Surgery – Going Under The Knife Again

Last few months

If you’ve been following This real life Dad from the beginning, have recently followed me or even just checked in from time to time to see any illness updates you’ll be aware that over the last few months I’ve been going through hell. I’ve been in and out of hospital, I’ve had numerous invasive tests done, I’ve been on all sorts of horrible medications and I’ve seen so many different ‘specialists’ all with the aim of getting some answers and possibly surgery for the constant pain and discomfort I’ve been in without any success.

Apparently I’m a mystery, and to be honest I still don’t have a diagnosis or any guarantees of a magical fix. However, I can finally say that after a successful meeting with my surgeon on Friday, we finally have a plan of action that we are happy with and one we feel is a step forward. Which after 3 months of fighting for answers and living in constant pain I am over the moon about.

Previous surgery
Hospital fun

In my second blog post ever I wrote all about my Love-Hate relationship with hospitals. That post gave you the full background story of my previous Nissen fundoplication operation and all complications I’ve had with my digestive system since I was young. If you haven’t already I’d advise you to give it a quick  read so this post makes more sense. The post proved to be very popular and it gave me the confidence boost I needed to keep writing about my illness. It also gave me the reassurance that most of you want to be kept informed on my current situation too.

My Appointment

So here is my most current situation.

On Friday, we had an appointment with my surgeon. We went in with very low expectations. Mainly due to the lack of communication and service we’d previously experienced from him and his team. However, straight from the start, this meeting seemed different. More relaxed and less stressful. I think he realised that we’ve exhausted all tests and all medications. Plus we’d had so many different discussions about symptoms that we only really had one option left.

I need more surgery!

In my head I think I knew surgery was going to be the end outcome. Nevertheless when you finally hear it and it becomes reality it feels strange. You need to put your complete trust in someone else and all sorts goes through your head. I left the appointment very flat and very quiet. Not knowing how i should be feeling. On one hand, I felt great, I’m was getting the surgery which could fix me. Then on the other hand, I was thinking oh no, more surgery and still no real guarantee it will help.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to put my positive hat. I’ve got lots to think about but despite being apprehensive I’m over the moon that things are finally happening.

Previous surgery
This is me with my positive hat on

The Surgery

So in the next few weeks everything should move fairly quickly. I’ve got a few more hospital visits before the surgery, the pre operation assessment and also a CT scan so they have more imagery to use before the surgery. Then comes the surgery itself which could be within 3-4 weeks.

I’ll try to explain what type of surgery I’m getting and what they are going to be doing but I’m sorry if it makes no sense. It probably wouldn’t make sense to me if I hadn’t already had it done.

So the actual procedure will be exploratory laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery on my stomach and oesophagus. The surgery will look at the previous fundoplication wrap surgery I had in 2011.

If they find something out of the ordinary that’s the best case scenario for us as it will be able to fixed during the operation and hopefully fix my current issues.

However, the surgeon has warned us there’s a more likely outcome, he goes in and everything looks normal for a 6-year-old operation. Maybe some scar tissue or slight slackening of the previous wrap. If this is the case, things might become more tricky and I’ll either need to trust the surgeon to make the correct judgement on the day or make a plan myself prior to the surgery.

My options

If everything looks the same the two options I’ll need to decide on are:

  1. He could either completely undo my previous wrap, which would put my stomach and oesophagus back to how a normal oesophagus should be. But it could leave me with a recurrence of symptoms that lead me to need my first operation.
  2. He could undo the current wrap and then redo the same operation as he did in 2011. He described the undo and redo as basically a ‘service’ or a ‘tidy up’.

My feelings today

With any surgery there are obviously massive risks involved, these have all been explained and I’m still happy to go ahead. My main worry is they don’t find anything and l have to choose to go back to being how I was pre-operation in 2011 or do the ‘tidy up’ and not know whether it will help my current pain.

Pre-surgery happy times
Family fun

Until the day of my surgery I still might not know what way I’m going to go. However, until that day I’m going to relax, be happy and enjoy being at home with my family. I’m going to put all the stress we’ve had trying to get people to listen behind us and now enjoy the next few weeks.

Thank you so much for reading

This very happy real life Dad xx

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28 Comments

  1. Shelby

    August 9, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    Wow! You have a lot on your plate and it sounds like it’s been a rough road. I truly hope you get the answers you need soon.

    1. Thisreallifedad

      August 9, 2017 at 5:52 pm

      Thank you. We’re are on the road to recovery. Surgery in a few weeks should fix everything…I hope.

    2. Thisreallifedad

      August 10, 2017 at 11:05 pm

      Looks like things are nearing the end so for that I’m very grateful. Just three surgery to get through. Eeeek..

  2. nightwisprav3n

    August 10, 2017 at 11:36 am

    You have a very positive attitude about this and that’s great! I’m sorry you’re going through this though and I wish you the best in your upcoming surgery:) #ablogginggoodtime

  3. Imperfect Mum (@imperfectmumx)

    August 10, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    I love your positive outlook at what must be a difficult time for you and wish you every success that the solution works for you! Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

    1. Thisreallifedad

      August 10, 2017 at 11:02 pm

      I try remain positive, scary with everything that’s happening and knowing what’s looming. Won’t be long before I’m back on my feet again and playing with my kiddies.

