I'm a recent patient of an Esophagectomy and have a few concerns, I hope I could get some insight on. I'm not exactly sure the type I had so I'll describe the circumstances.
I'm 29 years old, and they discovered a mass/tumor at my esophagus-stomach junction. It was pushing the opening closed and wasn't allowing food through. It was a benign mass although the size concerned the doctors. I was referred to 2 different hospitals before a surgeon would see my case.
I had surgery August 25th 2017, it's been about 3 months and a few days. They took most of my stomach and the bottom part of my esophagus, I was in the hospital for 3 weeks because I did end up getting a chest infection that put pressure on my right lung. I have a 4-5inch incision below my right arm and various smaller ones across my chest. They called them camera ports. Then of course the drain tube scars.
They had to spread my ribs to remove the tumor because of how big it was, they removed 2 of my drain tubes and let me home with 1 which stayed for another 3 weeks. I lost roughly 30 lbs during the process, going from 160 down to 130 (I stand 6ft1inches). I manged to get back to 145 before they removed my feeding tube, and now I am down to 135 again.
My ribs still hurt, not as much as they did with the drain tubes but they are definitely tender (always) and a spot behind my right shoulder is sore and swells sometimes. Will this ever go away?
I have no food restrictions but it's terrible to eat, I understand the smaller portions/more frequently and don't mind that but sometimes even a sip of water causes pain in my throat until I belch. The belching is embarrassingly frequent as well, happens a lot when I first wake up. I also seem to have a considerable amount of saliva always, especially in the morning. I do sleep with a 12 inch wedge, 30 degrees.
Does the acid reflux settle down over time? Will I be able to eat more eventually? Should I be able to have a full drink of water instead of just tiny sips? Will I ever gain good weight back? I focus on chewing lots and making sure to eat small portions but even then I seem to still get pain in my throat. It feels tender always. It seems like it takes an hour to eat something simple. My diet consist of 2 scrambled eggs in the morning, pasta in the afternoon, and a sandwich at night. In between those I eat 1 yogurt, 1 pudding, a cookie, a few fruit snacks and a few small half glasses of milk.
I am on no medications at all, I've been eating lots of Tums and using over the counter omeprazole but it doesn't seem to help at all.
I see a lot of people say they adjust to a "new normal", is the new normal just dealing with the pain/belching/food intake sizes?
I was staying at my families house during the heavier part of the recovery, but now I'm back on my own (single), as I had to move back to get back to work (very nerve wracking).
It really seems like there is little or no improvement, in fact it seems I am even less comfortable than I was before the surgery. It's depressing.