The Night Before MALS Surgery

Tomorrow’s the big day… 

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m very nervous but more than anything I’m hopeful and excited to get rid of this awful pain. I want to get out of survival mode and into living again. My surgery will be at 10:30 am and my mom will try to post some updates post-op.

MALS is the result of a low-lying diaphragm causing chronic irritation and subsequent damage to the celiac plexus nerves that surround the celiac artery. One reason that MALS patients have pain when they eat is that the stomach sits right on these nerves so when the stomach gets big it pushes back on these nerves causing extreme pain. The celiac artery is surrounded by nerve tissue including the pain nerves for 5 organs: the esophagus, spleen, stomach, liver, and pancreas. No wonder it’s so painful!

The surgical plan is to remove the median arcuate ligament (MAL) and part of the left and right crura of the diaphragm (the part of the diaphragm that sticks down too low) which frees up the pressure on the artery and nerves. Then, the surgeon will remove the damaged nerves of the celiac plexus. 

My GJ tube must be taken out for this surgery and can’t be replaced until 2 months post-op (if needed). This scares me because if I cannot eat/drink after surgery, the only way to get nutrition would be to revert to a nasal tube or TPN. The hope and goal is to eat/drink and no longer rely on a feeding tube (really don’t want an NJ or TPN)!

The love and support I’ve felt from you has been incredibly encouraging, and I can’t wait to have this surgery behind me. I trust God’s plan for my life and feel His peace going into tomorrow. Thank you so much for your thoughts, prayers, and well wishes.