Hi Hearty - I know that with chronic conditions, such as GERD, you're likely to take medication for life to try & control your symptoms. I'm not sure the cons of doing so, though. Have you talked to your doctor about
your concerns? I'd be apt to think that if your stomach produces too much acid and you don't do anything to reduce it, that would cause a greater health risk than taking PPI's.
KateB - you could ask your doctor to run a test to determine if you have Barrett's Esophagus. That's probably the only way to get a definite answer. I do think that Barrett's Esophagus develops over a long period of time, though, but I could be wrong. I hope you find relief soon!
Best of luck to both of you! :)