Posted 2/28/2016 8:00 AM (GMT -7)
Hi Treelover, I am having surgery in two weeks as well -- 3/11. I, too, have a giant paraesophogeal hernia with the majority of my stomach in my chest; it's also twisted. Like you, I'm having a fundoplication and a repair of the diaphragm with mesh. I have a history of GERD and heartburn, along with severe anemia, with additional symptoms of LPR (mucous, nasal congestion, throat clearing, persistent "bark", etc.) You are certainly not alone. I'm a 45-year old female who, until recent years and these increasing health issues, has been very active.
From what I've heard from my surgeon, the large paraesophogeal hernia requires fixing, particularly if the stomach has any twisting. This can continue and lead to very serious consequences it it twists all the way around. The mesh repair should reinforce the diaphragm and help to reduce the risk of subsequent herniation. The fundoplication, too, should also help to prevent reherniation as the top of the stomach will be wrapped and stitched around the esophagus. I was told that this would also help to eliminate my GERD symptoms -- I imagine its the same for your LPR.
I've been told of the consequences of the procedure. For me, these are minor when compared to the years of shortness of breath, exhaustion, anemia issues, chest pain, reflux, apnea, etc. I, too, am very nervous about the surgery, of course, but am thrilled by the idea of having my active life back. My hope, after years of feeling like something just wasn't right, is to feel good and energetic again.
You're very smart to have your issues reviewed by multiple surgeons. They all agree that this procedure is best for you. But if you're having questions, keep probing them. Having the surgery for the hernia is likely best, particularly with the stomach twisting. But if your LPR issues have resolved, perhaps you can speak with them about only doing the hernia repair and patch without the fundoplication. The fundoplication seems to have some benefits for future hernia possibilities too, but maybe it's not necessary for you as you don't have traditional GERD symptoms. Conversely, if the fundoplication has a high chance of resolving your issues, while also helping to prevent future herniation, it may be best to have everything done at once. You mentioned that your surgery is scheduled at a prominent hospital -- I'm sure that they are pros with these procedures and any possible side effects will be minimum.
Surgery of any type is scary and unnerving, even for folks who've had many procedures. Nerves are normal, I think, for all of us. But you need to also feel confident in your surgeon and it's his/her job to help you feel confident. Arrange for a chat with your surgeon. Tell him/her your concerns. It's your body and you should feel comfortable with your decision. Good luck and keep us posted!