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3.5 weeks post surgery--having problems.

JanBred
Posts: 42
Joined: Jul 2012

I breezed through my surgery with flying colors, and now reality has sunk in. I'm having problems with digestion, sometimes I am regurgitating my food, my heart rate is well over 100, hot and cold feelings, my incision site is killing me. I have no energy whatsoever. Mayo said that the heart rate has something to do with my system being out of "whack" from the surgery. I ran the vacuum cleaner Friday, and have suffered since. I am worried that I wont be able to handle the chemo in a month--Thank goodness for the J-tube, because I would be wasting away. I need some advice from one of the "pros" on here. Thanks so much. Jan

monica_sss
Posts: 57
Joined: Dec 2011

My Mom had her surgery in early April. The surgeon said "You're going to feel like you've been hit by a 2 ton truck"... and he was right. Recovery for her was a long and difficult process. She just started going back to work part-time (after 5 months off). She truly didn't have her energy back until at least 8 weeks postop. Mom was 65 at the time of surgery (THE).

Digestion is an issue and she lost an additional 15 lbs. after the surgery. She never had a feeding tube but she did have a PICC line and TPN line for food.

It does get better, your energy will come back. Mom's top incision site had to be packed twice a day with gauze, now we can barely see it. She also had problems with food getting stuck. She had an endoscopy about 2 weeks after surgery and it showed that there was a small tear, so she had to stop having food and drink by mouth for 5 days while it healed. The second endoscopy showed that the tear was closed. It was smoother sailing after that. She has had one dialation (about 4 months post-op) due to stricture, but otherwise she is mostly eating what she wants in small portions.

I hope things improve for you soon.

tmcjay's picture
tmcjay
Posts: 40
Joined: Jun 2012

Hi Jan,
What type of surgery did you have? I know that there is no way I would have been able to vacuum 4 weeks after surgery, I don't think you are supposed to vacuum actually. If you had the Ivor Lewis as I did, the recoup time does not occur in weeks , but rather in months. Many months. Try not to rush , I know its hard but healing will occur it just takes time. Give yourself a break.

JanBred
Posts: 42
Joined: Jul 2012

Laparoscopic mobilization of the stomach
Ivor Lewis esophagogastrectomy
Right thoracotomy
end to side stapled esophagogastrostomy
I went to doctor today and after a chest X-ray I have pneumonia...no wonder I feel so lousy.

paul61's picture
paul61
Posts: 1106
Joined: Apr 2010

Jan,

I had Ivor Lewis surgery. It was at least two months before I could do anything physical. For the first month it was from my bed to my recliner with a few short walks outside for exercise.

I had digestive issues, and I had dumping syndrome, on a regular basis for the first three months. My large incision on my back took about four months to heal. I had a heart rate over 100 for about two months after surgery. I lost about 20 pounds. I had incision pain for about a year and had numbness and occasional pain in my ribs on the right side and incision site on my back for about two years post surgery.

I had surgery in December of 2009 and I started my post operative chemotherapy in February of 2010. I was still weak and having digestive issues when I started chemotherapy; but I did start, and successfully got through the six rounds. I would recommend you keep your J-tube even if you are eating normally when you start chemotherapy because it can make nutrition and hydration much easier during chemo if you have a J-tube.

Even if you had a minimally invasive surgical approach, it may have been minimally invasive on the OUTSIDE but it was not minimally invasive on the INSIDE. The esophagus is still removed, the stomach still has to be modified and relocated, and numerous lymph nodes still have to be removed. That is a major insult to your system and it will take time for you to recover.

Be patient with yourself, you will get there.

Best Regards,

Paul Adams
Grand Blanc, Michigan

DX 10/22/2009 T2N1M0 Stage IIB
12/03/2009 Ivor Lewis
2/8 through 6/14/2010 Adjuvant Chemo Cisplatin, Epirubicin, 5 FU
Two year survivor

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance!

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