Guidance on Surgery

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New Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 9/30/2008 10:18 AM (GMT -6)   
I am new to this site but have been reading all of your posts for many weeks.  I am a 34 year old female who has been suffering from GERD for about three years now.  I had been going to my primary care physician for a chronic cough.  She referred me to a pulmonologist who did many tests and found nothing.  I was then referred to an allergist thinking it may be allergies.  After doing allergy testing and finding I was allergic to nothing the allergist suggested that I try nexium as a chronic cough is a symtem of GERD.  Well the Nexium has worked until about eight months ago.  I started feeling alot of pressure in my chest and went back to my pcp.  They did every cardiac test known to man I think and everything came back fine.  She then referred me to a gastroenterologist who performed a bravo endoscopy.  The findings of that showed that I had a lot of acid.  He indicated that typically for levels as bad as mine he would recommed the nissen procedure.  Before going that far he doubled my nexium dose to see if that would help.  It didn't and it gave me horrible side effects.  Then he decided to go to my normal dose of nexium and add carafate four times a day.  The carafate helped my stomach pain from the double dose of nexium but gave me severe headachs and even worse chest pain.  So now I am off Nexium and carafate and on aciphex twice a day.  I have been on it for about a week now with no side effects but no relief.  Chest pain and cough are both at their worst.
So after all of this I guess my question is for those of you who have had this procedure is is it worth it?  I have read many posts from you all going through the difficulties of the recovery process and I've not seen if any of you regret that you had it done.  Does the recovery process out weigh all of the medicines, pain, and discomfort that you had before?
I am tired of taking all of the medicine for nothing especially if this procedure will help.
Thank you all for listening!!! 

Southern Star
Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 9/30/2008 6:04 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, donut9. I am a 26 yr. old female and I had the lap nissen surgery on Aug. 14. I had been on Nexium and Prilosec OTC for the last 8 yrs. I had almost constant headaches. I didn't know that was a side effect on Nexium or Prilosec because I had never read the side effects. I had a CT scan for my headaches, a sonagram for my stomach aches and my GI is who ordered the sonagram, it seems like he should have known it was from Nexium but maybe he didn't put it together. The end of June my brother-in-law was killed in an accident and I guess the stress made my reflux way worse, the Nexium was not controlling it. about the end of July is when I read the side effects of the drugs and my GI dr. already told me I was a prime candidate for the surgery and to call him when I was ready so I did. Since surgery I have been headache and stomach ache free and I had other side effects from the drugs too, they are all gone. I'm still not at a 100% yet but I'm not sorry I had the surgery done. I would do it again if I had to choose between that and stayin on drugs. I also had a hiatal hernia that they fixed in the operation.

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 133
   Posted 9/30/2008 8:36 PM (GMT -6)   

Hello donut9,


  I had th open fundo procedure done about 18 months ago and it was a life changing operation.  The recovery was a bit difficult, but if you can have the lapro it is much easier and far less painful from what I have heard.  It definately changes your life for the better.  No more meds, acid in the throat, stomach pains.  It is such a relief to live a normal life.  You do have a short recovery time, but in my opinion it was well worth it.  Just do your research on the doctors perfoming it and make sure they have done several procedures.  Do your research on the actual surgery so you are prepared for what your body will go through.  I would reccommend it to anyone who is chronically suffering. It's like a new lease on life.  You will soon forget any pain involved in recovery and realize how good things are.  Thats my opinion. It was the best choice I have made in years.  Good luck with your decision.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 903
   Posted 9/30/2008 9:07 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello donut. My history with reflux goes back a long way, but I'll try to give the condensed version. After a long time with many confusing diagnosis with no clear pattern or clear set of symptoms for anything (including heart) I was sent to National Jewish for ongoing pulmonary problems; it was there that the severity of my reflux was found. From there I returned home to Michigan and then was sent to Cleveland Clinic for evaluation and ultimately surgery.

So, here are the diagnoses I ended up with: the esophageal sphincter had all but failed; I have mixed bronchiolitis with fibrotic alveoli; vocal cord dysfunction, esophagitis, Los Angeles grade A, stomach and esophageal polyps, chronic cough, gallstones, diaphramatic/hiatal hernia, chronic daily migraine.

I had my surgery on July 16th and just returned from CC for my 10 week post op testing and check up. One year ago my 24 hour ph registered 151 episodes of reflux, last week: none! My barium swallow showed no strictures, no rings, no esophagitis, no hernia, no anything!

My surgery was difficult, the recovery even more so, the result is wonderful...absolutely wonderful. I wondered, during recovery if I had ruined my life with the surgery and wondered why I had gone through I know. This surgery has been life changing thus far; early on, I know, but the results are not just subjective but quantitative. I no longer cough; I have no more chest pain; my lungs, although damaged, are no longer inflamed; I no longer lose my voice nor have to clear my throat and my migraines are 90% gone.

It was the best thing for me; my one piece of advice, choose your surgeon with extreme care. Most poor outcomes are the result of the wrong surgeon for the wrong patient with the wrong diagnosis. If you have any questions, you can get an opinion from Cleveland Clinic, where I know they have one of the best. I've heard of a Dr. in Seattle, one in Tampa. Be very, very careful.

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