My Pyloric Stenosis at six weeks old, Released with Gratitude!

(This article was originally published October 2007)

Pyloric stenosis is fairly common and affects about three out of 1,000 babies. Most infants who develop pyloric stenosis are usually between 2 weeks and 2 months old – symptoms usually appear during or after the third week of life. It is a narrowing of the pylorus, the lower part of the stomach through which food and other stomach contents pass to enter the small intestine. An affected infant begins showing symptoms when the pylorus is so thickened that the stomach can no longer empty properly. The first symptom of pyloric stenosis is usually vomiting. Projectile vomiting usually takes place soon after the end of a feeding.

A surgical procedure which involves cutting through the thickened muscles of the pylorus, is performed to relieve the obstruction. The pylorus is examined through a very small incision, and the muscles that are overgrown and thickened are spread to relieve the obstruction.
Why this article? This happened to me at six weeks old in August of 1965. And although it’s been 42 years since this major invasive (non-elective) surgery, it was brought to my attention today in a most profound way. It is my joy to share it and all that has now come out after all those years.

First, the details at six week old (of which I don’t recall a thing) that my mom emailed today me of what she remembered from that time long ago.

“Honey I can’t think of the Doctors name, he wouldn’t be around anymore as he was not a young man back then. You were six weeks old and stayed in the hospital almost 10 days. The operation was done in a hospital in downtown Manhattan, as the Doctor was associated with that hospital. You were operated on around 12 midnight since they had to call an entire staff in just for this Doctor. It happened to be on a Saturday night in the summer and everyone was away at the shore. My Doctor, Dr. Caruso got the entire medical team together. Your hospital stay was at Poly Clinic so Caruso could keep an eye on you. I came down from Mahopac everyday so I could feed you and make sure you were well taken care of. Dr. Caruso let me take you home a few days before ten days because I told him I could do a much better job then the hospital! Love Mom¦ what do you need all this for?

(I didn’t tell her yet why I wanted all these details after all these years.)

So now here is the “Why” in this article.

I have done a lot of work on myself over the years, inside and out. Being very athletic early on developed my can do attitude. I received many massages during and after going to massage school, worked for a wonderful Chiropractor, Trina Marx, who first introduced me to Applied Kinesiology (A.K.), been hypnotized using regression work (going back in time) many times, and even intense Holotropic Breathwork that incredibly moving from the inside, out.

I was ready for what going to happen next. Today I had a session with a very special healer, Dr. Greg Birsky who is a TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) Trainer, Chiropractor, Energy Worker, etc. Being that we have so much in common, (we both specialize in golfers), we are educating each other on our work and strengths and how we can help each other help our students/patients.

When we played golf together a few weeks ago, I enlightened him on his negative self-talk (which wasn’t horrible for most people, but is holding him back from improving by blocking his own potential. And we also talked about his resistance of letting his swing go. Being a left brain thinker (Doctor) he wasn’t allowing his right brain to “just play. Although the day was supposed to be about me helping him, he (being the analyzer) couldn’t help but notice my tendency to slide just enough that told him my Glute Medius (a hip stabilizer) was weak.

Back to today in his office in Darien, CT. After extensive muscle testing with Applied Kinesiology, he found enough weak muscles (yes the Glute Medius, he reminded me) that he then went and tested my Chakras. (You don’t have to know or even believe in the details, just understand we are all energy, that energy lives inside, outside and around us.) Well my energy was moving in the wrong direction. (Now if you’re still reading, great this will all come together now).

Since my background is pretty extensive in body work, he knew I would be open to learning more about myself, (which I always am). He knew about the Pyloric Stenosis from my chart, and said he wanted to start there. He said, Your energy is blocked, let’s see if we can release some old internal scaring. Well, the session was nothing short of profound, intense and releasing! It was a bit like a hypnosis session (or guided meditation) in that he brought me to a quiet place in my mind where I could go inside and find some silence. He guided back to the time of my surgery at six weeks old. As in hypnosis, the facilitator is a guide that opens the door, and it was up to me to walk in.

There I was, back at six weeks old, on the operating table. I saw myself on a cold steel table, with four hot bright white lights shining down on me, four people hovering over me… poking, prodding and tending to me. I actually felt the incision. While my mind was racing back in time my breathing was getting faster and deeper, and I could feel my heart pounding out of my chest. As Dr. Birsky was talking to me through the entire process, I also felt safe to let myself go, deal with, and release whatever came up.

