recovery from a major Oesophageal operation

I have breathing issues since coming out of hospital just simmilar to another had. I feel a bit panicky and have not had any quality sleep at all.

Ican't relax in bed and have to revert to coming back downstairs to an armchair and switch the tv back on.

I usually get a little catnap type of sleep and could probably count the hours that I had as opposed to the hours that I should have had.

9 Replies

  • How long since your op? After mine I really struggled to sleep. I was advised just to sleep when I could and that sleep patterns would return in time


  • Exactly my experience, just go with what your body wants to do

  • I had sleep problems for several months after the op', I just used to have catnaps whenever I felt I needed them. I found reading or having the radio on quietly, far more helpful than the telly when trying to drop off. Whatever you do, don't worry about it - worry will always interfere with your sleep.

  • Hi the same has happened to me I did worry at first but like most of us on this site we are all feeling the same problems but once you get to know all the side affects as people will help you to understand them and to fined ways on how to deal with them, take each day slowly there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

    Tina x

  • I found I would get extra breaths , palpitations and yawns they are quite normal as your body is healing. Sleeping quite upright with 3 or more pillows can help also we downloaded an app called Headspace which you can trial helps you sort of meditate and drop off. Drugs interfere with sleep as well check you are taking them at the right time before bed. I know one of mine said that it could interfere with sleep. Not sure what it is called now. I am nearly 6mths post op and finished chemo in July things do get better.

  • You should perhaps ask your consultant about the breathing difficulties when you go for your next check-up. Depending on how long it is since your operation, it may just be a reaction to the anaesthetic, or, if they collapsed your lung, it may be taking a while to recover. Physiotherapy might help.

    As regards sleeping, I found that meditation helped me to relax and speed up my recovery. There are lots of books and instructional CD's available on the subject. Penny Brohn Cancer Care in Bristol will send you one for free.

  • Hi Kenn1. Try to listen to what your body is telling you. I think we have all gone through the thing of thinking I should be doing this or that. Your body is trying to re-adjust to all you have been through of late , just as I'm sure you are. It's easy for me to say this I know but try not to worry about it, it will just keep you awake. When you are really tired, and I'm not saying for one moment that you don't feel tired, you will fall asleep,you probably wont be able to stay awake :). I also agree with everything Spikey has said. I hope your sleep pattern improves soon.

    Kind Regards


  • It takes time to get used to the new 'normal' and even that changes with time and you can eat more. I know that the first 6 months post surgery were horrible for me with breathing difficulties, extreme pain, dumping syndrome all the time, It was not nice but I needed to be not always worrying about it coming back and I do not regret it, I had 2 children post surgery so I need to be there for them and my spouse that I married 2 weeks post chemo, It gets easier with time,

  • Breathlessness can be down to partially collapsed lungs (all collapsed you would not be here). I suffered this about a week after discharge. This is very serious, will need thromosis checks.

    Since there is usually no treatment, things resolve over time, you might be silently suffering.

    On sleep, yep. You need to be relaxed. If you are in the UK you can ask for a back rest, NHS will supply immediately. (the fuss about pillows does not apply here). A "bum" stop helps a lot, stops sliding down the bed.

    Radio etc? Distractions. May help. I think the answer is do this only sometimes, which I do, wear wire sports earphones. Few of us really need precise sleep patterns, such as the infamous 8 hours, you don't, just maybe adds up to that in time. Maybe a question is *why* you have trouble with sleep... scared of dying? If so then talk to someone.

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