Many people are worried about how they will manage after surgery and they are discharged home. It is important to know that you will not be discharged home until you feel ready for discharge and the team looking after you are happy.
Nutrition is an important for recovery after discharge. If you have had an oesophagectomy you will be discharged home with your feeding jejunostomy. You will have routine feeds over night to supplement what you manage to eat and drink.
Patients who have had a gastrectomy will get all their nutrition from what they eat and drink.
For all patients our dietitians will be in close contact giving you advice on how to build up what you eat and drink. It may be that when you are discharged you are on a liquid diet or foods with a very sloppy consistency. Over the next few weeks this will gradually increased. In the fullness of time there should not be a restriction on what you eat, however you must remember to eat small portions at more frequent intervals than you might be used to.
Some foods may not agree with you, as they used to, and these may need to be avoided.
Some patients may suffer from Dumping Syndrome. Dumping occurs when food, usually starchy or sugary, moves more swiftly into the small bowel than the body is used to. You may experience faintness, sweating or palpitations. This is due to the fact that food has moved more quickly into the small bowel (either because your stomach has been removed or because it has been used to replace the oesophagus), fluid is pulled into the small bowel to help break down the food. This may cause a drop in your blood pressure which gives rise to these symptoms.
The team that have been looking after you will be in close contact after your discharge. You may receive regular calls from our dietitians and also our enhanced recovery nurse. They will check that you are progressing well, and if there are any concerns they may bring you back to hospital so you can be checked.
If you are very concerned about something between calls or appointments you should contact the team or ward, or alternatively your GP.
The surgeon who carried out your operation will usually review you in clinic approximately 6 weeks after discharge. If they have not already done so they will probably discuss with you the histology (results from the specimen sent away) from your operation.
You may also be offered further treatment in the form of chemotherapy. This depends on the stage of your disease and if you had chemotherapy prior to surgery.
Your surgeon will continue to review you in clinic- usually at 3 monthly intervals over the first year, and then 6 monthly. After 3 years these appointments may be spread out to every year.
You will always be invited to come to the coffee morning each December!