Singer with GERD

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New Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 6/2/2009 5:30 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm new to this forum and have learned so much already from reading everyone's posts - thank you! I'm soon to be 55 years old, female, and am researching before making the decision for the Nissen surgery. I've had a very helpful ENT as well as the pulmonologist who first suggested that my asthma and allergy symptoms were probably GERD. I've had two endoscopies, a PH probe and a gastric emptying. All indicate GERD. I seldom feel heartburn (sometimes at night and then it's awful), and have been on PPI's for 5 years. The ENT tells me I have scarring in the back of my throat from the refulx. I've had vocal problems such as hoarseness, and the ENT helped me a great deal with that. I have also gone back to voice lessons to make sure my technique isn't sabotaging me, and my teacher is very aware of the problem I face. I sing a good bit during the cultural year in a professional choir, a women's octet and in my church choir. I can't get any of the medical people to really recommend the surgery one way or the other, and I guess they really can't. So I'm trying to gather info to make my decision. I've met with a surgeon who does the Nissen procedure at least once a week, and was very pleased with his thorough discussion with me and his sympathy for my concern over my singing. I worked as a middle school vocal music teacher for 25 years and my job was eliminated after Hurricane Katrina. Since we lost everything after the storm, I didn't go back into teaching because I just couldn't start something new with everything else that was going on in my life. I have since been working with my husband in his construction business, and the flexible hours have allowed me to rekindle my love of singing. Bottom line is: I don't want to do anything surgical that might keep me from being able to sing. I'm curious to know if there are any singers out there who have had this surgery and also if those of you who have had the surgery have had any vocal problems like hoarseness that perpetuated long after the surgery.
Finding this website and forum has been a godsend for me. Thank you all so much.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 903
   Posted 6/2/2009 7:00 PM (GMT -7)   
Dear Queen, welcome and let me ease your fears. Not only will the surgery take care of the gerd symptoms, but it will help your voice, your vocal cords, your lung capacity and you will SING! How do I know this? the reflux I had caused lung damage, I had vocal cord dysfunction as well as the other esophageal problems. I couldn't sing anymore, I couldn't hit my notes, I couldn't hold a note, I couldn't breathe through the stanza's and forget the refrain. I was sad, very, very sad.

I ultimately ended up at National Jewish in Denver, they were the ones who made the connection between the reflux and the breathing problems, I lost my voice all the time; from there I came home and then went to Cleveland Clinic for my surgery, I am almost 11 months post op and although I had some complications, I can sing!

The reflux caused lung damage for me, it was long term and silent for years; my alveoli are fibrotic and I still am out of breath if I carry on certain activities, but I no longer have to constantly clear my throat, the vocal cord damage has cleared up.

The surgery is a major, major surgery, even if done laproscopically; you must, MUST find the best surgeon you can, even if that means traveling to do so. The recovery is long and can be arduous, but in the end, yes, it is worth it.

I urge you to get to a great GI dr. and have a thorough work up, find the most excellent surgeon you can, and read the posts here. Stay with the forum, the wonderful people here will ease your fears, make you smile, help your mind, give you information, tools to cope and shoulders to lean on.

Welcome, and now you know you can start your journey.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 553
   Posted 6/2/2009 7:38 PM (GMT -7)   
im with janice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 6/3/2009 3:16 PM (GMT -7)   
Dear Queen,
Welcome to HealingWell and the GERD/Heartburn Forum. 
Two very wise members have spoken and I have to believe that they know what they are talking about.
I have not had the surgery and stay well controlled on a PPI.  I wish I could sing, I love music but I cannot carry a tune in a basket.  For people like you and Janice it must be an awful thing to lose the ability to do what you love so I hope that you make a wise decision and that your outcome is successful.
Arm yourself with all the knowldege and as Janice said get the best surgeon you can and then make your decision.
I wish you peace,

Kitt, Co-Moderator:
Depression,  & 
*~* *~*
"When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others."
Not a mental health professional of any kind
Clickable Link: Anxiety-Panic Resources

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