He guided me into the recovery room and to a place of gratitude. (Here is the lesson… this is huge). Although I may have felt mishandled and they didn’t speak a language I yet understood (at six weeks old), it was time for me to forgive them. Forgive everyone.

It was time to release any left over scars with forgiveness and gratitude. I did… and it was amazing. The powerful release of gratitude gave me my power back that I didn’t even know I gave up!

As soon as I got to that wonderful place of gratitude and forgiveness, I knew I was freed. It felt like a sunset hoovering over a peaceful ocean at low tide. It was quiet.

There was a wave of release that flowed through my body and just then I felt my energy change. As unfathomable as it sounds, as I felt it, Dr. Birsky mentioned he felt my energy shift.

My breathing slowed down and my heart rate slowed back to normal, as I went around to thank everyone for saving my life. I forgive you for not knowing how to handle me… I thank you… over and over to each person at the hospital.

The moment I said thank you to my mother, I felt my eyes well up with emotion that released me back to adulthood and back into the room again. I released an emotional scar that I had held physically for so many years. It took me years as a child to wear a bikini because of the scar that runs vertically in the middle of my stomach. Then after some time I had a change of attitude, that I don’t care what people think, and I’m unique… and it makes for a conversation piece. Maybe that’s where I formed some my mind power principles as well! I’m okay just the way I am.

After the energy work session Dr. Birsky tested the weaknesses again and almost all of them improved profoundly, especially my Glute Medius! It’s very interesting to note that in the name Pyloric Stenosis, the word stenosis means; a constriction or narrowing of a duct, passage, or opening in the body. I am now aware that I had an emotional constriction in my heart from a long time ago, that never healed. As soon as I released my power to forgive and expressed gratitude for my life, I was able to release any negative feelings.

If you’ve experienced PS or know someone else that has, please share your comments below. Or if you have had a similar experience, feel free to share it! It’s always great to share and send a hug to others.

Randy Friedman, cartoon animation by Anthony Parisi




FYI… Did you know Actor, Will Ferrell Suffered from Pyloric Stenosis as a child. The scar is visible on many of the shirtless scenes he does.

Swim With Mike (9)


7 comments for “My Pyloric Stenosis at six weeks old, Released with Gratitude!

  1. admin
    August 29, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    (These are original comments I saved from 2007, before my site was compromised. They are wonderful, brave people who came forward to share their experiences. Fee free to do the same.
    Gratefully, Randy)

    1. # Aussie Fred on 30 Oct 2007 at 1:10 am
    Hi Randy,
    It was really great to read the account of your release! What an experience that session was for you! May its benefits never leave you. Include me among the admirers of your energy and enthusiasm (which living in faraway Oz I have witnessed via the web videos). We are grateful for your sharing of yourself with us.
    Some reflections – which I write here hopefully to help others and open up more sharing and release.

    1 You are privileged in having Dr Birsky as a friend, virtual colleague and soul buddy. I suspect many of those who read your blog with any personal interest would love to be able to work on an issue or two with someone we know and trust to that extent.
    I have had a few problems with my pyloric stenosis history which seems to run fairly parallel with yours. The issues are always there although steadily reducing as I’ve work on them.
    But they don’t affect my public life, marriage and family, or work. So despite several folk urging me I find it kinda hard to feel motivated to spend the energy and time to find someone “out there” to be my mentor and guide. So many people with much more debilitating problems take up the time of the helpers I know. And like others in my situation I have chosen to leave my partner out of this.
    As is true of the Catholic sacrament of confession and reconciliation, there is obvious value in dealing with issues not just in privacy but with a trusted and respected person who can guide and assure us.
    What to do?

