Dateline: March 24, 2011. It is now six days since I had my surgery to stop the acid in my stomach from building back up into my esophagus. For the past few years, I have struggled with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and Barrett’s esophagus. Over the course of the past year, my symptoms became increasingly worse so no matter what I ate, I felt some level of discomfort, some days less tolerable than others.
After my annual endoscopy in February 2011, I asked my doctor for a referral to a surgeon who could possibly perform a surgical technique to give me some relief. She referred me to Dr. Craig Anderson of Midwest Surgical Associates, Inc. in my hometown of greater Kansas City. Since all of the prescribed medications I had taken over the years were not offering me any relief whatsoever, I felt that this was my only option. I did not want to spend my life feeling miserable, knowing that the only time I felt 100 percent was when I simply did not eat. Definitely not an option. Besides, I had been told by numerous individuals that Anderson is the leading “guru” in this procedure and that nearly all of his patients had realized positive results.
After meeting with the surgeon, he described to me a procedure, developed in the 1950s but perfected in the last decade, called fundoplication surgery. During this procedure, the upper curve of the stomach, known as the fundus, is wrapped around the esophagus and sewn into place so that the lower portion of the esophagus passes through a small tunnel of the stomach muscle. The intention of this surgery is to strengthen the valve between the esophagus and the stomach so that the stomach acid does not make its way back up into the esophagus easily. This then gives the esophagus time to heal. During my procedure, Anderson also repaired my hiatal hernia.
Anderson was very precise in his description of the procedure and also referred me to a few videos on YouTube that detail the surgery, one of which can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4WuM9rc-ZY. Even though I can present with a queasy stomach under such opportunities, I did find it very fascinating.