Hi all, i am due for my Oesophago-Gastrectomy on 24 July 23, and would be interested to know how others have got on post surgery.
How do I manage sleeping, do I need a special bed or are the wedges sufficient?
How mobile are you after release from hospital.?
Are there eating difficulties?
Anything really, some of the posts that are here can be troubling so i suppose its likely to be a different experience for everyone.
It has been some time since I had my surgery (3,436 days in fact) and although some of the recovery strategies have changed slightly you may find my experiences useful. As you say everyone is different...
First surprising thing is comfort and pain while in hospital. Considering what a major surgery this is I was relatively comfortable. the epidural and pain meds were sufficient. And once home I was keen to get off opioids as soon as I could, for hopefully obvious reasons! I found it helpful to keep a journal while in hospital and subsequently.
Once home I was soon easing myself into being mobile again, going a little further from home each day. They make sure you are pretty mobile along the ward and down (and up) the stairs before discharge.
Eating was not a problem for me. Soft food like lasagne was ideal. I didn't stick to the six meals a day. I had my three main meals with everyone else, but smaller portions (you soon find out how much you can comfortably eat), and snacks on sausage rolls, cream donuts, cereal bars (once off soft food), peanut butter sandwiches (high protein stuff). I think they still recommend A-Z vitamin and mineral supplements. I think patients are sent home with a feeding (jej) tube to help regain weight these days.
Dumping syndrome is a b*stard. But eventually I got to understand: drink first, eat second to avoid early dumping - where a load of undigested food enters the small intestine in one go. And avoid pure carbs, which will be absorbed quickly and raise your blood sugar causing too much insulin to be produced resulting in a "hypo" (low blood sugar) which is late dumping or reactive hypoglycaemia.
No need to worry too much about eating healthily - just eat!
Toilet habits - messy, frequent and sometimes urgent to begin with but settled down after a few months/years. I found Acidophylus supplements or any 'good bacteria' foods for the gut biome helped (I still take them.)
Sleeping: Tricky getting into the normal sleep hours again as I got into the habit of taking an afternoon nap for years afterwards. Sleeping on my back was not natural. Pillows were enough to keep my chest raised. I didn't get a wedge. I sleep on my right side as well as my back these days.
So just a couple of weeks till your life changes. But don't worry. these last few years have been the happiest years for me (and others have said the same). More foreign travel than ever before (up till covid of course). I can eat anything (though in slightly smaller portions than American restaurants serve!). Love my curries and real ale, though funnily enough I don't enjoy wine like I used to. Down the gym three or four times a week trying to stave off old age. I'm 71 now; 61 when I was diagnosed. So lots to look forward to.
Get fit (even if you weren't before) , stay fit and healthy. Enjoy life.
Counting the days, making every day count.
Hi Brent and Tony,
Thank you both for this. I'm facing the same thing in a few months from now. Sometime in September.
Brent, I was diagnosed at the same age as you were and it brings me some comfort to see you dared well.
I'm not sure how I will cope though, because I'm alone with no family. But hey, you got where you are just fine. So will I.
Good luck to the both of you
Not long now - I wish you every success on your journey.
I've not been on the forum for a while but can see Brent has offered and shared brilliant advice as always.
I've copied the link to my journey - a simple blog set up with my daughter to help others decipher some of the new world and terminology that will have come your way.
( It's a full but simple A-Z ( please click ' older posts' at the bottom of the pages to see all content)
Please feel free to reach out and ask any questions at any time
I'm not as far down the track as Brent but 6 years post op feel fitter and more active than I have been in the last 10 years