Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Happy Birthday! You need surgery!

As part of my tireless effort to personally fund the college education of the children of every doctor in the Richmond Region, I continue to pursue a remedy for the chronic cough y’all have come to know and love.

Over the past few years, I have been diagnosed with asthma and sleep apnea, both of which contribute to the causes of the cough. However, the doctors have now identified GERD as the most likely cause of my cough (and possibly to my asthma).

You may know that a few weeks ago, a gastroenterologist performed a esophageal endoscopy to implant a small transmitter inside my esophagus to measure the ph levels just above my stomach. (Yes, the same doctor who made me eat radioactive eggs in March.) As part of the endoscopy, the doctor found that I have a hiatal hernia, which is the cause for my severe GERD. Unfortunately, medication alone does not seem to be alleviating the symptoms and the cough comes back frequently.

Today, as a special birthday present to myself, I went to see a specialist surgeon about the next step in possible solutions. She gave me the gift of telling me that I needed surgery to repair the hiatal hernia. So, in July, I will be having a Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication. Despite its name, it is not “fun” and does not involve winning a new Nissan Altima. In actuality, the surgery can be summarized as tying a knot in my stomach (see video below or a shorter 36-second video).

The surgeon has told me that the recovery will require me to be out of the office for 1-2 weeks. I have arranged for the surgery to take place on Thursday, July 19, with the plan for me to return to work on Monday, July 30.

The good news is that the surgery will force me into losing more weight, which should enhance the progress I’ve made with my asthma, sleep apnea, and ruptured spinal disc. As a result of the surgery, I will be on a liquid-only diet for 10-14 days, followed by a soft food diet for an addition 14-21 days.
Problem: Hiatal hernia

Surgery – Short Video (0:36)

Surgery – Longer Video (4:42)
More detailed animated video that discusses the problem and the surgery

(Note: Although the date and tone of this blog post make it appear that it was written on June 12, it was actually written on July 26 because I need to improve my blogging timeliness.)

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