Hi LINX friend...
I just wanted to stop by to offer a little different angle on the Nissen. I know it's a scary procedure. Anyone who has searched the internet for Nissen fundoplication has run across many posts that make you feel as if you ought to run the other way and not look back.
Just keep in mind that most people who have a Nissen don't ever post on the internet. Those who post are either the type who use the computer widely and are anxious to research whatever they do thoroughly before making a decision. (That was my case), or have had a poor surgeon who has messed up their surgery.
I dragged my feet (with the help of my GI doc) for 6 long years, during which time my lungs suffered greatly, and I destroyed my skin through overuse of steroids. It is now fragile and bruises and tears at the slightest bump. This is a permanent problem, and really a disability. I carry bandaids and steri-strips wherever I go, as I tear my skin all the time.
This problem arose for a few reasons. My asthma was made uncontrollable by the reflux I was getting. My reflux levels were low, so my GI doc didn't think that the reflux was the problem. (My PCP and asthma docs did. My PCP was assertive and worked hard for me. My asthma doc went along with the GI and didn't make waves.) The other reason that surgery wasn't an option for so many years was me.
I was fearful because of all the scary post I'd read. I didn't push for it, but rather let my GI doc make my decisions. When tested, my PH level was always either in the normal range or just barely above. I'm sure my GI doc was concerned that the surgery wouldn't work for me. I went along because I didn't really want it...like you, I was frightened.
My PCP pushed and pushed and finally in frustration, sent me to a surgeon he used. That surgeon, trusting his judgement, did some tests and said he'd do the surgery--that I was a good candidate.
In my research I'd discovered that a top, experienced Nissen surgeon was extremely important. I knew my PCP felt that my lungs were in "life-threatening" condition. I went back to my GI doc, who did another PH test...I was just above normal levels. At this point he gave me a choice...continue with meds (which was madness, since they weren't working for me) or see a surgeon. Of course you know which I chose.
Fortunately, in the meantime I'd found this forum. Here there were Nissen veterans who were realistic, yet positive about the surgery. There were people who'd had a failed Nissen, but who looked forward to their redo, as the results had been so positive. I knew then, that I had to give the surgery a try.
Of course I knew at that time (4 yrs ago) that the LINX was a possibility, and that new procedure were in the works. Still, the Nissen was a 50+ year procedure that was still considered the "gold standard" for reflux control. Since the advent of the laproscopic version, the number of surgeons doing the procedure hs diminished,which is a good thing. Fewer surgeons means that they have a greater amount of experience doing the Nissen, which means better outcomes in he long run.
Living in a small city, I didn't have a lot of options, but did trust my GI doc's recommendation. I went to see the surgeon and found him very knowledgeable and easy to talk to. I did some research of my own with people I knew in the medical field, and one who sees many surgeries said that if he were to have it done, that's the guy he'd have. I considered going to a center, but after discussions with my PCP decided to stay local.
The rest is history. My lungs healed, and I'm extremely happy I had the surgery done. I stayed here on the forum to try to help others the way I was helped. If I hadn't found the experienced Nissen folks I'd met here, I'm not sure if I would have had the courage to give the Nissen a try. I knew going into it that it might not fix my lungs. Still, I knew I had to try. At least it would rule out reflux as the cause.
I'm just saying...don't let scary posts of problems keep you from a Nissen if it is what you need. People have problems for a variety of reasons. At first I always thought that it was just an unskilled surgeon that was the problem, but the longer I stick around I find that the biggest issue by far is that surgeons don't prepare their patients for the recovery.
The recovery is challenging, and the majority of people posting those scary posts are dealing with symptoms that are in the range of normal (everyone is different), and they will subside as the recovery proceeds. A good attitude and surrendering to the healing process and letting it progress in its own sweet time, make the recovery much easier.
Sure there are people who get the Nissen, who shouldn't have it. Some surgeons don't do all the prerequisite testing and aren't skilled enough to create a wrap that is functional. But all in all, if you do your homework and find the right surgeon who determines if you're the right patient, you'll do great with the Nissen.
So much of the recovery is attitude. If you can accept it as it is, you'll do just fine.
Since you've all been around the forum for a long time, you've probably already seen this, but check out what one person's recovery looked like. I also included a section speaking to the surgery as a whole at the end of the journal.
Hang in there! There is a light at the end of the tunnel....
Nissen Fundoplication 2/09
Allergy/Asthma"Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”
“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose”
“Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”
Post Edited (dencha) : 1/11/2013 9:10:02 AM (GMT-7)