    2 The more I interact with people who have struggled with a few issues because of surgery in early life (and let’s face it, p/s surgery is less major than much other pediatric surgery), the more I have been helped by realising that I am not alone. Those who have such issues are probably a quite small percentage, but that doesn’t make our pain less real. Apart from your highlighted issues, the reasons some of us have a few challenges include:
    1) a shy nature that is embarrassed over looking and feeling different,
    2) some parents’ failure to explain their child’s scar, the reasons behind it, the best ways of dealing with the inevitable questions of the curious, and to help them move from discomfort to embrace their pre-conscious story with gratitude for the skills of surgery and the gift of life;
    3) occasionally parents make insensitive and quite inappropriate jokes about their child’s scar, adding to their child’s trauma; and
    4) some who went through a major personal crisis before the dawn of their consciousness have difficulty truly “owning” their surgery.
    For most people who are aware of it, surgery is typically the most positive and lifesaving turning point of a process we experience and in which we were involved, including choices and decisions, preparation, understanding the medical procedure and world, the pain and (hopefully) the recovery.
    As for me, my p/s scar is part of my body but not of my memory. My parents wanted to “move on” from their personal pain of that time and never to talk about it.
    My parents are no longer alive, so it was great to identify with your request to your mother, and I even muttered a quiet “aha” at her final “What do you need all this for?”

    3 There are also other issues you raise which struck a chord with me.
    Forgiving – my parents, the anonymous, now deceased medicoes who touched my body without my involvement, and my God who allowed me this extra issue.
    Gratitude – to all those involved for the successful surgery and the good life it has made possible – a gratitude that overwhelms the negative stuff and that I feel as well acknowledge in my mind.
    Ownership – I have moved on now from covering up my scar (more difficult for guys) because I couldn’t answer the questions and hated being the focus of attention. It’s somehow just nice to know that others (including the other sex both young and older) can also feel these things. Like you I no longer feel vulnerable, enjoy being myself and am able to talk about my story. I am sad that I couldn’t enjoy this freedom for so many years but revel in it now.
    Re-enactment – It was interesting that Dr Birsky led you to re-enact your surgery. I have sometimes done this (though alone) and no doubt this helps us to “own” and embrace our story.

    I trust that your liberation will last as I believe mine will!
    This response is long and wide ranging. May it give you and hopefully others at least something to respond to. I look forward to your comments.

    2. # Randy on 31 Oct 2007 at 2:29 pm
    Dear Aussie Fred,
    Thank you so much for your wonderful comment on my article on Pyloric Stenosis. It’s such a personal thing for those of us that it “happened to”. The funny thing is I didn’t know why I felt compelled to write about my experience until after I published it. The energy work was a wonderful release for me, but writing about it had another component I was not aware of until I wrote it, and then touched someone around the world!

    I believe sharing our experiences in life, good and bad, enables us to educate and enlighten others thereby empowering each other along the way! Life is a gift. I learned to be grateful and thankful for what is, and now it’s my turn to pass it on.
    Sending a big grateful hug across land and sea to you and others listening!

    3. # jason on 01 Nov 2007 at 6:47 am
    I had pyloric stenosis too as a 6-week old baby. Still bear the scar ..which is 4″ and runs near horizontal under right rib cage.

    4. # Mikeon 12 May 2008 at 5:51 pm
    i had pyloric stenois also at six months, and my scar is horrible. It’s is horizonal though.
    Well thanks for sharing, I always feel like a freak with my shirt off.

    5. # Randy on 12 May 2008 at 10:20 pm
    You’re not a freak… you’re special, and alive because of the surgery. Learn to grateful for the scar and appreciate your life as a gift. Use humor if someone stares or asks questions. Most people are just curious because they don’t what it is. It’s our job to enlighten people!
    Thanks for your comment.

    6. # karla on 18 Jul 2008 at 6:31 pm

    7. # Sabrina on 16 Oct 2008 at 11:19 pm
    I had pyloric stenosis as an infant and had to have emergency surgery on Christmas Eve when I was just 1 month old. I was so severely dehydrated and had lost too much weight. It was very touch and go (from what I’ve been told). My case definitely doesn’t fit the norm though, as I am the last born (not first) and I am female (not male). It definitely runs in my family as my uncle had it and my nephew (both first born males).

    I am now 25 and trying to start a family of my own, but without any luck. I can’t seem to find any research about women who had pyloric stenosis as an infant. I am so curious to find out if any of them have had trouble getting pregnant. If you have an info that would help me, please e-mail me!

