I just wrote this post on another thread and will copy it here for you. It describes my journey toward surgery, which I had in February 2009. This forum, actually, was one reason I had the courage to move forward. Like you, I was fearful. (BTW, I suspect you have a "sliding hernia", which moves up and down--sometimes being invisible to testing...which is why the radiologist didn't see a hernia.)
My symptoms were "atypical" which makes surgery results much less clear-cut. What you're describing are typical GERD symptoms, which makes you a great candidate with a very high probability of success, as long as you've chosen a skilled and experienced Nissen surgeon. You're one of those "sure thing" candidates that surgeons love. The surgery is sure to do wonders for you.
This forum is a great place to get support and information. People like StephanieJean do a great job of providing lots of support and first-hand experience. I got so much help when I had my surgery (and I knew that type of information was sorely lacking on the internet) I decided to stick around and "pay forward" the help I'd received!
Here is my post-surgery description:
Hope it helps!
My PCP pushed for 6 years to get me to a surgeon. My GI doc wasn't impressed with my PH monitor/DeMeester scores, and kept telling me that my lung issues weren't GERD related. I went along with that without a fight, because I'd read so many scary posts online, and was fearful of the surgery.
My lungs got worse and worse. I was coughing constantly, and got multiple lung infections. Even simple allergy/sinus-infection induced bouts of asthma were made SO, SO much worse due to the reflux effects. I ended up taking tons of steroid inhalers and even prednosone, and nothing worked at all.
My PCP and asthma docs both wrote letters and called my GI doc, telling him of their concerns and suspicions. My asthma doc didn't have the personality to push back, but my PCP sure did. He continued to push me toward surgery, and finally, in desperation, sent me to a surgeon himself. The surgeon did his own testing and said I was a good candidate for the surgery (I'm sure based mainly on his respect for my PCP's opinion.)
Since I had researched quite a bit and had even found this forum, I knew the importance of finding a skilled, experienced NISSEN surgeon. Not just ANY surgeon would do. It needed to be a surgeon who'd done hundreds and even better, thousands of Nissen surgeries. It's an art form, and even an acclaimed surgeon who hasn't done enough Nissens isn't good enough. My daughter-in-law is a PA and she had earmarked a brilliant surgeon for me, and another surgeon said no...and steered her toward a surgeon who specialized in the Nissen fundoplication.
Because of that, I went back to my GI doc with the information from the surgeon. At that point the GI doc scheduled another PH monitor test, which came out just barely over "normal". I think he realized that my PCP was serious and very concerned about my lungs. He told me after the test that "probably a few good reflux episodes in a day could create problems with your lungs" and gave me two choices...continue to take medication for the reflux, or he could set me up with a consultation with the surgeon he uses.
It was a simple choice. The medication wasn't doing a darn thing, so of course I chose the surgeon. By now (6 years into my lung nightmare) I was willing to take the chance. I knew that the surgery might not fix the problem...I was more than willing to have it anyway. At least it could be ruled out! People at this forum (most of whom have gone on their merry way) were extremely positive about their outcomes. I made an appointment with the surgeon and had the surgery 3 weeks later. Even the surgeon had concerns about my low DeMeester (PH) score, but said he'd do the surgery on the recommendation of my doctors.
The rest is history. I struggled after the surgery, but knew that my lungs hadn't gotten so damaged in a few weeks and it would take time for them to heal. It was almost like magic...it was May, and during my worst pollen season, and suddenly I no longer needed the nebulizer treatment! It was wonderful to be able to breathe and not have to cough up gobs of mucous constantly.
Of course hindsight is 20-20 as they say, and I wish I'd done it before getting all the steroid skin effects/adrenal insufficiency. My adrenal glad is back to normal again now that I'm not filling myself full of steroids. I'm a happy camper! I can breathe again, and most of all, I'm not coughing coughing coughing. My PCP was thrilled with the outcome. I really have him to thank for my recovery. He was the one who persisted and made it happen.
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.”