Last Friday I had surgery for the first time. This year after numerous tests and doctor’s visits they discovered that I had non-acid reflux going on. While this doesn’t sound as serious as acid reflux, it still has its own set of risks, some of which can be serious including aspirating fluid which can cause repeated bouts of bronchitis and possibly pneumonia, problems eating and difficulty sleeping. So, several months ago I consulted with a surgeon and decided to move forward with a procedure called the “LINX”.
The concept is fairly simple. I reflux because my lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is weak and doesn’t close properly, therefore allowing stomach contents to reflux all the way back into my larynx. The LINX device is a ring of interlocked magnetic titanium beads that tighten my LES and prevent reflux, but expand as I swallow to allow food and liquid to pass into the stomach. It’s done laparoscopically, takes about an hour and is outpatient. It’s also completely reversible if it ever needs to be removed.
I was a little anxious about having the procedure done. I was a little unnerved about being 36 years old and living the rest of my life with a metal implant. To me the thought just made me feel so…old. Then I remembered my son.
I’ve honestly lost count as to the number of surgeries he’s had. I know it’s over ten. In addition, he doesn’t just have a small metal ring implant, but two large titanium rods in his back that he must have extended surgically ever 6 months. For me, this surgery was hopefully a one-time deal. For him, it’s part of his life.
As I went into the operating room I remembered my brave little seven-year-old, and part of me is thankful that I get to share in a small way with what he deals with regularly. I now have some scars just like him that I can show him.