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Jon F: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

I believe my vagus nerve was damaged in some way during the Nissen fundoplication surgery, or as a result of it.

For Jon F by Sherrill Knaggs, ISN Artist I was diagnosed two years ago with severe GERD reflux disease. The maximum allowed dosages of anti-reflux medication was not enough to prevent the flow of stomach acid to my mouth. Therefore a surgical procedure known as Nissen fundoplication was the last resort to solving the problem and was recommended by the specialist.

This surgery is complicated to describe, but it involves wrapping the esophagus around the stomach to replace what should have been the natural valve which prevents the food contents from flowing upwards. After surgery, the eminent surgeon who conducted the operation told me that the "hole" at the bottom of my esophagus was one of the largest he had ever seen and had "stitch me" written all over it.

After the operation the acid reflux symptoms went entirely away, however I experienced mild to severe blockage and burning sensations at the back of my throat and a "click" whenever I swallowed. I was prescribed some anti-depressants and whilst these have been helpful to a degree, the symptoms remain and are just as upsetting and life disrupting as the GERD of which I have been cured.

I believe my vagus nerve was damaged in some way during the operation or as a result of it. No reflux medication taken since has helped and there appears to be no medication or treatment which can prevent them, although I admit I feel I may not have explored all the avenues. I fear I will have these symptoms for life.

To Contact the Author

Jon F.
New email address needed.
Old Email Prefix: j.feld
New email address needed 07-18-06 SLE
Story posted 08-12-04 SLE

ISN Senior Artist: Sherrill Knaggs
Story Editor: Judith Devlin
Nissen Fundoplication

ISN Artist: Sherrill Knaggs (In Loving Memory)

Sherrill KnaggsSherrill Knaggs, ISN Artist, created the digital photo to illustrate the story on this page. Sherrill lived in New Zealand. Her story was featured in ISN's book, Voices of Scleroderma Volume 2.

ISN Story Editor: Judith Thompson Devlin

Photo of JudithJudith Thompson Devlin is the ISN Story Editor for this story. She is also lead editor of the ISN's wonderful Voices of Scleroderma book series!

Go to Jon: Eosinophilic Fasciitis

SCLERO.ORG was the world's leading nonprofit for trustworthy research, support, education and awareness for scleroderma and related illnesses from 1998 to 2021. It was a grassroots movement from the original Scleroderma from A to Z web site, which was founded by Shelley Ensz. We were a 501(c)(3) U.S.-based public charitable foundation. We closed this web site and our nonprofit agency in April 2021.

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)