Gerd and severe anxiety. Please help.

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Chris K.
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2013
Total Posts : 197
   Posted 3/4/2013 11:55 AM (GMT -6)   
Just joined this forum because I need advice, wisdom and help badly.
 
I am a 40 year old male.  I have been skinny all my life and could eat whatever I wanted without gaining a lb.  In college, I was 6ft tall (as I am now) and around 155lb and that was with heavy weight training, putting on as much muscle as possible on my skinny frame.  After graduating, I got a deskjob with a long commute (2-3 hours on the road per day) and proceeded to gain weight, mostly around the midsection.  After 15 years of doing this, I would hover around 180lbs.  I have never smoked or consumed alcohol, but my eating habits were terrible.  Fast food for lunch almost every day.  Lots of sweets, fatty snacks and double/triple servings were not uncommon.  I was addicted to soft drinks and on the average consuming at least 20 ounces a day if not more.  As I got older, I knew that I couldn't get away with doing such things but I was accustomed to getting away with all my life so I continued.  My BM was always inconsistent since I was lactose intorelant but I ate stuff like ice cream anyway. 
 
In September of 2012, I was given a task of handling an important project at my company.  Stress level was high as there was demand put on me every day.  I ended up staying later than usual, getting home later than usual and eating later than usual.  Plus, the stress made me seek out comfort through food.  I was frequently having chocolate bars and cookies around 7PM before I headed home from work.
 
In November of 2012, I got a promotion and was given even more responsibility.  I was happy about the promotion but did feel the burden of an even bigger workload.  I was so busy, I didn't even have time to think.  (Sorry about the long background, but I think it's important to share this.)
 
about this time, I started having a mild pressure point right around the center of my chest (just below the ribcage or above the breastbone) after eating.  The feeling would come up 30mins after eating and then subside after.  This happened after practically every meal.  By December, the pressure point became more noticeable in the throat (like a lump or a vitamin pill stuck feeling).  It would happen either soon after eating or if I was hungry.  The funny thing was that while I was eating, the feeling would go away so I still was eating normally and a lot.  I wasn't too concerned at this point.
 
By January of 2013, I started to feel a bit of concern and started looking around on the internet and came to the conclusion that I might have GERD.  So I started to take Pepcid after every meal.  I don't think it helped much.  I was still eating a lot because my appetite was normal and swallowing food actually made my throat feel better at the time.  Around this time though, I started to notice that I was having trouble with really fatty foods.  2 big chinese food banquests resulted in two explosive diarrheas for instance.  I was having lean steak and I seemed to be doing ok with them, bowel movement wise.  I was still gaining weight, topping out at around 183-185lb in January.  Other than the chest pressure and the lump in my throat, I felt no pain, absolute zero.   
 
In early February, I decided that enough was enough and made an appointment to see my primary care doctor.  I also decided that I needed to eat healthier and started to eat less carb, less meat, no junk food (cold turkey) and no dairy product.  I started to lose a bit of weight but not much.  When I went into the doctor's office on 2/15, I weighed 178.  He basically told me that I might have GERD but I should see a gastroentrologist to make sure nothing was wrong.  He also put me on Prilosec.  Well, the Prilosec immediately affected my BM, as it started to be like oatmeal or porridge in consistency.  I stopped taking the Prilosec mainly because the doc wanted me to submit a stool sample and I wanted a decent stool.  After stopping the Prilosec, my normal BM returned and I submitted a stool sample on 2/22 and also had labwork done for Complete Blood Count.
Around this time, I noticed that I couldn't eat as much as I used to but I attributed that to the new diet and just eating less.  On 2/24, I bought a bottle of Betaine/HCL supplement because I thought I was suffering from low stomach acid and took 2 tablets with lunch (a small burger), felt fine and then 2 tablets with  
dinner (vegetable soup with side of rice).  That night, I experienced for the first time a heartburn-like pain in my stomach.  I am pretty sure I made my stomach content way too acidic.  I had diarrhea and in the middle of the night, woke up with a racing heart and being really hot in the face.  I thought I was dying.  After taking several deep breaths, things calmed down and I returned back to sleep.  But since that night, I started to feel anxiety and depression like I knew that I had esophageal/stomach/liver/pancreatic cancer.  Every time, I looked at my kids, I started to feel really sad, thinking about them growling up fatherless.  At work, my concentration waned and I no longer had the energy to focus.  Walking became difficult and if I walked anything more than a few blocks, my legs felt like I just ran a marathon.  I started to wake up in the middle of night every night since 2/24, sweaty and with a fast heart.  I completely lost my appetite and just felt full all the time even if I didn't eat anything for the whole day.  I would get hunger pangs but I just couldn't eat.  To protect my body, I force-fed myself (banana and oatmeal for breakfast, half of grilled chicken sandwich for lunch with a tiny side salad and the other half for dinner, but I was consuming only about 800-1000 calories a day (a big drop from my 2500-3000 days).  As a result, I started to lose weight and lost 5 lbs in a week.  
 
