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da Vinci Patient Stories

Your friends and neighbors from throughout southwest Michigan and beyond share their experiences at Lakeland Health. Do you have a story to share? Click on the "What's Your Story" button and complete the form. 

Returning to Life’s Simple Pleasures Share
Linda Chism

May, 2017

Physicians: James Clancy, MD

“What I missed most was eating ice cream before bed,” said Linda Chism, 58, of South Haven.

For years, Linda had suffered from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), the result of a hiatal hernia – an abnormality where part of the stomach slides up into the chest cavity, past the diaphragm. GERD often results in a range of side effects including a burning sensation in your chest and throat, along with a sour taste in your mouth. Chest pain, difficulty swallowing, a dry cough, and acid reflux are also common and unwelcome symptoms of the disease.

While Linda experienced many of these symptoms, for her, it was the simple pleasures her condition denied her that she missed the most.

“I was in constant discomfort,” said Linda. “I couldn’t have any acidic foods. No pasta, no tomatoes, and no food at all, two to three hours before bed.”

Worst of all – no ice cream.

The hiatal hernia that was causing Linda’s GERD was discovered years prior, but at the time wasn’t considered serious enough to require surgery and her doctors simply continued to monitor it. It wasn’t until she became hospitalized for aspiration pneumonia, a side effect of her condition, that her care team deemed surgery a necessity. 

Linda was referred to general surgeon James Clancy, MD. Dr. Clancy explained to Linda the option to repair her hernia with robotic assisted surgery, using the da Vinci® Xi™ Surgical System. He explained how a normal hernia repair could be incredibly invasive, while in comparison, a da Vinci surgery would require only five small incisions, the largest measuring only a half of an inch.

“Dr. Clancy was so good,” said Linda. “He talked with my husband and I, answering all of my questions. He walked us through the whole process step by step. I had no apprehension or fear when it was time for surgery.”

Within 48 hours of the surgery, Linda’s GERD symptoms had begun to dissipate and she recalls feeling better than she had in years. She was overjoyed with the results.

“Having five small incisions sure beat having my stomach cut wide open,” said Linda. “My healing time was cut in half. It is so nice being able to go out to a restaurant and eat whatever I want or stay home and cook whatever I want. I would recommend da Vinci surgery to anyone.”

Today, Linda’s GERD symptoms are completely gone and she is back to enjoying her favorite bed time snack for the first time in years.

Do you suffer from GERD or a similar reflux disease? It can be caused by a hiatal hernia which may be fixed with a simple surgery. Talk with your doctor to see if you are a candidate or visit www.lakelandhealth.org/surgery to learn more. 


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