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chubabubba
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2017
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 11/8/2017 1:09 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm a 76 year old female scheduled for surgery in a couple weeks. I have Barrett's esophagus and had high grade dysplasia that was removed by a mucosal resection. My GI doctor and the surgeon both work at a large teaching hospital near me. The GI doctor specializes in the treatment of Barrett's and the surgeon specializes in hernia surgery.

I have no reflux symptoms and only discovered I had Barrett's and a hernia when the hernia began bleeding. I had blood transfusions but my iron level still isn't where it needs to be.

Because I have silent reflux and no symptoms, I'm reluctant to change my life. From what I've read on this forum, I'll be unable to burp but will be passing gas - a lot. Also, it sounds like it will take months before I can eat normally and maybe not even then. None of this sounds good.

Both doctors want me to have surgery because there were a few embryonic cancer cells in the dysplasia and if the hernia isn't corrected, the silent reflux will continue. I'm on pantoprazole and may have to stay on it after surgery. I'm not sure what scares me most - this surgery at my age or cancer. Probably the cancer since esophageal cancer is deadly.

Does anyone else have a similar diagnosis and advice?

Cynthia Ransom
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2017
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 11/8/2017 3:45 PM (GMT -7)   
so sorry you are going through this....silent reflux is nothing to mess with, especially since you are now a step beyond Barrett's...personally I would opt for the surgery....I had heartburn symptoms, then Barrett's, and now it is in my throat so I am managing with meds, (trying to get off PPI's and eventually changing to Zantac), diet, just starting calcium citrate powder and it feels better already...by trying to eat less, no more wine....but guess i was lucky to have symptoms, as last endoscopy showed no Barrett's...(though the potential is always there to resurface, and if it does I may be facing surgery too)...I've heard many people have successful surgeries, and who knows..perhaps you won't have to be on meds afterwards...ppi's do little for silent reflux...it is about keeping the LES strong, not killing acid in the stomach with meds that only treat symptoms...and surgery would correct that ....(i've had several unrelated surgeries in the past few years (lumpectomies, etc.), and though not always a picnic, you get through it.....i wish you the very best, ....try and keep up the faith, giving this and your Doctors who will treat you in God's Hands......

SharonZ
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2014
Total Posts : 985
   Posted 11/9/2017 6:04 AM (GMT -7)   
I had successful surgery at 53, and recovery wasn't easy. You just need to be mentally prepared before surgery, as you seem to be. The internet is full of horror stories, as people tend to only post negative stories and not positive ones. I had a full wrap and can't vomit or belch. The gas can be handled through anti-gas medications (simethicone), and honestly not being able to vomit doesn't bother me. I do, however, keep a prescription of Zofran (for nausea) with me at all times. Make sure you have the manometry testing done, as it is very important that your swallowing function isn't impaired. I started to really feel better at the six month mark, and back to my "new normal" at 1 year. I did not take pantoprazole post-surgery, and haven't since.

Good luck, Sharon

chubabubba
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2017
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 11/9/2017 2:00 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the responses. Nothing has been said about manometry testing. I had an endoscopy and a barium swallow test and that's been it so far. You said you started to feel better at six months. What symptoms did you have until then? Problem eating normally, tired, etc. And are there limitations with your new normal? Why does it take so long to get back to any kind of normal?

The surgeon said I'd be wiped out for two weeks but feeling good at three. He also said I'd be able to eat a normal diet after my three week checkup. Even I'm not that naive! When I talked to them again they told me that when someone is taking FMLA, they are told to request six weeks.

We are usually away from January through March but we're cancelling this year because I'm nervous about being away while I'll still be healing.

SharonZ
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2014
Total Posts : 985
   Posted 11/10/2017 6:05 AM (GMT -7)   
It is major surgery, and you are very tired and a lot of people do experience some amount of discomfort needing pain medication for a significant amount of time. You will more than likely develop pain in your shoulder from trapped gas. You are weak from consuming a mostly liquid diet for some time, and I would have never been able to eat a normal diet at three weeks, but everyone is different. You can experience something called "dumping syndrome", or some people become constipated. It takes a while for your digestive system to reset itself. I work full-time, and I was off for 2 months. I would not feel comfortable having surgery without the manometry. If your swallowing function is impaired, you may suffer from food becoming stuck while swallowing. It was a personal decision, but I gave up carbonated beverages, and alcohol because I didn't like the symptoms that they caused after surgery. There are some foods that still are difficult for me, one of them being steak. I still get waves of nausea, for no reason, as quite a few others still do years after surgery. Some people still need PPIs after surgery, so I'm not surprised that your doctors mentioned this.

chubabubba
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2017
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 11/11/2017 10:44 AM (GMT -7)   
All of that sounds awful! I don't really have a choice since the silent reflux and hernia caused the Barrett's and dysplasia.

A CBC and ferritin level test was run and my ferritin level is down again but not as low as when they did the first endoscopy. I'll have another infusion before surgery. The consensus is I'm bleeding intermittently due to the hernia. All this has been going on for most of this year and I'm tired of all the doctor's visit. In spite of all of it, I feel good but I guess that will change from the surgery and going forward.

I hope I can maintain a positive attitude and also burp. Could the surgeon do the surgery in such a way as to allow burps? And how many surgeries does he do before he's considered proficient or top tier?

Post Edited (chubabubba) : 11/11/2017 10:48:42 AM (GMT-7)

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