Wednesday, 10 July 2013

2 Week Update

It feels like ages since the surgery; I can hardly believe I'm only writing a 2 week update!

Incisions: Post-op pain is almost totally resolved. The largest incision is still tender at rare moments and I can feel quite a bit of lumpy scar tissue forming underneath it. But for most of the day I forget that I have had any kind of surgical procedure at all! No pain medication now for anything. Scars are small and already forming new skin and diminishing.

Reflux/HB: It's been a slightly less glowing report than Week 1 - hopefully just as my body adjusts. But the first thing to say is that I'm not really experiencing reflux or belching, or water coming back up the throat like it used to. So on that front I'm still in a whole different category than before.

What I am experiencing on a daily basis is some discomfort post-meals that sort of feel like stuff trying to come back up. Pressure, and discomfort both in the LES area and throat (not from heartburn, just from the pressure -- I think). It feels a bit like the reflux did BUT the point is that it doesn't come back up - i.e. I don't have a bad taste in my mouth or feel anything come through the UES. I would love for this symptom to go away, so that I can not have to "remember my meal" at all after I've eaten it. If you have reflux you'll know what I mean by this, I think! This symptom is also bothersome because I'm a singer, and so to have that feeling while taking a deep breath and trying to produce a sound...can be tough. Sort of like how you can't burp and talk at the same time.

I also have some sharp hiccup-type things after eating fairly consistently. Just a single hiccup, not the actual dreaded hiccups. "Normal" people get that sometimes, so I'm telling myself that it's a good thing because I'm now normal too! But in all honesty, I think it's probably related to the LINX device, and I'm guessing will probably change in the coming weeks.  

PPIs: I'm titrating down on the PPIs. Week 1 was full dose, Week 2 has been every other day, and now I'm heading into Week 3 where I'll do every third day. That might be contributing to the above discomfort. I do have gastritis as well, so some days without the omeprazole I get stomach pain in a very specific spot. I seem to have really localized irritation - and had that way back 4 years ago when I first got on the meds. I'll be trying different ways to soothe this now that reflux is under control. Slippery Elm Bark has been promising before...but I hate the stuff! Recommendations welcome (I've tried a lot already!).

Dysphagia: I had my very first dysphagic moment on day 9, but it was just uncomfortable and nothing patience and water didn't cure. Then all of a sudden yesterday **it got real. Yesterday morning (Day 12) I had a lot of pain trying to get the first swallow down in the morning. Not a nice feeling. Otherwise I was fine throughout the day, trying to CHEW, SWALLOW, PAUSE. This morning was even worse. I took some water, which hurt going down, then took a tiny allergy pill, then a bigger supplement. The bigger one (half the size of a penny) got stuck, hurt like crazy, then the saliva routine started up. I had gushes of it washing up and finally sort of vomited it into the sink (sorry...if you're reading this I assume you want to know the gory details!). Unfortunately, the pill didn't manage to come up, so it was stuck there for another few minutes before passing through the device. Horrid. And I wasn't too keen on drinking more water to get it down either! I made some warm tea which seems to help and then 5 minutes later porridge went down basically fine. First bite of most meals seems the worst.

I had chicken salad at lunch today and had one stuck bite with pain, but no bringing anything back up (thankfully...I was sitting at my desk at work and terrified of rushing into the bathroom!!). I've heard that meats can be tricky, as can breads. I agree on both counts. It seems like if there's a big break between meals then the first swallow is worse as well.

It's weird because sometimes taking a big, painful gulp of water gets things down. Other times water seems to make it much, much worse. Did anyone else experience the water thing?

My note-to-self is warm tea with meals to get things opening before eating. And chewing. And pausing. And no pills first thing in the morning :)

Foods enjoyed: This week was a little less exciting as it didn't involve Indian food, sadly, but in terms of trigger foods I got a few in. I loved eating three slices of pizza (never would've risked it right before a rehearsal...but it was totally fine!), big bowls of breakfast that actually kept me full (I usually had to eat small breakfasts because that was a really refluxy meal, no matter what I ate), grilled sausages. Oh, and dishes with garlic and peppers. Both those foods made their presence known to me for hours after I ate them with reflux and what I'll tactfully call "scented belches".

Activities enjoyed: 
  • Cycling in to work in the morning - formerly always painful because of reflux. 
  • Lying down after dinner - might be habit-forming now that I know how nice it feels! 
  • Not worrying about strong flavors in dishes - though garlic breath is never one's first choice.
  • Eating more in one sitting in general. The nice side effect of this is not having to snack as much.
  • Still not exercising regularly yet, though I cycle to work and back and walk during the day. Hoping to get some strength work in soon, though I want to take it easy on the abs. 

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