Chronic Illness, Nissen Fundoplication & My Recovery?

Nissen Fundoplication

You may or may not have noticed that my posting schedule is everywhere and has been for a while now. Its partly by choice and partly by things I cannot control. This post was something I had considered but never thought I would write but I know actually a lot of people may have to go through what I have been/am going through right now and I wish I had some more info on what I am going to talk about before hand, so please note this will be a long post.

So on Feb 5th this year I had major surgery after suffering in pain for 8 years, it was a last resort as everything else had failed and it was called a Nissen Laparoscopic Fundopication or Acid Reflux Surgery and repair of a Hiatus Hernia.

It started when I was around 15, when suddenly out of no where I could no longer eat, I was mega healthy and did a form of sport every day but this is where my life began to take a bit of a turn. I felt when eating I would choke and inevitably after every meal I would no longer be able to breath until all the food was out, I know its not nice but my body was doing something seriously wrong without me choosing it. From here my weight plummeted and any calories my body held onto were being burnt off. I was passed from doctor to doctor told I had involuntary bulimia, a nasal drip ,you name it I was told it was what I had. I was given nasal sprays, tablets and had barium swallows and cameras in my nose regularly but still no one was sure what was really going on. I felt alone and stressed and everyone basically gave up on me it wasn’t until 2 years later I ate meal properly again. Here I felt like i was getting better so no one believed there was anything wrong, it was all stress induced but other issues followed. I began getting symptoms of IBS and I no longer ever felt full, which was something totally bizarre and the polar opposite to how I had felt. No came my weight gain and obsession with food I was constantly thinking about food and panicked that I would suddenly not be able to eat again so I think I overate and while at uni I went from around 8 and half stone to 11st 7lbs this Jan. I wasn’t overweight for my height my I wasnt happy.

So what on earth was happening to me? Well in June last year my stomach pain was daily it was unbearable and I demanded my GP to help because something was still not OK and I was getting to the point I though I was making my illness up in my head. So he referred me to a private specialist, here I had my first endoscopy where he found out what was happening inside. I was diagnosed with a fully collapsed oesophageal value, a 3cm hiatus hernia and acid reflux. Medicine was my first option but after months this was still not working after trying many. It came time to make my decision if surgery was right for me or if medicine that wasnt doing me any good would be what I had to have daily for the rest of my life? it wasn’t a choice I took lightly it came with risks and more tests prior, such as an oesophageal monotony. Then the waiting game up to surgery day.

The surgery was done laparoscopically by making 5 small incision into my abdomen. The idea is that the hiatus hernia is then put back and sealed in then the stomach is lifted at the top creating a wrap where it is stitched together to create a new valve so that acid and food can no longer rise back up. This was done and I woke up sore but ok I even went home the same day just a little tender after having some soup and water but I felt good in a sense like It was a step forward.

Fast forward to Sunday this was 3 days after my surgery I began to have issues as the gas they used to inflate my stomach was trapped and my skin was crackling like bubble wrap. What I didn’t expect was chest pain and it was extreme my heart rate was fast and fluttering and I felt like I was having a heart attack and swallowing any liquid was impossible. 8 hours in a&e, a saline drip and X-ray late came to nothing and the doctors didn’t know what to suggest as they didn’t know what my surgery even was which was concerning. From here my stomach wounds were healing but food over the next 6 weeks was an issue by week 3 I spent 9 hour choking and retching and being unable to breath so was prescribed tablets to help from my GP, this was a temporary fix but did the job for a while. By week 6 most people could eat relatively normally buy I was 20lbs lighter and eating very little. I had no energy but was working full time from 5 days after my operation. Unfortunately this is why my blog has taken a back seat I work come home then sleep. On the weekends I don’t do much and when I do I tend to suffer as I am drained and to be honest weak.

Numerous doctors, and hospital trips lead to me finding out I now had gas bloat syndrome, this is an excessive intake of air. My body has always done it to apparently neutralise the acid but it needs to retrain but I wasn’t convinced that was all that was wrong so another barium swallow it was. I was right the valve wasn’t working right and it was surgery number two time although less invasive it was to stretch my new oesophagus which now at week 8 yes has helped. Only slightly mind you, food is still a bit of a chore and cold drinks or carbonated drinks hurt and by the end of the day I feel like i’m drowning my chest pain sometimes is debilitating and unbearable and the constant heaving an retching is probably causing a lot of damage. Ive lost the ability to be sick but I still feel nauseous a lot of the time which causes a loose loose situation.

I saw my surgeon who seems to think I am doing well now and that rennies and gaviscon will help the chest pain until it finally by its self subsides but today called for another trip to the doctors as I have something constantly dripping down my throat which is I think a big problem and is linked to my chest issues, I have ear aches and popping ears along with a lot of tension in my head and loss of balance, not to mention the fact i’ve become intolerant to milk basically which also cannot be explained.

In all, I wonder what was worse the issued I had or the ones this has created which is worrying. I now spend so much time searching forums trying to get some other opinions on what others have been through to try and get some answers. Would I have the surgery again… probably not as while I feel better in myself my body feels like its slowly getting worse its a chain reaction one thing causes another issue.

I feel that there is not enough info given on what side effect can occur from this surgery. I know I will get better and the surgery itself was done well and the wrap etc is intact and fine but the new issues are tough. I wont lie to you all its isolating I can’t go for a meal with friends or meet them for a drink and I don’t feel like me, I try to carry on being happy but I guess I am worried that maybe this is it for me, this is how I will have to live my life now or I will just have to have the wrap reversed and I don’t want that I don’t want this to of been for nothing. I am on the road to getting better but I don’t think this is what I had expected would happen and I think maybe I had a slightly more oooo ill be fine view before hand.

After seeing my GP today though I am left wondering will I get better he’s worried that this will possibly be a life long thing the pain in my chest after food and compared my symptoms to those of a patient who’s had a gastric band.

I knew food would never be the same for me and I would have to chew, chew, chew to be able to eat and that on average recovery takes 6 months to a year in full I had it knowing that and kewn it was a liquid then mussed diet to start. So I want anyone with GERD or GORD to get your doctor to take you seriously as it took me 7/8 years to get answers meaning I had to have a full wrap not a partial which in itself can make recovery more challenging, I have had my throat bleed from the acid and the onset of ulcers in my upper GI track and stomach because no one knew what to do.

Its not all that common in people my age and tends to happen in babies or over 50’s so I am hoping I can bounce back but I wanted you to know why I am sorry I am not posing consistently or much at all. I am taking each day as it comes and just trying to get some answers and solutions as I go. I have 4 weeks until I see my surgeon again and I guess I know that if its still not better this will of been for nothing as having more surgery and getting it undone may be the only option I have.

So thank you for all your continued support and if you have any questions, want more details as I haven’t gone into all the technical terms or are having similar problems too let me know 🙂


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