Posted 3/9/2011 8:53 PM (GMT -7)
Hi all, like many ive been lurking for quite awhile and felt it was time to give back some information
I had reflux for more than 10 years but it probably wasnt up to the level of GERD until 4 or 5 years ago. I used to get reflux a couple times a week especially if i drank wine... but a couple ant-acid pills would set me right. That slowly changed over the years. As my condition degenerated into a "GERD" level of severity, only drinking glasses of water with a heaping tea spoons full of bicarbonate of soda mixed in would put out the fire...this helped greatly...temporarily. Then one night i woke up from a deep sleep choking with reflux in my lungs...didnt think i had long to live. Over a period of months and after several of these events i figured out that i just couldnt eat after 6 pm...and putting this rule into practice i didnt wake up inhaling reflux ever again! What i didnt know was that i was still damaging my air ways , just a little at a time and not enough to wake me up.
More than a year later i got what i thought was pneumonia, and a wicked sore throat. Because im stupid i did not connect the reflux with my latest lung and throat problems. The doctor couldnt figure it out either and i got worse and worse over a period of six months. I spiraled down deeper and deeper. I was having a harder and harder time swallowing and it felt like something was growing in my throat. My voice box felt like somebody had set it on fire and wedged a golf ball inside it and the back of my throat behind the epiglottis, had thick white slimy patches and spots all over. I started to think seriously about death. I started to fret real bad about possibly having cancer..im an x-smoker.
After several doctor visits, i was being told my problems were mostly mental. The more i insisted the problem was physical the more they looked at me like i was crazy. Finally, after chest x-rays, barium swallow-upper GI fluoroscoping, and trans nasal scoping, 'we" finally came to the conclusion that i had LPR. Curiously through all of this, as my throat got worse, the heartburn diminished...? this may have to do with the "first life-style" change i made which was to sleep with my upper body inclined. Needless to say the doctor put me on ranitidine asap but after a two week trial i was continuing to burn my upper throat. So of course the next step was the big guns.. PPIs. First i was on protonix am only, and then as it helped some we moved to twice a day dosing...before breakfast and again about 10 hours later.
A few days of PPIs completely halted the last vestiges of classic heartburn symptoms and really any sensation of burning in my lower esoph what so ever..except curiously after i would reflux...no pain right away...but minutes later my upper throat would go all crazy with mucous and irritation and a greater feeling of something caught in my throat....PANIC. So in desperation i decided i...was...not...going..to... eat...anything...for three days! Wow on the third day i really felt noticeably better, but what the heck am i going to do, live on water...tea...air? So i started back to eating...but just one thing at a time and i mean really really small meals.
At first it didnt matter what i ate or how little ,,,i would reflux it back up...and i began to notice that mostly, i refluxed about two hours after i ate...and i began to notice...to feel... what was going on at the lower esophageal junction and in my esophagus, in ways i handn't noticed before. After a month of trying different foods and different quantities of food i learned by trial and error how little, and what to eat. The break-thru day was when i had 4 cubes of tofu the size each of a match-box, and i didnt reflux it up. Then i found i was able to keep down one slice of bread, and then 4 small florets of broccoli. And so slowly i built up a menu of foods which i would eat in small quantities about 6 times a day, leaving at least 2 hours for digestion in between each mini meal. Carbs were no problem, fiber a real help, apples seemed to really help too. But yuk, red meat and anything with fat was just terrible. White turkey meat and white chicken ,and tofu were usually more ok. Im eating a lot of broccoli and broccoli sprouts (do a web search for sulforophane you will be amazed).
Throughout this time i quit drinking coffee, no alcohol, no chocolate, and avoided anything spicy and of course, no carbonated beverages. BTW for a month or more before trying to eat the smallest meals on earth, I tried a dozen different supplements..my sense is...and i cant prove this, that only two things helped me. slippery elm and the other demulcents (dgl marshmallow etc) seemed to make my throat less raspy...but aggravated the feeling of 'bolus". I may have been "short" vitamin D and B12 because i live where there is little sun and i used to drink too much.
Truth be told, neither the supplements nor the small meals made me all better... cause im not. But i have improved...turned the corner...and i am able to eat 4 to 5 very very small meals a day with far far fewer episodes of reflux and some days i think i dont reflux at all. Recently ive been taking n-acytal-cysteine (NAC) which is a source of glutathione or rather a precursor, and this seems to have diminished the bulge in my throat feeling...jury still out on this one.
So best of luck to you as you battle GERD and-or LPR...its very awful and at times scares us half to death, but hang in there and keep trying to find foods that are calming to the LES and help GI motility. Try to avoid stress (yeah i know easier said than done) because stress, at least for me, makes my LES flutter and boosts stomach acid, and who know how it affects the vegus nerve which controls much of the GI tract. Best wishes to everyone reading this. Dont give up hope!
Post Edited (mock turtle) : 3/9/2011 11:26:01 AM (GMT-7)