Friday, December 2, 2011


Yesterday was the 1-year anniversary of my life-changing surgery. I believe I have a normal life again although it's not the same normal as I had before the GERD began nearly 20 years previously. But it is normal to me now.

These differences are few, though. Still no carbonated beverages, since I can't burp, for the most part. Very very occasionally a small amount of air will work its way back up past my wrap, but it is not often enough to be sure I could burp when I needed to - 95% of the time, at least, I can't. For the same reason, I can't drink through a straw, which is would mainly be an issue at fast-food drive-thru places. But we keep a bottle of water in the car for those occasions. And speaking of air, what can't come back up, has to pass on through. So I'm more flatulent than I've ever been, and don't have much control over that. I try to not be rude about it but, well, like I said, I don't have much control over that.

As for foods, I probably only get "stuck" a couple of times a month now. Smaller bites and thorough chewing are second nature. Large bites are painful going down, even if they don't get stuck. As I've mentioned, cooked pork and bread are the main problems, like if I have the very rare (as in infrequent) hamburger on a bun for example.

My appetite is about 75% of what it was prior. I graze more now. Eat less at meals, get hungry sooner afterward, and eat again. Sometimes my meals that don't get finished I just leave sitting on the counter; in an hour or so I'll go back and finish it. I've also noticed that motility is better. If I eat to the point of fullness (not uncomfortable fullness of course), and then walk around or even sit back with a cup of tea, 10-15 minutes later I can eat a little more. This is good for buffet restaurants, where I eat my small plate of food and finish before my husband is half-done with his mounded up plate. By the time he's halfway through his second plate and I'm sitting there bored, I can go have a dish of soup or a dessert (sugar-free of course!) or something - then we finish up at the same time.

I love to rearrange the furniture in my house, but heavy lifting is still off-limits. The last time I tried (a couple of months ago), I was in a world of hurt in the area of my wrap for 2-3 days afterward. I've since read that heavy lifting is never a good idea after a wrap, no matter how long it's been since the surgery. This isn't a huge issue to me anymore since the arthritis in my spine also limits lifting, but just another difference.

Raw vegetables was another thing my surgeon warned me against, both for digestibility and for gas issues. I can eat small amounts, but they do give me a bellyache if I eat too much, and they do increase the level of gas I need to get rid of. So I can eat them, but I limit them. Gone are the days of eating a whole head of cauliflower dipped in ranch dressing in one day!

Even though the early days were more difficult for me than most, recovery was slower and more painful, and I do have some (minor!) limits now, I would do it again in a heartbeat. And, in cases like mine where all else has failed, I would definitely recommend it. It is a major surgery, it is life-altering, and it physically changes the inside of our bodies, permanently. It has a fairly high failure rate (depending on who you ask), and can cause more problems than it was intended to solve in a few cases. For these reasons it isn't a surgery that should be taken lightly or gone into without a lot of research and prayer. But for me, it was literally a lifesaver and many times every single day I am thankful that I had the opportunity to get it done!


  1. I got the NF surgery 7 weeks ago tomorrow. My doctor never told me any of this. Thank-you for your comments and for the links to doctors who do give post surgical information.

    I had no idea how much pain I would still be in at this time. I don't know if that is normal. I have a call in to the doctor but it is between Christmas and New Years 2011.

    Now that I have an idea of the types of food I can eat and drink, I think it will help me greatly. I think I might have a serious problem, though, as mobility of any kind now or even bending ever slightly puts me in awful pain - bad enough for pain control. Just sitting at the computer here hurts me.

    I didn't know all lifting was off limits either. Perhaps that is part of the problem.

    Thanks for your blog. I don't often get to the Internet.

  2. I'm sorry I didn't reply sooner, the last few days have been really busy and I haven't gotten online much...

    It seems - unfortunately - to be fairly common for surgeons not to give good instructions. I don't understand that, this is a huge surgery to go through, and we all need to do everything we can to make sure it is a success. I hope that you haven't compromised your wrap by lifting. I was limited to 10# for 90 days, then "nothing too heavy" for 6 months, and "never" to lift something so heavy I'd need to strain. This is something you should check with your surgeon about, since I haven't read or heard anywhere in my (extensive) research that this would be normal.

    I hope all goes well for you, thanks for your comment, please let me know what your doctor says ok? :)