Hi everyone! Boy, do I have a story for you! And do you know how long it took me to find an active forum on heartburn???
Trying to make a very long story short here. Last Feb I got pneumonia that landed me in the hospital for 3 days. Strange thing was I had no symptoms of being sick other than I was delirious with a fever of 104 and couldn't wake up. After I was released I quit smoking because well, after that long without a cig I would be an idiot not to quit.
As I was healing I began to get shortness of breath and chest pain to the point where I was sure I was going to suffocate. I would leave a note for my husband to make sure he woke me up before he went to work to make sure I wasn't dead.
I went through a volley of nuclear and invasive tests from 2 pulmonologists, cardiologists, ENTs, Gastros, regular Dr and plenty of ER tests. A pint (at least) of blood showed absolutely nothing. VQ scans, cat scans on lungs and stomach, upper GI, endoscopy, video strobe, 24 hr pulse ox, sleep study (because my oxygen sat went down to 80 several times I was on oxygen at night all summer and sleeping on the couch), echo, heart cath so let's see.. 5 Drs I think. 4 hospitals in 2 cities and 10 months. I was referred to Pittsburgh (2 hrs away from me) because my pulmonologist here was very worried about me. I FINALLY got a diagnosis.
First let me say I've had acid reflux for years and I take 2 30mg Prevacid a day plus rolaids. Sometimes when I lay down acid comes up in my throat. And I only get heartburn at night when I lay down. I wake up at night choking on bile/acid. I'm 100% sure this is how I got my pneumonia. I aspirated the bile into my lungs while I slept.
OKAY! Here we go! I got back from Pittsburgh Friday to see Dr Lega (pulmonologist) after all the zillion tests he made me have. Now, to tell you exactly what's going on I need a picture. So I took the picture on my phone from his chart. Behold! My vocal chords!
Okay the flaps in the center are my actual vocal chords. Looks like something else doesn't it? ::cough:: Anyway! See how it's a nice fleshy color until up at the top it gets red? Okay, keep that in mind. Let's move on. To the right you see like a stick thing..sort of like a little bone. Sharp corners. It should be like that up top and on the other side as well. It's not. It's flat mush. And finally above the chords is like an arch. If you look closely you can see that it's jagged. Most of what you see has been burned by the acid coming up from my stomach when I sleep. Gastritus or whatever.
The Dr. said it would be like you've been out in the sun and got a really bad sunburn on your back and someone comes up and pats you on the back. That's what's happening with my vocal chords. Heat, cold, food, moisture, scents, any irritants at all is like someone hitting my sunburned back. It closes up to protect itself and thus my breathing difficulties.
So this has all been caused by stomach acid coming up into my throat when I lay down. I've been on prevacid for a few years. 95% of the time it works well, but this damage has been done over years and years and years. I have a hiatal hernia in my stomach as well as Schatzki rings, which my Gastro Dr had stretched out and took a biopsy of when he did my endoscopy.
I have 3 months to try and reverse this damage with meds and with a speech therapist. If it's not getting any bettert then I go back to Pittsburgh and get an um.. I think it's a 24 hr ph test? They stick a tube down your throat into your stomach for 24 hrs to monitor the acid. Umm.. I said that would be find if he puts me in a coma first. lol Anyway, if it doesn't improve then it's stomach surgery.
Post Edited (Stormienite) : 12/15/2009 8:20:08 AM (GMT-7)