Over several years I have experienced symptoms such as heartburn, nausea, regurgitation, Dysphagia, Dyspepia and even chest pain.These symptoms have worsened as time went by, but to me as I had lived with these experiences for so long it became a norm. My father had always had what seemed like severe heartburn and 'just lived with it', so then so did I.Taking medication such as Lanzoprazole, Gaviscon etc. had little or no effect at the point of my worst symptoms.
My lifestyle was very much controlled by the severity of my symptoms. Such as planning in advance for example, if I was to go out for a meal. I would carry a plastic bag in my handbag in case of regurgitation. This was extremely stressful. The evening would end with disturbed sleep due to acid burning. My worst and traumatic experience regarding my reflux as an emergency admission to hospital. I had felt over several hours a tightening in my chest and a lump in my throat effecting my swallowing. My breathing became very difficult. It came to a crucial point whereby I felt I was having a heart attack.
During this admission I was also investigating for a suspected blood clot in my lung due to the severity of my symptoms and pain. It became apparent that my symptoms had been a result of gastric reflux.
It was not until I had attend an outpatient review following an operation to remove my Gallbladder some months previous, that I discussed my symptoms and experiences in detail to surgeon Mr Viswanath. Still at this stage I was unaware of the severity of my symptoms, and that indeed there was a possible treatment plan for this. I was given a PhD test and the manometry test to determine the acid percentage and peristalsis action of my Oesophagus. This was done in preparation to determine if a Fundoplication procedure was appropriate. A diagnosis of GERD was confirmed.
Feedback from these tests revealed 'unusual results' in relation to the acid content and percentage according to my surgeon. Surgery was planned accordingly. Anxieties prior to surgery led me to read around and explore as much information as I could about this procedure despite my surgeon advising me to read with caution as people all have different experiences following this surgery. I suppose it was like holiday reviews, the danger is to put off by what you read.
I would like to share my experience as 'positive' following my surgery to hopefully reassure and person who may have been advised and considering surgery.
It is now 7 weeks post surgery. I have not at all experienced any symptoms of gastric reflux or any of the experiences as before. Immediately after surgery I had clear fluids for a couple of days, moving onto milkshakes and ice cream for around 2 weeks. I progressed onto soft diet but continued my milkshakes for the next couple of weeks. The shakes ensured my energy levels were maintained which helped my recovery.
I could feel that when I swallowed fluids or diet that my oesophagus was tighter for food to pass. Sometimes a little nervous that if I took to mouthfuls of fluid for example this would take its time to enter my stomach. Thoughts such as will I ever eat and drink normally again often come into my mind.
The only side effects that I have experience following surgery have been weight loss of 24 lbs and the need to chew food properly to ensure easier swallowing. No symptoms of heartburn and no more medication.
Be reassured, however that just 7 weeks on I am progressing nicely back to my usual diet. I don't feel the tightness anymore and continue to feel very positive and so thankful every day.