I wrote you a post on the GERD forum (thanks Joy, for pointing him in that direction). When I posted here it was just for someone like you, who is looking for an answer. I was a mess, and could not find the courage to move forward with the surgery.
Finally I hit bottom...I was so sick with asthma, and so tired of coughing and wheezing, that I decided I had to take a chance with the surgery. I am so glad I did.
It took a couple of months for my lungs to heal...I had the surgery on February 27, 2009, and it took until mid May for my lungs to recover and I was able to give up the nebulizer. I have not taken my nebulizer treatment since--through allergies, sinus infections, and colds. That's unheard of for me. When my lungs were damaged by reflux, they were in such bad shape that any problem I had put me over the edge.
I do still take Serevent and Flovent, but am taking normal dosages. My allergy/asthma doc is trying to increase the strength of my serum/shots. If that doesn't work in allowing me to move to lower doses (the doses I'm on now are HALF what I was on before the surgery, and I haven't had to take prednosone since, either. Still I'm on 220mcg Flovent and the Serevent twice a day, which, although a normal dosage, still more than the 110mcg I was taking before my lungs took a dive before surgery. (I had even been hospitalized with uncontrolled asthma before surgery.)
As far as post-surgery changes...
1. Right after surgery, of course, there is a recovery period. It was not nearly as bad as I had expected. My surgeon had me on liquids in the hospital, and soft for the first five days, until I saw him. Then I was able to eat anything I could chew to a liquid, which was a lot of choices. I couldn't eat much for a while, since the swelling gives you a feeling of fullness. By about four months, I was eating pretty normal amounts of food--even went on vacation.
2. After that, I was able to eat totally normally. I could burp a bit/my stomach actually burps itself, so that helped me avoid some of the bloating that can happen. I thought the gas would be much worse than it has been.
3. I can't take the big pills I used to take (yet--maybe in time) so I cut them up into smaller pieces or crush them.
4. Sometimes if I eat too fast or don't chew my food carefully it can feel "stuck" and I get some spasms from it. After drinking water (or hot tea) it resolves--no problem.
5. Occasionally, when my wrap has been irritated (something like the above situation), I can get something called "dumping", when my stomach dumps the food prematurely into the intestine. That causes lots of abdominal grumbling and loose stools. This doesn't happen much.
6. I have a variety of stool consistencies...different than before the surgery.
NONE of these things compares to the suffering I experienced before the surgery. I could no longer live with the asthma symptoms I was suffering with. Yes, I still take asthma meds, but now my asthma is in control.
I am a very satisfied customer. Any discomfort listed above is no big deal.
Keep in mind, though, that if I'd had an incompetent surgeon, it would be a very different story. There are many people who have the surgery performed by a surgeon who is not competent IN THE SPECIFIC NISSEN PROCEDURE, and they have some terrible side effects. If you decide to do this surgery (and I would encourage you to look into it) be sure to research your surgeon THOROUGHLY.
Good luck! I hope you find an answer to your asthma issues.
Believe me...I feel your pain!