POEM Procedure at Stanford Allows 90-Year-Old to Eat and Drink Again


I’m not one that goes to a doctor. So I just,
you know, bluffed it off…it was nothing…but I couldn’t eat. It just wouldn’t go down.
It just came back up. I’m very social, as you can probably tell,
I do go out a lot, and a lot of it has to do with food. It was sort of embarrassing. I had to sit
by the door where you could run to the restroom because I didn’t have any confidence in what
was going to happen. And it just got to the point, finally, where
she just couldn’t swallow at all. I was very worried. I thought I was going to lose her
for sure. When it got to the point where I couldn’t
even swallow water, it was really scary That’s when I thought, “Well, I better go to the
doctor.” They gave me some kind of medication for that,
but that didn’t work. They weren’t sure what it was; so they were
trying to find out I guess before they sent me to Stanford. Then like a month would go by, and — and
we’d see the doctor again and say, “Listen. She’s losing a pound a day.” We got to do
something about this. I mean, I actually had to get mad say, “It has to be done. Do something.
Find somebody,” you know, and that’s when they called that Dr. Rivas. Esophageal achalasia a failure to relax of
the lower portion of the esophagus, So they’re nerve cells in that area, the ones
to relax, they’re gone and we don’t really know why. He was a wonderful doctor. It was such a relief
to go to a doctor that isn’t in a hurry to get to the next patient because he really
was very complete as far as telling me what was going to happen. The treatment of choice for this would be
to do what we call a myotomy. Myotomy, that means to cut a muscle. In this case, circular
fibers that are around that esophagus in the lower area, I researched him and found out, oh, my God,
this guy’s, you know, the one that invented this procedure that, you know, is less invasive. There were only seven doctors in the United
States that did this type of surgery. We make a small, less than an inch, incision
in the lining of the esophagus to then travel all the way down to that area of trouble where
we have those multiple circular fibers, and we simply can just cut them, release that
pressure, and give a new quality of life to people like Mrs. McFadden. I remember waking up in the room where they
returned me. They brought me some soup, and when I swallowed that I was very cautious.
So I just took a sip and it was such a pleasure to be able to swallow and keep it down. My life is back. Thank goodness. Everything
just tastes so good. It just — I’m so happy to be able to eat. It seemed like I — it was so long without
food. I mean, being able to swallow it and enjoy it. I’ve been very fortunate, very, very fortunate.
Not everybody gets a second chance. “I might end up eating the whole thing.”

2 thoughts on “POEM Procedure at Stanford Allows 90-Year-Old to Eat and Drink Again

  1. I just don't understand how these people and at this age say that they are back to normal and happy, and when I watch other videos of younger people had the same surgery say that surgery didn't do much to them, I need a god dam explanation to this?!

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