First Post - Barrett's Esophagus diagnosed

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zenyata
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 1/17/2009 10:20 AM (GMT -6)   
My name is Scott - 39 years old - from Hudson River / Catskills area of NY.
 
I had an upper endoscopy conducted a bit over a week ago and was notified that biopsies indicated I have Barrett's esophagus.  I was told this thru a form letter that had a check mark next to "doctor has requested a follow up appt. be scheduled"  The docs office also called me and told me to schedule a follow up but didn't indicate the results of the biopsies - I found that out a couple days later in the letter they sent.
 
So here's my question - they scheduled my follow-up for about a month from now.  Is this somewhat of a casual approach to this serious condition ?  I would have thought they might try to get me in a bit quicker than that - but perhaps I'm overreacting. 
 
Any advice or opinions would be appreciated.
 
By the way - I posted pretty much this same introduction and question over on the "introduce yourself as a new member" thread under the GERD-Heartburn topic.
 
Peace.

opnwhl4
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4961
   Posted 1/17/2009 1:37 PM (GMT -6)   
zenyata,
I also have Barrett's and it seems to be a wait and see what happens thing. I was told I need to control the acid and have regular EGDs to see if it changes. I also was given a list of foods to stay away from. I believe that is just to help keep the reflux in check.
I've had 5 EGDs in the last 6 months and the last 2 the biopsies they took were negative. My doctor said that the Barrett's is probably still there just not spreading or healed over. I was really worried about it at first, but just keep up on the Prevacid and stay away from as many of the "banned" foods as I can.
Hang in there, I think my follow up was a month after they found it in me though. I also was told the follow up EGDs should be once or twice a year.

Bill

zenyata
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 1/17/2009 8:41 PM (GMT -6)   

Thanks for your reply Bill.

I'm just concerned that my doc has provided so little information and it really gets the wheels turning in your head trying to interpret what's going on.

When I called the office to schedule my follow up (as a reply to a voice message they left me after my procedure but prior to receiving the letter) I asked the receptionist if there was any reason for them requesting a follow up with me. She said it was standard that the doc wanted to go over my results - to which I replied "well was there any specific concerns with the results ?"  She said if anything of concern were detected then the doctor's nurse would have called me.

So am I to intrepret this as them not taking the findings very seriously - or is it relatively standard practice to not be able to get a follow up for more than a month after the procedure.  I mean if the results were very serious would they be waiting so long for me to be seen again - and would my only (vague) notification of the outcome of my biopsies be a form letter that says "Results show Barrett's"  ?

I know you can't really answer these questions - just ranting a bit about how I was notified of this.

I'm definitely going to call their office on Monday to see if I can get some clarification and more precise information. 


stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 1/18/2009 12:27 AM (GMT -6)   

zenyata

Hello and Welcome to the GERD and Heartburn forum.  I am Kitt and I am so glad you have found us.  Let me see if I can help you out a bit here.

Barrett's esophagus is a condition in which the color and composition of the cells lining your lower esophagus change because of repeated exposure to stomach acid. This exposure to stomach acid is most often a result of long-term gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) — a chronic regurgitation of acid from your stomach into your lower esophagus.

Barrett's esophagus itself isn't associated with specific symptoms. But, heartburn and acid reflux — the sensation of bad-tasting liquid that may enter your mouth from your throat — are common indicators of GERD. And having GERD can lead to Barrett's esophagus.
A telltale sign of Barrett's esophagus — which your doctor can notice using a lighted instrument — occurs when the color of the tissue lining the lower esophagus changes from its normal pink to a salmon color. This cellular change, called metaplasia, is caused by repeated and long-term exposure to stomach acid.

During endoscopy, your doctor may remove tissue samples (biopsies) of potentially abnormal areas to be examined under a microscope. If specimens reveal intestinal goblet-shaped cells not usually seen in the esophagus, your doctor may make a diagnosis of Barrett's esophagus.

Following your diagnosis, your doctor may recommend endoscopies at regular intervals to screen for cell changes that could indicate progression to cancer. This usually means a repeat endoscopy one year after your diagnosis, followed by endoscopies every three years if no dysplasia is present. If a tissue sample shows dysplasia, you may need screenings at shorter intervals — at least annually and in some cases, as often as every three months.

Treatment for Barrett's esophagus may start with controlling GERD by making a number of lifestyle changes and taking self-care steps. These actions include losing weight, avoiding foods that aggravate heartburn, stopping smoking if you smoke, taking antacids or stronger acid-blocking medications, and elevating the head of your bed to prevent reflux during sleep.

People with severe GERD and Barrett's esophagus usually need aggressive treatment, which may include medications, other nonsurgical medical procedures or even surgery. Reference: Mayo Clinic

Remember the word in treatment is severe so if you are not having vomiting red blood or blood that looks like coffee grounds, passing black, tarry or bloody stools or experiencing any unexpected weight loss I think it is safe to wait for your appointment.

I agree it is extremely difficulty waiting for results and worrying about what does all this communication mean when you get the " no big deal attitude".  Know we are here for you and I hope this has helped you in some small way.

Peace and gentle hugs to you

Kitt


 

Kitt, Co-Moderator: Anxiety/Panic & Depression
&  Moderator GERD  Forums

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zenyata
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 1/18/2009 12:25 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi Kitt - thanks alot for your reply.

I very much appreciate the information you provided - it helped me understand the logical sequence a bit better.

I will still call my doctor on Monday to get a bit of clarification on what exactly is going on.

Just to be clear I didn't want to give the impression that the doctor wasn't taking the situation seriously - just that I suppose I wasn't in the "severe" stage as you described in your reply - so hopefully that's why they didn't call me in for a more immediate follow-up.

I'll keep you updated as to what happens.

Thanks again.

Scott

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