Hello all, I wanted to give everyone a somewhat encouraging story about
my Nissen Fundoplication and GERD situation. I hope this helps anyone who is struggling right now with GERD and gives hope. I also hope this testimony is an informative vignette of what to expect before, during, and after the Nissen Fundoplication surgical option for GERD. Here goes:
I am a 19 year old Male. Father sufferes from GERD but controls it with PPI's (Dexilant 60mg). Father's mother had
open fundoplication for GERD which failed, and controls her GERD unsuccessfully with PPI's (Omeprazole). So my condition is genetic.
2.5 years ago I started experiencing moderate GERD which I would treat successfully with TUMS. I did this for probably 6 months to a year. One day at school I discovered that I could not eat more than 2 or 3 bites of food without moderate stomach pain, upset stomach, and a complete loss of appetite for the rest of the day. After a week of this, I decided to see a doctor.
I went to my primary physician as was prescribed Opeprazole, one a day before dinner. I was told I most likely had an ulcer from the stomach acid. This medication worked for approx. 6 months until my ulcer returned. My physician told me to start taking 2 omeprazole a day. This also worked, but only for about
6 months and my GERD returned.
My physician then advised me to target and eliminate any problem foods and completely eliminate caffeine and soda. I tried eliminating Gluten, spicy foods, milk, coffee, pop, chocolate you name it, and nothing worked. At this time I was experiencing moderate to severe GERD and a few nighttime episodes of acid coming into the back of my throat (that sucked). Went to see physician again.
She then decided that I had the condition commonly known as GERD. She prescribed me a different type of PPI: dexilant 60mg. once a day before meals. This worked for --you guessed it--about
6 months until it became ineffective. I then increased my dosage to two 60mg dexilant a day to combat my GERD. I was experiencing about
20 episodes/day without the medication, and maybe 1/day with it. After 6-7 months, Dexilant was starting to fail me.
My primary physician referred me to a General Surgeon who frequently performed the Fundolication surgery. He wanted to rule out any other potential issues and examine my esophagus. I had an upper Endoscopy as well as an ultrasound of my bladder. I was diagnosed with a Hiatal Hernia of about
6-7 cm and was told that this, combined with my malfunctioning esophageal sphincter was the source of my troubles.
I was scheduled for surgery on April 15th of this year to repair my hernia and end my GERD for good (descript
ion of surgery at bottom). I underwent the surgery which lasted about
2 hours. I went home after 1 night in the hospital. I had gas pain in my shoulders and chest (a residual pain from the gas they inflate the abdomen with for Laproscopic surgery) for 3 weeks.
I took one week off from school and it was a painful week. I could barely climb the stairs or even lay down without gas pain. This subsided gradually however. In the hospital I was given a morphine pump, and once released I was given percoset for pain control which I only used a handful of times to take the edge off the gas pain. I was also given respiratory excercises to do to get my lung volume back up (a side effect of anesthesia is transient decreased lung function).
I drank nothing but water and ice chips for 3 days, after which I ate vanilla pudding and ensure nutritional drinks for two weeks. I then got into soup broths, and jello, as well as some very soft noodles. I only ate what I knew I could handle.
After 6 weeks I was up to eating almost any foods as long as I chewed them to a liquid and swallowed in very small bites. I learned the hard way not to eat large bites, or not chew my food to a liquid. Anyone who has had food stuck in the wrap knows it is not a fun time at all. Your whole esophagus locks up until the food passes. Those times were bad.
I was able to burp, and after 8 weeks I was back to drinking soft drinks regularly. I also began easing in coffee and caffeine into my diet.
Now, 3 months post-op I am still learning to adjust my diet appropriately. I cannot eat more than a fist size of food in a sitting. I eat 4-5 small meals a day in order to maintain a healthy diet and weight. 1.5-2 months post op I was experiencing hypoglycemic episodes (Low blood sugar, intense hunger, weakness, and dizzyness) because I was still trying to only eat 2-3 meals a day. YOU MUST LEARN TO adapt and learn how your body works.
I now do not normally burp, if I want to drink carbonated drinks I must pray for a burp, or wait for the gas to pass all the way through me though I do not experience any pain from stomach gas or carbonation. I also experience rapid onset nausea with certain, yet to be identified foods, which I control with a liquid anti emetic called Emitrol. It is OTC and works fast.
Aside from all that, I have had NO GERD!! None at all since surgery and I am so grateful. The struggles are totally worth the payout for me. No more pain or discomfort, and I lost 25 lbs that I could've definitely spared to lose, and I am now at an appropriate body weight. Besides my body image, I feel better as well because I was forced to start really watching what I eat as well as using correct portions.
Please feel free to ask away any questions you have about
the surgery or side effects or experiences. I hope this testimony gives you strength and hope in your battle with GERD.
I had Laproscopic Nissen Fundoplication. In this surgery, 5 2-3 cm incisions are made in the abdomen for the laproscopic tools. The stomach is freed, pulled out of the hiatus (the hiatus is the hole in your diaphragm through which the esophagus passes. The stomach normally rests under the diaphragm, but in the case of hiatal hernia, the stomach herniates through the hiatus) and the hiatus is stitched back closed. The Fundus (top portion) of the stomach is then wrapped around the LES (lower esophageal sphincter) and bottom esophagus and stitched in place to support the LES and prevent reflux. The Lap tools are removed, the abdomen is deflated and the incisions are closed with steri strips (surprisingly no stitches are used). You typically stay in the hospital 1-3 nights and you are normally able to go back to work/school after 1-2 weeks.