| | Successful Surgery
Hi. I want to share the news of my successful surgery. I am a 71 year old woman. I had severe acid reflux which led to Barrett’s Esophagus. Over the years, the reflux got worse and my medication (Protonix) wasn’t working well. I’ve had a number of episodes of waking up at night with my mouth full of acid which burned my mouth and throat. I knew I had a hiatal hernia and a barium x-ray showed that 2/3 of my stomach was in my chest. I decided to look into having surgery.
I get all my medical care at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. I went through two tests to determine if I was a good candidate for surgery. The first was a manometry test which showed my esophagus was working normally. The second was a dual probe 24-hour pH monitoring. This test was uncomfortable because during the days leading up to the test, I had to gradually stop taking any meds for acid reflux. On the day of the test, I could take no meds at all. I had to keep a diary of when I had reflux, which turned out to be nearly the whole time. The test results showed a DeMeester score of 79.9, which is very high. “Normal” is below 14.7. I was told that I was a good candidate for surgery.
My surgeon was Carlos Pellegrini. I had laparoscopic surgery (with five incisions for the instruments) to repair my hiatal hernia and a Nissen fundoplication. A mesh made of pig tissue was used to reinforce the repair around the hiatus. The surgery took about 4 hours.
The surgery was done on Tuesday morning and I left the hospital 24 hours later. I experienced minimal discomfort in the hospital. At home, my recovery was rapid and I only felt a little pain from the incisions. I was on a liquid diet for 2 days, and then a diet of soft food. At my check up 2 weeks after surgery, I was told I could resume a normal diet. I carefully followed the restrictions on physical activity for 6 weeks (no lifting, no strenuous exercise, even no vacuuming). I’ve had no complications at all.
It has been over two months since the surgery. The acid reflux is completely gone. I also have asthma and before the surgery, often had episodes of coughing. Asthma and acid reflux are often related and I’m happy to report that I no longer have coughing. I still have asthma, but it isn’t as severe.
If you are considering surgery, I hope my success story will offer you encouragement.