    8. # Gene on 21 Dec 2008 at 7:04 pm
    Hello –
    I also had surgery for pyloric stenosis at 8 days old. My mother has told me the stories of her worries from her first child’s projectile vomiting and then being rushed into surgery at the local children’s hospital. I am very fortunate in that I’m healthy and always wondered about the procedure, since my mom didn’t remember the details…only the symptoms. My general practicioner “re-diagnosed” me after seeing the small horizontal scar.

    My question – do any of the adults in this audience have any digestive problems? I have very bad gas that my doctor has possibly associated with pyloric stenosis. However, he wasn’t familiar with many other cases…so didn’t truly know if this was a possible by-product.
    Any thoughts from this community?

    9. # Danielle Salonica on 10 Jan 2009 at 11:08 pm
    Hi I am 27 F and had Pyloric Stenosis at 2 weeks. my scar is also about 4 inches acriss and on the right side right under my diaphragm. I have been told that the surgery was supposed to be a permanent fix but that also as I age and develop more scar tissue, I will eventually need another surgery to remove scar tissue and release the muscle and fat that has grown on top of and on the scar.

    I also tend to have spasms and a pulling sensation sometimes during/ after exercise, eating, or just randomly. Mine is not an intense pain at all though just kind of a weird feeling. Whenever I get the stomach flue or drink a little too much I tend to have trouble ending the vomiting unless I take phenigran or another anti- nausea medication. I also have Irritable Bowel Syndrome so I wonder if there’s any correlation there?

    So two questions-
    Have any ladies out there who had PS as an infant carried and delivered a baby? Was just wondering if that effected your scars in any way. My hubby and I are considering starting a family soon and that scares me a little, with the extra weight in the belly could it pull too much???

    Also, has anyone out there had there scar surgically “released”? If so, for what reasons and how bad was the process?
    Thanks All!

    10. # Aussie Fred on 12 Jan 2009 at 8:41 am
    All of us “Commentators” thank you, Randy, for your wonderful story which is without doubt the reason you have drawn so many and such varied responses.

    In the year or so since my first comment, Facebook, the Experience Project and Wikipedia have each also attracted interaction on life since PS surgery.

    There are several common themes, gastric discomfort being the most obvious. Indigestion is of course a very common discomfort, but we PS’ers seem to have it more and I was interested that Gene’s doctor seemed to confirm that.
    Sensitivity, spasms, and intermittent pain at the scar site are also mentioned quite often, especially after exercise, but these are by no means common, it seems. Why, I wonder.
    Overeating with either overweight or underweight also seems to be mentioned quite often. This also will be a general complaint, depending on metabolism, but is perhaps significant post-PS.

    Some have reported a return of vomiting at around age 20 – sometimes along with other medical problems. The cause and remedy seem unclear and may depend on careful diagnostic work.

    All in all, I suspect it may be simplistic to say there are no ongoing problems after infant pyloromyotomy. In the immediate and short term this is probably true. But as life goes on, the picture seems to become less clear… for a plethora of reasons perhaps.

    Whether it’s worthwhile doing a careful statistical study of this is not for me to say. But it would be certainly be of great interest to me and many others!

    12. # Christina on 05 May 2009 at 1:06 pm
    It was very interesting reading this articles and the comments… I was diagnosed with pyloric stenosis at 5 weeks old in 1986. I have a scar under my right rib cage and it’s about 3.5 – 4 inches long and it runs horizontally. Danielle mentioned that she was diagnosed with IBS… as was I.

    I haven’t found any research on the correlation yet. I have successfully conceived but unfortunately could not carry full term. Phenergan (I’m not sure of the spelling) has definitely helped with all of the discomfort that I have experienced. I would also like to know if any one has had a surgery done to remove the scar…


    13. # Fred on 22 May 2009 at 8:14 am
    Christina, a surgical scar cannot be removed and keloid scars are best left alone. Some of those from ps surgery can be reduced, especially if they have become sunken or misshaped in another way. Suggest you visit Angella’s blog on her experience at and perhaps see a good plastic surgeon. Best wishes!

    14. # Christine on 06 Jun 2009 at 2:13 am

    I, too, had pyloric stenosis. Since I was female, the doctor was hesitant, if not outright convinced I could not possibly have it. At some point, after much pressure from my mom, there was an acceptance. I had my surgery at 6 weeks old.

