years struggling with GERD

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theacidrefluxman
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 739
   Posted 11/14/2011 9:11 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi all,

Is it conceivable to go half of ones life or longer with reflux symptoms and not get Barrett's and complications? Doctors have told me that symptom feeling isn't the key indicator of damage, and that different people feel different intensity of symptoms regardless of the underlying pathology. I think there is somewhat of a consensus that my GERD is not that bad, but the symptoms are daily and so frequent that it is so tough for me to deal with. Has anyone else been told this, or had to deal with something similar? I suppose it is obviously better than having a very serious pathology with few symptoms, but feeling them every day is just extremely difficult to deal with when you are young and there seems to be no solution in sight.

efit
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 127
   Posted 11/14/2011 10:29 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi ARM,

I am 30 yrs old and have been dealing with GERD for 7 months now so now half of my life by any means but the past 7 months have been pretty awful. My doctor(s) did tell me that Barrett's is rare. They also echoed what you said regarding intensity of symptoms not being necessarily proportional to damage done. I certainly feel for you because it's kind of restrictive socially and also can cause quite a bit of depression. Are you on medication? Is it helping? I think I remember another one of your posts stating that your doc said not to take meds b/c your reflux isn't "that bad". I disagree. You are the one who knows how bad it feels PLUS...the longer you have it, the worse a "mild" pain can get. It is nagging though liveable but you'd rather not live with it. I totally understand. I wish you luck with management of your condition. I think yours is similar to mine in that it waxes and wanes at random sometimes giving you a couple of pain-free weeks.

Take care,
Liz

theacidrefluxman
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 739
   Posted 11/14/2011 11:09 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks efit. I feel like a bit of a broken record because...I just can't get over this. I am 28 and my wife and I want to have a child, but I am terrified of dying young and leaving them. This just makes it hard for me to plan and continue with my life...I don't think about career, family, or anything long-term anymore...I just think about my health.

My GI doc at Duke thinks I should be on a PPI, but I get an abdominal pain when I take them so I am unable to. Then a GI from Cleve Clinic told me it is reasonable to not take a PPI and wait and see, but he also probably would have said "take a PPI" if I didn't get side-effects. He said he tells people who get side-effects to take something like Gaviscon...

I am hoping to get a definite "this is hypersensitive esophagus" or something like that from the well-known specialist who happens to be @ UNC. If I were definitively diagnosed with that I think I would probably relax a bit, knowing what I am feeling isn't damage being done. But as things are my GI @ Duke told me he thinks I obviously do have reflux, and he would have me on a PPI if I could take one.

Right now I am taking probiotics and will probably try SSRI's (often given for hypersensitive esophagus) if the specialist thinks it makes sense.

I just feel like I keep ending up back at square one, but with fewer and fewer options...

I really appreciate your support. I think I am one of the most pessimistic on the forum and it is tough for me to overcome the psychological fears I have from GERD.

mudmagnetmum
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 1604
   Posted 11/14/2011 11:40 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi ARM

I do get where you're coming from. I just want my old stomach back too!

Over the last five years GERD has been the third thing to plague me half to death. With the other two problems I thought I was stuck with them forever (and they were way more painful than GERD!) and yet, somehow each time I ended up out the other side, even though it did take a long time. That gives me hope regarding the GERD.

I don't know that I would put off having kids - they are a wonderful distraction and brilliant for helping keep you in the real world! Also, delaying major decisions relating to work or family probably isn't good for your emotional health, and we all know how GERD likes to feed on that.

I'm just returning to work after a six year gap. For a while I thought that was something I'd do after the GERD got sorted. Now I'm trying to do it with GERD in tow, simply because the distraction is better than thinking about my symptoms all day - if I let myself do that I end up feeling very low indeed.

Have you considered having some counselling? Also, there were posts recently about acupuncture - how about giving that a go?

MMM
New stuff: GERD. Interstitial Cystitis
Lifelong stuff: Food allergies, eczema, asthma

efit
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 127
   Posted 11/14/2011 3:26 PM (GMT -6)   
ARM,

Your situation parallels mine in many ways. I too have had a hard time picturing my life long-term since this whole GERD thing began. I feel so far removed from my old social circle and from my same-age peers who are seemingly in the prime of their lives. I have become rather hyper-focused on my health such as how you say you have become. I will say that dying from GERD-related effects is sooo rare. You should NOT let this disease stop you from starting a family. In fact, a child will be one of the BIGGEST distractions you can have from this :) Believe me, I have 2 big distractions ages 3 and 1 :) Plus, they will make you smile more whether you like it or not.

Regarding your intolerance to PPI's...have you tried multiple different ones? There are 8 on the market so don't stop at one or even 2. In addition, intolerance to PPI's due to side effects is one very plausible argument / reason to have the Nissen and just be done with this whole thing. That way, you can heal from the surgery while the bun is in the oven. You'll be ready to be the awesome dad you surely will be once the bun is cooked :)

I do still fight negative thoughts on a daily basis. I pray A LOT and that does help. I know that God has a plan and whatever it is, it's better than the one I would choose (somehow) and things will work out in the end. I have been on Prevacid for the last 6 weeks and it has been life changing in the way that I have had only 7 out of 29 days that have been "acidy" and the worst my pain has been is a 3/10 instead of a 7/10. Most days were a 1-2/10. I don't want to live with that but I know that I can. Also, it helps to know that there IS a surgery like the Nissen that is becoming more and more perfected as the years go by. I just read an article yesterday that says the number of potential side effects was down by a great percentage. I can't quote exactly but I think that trouble swallowing post-op was down to 6% and flatulence / bloating was down really low as well. This study was from 2008. Plus the success rate is so high. I'm not telling you what to do by any means but feel good knowing that there is another avenue for you to take besides PPI's.

Cheer up,
Liz
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