I want to thank each of you who have left me comments of well wishes, prayers, and offers to help me. Healing has been about all I've had energy to deal with and have not been able to get back and reply. Hopefully over the next few days I can do this.
I've had several people ask me how I'm doing in my recovery. I wanted to give you a little more of the details and an update.
This honestly has been one of the hardest things I've ever had to walk through. Recovery has been long and difficult. It has left me feeling exhausted most of the time. However I do seem to be turning a corner now and that has been so nice.
It has been 6 weeks now since my surgery. My main surgery, the one for my hiatal hernia (Nissan w/Fundoplication is the official name of it) has healed very well. I'm thrilled with the results of this. I don't have any more heartburn or acid reflux and no longer need to take any medications for this. I sleep better then I have in years due to not getting woke up countless times during the night because of the heartburn or acid reflux. I don't regret having this surgery.
I do regret the way it ended. After the surgery had been completed they sent a scope down my throat to make sure my esophagus was open and ended up ripping a 4 inch gash in my esophagus. This resulted in 6 days in ICU, intubation, chest tube, and much more. Thankfully I was heavily sedated as the few times I did come conscious were pretty horrific. Afterwards it left me barely able to walk (you loose body strength the longer you are not using your muscles. My nurses told me it can be 50% of your body strength after just 5 days) and completely unable to drink or eat anything by mouth. They put a stomach feeding tube in me and for the first 4 weeks that was my sole source of getting food, water and medications.
After I got home I still needed a lot of care. My wonderful, loving husband was my caretaker. He took 4 weeks off of work to be able to help me with the feedings, medications and regaining strength. I had weekly visits with a physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech pathologist and nurse, as well as follow up visits with various doctors.
As of now I'm down to just the speech pathologist and nurse. I'm up and doing more and my strength has slowly started coming back. I'm able to take care of myself and do a few basic simple household chores. Just being able to do those things is huge from where I started.
My main issue now is my throat continuing to heal and regaining the complete ability to swallow. Swallowing is something we take for granted but I've had to basically relearn how to do this and force my muscles to do what they should naturally do. I'm at the point I can eat and swallow softer type foods such as eggs, ground beef, cooked veggies, soft cooked chicken and so forth. I usually need to have water to help it all go down smoothly. I've made enough progress in my eating and drinking that the doctor was able to remove my feeding on Tuesday. It's still a lot of work for me to swallow and eat. It takes a lot of concentration. And I still have little to no appetite. I've lost 15 pounds in the process and while weight loss is not something I mind, there is a good way to lose and not so good way. For now I try and concentrate of foods that are the most calorie and nutritionally dense and I'm eating more then I was a week ago and the weight loss has slowed down.
Today was probably the first day I felt like I had the energy to sit down and write a post. I'm praying that each day and each week that goes by my strength will continue to improve and my throat will continue to heal. I look forward to my life going back to normal again.