Hi Chicago Girl,
You have asked some great questions! I had similar ones and have done sufficient research to answer them. (Question 4 is critical for you to read the answer.)
1. Airport security. The metal detectors will not cause a problem. Although there are warnings, there has been no evidence that it will cause any issues with the device and turn it off (for 24 hours). I specifically went through the detectors before my check up to verify that the warnings can be safely ignored. I have had the device picked up on the body scan, even though it shouldn't be. I haven't had a problem on the standard metal detectors. (I let them know as I enter the body scanner that I have an abdominal implant that may show up, so there are no surprises.) On the following pat down screening, I have them touch it so they get used to seeing it and understanding it. (My part in educating airport security, so many of them, so few of me. I don't recommend you doing that as a women though.)
There also is absolutely no problem with store detectors or cell phones (Yes I kept mine right next to it so I could tell at my checkup.) Bottom line, there are no issues with the metal detectors at airports and no special procedures needed. Don't worry and enjoy your travels.
In the event you want to turn it off, use a 25 gauss magnet. (You can buy a donut shaped one for about
$10, same as used to turn off other implants like pacemakers) In my case the only time I have successfully (although unintentionally) turned it off, was when working on my car, when I stretched over the alternator magnet. I guess this might not be an ideal solution for an auto mechanic
I have verified the above, so don't worry and go through the airport as before. Also magnets from watch bands and other items shouldn't be a problem either.
2. My device is the second generation EndoStim II (Smaller size and slightly shorter lifetime than the original.) But, I figure, by the time it needs replacing in 7 years they will have a rechargeable one available. (Like some newer pacemakers.)
3. There is no way to check its operation. None. Period. (Other than the programing wand.) The exercise monitor I use has to be in just the right position, and I have only been able to duplicate it a couple times (conditions have to be just right). It is a novelty at best. When working correctly, there should be no way to know it is working, but it is! (This was my biggest issue. I will admit, it drove me nuts for a while.) I really wanted to know it was on, and wondered if I was unintentionally turning it off. Only after I had my 6 month checkup,and reviewed the records, have I not been concerned about
it working. Now I know it was/is working.
4. Sounds like your manometry was a bit worse than mine. I had 1 "almost" normal swallow out of 12. I had no improvement after 7 months. (Still "almost" o1 out of 12.) The doctor said it will take over 18 months to see any improvement, if any will occur. BUT ONLY IF I ADDRESS THE DYSPHAGIA. And at my age the odds are still not I'm my favor. They really don't know how to treat it. (Dysphagia is the medical term for our swallowing issues.)
This is the biggest issue for us to proactively address. Please read carefully!!!
Now that my LES is actually closing, I realized much of my swallowing (probably like yours) was due to gravity. Once the LES is closed, gravity doesn't work any more, and you will most likely have food remaining in your esophagus after eating. If any is pushed up from the stomach after a big meal, it will not get re-swallowed. I didn't know this and during my checkup they found "erosions" at the base of the esophagus, which was causing sensations that the GERD was still a problem. (And fueled my concern the device was not working.) It was working but the food remaining in the esophagus was causing acid issues.
The treatment recommended for this is to drink water before eating and after ALL eating. Try to avoid foods like peanut butter or other types that are sticky and may tend to not easily slide down. Drink more water, all day on a regular basis. Keep water handy. BTW, this condition should allow you to carry water with you through airport security if you alert
them in advance. The EndoStim card can help there. The diet for dysphagia is, unfortunately, a low acid diet like before, eating well before sleep, and the rest of the GERD diet that you, like me, probably hoped to be off of. And, I repeat due to importance, wash all food down with water. I developed a slight annoying cough, and that is a symptom of dysphagia, and drinking water on a regular basis has greatly helped. This is an annoyance, and no where near the risk of taking massive PPIs over a long term. I have been recommended to go to my gastroenteroloogist for working out a treatment plan. (An plan to shortly.)
5. I had only slight discomfort, mostly in my shoulder, since I had a much smaller hernia that was repaired. I had the "referred pain" in my shoulder, and it tapered off over 4 months. This is common, I was told, and does go away. Be patient. I expect you had some nerve irritation as I did, and the result is "referred pains" that do taper off. I expect it is the irritated nerves in the area, and not the electrodes, based on what I learned. I highly recommend going to a doctor if you have any concerns as well. (I consulted my doctor on this.)
Thank you for asking such good questions! I hope I have been able to adequately answer your questions.
Let me know if you have any more. These were really good ones.