My Gi doc told me 6 mos ago to see a thoracic surgeon and have my "gapping esophageal sphincter" fixed. So I finally made the appt. I'm 58 and have been on meds since college, always have had belly aches. I have asthma (1st attack age 3) and have had to have 2 spinal fusions (my back is crumbling and I was having difficulty walking) and I'm just 12mos out from that. Otherwise I'm in good health, I used to lift and run until my back surgery and would like to get back to it.
This mess seems to have really started with gallbladder surgery (20years ago). The surgeon never ran the ducts and left stones in them. So I developed scar tissue around the base of the Common Bile Duct which ended in stenosis. Did I mention that I'm a nurse? I knew what was happening to me so I tried to explain it to him. He told me that they would eventually pass and to deal with it!! I waited for a couple of years to see someone about the discomfort just "dealing with it".
I saw my first GI doc who also told me that nothing was wrong until he did an ERCP on me and found the stenosis which he said was caused from a tumor!!! I got a second opinion and that's when I had another ERCP (followed by pancreatitis) and a sphincterotomy. I was told that I had esophageal dysmobility causing GERD and was back on PPI's and H2 Blockers for the next few years.
I had to switch doctors 8 years ago the new GI doc said that I don't have esophageal dysmobility but severe GERD and just needed endoscopy's every other year and PPI"s. So that's what I've been doing.
Adding in an occasional round of steroids for the asthma.
Now I have severe erosion and a "gapping" sphincter. Thank goodness the biopsies that I've been having for the past few years are all good.
So now I have an appointment in the next week to see the surgeon. I'm lucky that I live in the Boston area so the docs are good (except for the 1st guy I saw 20 years ago who by the way doesn't practice anymore). I'm really nervous about all the stories that I have seen on this site about eating, gas, pain, burping, etc. However, I never put the other symptoms together that I have until I read this blog. The shoulder pain, the chest pain (sent me to the ER thinking it was a heart attack), the vomiting, IBS, and then list goes on.
Now I just have to do this and get it over with so I can see what it is like to eat something and not have it come back up!! 2 weeks ago I woke up with vomit on my pillow (gross) really happy I didn't aspirated and die in the night, that would have freaked out my husband!
So should I or should I not do this?????
That is the final question. I feel like I'm just back to normal (for me) since my back was wired back together and don't really want another surgery, however the thought of esophageal cancer doesn't really set to good either.
Being on PPI's for this many years along with the steroids can inhibit the bones from absorbing the calcium it needs, the GI doc says I have to come off of them or I'm going to break a bone. Every time I try the heartburn is awful. I use a cocktail of Prilosec, Pepcid and Tums to get it back under control, then I restart the Prilosec. My bone density is great so the drugs have not hurt me so far.
Being a nurse doesn't mean that you know everything and sometimes the best information comes from the patient and those who have gone through it already, that's why I'm open for suggestions.