Posted 1/21/2013 3:00 PM (GMT -6)
Hi. I'm new to all of this, I apologize for likely making this longer than needed, but I'm not in the loop on all of the acronyms/ and or abbreviations.
I have had "heartburn" for a long time. It started in high school probably (I'm 35 now). My father has always had the same sort of symptoms so I didn't think much of it & just assumed I'd be a slave to antacids like him. A couple of years ago, I decided I'd had enough. I realized that I ate an average of 15-20 Rolaids a day. The symptoms would go away, but only very briefly. I'd be in pain again in an hour or less. Changing my diet didn't seem to help too much. A glass of water seemed to give me heartburn. I made an appointment and talked with a GI doctor and had an upper endoscopy done. The GI doctor explained that I had a hiatal hernia, a few pretty good size ulcers and what the doc said was “so many small ulcers it was difficult to count them all”. Over the course of several months I tried a few different acid blocking drugs. In hopes of avoiding surgery to repair the hiatal hernia. The pills helped to some degree & I’ve been taking mainly Protonix for the last 6-8 months. I realized one of the foods that really causes me problems are tomatoes. I have eliminated them almost completely from my diet. I say almost, because well, I’m Italian. I do the best I can. My heartburn was less severe taking the Protonix, but I was having another seemingly worse problem. Every once in a while, I would wake up in the middle of the night choking on what I assume is bile from my stomach. It’s very thin- like water. It tastes like what I can only assume battery acid tastes like. It burns really bad & I cough it up from my lungs for a good 30-45 minutes on the nights this happens. Afterward, my throat & lungs feel like they have been doused in acid. They burn and ache. It’s hard to breathe. This feeling lasts well into the next day.
My partner was diagnosed with endocrine cancer and had two surgeries back-to-back earlier in the year so we had more pressing health/ family matters to attend to than my little heartburn problem. Once my partner’s health issues were pretty much taken care of, I made another appointment to further discuss the Nissen Fundoplication surgery he mentioned I may need to consider surgery if the pills didn't do the trick. I had warmed up to the idea of doing the Nissen surgery & had come to terms with the fact that I would likely need to. When I mentioned the bit about waking up choking he kind of stopped me in my tracks and said I needed to have some more testing & that the Nissen surgery was not even an option until he had result back from the other tests. He is sending me to have an Esophageal Menometry and a Gastric emptying scan. I asked him what exactly he was looking for with the other tests & he wouldn't really say. He said it may be something very minor & completely treatable, or it may be something more serious. He said he didn't want me to worry or stress out unless I had a reason to & he wouldn't have anything to tell me for sure until he had the results back from the other two tests.
My questions are: What sort of problem(s) could these tests show? The gastric emptying scan seems fairly self explanatory. They want to see how quickly my stomach empties. Okay, fine. But what if it doesn't empty like it should? What would cause this & how could this be treated? I have basically the same type of questions for the other test as well. Locally the tests are done at two different imaging center type places. One is done at a local hospital & the other at more of a walk in type place that does X-rays and such. Is there any benefit to having one done prior to the other? I've been trying to get the Esophageal Menometry appointment for nearly two weeks and I have barely gotten through the pre-scheduling department. I started with that once because I figured it would take longer to get into. I'm thinking I should just start fresh & try to get the other test taken care of. Make sense?
The infrequent bout of choking on acid like-flaming water stuff has steadily gotten more frequent. It's now going on several times a week. The last month being the worst. I think I've woken up choking and coughing every night this week.
Sorry for the long rambling post. Thanks in advance for any input, or even for just sticking it out and reading down here to the end.