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I am the wife of a 53 year old who suffers from Achalasia. He has had the condition for at least three years although it has been a gradual dawning with new symptoms cropping up almost monthly.
It all began over Christmas 2011 when he suddenly began experiencing chest tightness and neck pain with chronic burping. These episodes lasted around fifteen minutes and were excruciating, coming to a head with a 999 visit onto the Coronary care unit. At the time, swallowing wasn't an issue. The symptoms sent him to Papworth where tests revealed nothing. Back to to our local hospital with liver function and GI tests, Ultra sound abdo tests etc, also revealed nothing.
By now it was Autumn 2012 and he was in a very dark place indeed. The pains were lasting hours now, not minutes and two more trips to A and E resulted in IV painkillers and we were still no nearer the truth. By now endoscopy and colonoscopy had also revealed nothing..... accept a hiatus hernia and curiously undigested food left in the gullet. By now his symptoms had shifted somewhat and we had the very first hint of dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing certain foods. He had to keep food a diary and was told it was 'All in your head'.... We decided to take matters into our own hands.
Spring 2013 and he sent of for food intolerance testing privately and the result was intolerant to Cows milk and Yeast. A newly adopted diet excluding these substances, did seem to help and all went quiet for another six months until suddenly he just couldn't swallow - end of, he just Could Not swallow. He lost weight at an alarming rate and was sent to see a Specialist once again.
Finally in Spring this year (2014) the Consultant suggested the holy grail, pressure tests (Motility) on the Oesophagus and the horrible truth was revealed. He had no nerve activity whatsoever and the gullet was effective paralysed. As well as this, the cardiac sphincter was so overgrown and tight, they struggled to get water the pass. He was put of high calorie drinks to support his meager diet and to prevent further weight loss. They even felt he had malnutrition. The hiatus hernia turned out to be dilation of the Gullet.
Two rounds of Botox over six weeks proved utterly ineffective other than to render him in agony as he regained consciousness. We saw a new Specialist two weeks ago and his immediate reaction was that this had gone on long enough. Hubby is at last awaiting the Heller's Myotomy with Fundoplication. We are assured this will happen within the next few weeks and if anyone is interested, I will keep you up to date on his progress.
Sorry if I have waffled, it is simply so good to finally be able to vent to those who have empathy and understanding.
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