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Oesophageal Patients Association
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Nausea

Hi It,s three weeks today since I had my oesphagetomy the last three days I,ve been feeling nauseous the doctor prescribed anti sickness tablets but so far they don't seem to be working it seems worse first thing in a morning has anyone else had this problem. I had keyhole / robotic surgery and round my ribs is very uncomfortable how long before things get easier I am so tired just getting washed is an ordeal everyone tells me it's all normal but I,m finding things difficult at the moment any advice greatly appreciated thanks x

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Molly6460 - I promise you it will get better - it may seem a long road but try and look back to even two weeks ago to whether you are now. I remember walking being so difficult and just took my time without putting any added mental pressure on myself to be back to were I was before the surgery. I had keyhole (just like yourself) and a full oesophagectomy 2 years ago - your ribs take a bit of a battering and if you think of all the nerves that have been tampered with by the insertion of equipment and chest drains it will take time. My right-hand rib is still quite numb now after 2 years. You have to think how major the op is on the inside even though its not that visible from the outside. All I can say is take it day by day - you will find some days are better than others but you are still heading forward no matter how little you achieve in that day, even if its to just wash, rest, eat, rest, walk a little and rest. As for the nausea it will settle once things are healing - it might be worth asking if there is an alternative to what your doctor has prescribed for you. Are you currently being fed via a jtube? Jo

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Hello. I found the nausea to be the very worst thing of all. I had it really bad for about three months and then it improved and eventually disappeared. I went back to work after three months as i found the soreness had gone and my mobility was fine. But i think in reality it probably took well over a year to fully recover. So, look to the future it will get better.

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Thanks not being able to move around combined with the nausea is getting to me today hopefully it will pass at the moment i.ve no strength to do anything just getting washed takes all my energy i.ve never felt so weak .

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Don't forget you have essentially had a transplant operation only they used your own organ to transplant somewhere else. And, it was in the chest - the most complicated area. There are very few procedures bigger than this. It takes time and your energy will return. At the moment your body is using all its energy to heal. It will get better.

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So true

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I had my operation and had many complications. I spent two months in ICU and came close to not being here a few times. When I stabilised the nausea was debilitating. The doctors tried many medications and nothing helped until I tried CBD oil. With 24 hours of starting it my nausea was much better. I take it twice a day now and it has been my life saver.

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That's very interesting about the CBD oil i.ll certainly look into it because constantly feeling sick is awful. Thanks

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I take 1 ml twice a day. My nausea was so bad I could not function. Worse at night but terrible all the time. Don’t let the doctors tell you it won’t work, it works. I have other friends who it has worked for as well.

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Did you buy the CBD oil from the chemist?

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I live in Australia so there are two options. Have it approved by the government and prescribed by a doctor or buy it via America which is hard work. In Canada you can buy it at the cannabis store. My sister had severe nausea with her cancer years ago and relied on straight cannabis to relieve hers.

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You could try smelling peppermint oil for the nausea. Also, not sure if it is possible, you could try and sleep slightly more upright.

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Thanks will try it x

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Hi Molly I wondered how you were getting on as you said you were due to have the op in April. You are still in the very early stages of recovery from a very major piece of surgery. I had anti nausea drugs as I was constantly sick for quite a while after the op ( I was also in hospital for 7 weeks post op due to complications) Perhaps you could ask your GP/ support nurse for a prescription. The numb ribs are part of the surgery too. Mine were dreadful! However they slowly improved but it took a very long time! I think the fact I am a Pilates teacher has helped as I used exercise to keep everything working The tiredness is incredible. I agree the simplest of tasks is like a trip to Everest and back.

But the worst is behind you. I remember those early days well but as you look back you’ll see that each week is better than the last and you’ll start to get more and more of your life back. It does take time though! Good luck take care and things really do improve!