    1. Thisreallifedad

      August 13, 2017 at 10:49 am

      Thank you. X

  4. Mark Evans-Leigh

    August 13, 2017 at 9:44 am

    Wishing you were on your road to recovery. It seems that it has certainly been a bumpy one but your positivity shines through. Great read.

    1. Thisreallifedad

      August 13, 2017 at 10:53 am

      Thanks Mark. Not going to lie, it’s hard and I’m not positive everyday. I try write from my heart so that people can feel my emotion and positivity as well as my pain. Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment. It sometimes helps my positivity and gets me through the day.

  5. The Indecisive Eejit

    August 13, 2017 at 9:52 am

    I’m now here, found you on the Sunday Blog Share, so hoping you don’t mind if I tag along.
    Here’s hoping the surgery fixes all the problems that you’ve been having, I’ll get the leprechauns to send you luck 🙂

    1. The Indecisive Eejit

      August 13, 2017 at 9:53 am

      New here, not now here ffs, stupid erm…fingers!

      1. Thisreallifedad

        August 13, 2017 at 10:56 am

        You eejit! 🤣 thanks for tagging along, I really appreciate it. You just keep sending those leprechauns and everything else lucky my way.

  6. Unbound Roots

    August 13, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Wishing you a smooth surgery, a quick recovery, and a lifetime of feeling much better! Thanks for sharing your journey!!!

    1. Thisreallifedad

      August 13, 2017 at 10:58 am

      Thanks for your kind words. Fingers crossed. Stick around for updates. X

  7. Lisa Orchard

    August 13, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    Here’s wishing you luck! I hope all comes out well for you. 🙂

    1. Thisreallifedad

      August 13, 2017 at 9:58 pm

      Thank you Lisa. X

  8. Gabe Burkhardt

    August 13, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    I can hear the frustration lurking beneath your “positive hat” and I hope that all of the invasive workup leads to a successful surgical intervention.

    1. Thisreallifedad

      August 13, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      Maybe slight frustration, it’s tough to remain positive all the time. Thanks Gabe for your comment, I really appreciate it.

  9. Positive Mind Positive Body- 7 Ways I Stay Positive - This Real Life Dad

    August 15, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    […] them regularly. I know I won’t be on them forever and it will be tricky to wean off after the surgery. But for now by body obviously needs these horrible medications to get me through the day. So […]

  10. dearmummyblog

    August 22, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    There’s nothing worse than the feeling of not knowing what a surgeon is going to find. My mummy shares your frustration of hospitals having been in and out of them since her collapsed lung in March. Since then she’s had 3 more collapses (mystery) and two surgeries and is hoping that’s the end of it. She’s a healthy 36 yr old! We hope you get the answers you are looking for and the fix you need. It’s not nice being in chronic pain, unfortunately sometimes surgery just adds to the problems. Fingers crossed for you. Fellow sufferer Dawn x Baby Isabella’s mummy x

  11. tanyatravels

    August 26, 2017 at 8:22 am

    Here’s to a skilled surgeon and a speedy recovery. Thinking of you!

    1. Thisreallifedad

      August 29, 2017 at 6:39 am

      Thank you x

  12. Claire Saul (PainPalsBlog)

    September 3, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    Hi Michael – so pleased you posted this on the Sunday link up Big Up Your Blog thread. I get it! My story is different, but I had my first major surgery at 21 and have had more ops on and off over the years (chronic pain issues & genetic condition), whilst having 3 kids who can’t really remember me “well” now. My connective tissue problems affect my gut too, and whilst nowhere near as bad as yours, I understand a little! Having had various meds over the years, IBS diagnosis and now delayed gastric emptying/gastroparesis/dysautonomic probs….I am now trying gluten free and low FODMAP to help with the reflux and pain. I am also an ex nurse, so a really big part of me does hope that you have a laparoscopy and it all looks good, with the original fold & valve formation still intact. But this doesn’t help with your symptoms! I had the same thing with my nerve pain when the scans kept showing nothing was causing it – when the second back fusion was performed it was actually a relief when the surgeon said he could see nerve root damage.
    Anyway that is enough from me – really pleased to make contact, We have to hang on in there, and I think a lot of us develop a slightly perverse sense of humour..even worse if you are medical so I loved your bits about being on the dance floor in your other post!! I will share your blog and will put it in my regular feature tomorrow Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs. Will ping you when post published! C x

    1. Thisreallifedad

      September 4, 2017 at 9:59 am

      Hi Claire. Thanks for reading and commenting. It’s nice to speak to someone with similar issues and understandings of my condition. I’ve tried every diet going, FODMAP is supposed to be very good for you but nothing every worked for me. Surgery Thursday… eeeek! Just away to write a post to publish in Wednesday morning and will keep people updated during and after about how out goes. How are you now? I’ll need to go have a proper read of your stuff. Also thank you so much for featuring me in your Monday Magic. Can’t wait to see it. X

      1. Claire Saul (PainPalsBlog)

        September 4, 2017 at 1:03 pm

        Will be thinking of you this week!! Where are you having your op? Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You is up – https://painpalsblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/04/monday-magic-inspiring-blogs-for-you-21/
        Stay in touch! hugs to you and the family xxx

        1. Thisreallifedad

          September 4, 2017 at 1:07 pm

          Thanks. Op is on Thursday in Aberdeen. Oh I’ll go have a look now. Cool.

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