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Hello friends, I want to use this thread to connect with other Achalasia patients in Canada and especially to let them know about the availability of POEM (Per Oral Endoscopic Myotomy) in Toronto.
A bit about myself to begin with: I am a 31 yo female who started experiencing swallowing difficulties about a year and half back. With time, my symptoms got worse and I could not keep down any food that I ate. I would like to let fellow sufferers know that eating only when standing did help me with this. I could eat soft foods and keep most of it by eating while standing and then walking for next 10-15 mins.
I would consume a lot of green smoothies and other type of smoothies fortified with protein powders. This was instrumental in helping me not loose too much weight and keep up my energy levels overall.
The need to get treated intensified for me when the cardiospasm episodes started becoming more frequent. They would hit without any notice or trigger and leave me completely exhausted and awefully fearful of the next episode. It caused a lot of self-imposed social isolation as well.
I researched online for an Achalasia expert in Toronto/Ontario and I learned that Dr. Gail Darling and Dr. Andrew Pierre (at Toronto General Hostpital) were the authorities on the subject (along with other GI disorders). I was able to get an appointment with Dr. Pierre who is an exceptionally smart and kind individual. After a number of medical tests, we were able to make a formal diagnosis of Achalasia. While explaining the various options to me, he kindly let me know that he speacilaizes in Heller's Myotomy which is a tried and tested procedure. When asked about POEM, he suggested I speak with one of his collegues at TGH Dr. Eran Shlomovitz. After speaking with Dr. Shlomovitz, I was convinced that a minimally invasive procedure done endoscopically was the one for me. We were able to secure a surgery date within next 40 days.
I went through the procedure last week and I am happy to report that my initial observations are great. I am able to eat soft foods without any trouble now and there's no pain associated with swallowing. I do experience mild chest pains sometimes but I believe its due to my body receovering yet. These should vanish as the time goes by. I would also like to mention the worry free experience of the surgery and in hospital care at the TGH. Dr. Shlomovitz's team and the extended nursing team showed amazing professionalism and empathy in taking care of me.
I'd be happy to provide additional information to anyone. Please reach out to me on this forum. I hope you and your loved ones too find a good doctor and relief from your symtoms. Much Metta, take care!
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