I have GERD and went to Las Vegas on vacation

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Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 54
   Posted 5/1/2012 6:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello.  First my background:  I was just diagnosed a few months ago with GERD.  I woke up in December 2011 with a sore throat and my doctor treated it as a sinus infection.  When it didn't clear up, I went to an ENT who diagnosed severe acid reflux and then onto a GI who did all the tests with the same conclusions.  He recommended a surgeon, however the surgeon said I am a 1-2 with 10 being the worst and needing surgery.  So for now, I treat my heartburn with TUMS, Titralac (antacid) and watch my diet and exercise.  I still get daily heartburn, (some days less than others), lump in throat feeling but for now it's manageable.
I travel to Vegas yearly and wasn't sure how I would be able to do such a "party" vacation with heartburn.  Here's how I did it:  Before the flight, I ate breakfast (eggs, toast) 1 hour before and 8 ounces of water.  While on the flight (5 hours from PA to Vegas) I drank as much water as I felt I could.  I brought on my own water bottle that I sipped throughout the flight and took water from the flight staff the 3 times they came around.
For my on-flight lunch, I bought a chicken cheesesteak hoagie (just chicken and cheese, no peppers, etc) that I bought in the airport before I boarded.
Once in Vegas, I drank a bottle of water a night and took sips of water anytime I woke up during the night.
As for eating, I tried to not eat like I used to.  I would stuff myself  at the buffets.  This time I ate what I wanted but not EVERYTHING!  I would have eggs, home fries, toast, bacon (2 slices instead of the 5-6 I liked to have), one pancake, and some fruit.  Bananas don't bother me so I'd have a banana.  For dessert, I'd allow myself one muffin or one parfait.  Beverage was water again and hot tea.
I used to pig out at buffets and skip lunch completely.  This trip I didn't skip meals.  Lunch was sometimes just some pretzels or a half of a turkey wrap.  Another lunch I had a cuban pork sandwich (pulled pork with ham/cheese) and chicken soup.
I splurged on unsweetened ice teas instead of soda which I haven't had since being diagnosed.
Dinners:  I had pastas but with white or light sauces, pork chops, lobster, diver scallops and rosotto (this was over 5 days).  For appetizers, I kept it light.  I would just eat a slice or two of the bread they brought and a third of the salad I ordered.  I had lobster/crab rolls one night.  But if I had a big dinner one night, I ate less the next morning.
One time I had antipasto with my husband.  I had a few pieces of bread and cheese and 2 pieces of salami. Normally, I'd eat 3 times that much.
and again -- water, water, water.  If you go to Vegas, drink the ice water the offer.  It's filtered.  Don't pay $12 - $15 for bottled.
Desserts:  I did mostly sorbets.  One night I had a banana split but asked the server to substitute the pineapple/chocolate sauce with extra bananas.  I also had a cannoli --- 1 not 2!!!!
Now for the big problem:  Alcohol.  This was my first experience with alcohol since being diagnosed.  I tried Malibu Rum and Club Soda.  When I was in the room, I would make myself Malibu Rum with unsweetened decaf ice tea.  Now granted I never was a big drinker so I would have 2 - 3 drinks a night with little or no problems.
I've read on websites that if you drink, Vodka is the purest alcohol someone with GERD can have, but I'm not a big fan of Vodka.  The Malibu Rum was better for me.
Once or twice I would get back to the room and the lump feeling would start in my throat but I would just drink more water and it and the mild heartburn went away rather quickly.
As for sleeping, I didn't look into a travel-wedge pillow since I sleep with one at home and just used the sofa pillows which are wide and harder to create my own wedge.
However -- I never wake up in the middle of the night at home with GERD problems, just sometimes a sore throat first thing in the morning.
Since I travel to Vegas twice a year, I wanted to find a way to still have fun but keep my heartburn episodes limited.  When I got home, I stopped the alcohol and no cheating whatsover and seem to be fine.  Granted, like I said earlier my GERD is considered a 1-2 right now. 
If you have any vacation questions, please feel free to ask me or share your experiences with me.
Viva Las Vegas!!!!

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 54
   Posted 5/23/2012 5:12 PM (GMT -6)   
Just wanted to add that I also took crystalized ginger on the plane with me. I eat a little piece of it after meals to help with digestion. I wasn't sure the airlines would let me take it through security, but I put it in my pill box with my antacids.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 5/23/2012 6:03 PM (GMT -6)   
I am glad you found a way to enjoy your Vegas trip.  My husband has Crohn's disease with short bowel syndrome and no matter where we travel to he must remain on his very strict diet which includes no alcohol.  He always loved his beer so this is tough for him but he accepts it as a fact of life.
For me, I know what my trigger foods are and how late I dare eat in the evening if I do not want to experience a nasty episode of reflux.  As for pillows, I just ask the hotel for extra pillows and in the casinos they now offer bottled water so I drink plenty of that.  Buffets are easy as long as I don't over-eat or make bad choices.  However as there are so many tempting dishes I usually avoid them and eat in a restaurant that serves ala-carte. 
I agree with you, Viva Las Vegas and the excitement of the shopping, broadway shows and playing in the Casinos leave me little time to miss foods I don't eat at home .  turn
No matter where we travel with a bit of planning we can usually do well.
Moderator: Anxiety, Osteoarthritis,
GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.


"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
It's about learning how to dance in the rain."~ Vivian Greene

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 54
   Posted 5/24/2012 6:01 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm glad you have also found ways around the "eating" fun of vacations and doing other things. Thanks for sharing. It so helps to know others are experencing the same things I do!
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