Posted 12/19/2017 9:54 PM (GMT -7)
I had an open surgery 7 weeks ago at Cleveland Clinic for an 8 cm hiatial hernia with one half of stomach trapped up in my chest. Surgeon repaired the hernia, did a 270 degree wrap and also lengthened the esophagus. I had the surgery done due to shortness of breath, mucous in back of throat and hoarse voice. I did not have swallowing issues or bad heartburn as so many on this forum seem to have, so my symptoms were atypical.
I was very cautious in approaching surgery and put it off for quite awhile. I made the trip to Cleveland clinic to get all other possible causes ruled out. They did lung testing, heart tests and even had a right and left heart catherization done. Thankfully, heart and lungs were fine so it was decided that the large, type III, paraesophageal hernia was causing the breathing issues and hoarseness. Surgeon determined that the open procedure was best for me, so I went with that. I am 70 years old and came through the surgery well for which I am thankful. I have been very careful to follow diet and to not lift, etc. I am fortunate to not have any swallowing problems , eating is going well and I am getting energy back.
However, I continue to have the very same symptoms as I had before surgery. I still get spells of being very short of breath, still have mucous in throat and still get hoarse. I am still holding on to hope that since this was an open surgery that there is a lot of healing to be done. The assistant who checked me and removed staples at two weeks said that my insides would look like something put through a meat grinder and that there is lots of swelling and inflammation to heal. So, I continue to take good care of myself and hope and pray that after more time passes that I will improve. I have heard some say that 7 weeks is early and that healing and normalcy can takes months, so I cling to that hope.
But at this 7 week point, I am very discouraged and concerned that the same symtoms continue. And on top of them, I get a little chest pain which seems to be from esophagus, I have a full, pressure feeling at the end of my sternum, and am still very sore when getting in and out of bed or if up and about too long without wearing the binder. Many days I think that I may have gone through all this misery for nothing.
I don't want to discourage anyone from having surgery for it does seem to help many people. And, as I said, I am still counting on good results for myself in a few months. If I do improve, I will post again to share the good news with you and to bring you that encouragement.
But I do want to say that if your symptoms are atypical ones like breathing issues, please ask and ask and ask your surgeon if the surgery is likely to help. I had researched a lot and just felt that after all the tests I had, the surgeon would not offer the surgery if it was not helpful for my symptoms. But now I wonder if it is as helpful for breathing issues as it is for the more typical symptoms.
Just want to say to proceed with caution if you are approaching this surgery for breathing and also if it seems you have to have the open procedure. It is a rough surgery and would be very worth it if one has assurance of a good outcome. I'll be awaiting months to pass and hoping and praying that I will be able to report good news and encourage those in my situation. But in the meantime, just wanted to say be careful and go forward cautiously. Prayers and good wishes to all.