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Acid Reflux / GERD Message Board

Acid Reflux / GERD Board Index

Part II

So I had my LNF (Lap Nissen Fundoplication henceforth). I chose to have my surgery in a surgery center as I was concerned about picking up some sort of bug at the hospital. My surgeon expressed no concerns about this.
I went in at 5am and was on my way home at 3:30pm. Surgeon said that it went very well but,

1. He had to remove a lot of scar tissue in the abdomen in order to do the surgery. Not sure where it came from but it was there.

2. The hernia was much larger than the scans or scope indicated.

3. My stomach was very high up and out of place. He needed to pull it down and over into place then secure it with mesh and titanium screws.

Day 3. I went in to see him and he told me that I probably should have been in the hospital for three days but since I recovered so quickly from the surgery he sent me home rather than to the hospital. That kind of worried me but he seemed just fine with my progress. Said I was doing fine. I also complained of waking up with headaches. He suggested Advil and said see you in two weeks.

Day 5. Headaches getting worse. I began to notice that they came on when I am sitting or leaning back. Starts with pressure in my head that turns into headache that will wake me up from a Hydrocodone drugged sleep (that bad). At their worst it feels like my left eye is going to pop out of the socket. Went in to see my doctor since I was now having trouble sleeping, the one thing I need to do to recover. Also blood pressure was very low upon waking up. At worst 90/50. Face turns red according to my sister who is in town helping me while I recover. Surgeon says that I might have some spinal swelling but the is convinced it can’t be related to the surgery. Gave me a powerful anti-inflammatory. Sent me home.

Day 6: Over 24 hours with only fleeting sleep. Sister came in my room to check on me and when I turned to her she was shocked. Said my face was cherry red and my eyes actually looked funny. Headache so bad I felt like crying. She called the surgeon at home. He told me to go to the ER and that he would tell them I was coming and they were to check for blood clots.
5 hours later in emergency I had a Cat Scan of the head and chest. No blood clots YEAH! No suggestions for why I have the headaches. ER doc actually suggested that I go back on the Hydrocodone and drug myself to sleep. Said come back if things get worse they’ll do an MRI. Bye bye.

Day 8: Back to the surgeon. New even more powerful anti inflammatory. Still not sleeping more that fleeting exhausted sleep. Basically passing out and waking up with head banging pain. He says I’m healing great and headaches not related to surgery.

My sister has been on Google. Has come across Vagus Nerve Damage. Doctor say’s “nope” and politely dismisses because I’m not dumping. I can bear down. I can burp. Etc. I have begun having increased heart palpitations when I lean back or lay back and after I eat. Surgeon says they are not heart related but what I’m feeling is my esophagus spasming as it tries to move what I’ve eaten into my stomach. “It just feels like your heart”. I’m not convinced but not really in a mind set to argue with my surgeon. He also tells me he’s not a diagnostic doctor and that I should go see one for these unrelated symptoms. He also thinks I’m coming along nicely. Call me if you need me.

Day 14: Still not sleeping well. Got a call from my insurance company telling me that my short term benefits will be ending in a week. I ask them if they asked my doctor if I was clear to go back to work. They say I would have to ask him. I call him he say’s NO. 30 day’s rest. I call the insurance company back and they say. NO benefits after next week. If I can’t go back to work it’s all on my dime. Wow! They say I can appeal. Any appeal will take 45 days before it is even heard. And let me tell you I was so clear having to deal with this crap in the middle of my recovery. Jerks.

Day 17: Headaches, headaches and headaches. Getting up and down better. No thick foods because it causes chest pains. Baby foods only. Headaches.

Day 20: Saw a Neurosurgeon. Had an MRI on upper spine. No visible swelling. Asked about Vegas nerve he dismissed it. Said the Vegas nerve does not cause headaches. Ordered an MRI of my head and admits he is stumped. Everything is backwards. Headaches get better when I stand up. Get worse when I lay down or lean back. AND he tells me that the cat scan of my head I had in the ER show a growth on my thyroid gland. Need to see an endocrinologist ASAP. Great.

Day 25: Started a new Anti-inflammatory two days ago and finally last night I slept for 4 hours straight. OMG! SLEEP!

Day 26: 5 hours no memorable wake up!!!

Day 27: 7 hours no wake up!!!

Day 28: Slept through the night!!!! Still get headaches during the day and get tired so quick. Loud gut sounds. Tried scrambled eggs. Almost threw up and serious chest pain. Called surgeon. Back on pureed foods. Making my own baby food. Can’t eat or drink a lot of anything. 2oz at the most. Protein shakes pretty much keeping me going. Drink them every day with just a small amount of pureed food.

Day 30: Had an ultrasound for the thyroid. Confirmed growths. Saw the endocrinologist and he is scheduling a biopsy sometime in December. This sucks! Say’s it could be nothing and I should try not to think about it. Yeah that’ll happen!

I’ve been getting out more. Getting stronger. Reading all kinds of comments about the Vegas nerve and how damage to it is related to LNF. Planning on going back to work soon. insurance company and the stupid nurse case worker. Some choice facts,

1. The insurance company decided their case reviewer nurse knew more about me that my surgeon. Maybe SHE should have done my surgery!

2. They clearly never read my file or talked to my surgeon. They just canceled me. I believe they are working the numbers assuming that I won’t appeal or at best they get to hold onto the money for 45 days. I know they won’t get rich off of me but if they do this with a large number of their policy holders they stand to gain in a big way by people giving up and going away because they are too sick to really fight back.
I’ve been getting nauseous every day for the past 5 days and had to start taking meds for it. Losing a lot of weight. Down more than 20 pounds. Surgeon does not seem worried as long as I keep up with the protein. Heart palpitations increasing. I can’t afford to stay out on my own dime so I have to go back to work. I don’t know how I’m going to work all day. I get so tired so fast. I get dizzy. Headaches and nausea.

BUT. No reflux. That’s something.
Thanks for sharing your story. That is what these boards are about. I think we learn through each others experiences.

I had my Lap Nissen October 2008. I didn't have same recovery problems you've had, but I did stay on a liquid diet for a few weeks before going to the soft food. I didn't add any meat or breads back into my diet for about 3 months.

My pain post-surgery was in my core. It hurt so much to move. I couldn't go from lying to sitting/standing on my own for a couple weeks. That was totally unexpected to me.

Ironically, my short-term disability doesn't kick in for 2 weeks and I was only off work for 2 weeks post-surgery. I still had a lifting restriction when I returned to work, but they cleared me to do everything else. It took me about 3 months to get back to "normal" though.

I was pretty much symptom free for about a year. It was wonderful to wake up from surgery not coughing after 4 months of coughing almost non-stop and not being able to get a good breath since the acid inflammed my lungs. I'm having problems now though. All tests show the surgery is holding like it should, but my reflux was very severe and they can't totally closed off your esophagus and stomach or you couldn't eat. I have the acid hitting my lungs and throat in gaseous form though. That is tougher to control. I was a unconventional with my issues. I never went off the high-dose PPI's though even after surgery due to other digestive issues.

All-in-all, I'm happy I had the surgery and would do it again in a heartbeat, but people just need to remember this isn't a "fix", it is a treatment to help prevent the symptoms. It does work better for some than others.

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