It’s been just about six weeks since my second gastric neurostimulator was implanted at the Mayo Clinic. I flew back to Minnesota last week for my first post-surgical check-up. As I noted earlier this month, the new device seems to be working perfectly and my symptoms have improved a great deal.
First, a note about flying with the gastric neurostimulator. I’ve flown twice since getting the device and I didn’t have any problems either time. I simply told the security agent that I had a “gastric pacemaker,” since they’re used to hand-screening passengers with cardiac pacemakers, and showed them my Medtronic card. They had me put my carry on items through the x-ray machine and then step into the screening area where a female security agent essentially patted me down. Very easy.
While at Mayo, I met with both my surgeon and my gastroenterologist. They check my device placement and settings, all of which are fine. We agreed not to adjust the settings for another 6-8 weeks. Since each patient is different, it’s impossible to know if my symptoms will continue to improve on the current settings or if I’ll need them adjusted to achieve further improvement. It’s all trial and error but I’m comfortable with this slow, cautious approach.
I also came away from this visit with a few helpful tid-bits:
- According to my surgeon, acupuncture is a “no-no” once you have the gastric neurostimulator. No needles in the abdominal region, regardless of how small or superficial. Glad I asked since I was planning to resume acupuncture treatments for constipation next week.
- Though it seems counter intuitive, my GI doc indicated that the constipation could actually worsen with the introduction of additional fat and fiber into my diet due to previously diagnosed pelvic floor dysfunction. So this is something I’ll be addressing via a three week Pelvic Floor Training program at Mayo later this spring.
- Because the Enterra device typically provides symptomatic relief without necessarily speeding up gastric emptying, my GI doc suggested that I continue to avoid raw fruits and vegetables, fried foods, nuts, seeds, and fatty foods. While I haven’t progressed to experimenting with any of these types of foods yet, I was grateful for the info since I didn’t receive any dietary guidelines after the first surgery.
- My surgeon gave me the go ahead to resume my yoga practice after the 6-week mark, something I’m so looking forward to!