I’d like to strangle my Hiatus Hernia.

Getting older sucks. Bad back, aching knees, overweight, over 60! With so much information available on how to look after yourself and take care of the only body you are ever going to have, along with a daughter who is in the fitness industry, believe me, I am very aware of the dangers that can present themselves.

But sometimes, as we all know, life can throw you a curve ball, just to test your mettle. I know that many of us can boast having a hiatus hernia, and for most, with antacids, it’s annoying but liveable. It seems my dad’s side of the family, suffered from acid problems leading to stomach ulcers. I’ve always been a worrier, frequently suffering stomach aches and reflux, leading to several bouts of oesophagitis and out of control asthma. Eventually, in my early 30’s it was discovered I had a hiatus hernia, and so in 2007, after many tests, had my first keyhole fundoplication, where the hernia is repaired by wrapping the top part of the stomach around the lower oesophagus – the result was amazing. Unfortunately, a year later this had to be repeated as the first wrap had come undone. Afterwards, as well as welcome weight loss, I was able to walk and exercise again.  

In 2017 (whilst living in Scotland) it was discovered that the wrap had come undone yet again and the combination of acid damage to my lungs and oesophagus over the years, had resulted in acute breathing difficulties. My swallowing ability had reduced to less than 50pct of the time, limiting certain foods, such as bread, chicken, pasta and rice to name but a few. After many unpleasant tests, I was eventually considered for further surgery (albeit reluctantly).

However, covid reared its ugly head, and being forced to sell our house (another story) we decided to move back down to England. Ridiculously, this has led to many issues with NHS specialists being unable to access my medical records, you would be fooled into thinking we have just one NHS. Oh no. I am now having to go through all the horrible tests again.

The daily steroids I take allow me to walk several miles, on a flat surface, but any slight incline has me sounding like puffing billy, and exercising is difficult due to not being able to lie flat, raise my legs or bend over without acid escaping from my stomach. I rattle from the tablets I take each day, along with inhalers. I hate being reliant on medication. I hate being so restricted on my daily movements.

Don’t get me wrong, I never particularly enjoyed exercising or going to the gym when younger, but I was active, playing badminton and squash weekly, walking and cycling (mainly falling off) and frustratingly I know I am going to suffer in the future if I don’t get to grips with my life now.

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