    My scar is horizontal, as well as indented on the right side where one of the stitches didn’t dissolve. I have never had a problem with that scar, and call the indentation my second belly-button. I am glad I have my life, and I am glad my mom persisted when doctors didn’t want to believe.
    In the movies where Will Farrel is shirtless, I have commented, I bet he had pyloric stenosis, and I guess I was right!!


    15. # Wendy Patrice Williams on 12 Aug 2009 at 12:37 pm
    Randy’s article made me cry. I have a lot of anger about the invasiveness of the surgery. Not only that, but the surgeon’s words to my mother after my recovery room stay, often repeated to me throughout my childhood, proved to move my life in a very negative direction. I was drawn to rereading Randy’s article (thank you so much for sharing it with the world!) because I need to do some work to release anger I have about this early experience and move into more of a place of appreciation.

    My scar is about 3 inches long, vertical and a bit wide, i.e. the arms of the stitches stretch out quite a bit. My scar is not deep but rides on the surface of my skin. I have had a lot of shame about it. Thankfully, I have not had any problems with digestion or with feelings of constriction. I have no children so can’t really comment on the baby thing. I have been keeping a blog, chronicling my life living in the aftermath of infant surgery and invite you all to take a look (

    I would love for you to comment on my blog, so I could get to know you and learn what you think. I created the blog for several reasons. For one, I felt very isolated and hoped to make connections with PS survivors. Two, I am wanting to create a readership since I wrote a memoir, still in manuscript, about my journey to accept and integrate this early pyloric stenosis experience; it’s titled The Autobiography of a Sea Creature. Thirdly, the blog helps me keep up my writing skills :).

    I really relate to what Mike said about feeling like a freak because of the scar. I have felt the same way, and it’s only recently that these feelings are beginning to soften. Writing about the experience of having suffered from pyloric stenosis helps. I learn a lot and have developed greater compassion for myself. Thank you everyone for helping me get farther along on my journey.

  2. Sarah
    May 26, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Hi, I am a 19 year old female that had pyloric stenosis at 6 weeks, and the doctors here were also hesitant because i am a girl. My parents had to go to a few doctors before one finally realized i had a more serious problem than an upset stomach (that made me projectile vomit!)… I have to admit that if there were any procedure that would be able to at least reduce the drastic appearance of my scar, i would do it in a heart beat. My scar is horizontal, right above my belly button, smack dab in the center of my abdomen, and very indented. There are two incision spots or something haha that makes them look like eyes above my belly button and my belly buttom being an open mouth. This was how i used to devert attention from it as a child, but i am very self consious about it It makes it look like im pooching something fierce and i just feel like i would be so much more confident in myself if the scar wasnt so indented. I just hate when i am wearing a shirt and it creases right in the indention of my scar and makes me look like i have a terrible pooch. I was also wondering what complications can come of pregnancy? and also (forgive me) but how bad does it look after being so stretched out?

  3. john
    September 1, 2010 at 12:23 am

    i had pyloric surgery at 1 month old im 47 now and really can feel how the scar is tethered down to my abs anyone no of a procedure to relese the layers and create natural movement in that area? thnx

  4. October 28, 2010 at 2:56 am

    Sarah and John, please read what I wrote at Comment #13. And don’t forget, as I read recently:
    We have many faces. Our most important one is within us and it’s much more under our control than our body’s stories. Our scars may disqualify us from a modeling career, but hey, they’ll never define us. We’re survivors with a story. I just wish it hadn’t taken me so long to come to hear and embrace this for myself!

  5. john
    April 10, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    feel free to email me anything that might help thnx

  6. Tammy Harris
    May 21, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Hi I am a mother of a child that was diagnosed with pyloric stenosis she had the surgrey when she was 2wks old. She is now 19 years old and is still suffering from it. When she was in high school she was very athletic and it seemed that during that time her illness seemed to rear its ugly head again and to this day she is still having a lot of trouble my baby and I have not found answers on how to get rid of this ugly thing.

  7. Josh David
    December 11, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    This is really touching and well written, but would you feel differently if you found out that there were six lights in the operating room, or that there had been 3 or 5 people there instead of what you ‘remembered’?

    I think we do the power of thought (and the power of a tender healer) a disservice when we add on top of it mystical words and false early memories.
    You’re better, that’s enough.

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