This is a repost of what I posted to the GERD forum yesterday. I was going to edit it down but thought it would provide more context if I left it as is. Apologies in advance for the very long story, and thank you!
I am 52, male, in ok shape (which I'm working on) with some good belly fat (which I'm reducing) and have had digestive problems for a long time. Typically this happened when eating oily foods and the like, or at times of great stress, but never to the point where it impacted my life as it's doing now. I have also become, or maybe always was, a nervous (read: worrier) person and this was amplified during my 40's when my mom was in declining health and I was shuttling back and forth from each coast to take care of, and be with her. To give some background, about 4 years ago I was in bed one night and felt the whole side of my face and body getting numb and thought I was stroking out or having a heart attack. It started with a wave that came up from my abdomen and continued until I got to the ER. Long story short they did a bunch of tests and attributed it to anxiety. For the next few weeks I would be in bed and start getting an "odd" feeling in my tummy, pins and needles and tightening in my face which would be somewhat relieved by my rubbing my abdomen. After a while these episodes abated and while I continued to have acid tummy, bloating and gas it was manageable. A couple of years later I started having these episodes again and my doctor said it was IBS and GERD so she put me on Pepcid which helped. At the same time I agreed to start taking Lovastatin as my cholesterol was very high. This helped bring the cholesterol down significantly but I recently took myself off of it after reading about the side effects and talking with my brother-in-law who experienced the muscle pains and dizziness I've been having.
My weight over the last 6 months had ballooned to 220 pounds which was not only putting pressure on my chest and organs but making walking uphill a chore so I buckled down and started on a strict vegan diet (I was already vegetarian mostly) and cut out almost all sugar and other trigger foods, although I was still drinking a lot of coffee each day, and having a snack in bed before going to sleep. Both of which I've now stopped. Just over 3 1/2 weeks ago I was working at home and had 3 toaster waffles for breakfast (with a drizzle of maple syrup) and 3 cups of coffee. Around 1:30PM I realized I hadn't eaten anything and had a banana which normally sits just fine with me. A short while later I was talking with my boss when an odd feeling came over me that started in the stomach area. I felt nauseous, numbness and puffiness in my hands, weakness in my arms, light headed with a mild headache and a feeling like I was "disconnected." This was also accompanied by sweaty palms, burping up acid, a lot of bloating, pressure and gas, feeling jittery and anxious in my tummy and a stuffy nose. This persisted for the next few hours during which time my right hand would get cold and then sweaty and then cold again.
Over the next week these symptoms subsided somewhat and by changing my eating habits I was able to drop weight and start controlling the bloating and gas to some degree, but that same week I was walking to the bus stop and again started feeling disconnected as if my feet weren't solidly on the ground. I contacted my doctor and she had me start taking 20mg of Pepcid 3x per day instead of 40mg once a day and set up an appointment for blood and stool tests. Some days over the next couple of weeks were ok while on others I would again get the mild headache, bloating, acid coming up and at times waves of "zoning out," trouble focusing and feeling drained. Around the same time I also started taking DGL as I read this might help but it only made my tummy feel worse so I stopped that. At the same time I also started seeing the clinic psychologist to help with the anxiety and this has also helped somewhat.
about a week ago I was bending slightly over the counter cutting up some veggies and felt like the inside of my head "dropped" down a few inches almost as if I was going down the incline on a roller coaster. This was followed by heavy stomach pressure, headache in front of the face, gas, acid and a very stuffy, sniffly nose. I went to the ER and they did a cardiogram and other tests and again said the cause was anxiety and gave me Ativan, which I took that night and the following one but none since. This past week things have seemed to taken a turn for the worse so with that in mind and the results of my blood tests which showed a elevated level (about 4 points above the top of the standard range) of Alkaline Phosphatase, my doctor sent me for an ultrasound in order to rule out what she thought might be gall stones. Although I've since read that this might be an indication of a blocked liver duct as well.
Yesterday was a pretty good day and although I had a very short and mild "episode" in the morning my tummy was "quiet" all day and I was finally feeling like I turned the corner. Although to be fair I'm worrying that the ultrasound will turn up something really bad and that might have helped trigger what happened today which was almost the worse day I've had yet. I was at work at 7AM and had eaten a plain sesame bagel and 2 cups of water. I also took my usual PB8 (probiotic) and the pepcid. At 8:30AM I had a banana and while I had a bit of gas and some mild bloating it was manageable. At 10AM I started getting an unsettled feeling from head to toe, some tightness in my throat and hot flashes. Around 20 mins later I felt like I needed to have a BM and this was accompanied by pins and needles on the right side of my body including my right foot and my right palm was sweaty. Shortly afterward I had a normal BM along with "anxious" waves on my right side and a nervous feeling tummy. At 11:15AM I again had pins and needles all over and a chilly feeling on the top of my thighs and hands along with an acid feeling in my chest, but I was not burping up any acid. Around lunch time I started to feel as if things were settling down although I still had some tummy discomfort and a mild headache behind my eyes. At 1PM I had a Pepcid and then about 15 mins later a bowl of Dr. McDougall's lite (50% less sugar) oatmeal which normally sits ok with me, and another glass of water. All was ok until around 2:15PM when I started burping up some very strong acid. I got home around 4PM and had two slices of sprouted multi-grain bread and shortly after had flem, tingling in my hands and feed, bloat and a heavy acidic feeling in my chest and up to my collar bone. At 7PM I had brown rice and tofu for dinner which felt ok and as I'm writing this at 9:30PM my tummy is again returning to being "settled" but I'm also nervous, etc.
The blood and stool tests, other than the elevated Alkaline Phosphatase, came back normal and I'm expecting to get the results of the ultrasound by Wednesday. The next step after that is a GI referral and I've also asked to see a dietician or nutritionist. To say that I'm worried about my outcome is putting it mildly. Like many others I'm already thinking it's liver failure, cancer or something else which will hasten my departure from the earth. This is accompanied by sadness and grief and I'm finding myself crying at the slightest provocation. I feel like I'm falling apart and while I'm trying to keep busy it's very hard even to sleep through the night. I also realize I just wrote a "novel" and apologize for writing so much my first time here but writing this has helped a bit. At times I'm afraid to eat and other times I "torture" myself by looking up my symptoms online although reading through postings on this forum has helped. I guess that's about it for now. I know I'm not alone with what I'm feeling and the symptoms I'm having but I feel like I'm shortly going to start losing it. Thank you in advance for letting my get this off my chest (no pun intended) and for whatever help and support you folks can offer. I hope too that I'll be able to give something back as well.
In health and wellness