I had asthma before my reflux issues, but over the years my reflux got worse and worse. Finally about 6 years before I finally had my surgery (Feb. '09) my lungs got extremely bad. My asthma was uncontrollable. My PCP said that my lung condition was "life threatening".
My GI doc didn't think my reflux was bad enough to cause problems with my lungs (my asthma doc said that GI docs don't have a clue as to how just a small amount of reflux can create havoc with lungs). I had 24 hr PH monitor tests with results that were always within or just above the normal range.
Finally after several years of my PCP and asthma docs trying to work through my GI doc to get me into surgery, my PCP referred me to a surgeon himself. I saw the surgeon, and because I knew (from this forum) how important it was to have a highly experienced Nissen surgeon, I went back once more to my GI doc with the test results from the surgeon I'd seen.
Finally, the GI doc said that "probably a few good reflux events would be enough to get your lungs going. You can either continue with medications, or could consult a surgeon (no rush)." I chose the surgical route, because I was already at peak PPI meds and Rantidine at bedtime. Three weeks after my consultation with the surgeon I had my Nissen. It took two and a half months for my lungs to heal, but they've been great since. I'm so happy I had the surgery. What a huge difference it has had on my life.
Over the course of the past four years I've been on this forum, I've read reports from quite a few people who've had experiences similar to yours.
Another member who was on the forum when I first joined had developed COPD from the severe reflux episodes she had. I don't think that aspiration issues like the ones you've described are to be taken lightly. Unlike my situation, when asthma made small amounts of reflux an issue because of reactivity and forced me into action--your situation is more dire. Left untreated and ignored, your reflux could cause permanent damage to your lungs. Fortunately for me, my asthma made me so reactive that I had to get help (from even small amounts of reflux) before permanent damage occurred.
In my opinion you are doing exactly the right thing by having your Nissen. I am certain that your quality of life will improve exponentially.
Nissen Fundoplication 2/09
"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.”