Posted 2/22/2011 8:26 PM (GMT -7)
Hello, first time poster.
I have done a lot of surfing, reading various stories and questions. As I'm posting here now, I do think there's a sense of relief in being able to share your problem with others who may be going through something similar. So here is my story:
In September of 2010 (currently Feb. of 2011) I started feeling this little lump in my throat. I kept complaining to my wife that it felt like there was a little pill stuck in my throat and I can't swallow it down. It would stay for a few days, then it would go away for a day or two, then it would come back. It finally bothered me enough to go into my family doctor. I was feeling a tightness, a pressure around my neck. The perfect example was as if I was wearing a tight buttoned up shirt and tie around my neck and you really needed to loosen it. However, I didn't have anything on other than a T-shirt so I couldn't get any relief so it was driving me crazy. He checked it out by doing blood work on me to rule out cancer, he gave me an ultrasound on my neck because he thought it could be my thyroid. All of those things came back normal so he referred me to an ENT.
I set up the appointment and had to wait about a week, in fact the appointment was the day after Thanksgiving. The reason I remember that so well is because on Thanksgiving morning, I ran in a 10k, the Turkey Trot which is about 6.2 miles. In late October, I ran a 1/2 marathon which is 13.1 miles and trained for that (my first ever 1/2 marathon). So with the 1/2 marathon at 13.1 miles just about a month previous, you would think that running 6.2 miles wouldn't be that taxing. However, after about 1/2 way through the 6 miles I could hardly breath. Yes, it was cold out but it was more than that, it was hard for me to bring in air. I barely finished the 6 miles and I swear I almost passed out. I started seeing black spots and literally was looking for people to tell my name to so in case I did pass out somoene knew my name. I didn't pass out but I knew then and there something was wrong.
So I went to my ENT appointment the following day. I told him this story and he looked down my nose with a camera for about 30 seconds, sat back down in his seat and said he had some news for me. I said, what? He said I have Acid Reflux, LPR. I never heard of it, only GERD. He said I had to cut out regular coffee, all citrus and cola products, that was pretty much it. He prescribed Prilosec 40mg, twice a day and said he'd see me in a month.
about 3 weeks into that, I had a visit with my Cardiologist. I'm only 39 years old but happen to have a Cardiologist because of family history and he's actually my Dad's doctor. Every 6 months I go in and get a check up from him and check my cholestrol. It was high about 2 years ago, now I'm doing very well. Anyway, I tell my doctor all about this thing that happened at the race, how my neck was tight and how I almost passed out. He asked how I was feeling now and I said, not that good really. He didn't the sounds of that and ordered a stress test. So about a week later I go in for this stress test. I feel like I kill it. I'm running for about 15 minutes to finally reach 85 percent of my heart rate, and when I finished I made an appointment for a week later to go over my results. Well, prior to that the doctor called me and said I have an irregular stress test. That not enough blood was getting to the front of my heart and he needs to do an angiogram to really tell if there's a blockage or not. Considering family history, he wanted to do this in 1 week. So, I go a week later and have an angiogram, thinking I could very easily get a stint put in but as it turns out, he told me that I have my mother's heart. Meaning, he's my Dad's doctor and everything looked perfect, no sign of plaque anywhere, big arteries and everything was great with my heart. He told me there's a 20 percent false reading on those stress tests but it was better to be safe than sorry.
So.....that ruled out a heart condition to go along with LPR that was diagnosed by my ENT. So after the month, I went in and I wasn't feeling any different really. He thought I should be feeling better by this time so he put me on Protonix. I was on that for a couple weeks and I think I was feeling a little better but then severe gas, gas that smelled so bad that you wouldn't even want your dog to be around it and then severe diarrhea. It was like this every day for about a week and finally I couldn't take it. What kind of life is this? So I called and they said to take Prevacid. During the time I didn't take it, a day or so I felt some relief and my bowels turned close to solid. After 2 days of being on Prevacid, I started feeling that pain in my stomach, gurling sounds, gas and then diarrhea. I wasn't getting any relief after going to the bathroom either, my stomach remained bad so I didn't take it any further.
I also want to add that during this time, I have cut out drinking any coffee, including decaff. I cut out all pop drinking, not just cola and pretty much stick to water and try very hard to stick to all of the other general guidlines for people with acid reflux. I do not drink alcohol, although I used to about 3 years ago. I don't smoke although in the past I've had an occasional cigar with buddies or something like that over the years. And it has been a big deal for me to quit coffee because I probably drank about a pot a day. With a very big cup in the morning, possible refills as the morning progresses and a cup at night many evenings, I'd be lying if I didn't say I had a pot a day or more before I quit. And in between, I had a lot of diet pop like diet 7up or diet vernors, probably a 2 liter a day. So about a pot of coffee and a 2 liter of diet pop a day is what I drank and I completely cut that out with water and now an occassional low cal powerade after exercise.
So, after I stopped taking the Prevacid after just 2 days ( I knew I had an appointment with my ENT today, which is Tuesday), I wanted to see how I would feel from that Thursday till the Tuesday. That Friday and Saturday were great. I wasn't eating anything close to harmful, was drinking water, eating oatmeal, rice, bananas, I did have some steak on Sat. night. Sunday afternoon I started to feel queezy in the stomach and coughing. I've never had these symptoms, I only had the lump in the feeling and tight neck and to be honest, I wasn't feeling those things. So I did a little research on it and of course chronic cough is on the list for LPR. There's a tickling in my throat where you just can't help to cough and after enough coughing, you throat gets soar from it.
Sunday I coughed and didn't feel very well from a queezy stomach. Monday was more of the same and was glad I had an appointment with the doctor coming up. So Tuesday morning came and I didn't feel queezy but was still coughing. I went to the ENT today and told him how I stopped and how I was feeling. He told me yes, that the coughing was more than likely a symptom of LPR. AFter being on 3 to 4 different PPI's and all of them giving me severe diarrhea except prilosec which didn't seem to be helping me, he said we should switch classes of medication. So he prescribed today ZANTAC 150 twice daily. He said it may help the coughing or it may not.
After doing a ton of surfing on the net the past month or so on this, I've really felt there's not a lot of light at the end of the tunnel on this. I said am I going to basically feel this way forever or what? He smiled and said no, you're not. He said after 6 months of seeing him, 50 percent of his patients need to continue on with medication. That in his experience, stress has a big roll in what starts Acid Reflux/LPR and after the 6 months of treatment, a lot of times it subsides. He said I'll always have this underlying reflux, which means it could flare up or be triggered but that I should feel relief. If after 6 months it's not, he will perform more tests to see if it's a hernia or something else that's causing it. I even asked him about the surgery for this and he said that his patients have reported back great success ( he doesn't actually perform the surgerey) but he stopped me and said I'm a long way from going that route and said he highly doubts I'll end up having surgery.
So, here I am on the eve of that doctor appointment. I took my first ZANTAC 150 several hours ago and I said a little prayer hoping that this medicine would finally work. If it could just make this cough go away, something I didn't even have 3 days ago I'd actually feel pretty good. But I'm coughing almost all day and I couldn't imagine doing this for long periods of time, it would drive me crazy.
Thanks for taking the time to read my story although I know it's not over yet.