I have been a GERD patient for about 10 years. My symptoms started as occasional heartburn and chest pain and steadily grew to an almost daily occurrence of moderate to severe pain and discomfort, especially over the last few years. This condition affected every aspect of my life. I could not travel easily since taking long trips in cars or planes would mean that I would be sitting for long periods of time. Sitting for prolonged periods of time made my symptoms worse. I was continuously missing out on family events, work obligations and my quality of life was suffering greatly. Most alarming of all was my symptoms were always accompanied by chest pain and I lived in constant fear that the symptoms could also be related to coronary artery disease.
I sought treatment early for my condition and had been on some type of medication for ten years. PPI’s, antacids, home remedies, pain meds, changing my diet… I think I must have tried every prescription and non-prescription treatment to control the reflux and nothing seemed to work. I have seen multiple Gastroenterologists and other physicians who basically had told me that I would need to live with his condition and that there was basically nothing else that could be done.
I met Dr. Wilson Tsai in early 2013. He explained that my story was not unique, that he saw patients with my condition every day. He took the time to explain to me that not only is this condition uncomfortable, there is also a marked increase in the incidence of esophageal cancer and this increase may be linked to GERD. After listening to my story and conducting a series of medical tests he told me that there was an option after all. But I was reluctant. I had never had surgery before and I spent several months contemplating my options.
Finally I could not take the discomfort anymore and on April 1, 2014 I underwent corrective surgery for my GERD. The procedure was pretty straight forward and the recovery was uneventful. I spent one night in the hospital and was up and around shortly after the surgery and back to work in a week.
But remarkably I have had absolutely no symptoms since the surgery! I stopped taking all medication and my life has completely changed. Now I think of the years that I suffered needlessly with this condition. Just three months following the surgery I enjoyed a three week vacation to Yellowstone with my family and drove fifteen hours in the car each way with no problems whatsoever. I cannot thank Dr. Tsai and his staff enough for everything. I cannot believe I waited to have this surgery. I highly recommend Dr. Tsai and his staff.