six months ago I had a gigantic chocolate milkshake that gave me the worst heartburn imaginable. After a few days, I called the doctor and he said to take OTC Prilosec for a month. That worked pretty well. I had been having trouble swallowing for quite awhile, several years really, but just thought I needed to chew better, eat slower. I also wake up at night a lot, coughing, but I thought maybe I had swallowed a dust mote or something. (Although my house is not THAT dusty.) Easter Sunday, during dinner, my food got seriously stuck in my esophagus and I erupted all over the table. It was just awful....I was gasping and coughing and vomiting. My family was horrified.
That scared me into going to the doctor. He ordered an endoscopy and 40mg prescript
ion Prilosec. I had a Schatzki Ring that had to be cut
open and they said I had a 5 cm haital hernia. Went back to the doctor so he could tell me about
the test results - that I already knew because they post them online - and when I told him I have a hiatal hernia, he said "So?" and that it is no big deal at all; very common. Why was I even worried about
it? We had a huge argument until he finally agreed to give me a referral to a GI doctor.
My 86-year old mother died two years ago from complications of GERD and Barrett's esophagus but it never occurred to me that *I* could have a similar problem. But all of a sudden, it looked like I might be following her down the same path and that was no bueno.
I finally saw the GI doctor. She ordered more tests.....barium x-rays and a motility test. Then it was back to the GI doctor to get a referral to a surgeon. Met with the surgeon this week who said I have a weak esophagus that's all twisty and weird and maybe too short and a Stage III paraesophageal hernia that's now 7 cm. Most of my stomach is in my chest cavity. This could explain a lot! Bloating, a feeling of having something caught under my rib cage all the time, shortness of breath, uncomfortable trying to find a position to sleep in at night. Misery. I don't have that much reflux anymore - although I'm still on the hated Prilosec - but I feel awful most of the time.
I am currently awaiting a date for surgery, (soon!) and hoping my stomach does not strangulate in the meantime. I am so angry with my PCP that I am changing doctors after 14 years. I've been reading threads on this forum and although I have some trepidation regarding this surgery, I most certainly am not prepared to live the rest of my life with this much discomfort. Onward and upward, the sooner the better!
I need to have my stomach pushed back down where it belongs, a hernia repair using mesh for reinforcement, perhaps have a section of my stomach removed to build a longer base for my esophagus in case it really has shortened, and a partial wrap due to the inherent weakness already present in my esophagus. I'm encouraged, after reading these posts, that perhaps I'll be able to burp again someday after this wrap is done. I'm excited at the prospect of perhaps losing weight because I've gained 15 in the three months I've been on Prilosec, mostly because I feel hungry all the time. I'm 58 and this is not my first rodeo with surgery so I know that getting better is a process not to be rushed. Still, I intend to push forward as much as possible.
I'm happy to have found a forum of other people who have had this done and can provide helpful advice. Bring it on!