. I'm expecting soft foods to last at least a month, and following which to be able to slowly add other foods.
Thank you again for posting your stories! My surgeon has a very high success rate so I feel confident that so long as I stick to her weight-restrictions and the post-op diet that I too will become a success. Perhaps this is way more information than you wanted, if so, I do apologize!