Hello, Healing Well friends,
As you can tell, I'm not new to Healing Well. Had a double fusion back surgery that failed in 9/07, and have been dealing with chronic pain since then. Having huge financial problems, increasing health problems and my COBRA insurance ends June 30. While I am researching options (not eligible for our state's Medicaid), I may be in a hole for awhile w/o insurance. So I was trying to get all my doctor's appointments taken care of, 90 days of all my meds by next week.
I had my gall bladder removed when I was 19; I am now 59 and until very recently have had only occasional heartburn symptoms in all these decades. And usually after I ate something exceptionally spicey. Even then, it didn't occur all the time. Chronic pain, like a lot of chronic illness, robs us all of life, and although before my fusion surgery I had been eating reasonably healthy, after the surgery it seemed my appetite changed and I slowly started eating more lousy foods. You know - that once a month trip for McD's fries turns into once a week and on from there. But I still didn't have any major symtoms until earlier this year. After last Halloween there were leftover candies, and usually I eat some and throw them out. I'm not a candy freak. But I guess I've needed comfort foods more and more as I've had one loss after another, which I'll go into another time, but I want to get to some important questions first.
Anyway, starting last fall I was eating regularly and then nightly handfuls of M&M's late at night. But it really didn't both me until maybe around January. Then the heartburn started to get more regular and in March I had a couple of weeks of horrible pain so I put away the M&M's, figuring that would do it. It cut the pain in half, but it still didn't go away, so since I was losing my insurance I thought I'd better have it checked out. I saw a GI specialist in April after Zantac did no good, and I was taking 20mg of Prilosec on my own which seemed to be "sort of" helping. He scheduled an endo and screening colonoscopy for June 8th and I just got the results last Thursday. Barrett's esophagus. And the scariest thing - with mild dysplasia. I am still in shock from this and really need to be treated with some kid gloves at the moment. I was overwhelmed with so much in my life as it was, and now this. At a time when I'm losing my insurance. I'm single, no children, with some extended family who are all pretty busy with their own lives. I wouldn't have even been able to keep my COBRA after being laid off 12/07 (while I was out on leave for back surgery - I was a part timer who didn't work enough hours to be protected by FMLA) if my cousin hadn't helped me pay the nearly $400 premium. She is willing to help a little still, but is on her own and can't afford that much. I'm not looking for info. here on insurance programs, as my head is swimming, and I have a stack of them on the kitchen table right now. Most exclude preexisting conditions, and there's a 1-2 yr. waiting list for our low cost option here in PA. None of them cover medications.
My most pressing question involves all the medications for this that I am really unfamiliar with. I've read a couple of threads here about certain ppi's not working for everyone. I'm pretty used to that from chronic pain. Last Thursday when my doctor called me to give me the results, he upped the prilosec to 20 mg/ 2X day. I know I still have work to do on my diet, but the M&M's and french fries are already gone. But I am not sure if the prilosec is working, and I don't know what I should be expecting. I know it takes a half hour or so to work, and I know to take it on an empty stomach (my cousin is a pharmacist and she helps with some of this) but I almost feel like the heartburn is somewhat worse, especially these past few days. I was on the OTC prilosec, but did get the generic capsules, which I was going to have refilled for 90 days and pick up tomorrow. Is it normal for the heartburn to feel worth even throughout the day - even if you haven't eaten for a couple of hours - on the ppi? Or should I try to see if I can get some samples of nexium to try this week. Would I know if the nexium was any better than the 40mg of prilosec within a few days?
Any help you can give me with the meds issue would be greatly appreciated.
I'll be talking more about how I am scared out of my pants at a later time!
BTW the good thing is that my colonoscopy was completley clear, and stomach cell biopsy was negative!