I am 2 years post op now,and suffer the same side effects as most people on this very helpful site.However for the first time since my op I

have a chest infection that has really knocked me sideways.I didnt sleep for 5 nights I couldnt lie down because I have so much phlegm and acid reflux that was choking me,and was very sick but just bile coming up.I am very breathless and it is very frightening.It feels like my stomach is pushing up and squashing my lungs.I got some antibiotics from my gp,but Icouldnt seem to make him understand about my breathing.Please could anyone tell me if they have had anything near the same. Tankyou Sandra

9 Replies

  • I suffered the same but was admitted to hospital for stronger antibiotics on drip.I suggest you phone consultant as hospital need to deal with it rather than gp.I was also given oxygen to help breathing.I was all better in 5 days !

  • I think it MIGHT be that your stomach is now in your chest, and that reduces the space available for your lungs, so the breathlessness becomes more intense.

    I think you are right to avoid lying down, because you will simply get reflux otherwise. Having something like gaviscon may help with the reflux short term. Hopefully the antibiotics will get to work soon and improve your situation; I certainly hope so. If not you should go back to your GP and you might need to go to hospital as Griff has suggested.

    There are a lot of these 'bugs' about at the moment, and you will probably be hit harder than most because of your re-arranged insides.

    I hope you are better soon.


  • Thankyou Griff and Alan for that it has reasured me. Thankyou again. best wishes Sandra.

  • Hiya Sandra. I am 9 mths since op and although I feel better than 9mths ago I too have ongoing problems with chest infections and constant discomfort. I told my surgeon I feel as if there is not enough space for all my organs. Feel like ime being crushed internally, its such a horrible weird feeling. I have been aspirating into my left lung and lying down makes the problem worse. I have my bed elevated. I take morphine tablets daily to ease the pain and help me get light daily chores done. I too am praying for the day when I feel slightly normal. It is sooooooo frustrating as I feel like all I do is complain about pain and discomfort from the minute I open my eyes in the morning. Will I ever feel slightly NORMAL again. Hope u all r having a good day xx

  • Thanks for your helpful comments I am sure your condition will improve as the months pass along. Its a tough old op we have all had.Kind regards Sandra xx

  • It sounds as though you had some significant regurgitation with small aspiration episodes. I must disagree with the advice on Gaviscon until you can rule out aspiration. This sounds like more than just a "bug", and I don't think you should ignore the possibility that until the underlying cause is addressed, these episodes may continue to happen.

    Avoid food for at least an hour before going to bed, and avoid fatty food for longer than an hour before lying down. Fatty foods stay in the upper GI tract longer and increase the secretion of bile. If you are noticing the taste of bile in your mouth, that means that there are chemicals in your oral cavity that aren't meant to be there. Aspiration (or breathing in) these chemicals can cause a serious chest infection, termed aspiration pneumonitis or aspiration pneumonia.

    Please consider that there may be some serious processes at play here, but that can be controlled by diet control and keeping your head very elevated at night. The pushing sensation you described is likely stomach contents creeping back up your shortened esophagus, and once they reach the trachea can be breathed in, especially during a deep sleep. They don't have to be major episodes (which wake you up gagging and desperate for breath).

  • Thanks Chris. best wishes.

  • As chris_usa says you really should take this very seriously.

    Try to differentiate between what is coming up your Trachea as distinct from what is ascending your Oesophageal stump.

    The significance of this is that the first is effect and the second is cause.

    Vigorous coughing ought to produce phlegm which you can examine-- if this Sputum looks concerning (thick/yellow/greenish) collect it in a specimen jar to show to your medics ; preferably hospital not GP surgery.

    When the same happened to me I was booked for surgery to remove my right lung.I avoided this by having tremendous physiotherapy which cleared the aspirated contamination.

    Remember that the lung which was collapsed during your Oesophagectomy will always be weakened and susceptible to infection.

    There is a mass of sound information throughout the posts on this site about how to avoid or at least minimize acid/bile reflux in the first place.

  • A further thought----

    if you take the type of Gaviscon which foams you will almost certainly exacerbate the likelihood of Reflux.

    The reason for this is that the volume contained in the pull-up Pseudo Oesophagus or Stomach Tube ( as some medical authorities term it ) is very small .Depending on the exact nature of the procedure it could be as little as an half-a-cupful ! Filling this with anything fizzy and frothy is obviously going to cause problems .

    The two foods which I absolutely cannot eat under any circumstances are meringue and fluffy stewed apple .

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