Posted 10/8/2021 4:18 PM (GMT -6)
Hi everyone, I'm new here, but I've been reading your posts for a while now. You all are so amazing. I empathise with every single one of you. Thanks for sharing. I thought I'd return the favour below. But I also have a question:
I had Nissen Fundoplication this week. Had it at 9am on Monday, and not its Friday eve, Day 5. I feel all is good physically. (I'll keep updating below for people who are interested in the surgery.)
Question I feel this (phantom) reflux sensation thats freaking me out. I've read it's common, do people know what causes it? Is it actually imaginary, or real reflux? My surgeon says it's normal, and lasts a couple of months. Is my surgeon correct or just fobbing me off until our official billable post-op? I was on 30mg of PPI Lansoprazole, and I went off it cold turkey after my surgery. Maybe this is why? But my gastro seemed to say it was fine to stop the meds. Either way, I just crusted up 20mg of Famotidine and had it because I got slightly freaked out.
I'm just worried I did this whole thing for nothing.
I'm an actor, and my TV career finally started with some cool jobs... and then this happened... I've missed so many awesome auditions because of this condition, which I swear hovers in that irritating sweet-spot between Gerd and LPR, where no one is quite sure what is going on. My symptoms felt extreme, but my tests all were mild. They did think I was a good candidate for the surgery, however if I could have afforded it, I'd have probably tried Stretta as I was apparently a good candidate for that too - just it would have cost me £9000 more. But, re the post-nissan Phantom Reflux, that could be real reflux, I'm determined to leave this anxiety in 2021. If the reflux is still there, then I'll just live my life on PPIs, and future me can deal with the long term side effects. Life's too short!
Also, I may come across as an anxious mess, but I'm actually not, I just write passionately, though believe me... I've tried to tone it down. I do believe however Stress caused this whole thing, so maybe I should just tone my whole life down. But life is for LIVING!
I suppose it is only day 5... Ahhhhh! If only patience was a virtue I was blessed with! I just really want my life back, as I'm sure so many people reading this can relate to.
Insights from my recovery so far: Days 1-5
1) Read and inform yourself before the op! I'm glad I read these forums etc for a long time, I also studying Biology before I left to follow my actual dreams, so I read dozens of primary literature on GERD, compared all the stats on Nissen vs Stretta vs LINX. I was lucky my partner's job offers a premium private healthcare, so I didn't have to rely on the NHS - meaning I got to choose an excellent surgeon.
a) Hospital staff, bless them honestly, but they don't know what you should and shouldn't eat. Honestly, the morning after my op, the nurse handed me a giant pill, and she wouldn't believe me when I said I couldn't swallow it... so I secretly crushed it up the table when she left - because otherwise they'd give me a seltzer version... bubbles galore... like the previous nurse. Thankfully due to my research, I resisted, and food wise too, knew only try the clear consommé and avoid all the straws they gave me.
b) Americans speak about Gas-X. As far as I understand, we don't get that brand in the UK. Simethicone is the active ingredient, and the pills are small - but to start with, get liquid baby Simethicone, brand name Infacol.
c) I had to diva a bit to be sent home with some anti-nausea meds, which is against standard protocol. Had to really explain the procedure to the nurses, who eventually agreed. (I didn't have to use a single one - but I wasn't going to risk it).
2) Honestly, the pain is SO bearable. I woke up on day 3 and I felt like I hadn't even had surgery. Laproscopic is madness. Walked around my house loads. If the pain is worrying you, please don't let it. I only take painkillers at night because they help me get a good night's rest as theres night time building works going on across the street from me at the train station.
3) Food wise, so far, I eat pureed foods fine. Couldn't do that till end of day 3, where I tried baby food marketed at 4 month olds. (Not gonna lie... these 4 months olds are living the life, it's delish. And cheaper than adult food... honestly I might actually do this long term). As well as usual mash potatoes, soups, broths, runny oatmeal, jelly (Jello for my American friends), and juice. I'm telling myself to treat it as a healthy detox, as prior to the op I just ate everything in sight because I knew I wasn't going to eat textured crunchy solids for so long.
4) This sensation of reflux still being there is freaking me out. I have an obsessive personality, with genetic predisposition to OCD, and so what I find helps is if I become mindful, close my eyes, isolate my chest area, and really ask if I'm actually feeling reflux or not. The answer is always no. But as soon as I open my eyes, 5 secs later, it's there again. I really hope its phantom reflux, from the swelling, disturbing of the nerves etc and not actual reflux. But if it is... oh well... back on the meds I go.
5) My surgeon filmed my surgery and handed me a copy. Omg it's so weird watching it back. But it's also good to visualise what they did to you. Try and see if your surgeon can offer the same, it's really helped me understand my pain, which I think has made me better able to deal with it. (Not an easy watch though - I had to pause many times because at the end of the day... its your own body).
6) Overall, I'm optimistic. I'll keep updating this. I want to make sure everyone who reads this, and is anxious, knows that apart from this very normal phantom reflux worry that I have (which my surgeon reassures will settle down within a couple of months), everything else is SO much easier than I thought. And whilst I'm bloated, and I wish I could burp more freely, I don't even pass that much wind.