Posted 10/25/2014 2:03 PM (GMT -6)
I am 57 years old and have been a lifelong asthmatic, never under control, sometimes worse than others, but always a major presence in my life. Despite the obvious issues, I was able to stay in shape, even going so far as running the New York Marathon in 1996, and numerous half marathons from then to now. I always had an on and off problem with reflux and began to have episodes where I would aspirate in my sleep, resulting in several days of respiratory discomfort, sometimes worse. I had an endoscopy about ten years ago, revealing a moderate hiatal hernia and was told by my gastroenterologist that I might benefit from surgery to correct it; that it might help to improve my asthmatic condition.
We kept an eye on the situation, began a daily regimen of 40 mg. of omeprazole, and for a while things began to improve. Things began to get worse about three years ago, with numerous chest infections, increase use of asthma medications, and the use of prednisone on several occasions. In March of 2013, I ended up in the hospital for a night, received large amounts of steroids and began a downhill spiral…On October 7, 2013, I had a coughing fit that resulted in my passing out, breaking my nose on the bedroom floor. I then began to cough and pass out regularly, several times a day. I was admitted to hospital. The gastroenterologists on staff tested me again and all agreed that my symptoms were not as a result of a GI issue…..I was tested for seizures, was told that I may have Myasthenia Gravis, brain damage, and a multitude of other issues…..all were ruled out. I continuously pointed to my original doctor’s point regarding the hiatal hernia and was eager to have the surgery, regardless of whether it would help or not. I felt that I had little to lose.
After ten days, I was sent home, with no solution in sight. At this point, I was using the rescue inhaler twelve times a day in addition to nebulizer treatments, Xolair injections, antibiotics, prednisone, a full dose of steroid inhalers, the omeprazole, reglan and another GI medication which I’ve thankfully forgotten about. Whenever I was taken off of prednisone, I got worse. I was also coughing and passing out up to twenty times a day. I could not sleep for more than an hour and a half at a time. I was lucky enough to have an unemployed sister-in-law who was willing to sit with me during the day when my wife was at work. I went on disability and through another family member, got an appointment with a surgeon who was expert in Nissen Fundlopication surgery. He arranged for all of the necessary pretests and scheduled me for the procedure on November 26, 2013.
Almost a year later, I am on two puffs of a preventive inhaler daily…and I rarely use my rescue inhaler, going days without using it at all. I am also completely off of the omeprazole. I’m back to running, swimming, I sleep through the night and honestly, feel better than I have in all my life. Eating is different after the surgery, even ten months later. I’ve lost about fifteen pounds (I wasn’t heavy to begin with). I can’t eat as much, don’t tolerate much in the way of raw foods…and there are some days where the appetite is just not there like it used to be…I eat smaller meals, enjoy a lot of cereal for lunch and treat myself to cookies and ice cream at the end of most evenings….I have gotten used to living a bit differently and have no complaints. I consider myself lucky to be alive…..my wonderful wife insisted that I get my story onto this site (I consulted it many times before and during my recuperation), so here it is. It is my hope that this story may help others… Thank you for your support in all of this. It was very helpful to check the threads, hear from Denise and get advice from fellow sufferers…you provide a lot of useful information to those of us with concerns regarding the process.