Posted 6/26/2018 9:15 AM (GMT -7)
I have been following this forum for quite some time as it has definitely helped me in the past. Here is a brief history of my journey: I am a 31 year old male who has had quite an awful 2 year experience with "reflux" of varying sorts. It all started when I began having an almost constant bout of nausea (just about all day long for several months.) I finally went to a GI doctor and I began almost 1.5 years of tests. I have had just about every test known to medicine. Every single test came back with the same result of "You have a small sliding hiatal hernia and moderate reflux" and so I tried many different acid blockers/reducers, pro-motility drugs, and anti-spasmodic's. None of them really gave much relief and to be completely honest, I didn't feel like they did much since I NEVER really truly felt that heartburn sensation.
During this time period, the original symptom of nausea changed from nausea to pain in my throat and esophagus. All of the glands in my neck were swollen constantly and my life became quite miserable. For the past 6 months, my diet consisted of a very small portion of unflavored rice and chicken and Ensure shakes. Every day. I was able to control my pain with this type of diet and strict adherence to a few rules:
1.) NEVER deviate from those foods EVER
2.) Take Gaviscon Advance after EACH time something goes into my stomach (This is a little miracle. I has to import about 5/month of these from Amazon at a rather high cost but it was worth it.)
3.) Never overeat (by this I mean keeping my dinner (rice/chicken) to about a cup of food)
4.) Never eat after 7pm
I stuck to this diet for 6 months and it did work. However, this started taking a toll on my body and mind. I was always very active before this all started and I am a pretty big guy (6'5" around 230lbs before symptoms) so from eating such a small diet I, obviously, lost weight. I was fine with losing the weight as I knew I would be able to put back on my body mass but what really bothered me the most from this entire experience was the mental factor. We don't usually realize how much food is involved in our lives and when it is taken away we really feel it. My wife and I were unable to do the most basic social experiences together. We absolutely could not go out to dinner or rarely could we just do anything fun because I just felt awful all the time. I became quite depressed from this because as a 30 year male (at the time) I had to stay home all the time. It really crushed me when our friends would ask us to go out and we had to decline because if I knew if I deviated from my diet or meal timing at all, I would be paying for it for at least 2 weeks. When I was inflamed, I had difficulty speaking because my larynx was in pain. This caused a problem for my job because as an IT Consultant, I would easily spend 8 - 12 hours a day on phone calls or doing sessions with my customers. Plain and simple, I couldn't talk because I was in so much pain.
After finally deciding on the LNF surgery, I had a whole team of doctors, surgeons, and specialists at my disposal. I am blessed to live in an area that is very close to the #2 GI system in the US. I met with all of them many times to discuss if this surgery would work. The best answer any of them could give was "It will definitely stop reflux" and after the abysmal 2 years I have been through I decided I have to give it a try.
May 4th, 2018 was the date of my procedure. I stayed in the hospital for 2 nights and had a pleasant experience. I was adamant about keeping moving and was doing laps around the hospital wing the day after the procedure. about a week after, I experienced all of the normal road bumps from this type of procedure: bloating, excess gas/unable to blech, shoulder pain, incision pain, etc. I was pretty quick to getting back to work and I was able to talk again without any issues. I sincerely thought I was over the hill on this as I felt the best I have felt in over 2 years. I dropped down to 179lbs the week after surgery but slowly began putting on a few pounds. I was able to start a bit of cardio exercise on my elliptical and boy was I feeling good. I was on a liquid diet for a week after surgery and then I was able to progress to a soft diet. I do have to say that being able to eat something as simple as mashed potatoes when I have had such a limited diet for so long was like trying them again for the first time. I am still taking nexium 40mg's 2/day and have my 2 month follow up tests coming up in about a week (manometry, Ph test, barium swallow.)
However, about a week ago I hit a set back and it is causing some issues again. My entire throat and esophagus is very inflamed again. My glands are swollen and I have the same pain I used to have. I know this may only be a road bump on a long road to recovery but I cannot help but think that I am back at square one again. Has anybody had a similar experience? I would really like to get a lifeline at this point. I know my case is not as usual as the typical ones but anything can help.