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What can I expect after I awake from esophagectomy

sjgarber
Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2002

I'm Having an esophagectomy on March 9. It is being performed by laparoscopy at UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh by Dr Luketich who runs the Center for MInimally invasive Surgery. Is anyone familiar with his work and what can I expect when I wake up for the first few weeks? Any help with these questions would be greatly appreciated.

mrbt's picture
mrbt
Posts: 46
Joined: Jun 2001

Hi. I am a 55 year old male who had an esophagectomy in September of 98. I had a stage III tumor at the GI junction and was treated with chemo and radiation prior to surgery. I am on the west coast and don't know anything about Dr. Luketich however here is what I know from my experience.

My surgery lasted approx 6 hours. My esophagus was removed from mid-neck down to and inclulding the top third of my stomach. The remaining stomach was fashioned and then pulled up and connected to my remaining esophagus. I spent 7 days in the hospital which I was told was less then most. Immediately after surgery I was in ICU and don't remember much except two wonderful nurses who where by my bedside almost all the time. On the first day after surgery I was moved to a regular room. I was connected to IVs on both sides so I felt like a plumbing fixture and it was hard to move about. After about 5 days the plumbing was reduced and I could get around better. The hospital time was boring however my wife was an angel and kept me occupied.

When I got home I spent a lot of time on the couch sleeping or resting. The first 6 to 8 weeks after surgery are the pits. Sorry. The healing process zaps your strength and eating was not easy. I had a feeding tube however the Dr. didn't want to use it unless necessary. He wanted me to eat and not depend on it. I never did use it however I have communicated with others who have used the tube and have done very well.

I was told to eat small (very small) portions and stay away from sweet drinks. It was hard to eat at first as eating even a piece of toast seemed like a huge amount. I ended up eating a lot of broth and soup and staying away from any solids for a few weeks.

I did learn that it is important to separate liquid and solids. If you eat somthing solid and then drink the liquid pushes the undigested food through the intestine to quickly and you can get some very severe cramping. I drink first then wait a few minutes and then eat the solids. Works for me. You will have to experiment.

Don't expect to bouch back quickly as this type of surgery and the recovery can take 6 months to a year to get to a stable point. A lot depends on your general health, age, etc. Most folks must continue to eat several small meals per day (4 to 8) depending on their own situation. I am 20 lbs lighter then per surgery and my colesterol is well under 200 now. I lead a relatively normal life however I did retire as working was too stressful. Otherwise life is good and I hope to be around to bouce grand kids on my knee.

You can email me directly at "triebold@telocity.com" if you want to chat.

Goodluck, Bruce

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