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Thanks for replying I had my op on April 9th I didn't expect to feel as grotty as I do i.ve been prescribed anti sickness medication i.ve had nausea constantly since Tuesday as for energy I haven't got any I know it's all normal but it's getting me down not being able to move because of pain . I know I ve a lot to be thankful for I think i.m having a down day today sorry for moaning but I know having been through it you.ll understand x

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I do totally understand. It’s also a bit lonely! I was lucky that I made a couple of friends during my treatment and it was very helpful knowing I wasn’t the only one. It’s a really massive operation and really hard on the body physically as well as the emotional toll. It does feel like an uphill struggle. You’ve also had chemo radiation prior to surgery and not surprisingly desperate to get it all over and done with! Learning to eat sleep and undertake everyday tasks in the weeks after the op is overwhelming at times so feel free to moan but it does slowly get better! I did think of you at the beginning of April by the way as you said you were having the op and wished you well. Suzyx

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It always helps to talk to someone who's been through the same and can understand exactly how you feel it's good to come on this site and talk to people and not feel so alone how long was it before your ribs felt better and you were able to move around a bit easier xx

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I was so ill in hospital with a chyle leak that I was carrying two and a half stone of fluid and my legs had so much fluid retention it leaked through my skin so it took me longer than most to build up my stamina but I I just built my walking up bit by bit each week. I started with five minute walks along my road and took it from there. The ribs were slower and still a bit numb and took months really. I did a lot of basic arm exercises which helped a lot and I have very good shoulder function as a result. I think we should have physio after this surgery but there is none. I have to admit when the wound had healed after about three months I worked through the pain and numbness. It seemed to work but although I am a qualified pilates teacher I am not trained to advise on this. But you are still at such an early stage of recovery you have enough to think about on a day to day basis it’s almost impossible to think that far ahead. Suzyx

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What is a chyle leak it sounds awful and it must have been terrible on top of everything else . How long is it now since you had surgery ?

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Hi Molly it’s three years since I had he surgery the chyle leak is when your lymph systems gets damaged in the surgery and your lymph leaks. I lost four to six litres a day so I was very ill as it wrecks the protein in your body and immune system. As a result I developed a blood infection and pneumonia. So my recovery was much slower than other people’s. Never the less I was able to travel from st ives in Cornwall to Bristol and back on a day trip by train four months after the surgery. Obviously shattered the next day! But I saw my son his wife and granddaughter! I think you’ll pick up much quicker than me but my surgeon said they thought about nine months to a year for most people but I would be a bit longer. But I think everyone is a bit different. You’ll get there!!

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O my gosh you really did have a bad time of things so glad you got through it all and are ok now xx

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I did have a rough time following the surgery but really wanted to say to you that you will get better. It does take longer than you’d like but you should see continuous improvement and feel more and more like your old self. Good luck Molly take care and I hope you enjoy things more and more. Suzyx

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Thanks xx

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Your experience sounds exactly the same as mine. Chyle leak, sepsis, breathing tube, Intensive care for two months. Horror experience but 4 months later I’m starting to feel like I am alive again.

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You are doing well, it’s a huge op and takes a while to get better. If they actually broke your ribs or cracked them it takes about 6 weeks for then to heal. Do take pain killers to help if you can. Sometimes codeine can make you feel very sick and dizzy if you are taking co-codamol see if you doctor can prescribe something else.

Good luck x

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Yes Molly, this is all normal and unfortunatly some of it continues but you learn to live with it. 3 weeks is very early days. I was still finding getting washed and dressed exhausting for at least 6 weeks.

It's a big operation. Justtake each part of each day as it comes and don't push yourself too much.

Someone gave me a notebook to record my progress. When you get down, you can look back and see how far you have come. 18 months on I have a reasonable life but there are still days occasionally when I just fal back into bed after and hour or so. Be kind to yourself, accept all the help you can get. I will pray for you

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I keep thinking I should be able to get washed and dressed without it being such a big ordeal just the thought of it sometimes exhausts me , so it's good to hear I,m not alone in feeling like this. I do keep a diary to record my progress each day and I also give myself a score each day as to how I,m feeling. Thanks for replying take care x

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