On 2/28, I got the result from the stool sample (negative for H.Pyori bacteria) and CBC result (completely normal).  I also met with my gastro doc for the first time.  He didn't finish listening to my story and basically said you got gerd when he heard me talk about the lump in the throat feeling.  I tried to explain to that my appetite was shot and I was losing weight and that I was scared about cancer but he actually didn't even let me get the words out of my mouth and instead gave me 4 sample boxes of Aciphex and told me to go see his assistant to schedule an endoscopy.  When his assistant told me that the next available endoscopy would be in mid April, I almost broke down because I knew that my body couldn't wait that long, either due to the anxiety or the cancer I was afraid of having.  Luckily, after begging and pleading, the assistant found a cancellation on 3/4 (today) and was able to schedule me in.
 
Between 2/28-3/4, I have been a mess.  I continued to eat my 800-1000 calories a day but just feel terrible all the time.  My one consolation is that if I eat a healthy meal devoid of fats and sugars, I have a decent BM.  I think I had several near Panic attacks during this time where I just felt the inpending doom.  The fact that I am losing weight (down to 169 this morning and have no appetite basically makes me think that I have cancer even though nothing has been diagnosed.  My wife and others think that the loss of appetite and weight are perfectly explainable given the amount of food I am eating + the anxiety I am suffering.  I have been losing a lot of water through sweating during sleep as well but I can't drink much water due to feeling full all the time.  I have my endoscopy in 6 hours.  I am so scared about the possibility of cancer.  If anyone has read this whole thing and can offer some perspective, I would so appreciate it.         

Gastricman
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts : 294
   Posted 3/4/2013 4:22 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Chris,

Welcome to HealingWell.

I read your detailed and complex post with great interest. My feeling is that you are in need of rapid internal and gastroenterological care, in order to diagnose what is going on with you. I think that a series of appropriate tests will narrow down what is going on, just state the main facts to your doctors and please try to relax a bit.
In the meantime...

Let us know how everything goes with the upper endoscopy and hopefully we can help with some advice.

Thanks,

Gastricman

Post Edited (Gastricman) : 3/4/2013 3:10:09 PM (GMT-7)


opnwhl4
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4961
   Posted 3/4/2013 4:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Chris-

First off.... take a deep breath and let it out about three times. Then relax....you are having very typical GERD symptoms. I know people with esophagus and colon cancer, in my family. You are getting way too worked up and that is making your GERD worse. Stress will make issues way worse too.

Lets get through the EGD and see what the GI sees. He will take biopsies, this is also normally done on an EGD.
Don't do the Doctor Google thing either, or you will convince yourself you have 50 some diseases. As for the pepcid, you need to take it 1/2 hour before you eat or wait a couple hours after you eat. Same with PPIs.
PPIs are miracle cures, they take a while to work and sometimes that's as long as 2 to 4 weeks.

He will be able to see if you have any ulcers and if there is any irritation in there. You might want to ask about a PH study also. That will show exactly what if anything is coming into you esophagus. A manometry will show them how well your esophagus is working while swallowing and also let them know how strong the LES is. It's the junction into the stomach. Another test they may want to do is a barium swallow test. This test is very good at physically seeing if anything is coming back up into your esophagus.

Come back after your EGD and let us know what they saw.

Take care,
Bill
opnwhl4
Moderator: GERD/Heartburn
Nissen 6/06 and 5/09
#3 on 8/24/11

Andy1986
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2012
Total Posts : 1178
   Posted 3/4/2013 5:34 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, i have had severe anxiety problems and gerd recently too. Trust me when i say, you WILL get through this. I managed to tackle my anxiety, even before my gerd settled down. I went to a counsellor for cognitive behaviour therapy which helped. Another thing that really helped was relaxation exercises, concentrating on physically relaxing and it eventually calms the mind.

Hope the endoscopy goes ok, it isnt fun! But at least it doesnt last long

Chris K.
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2013
Total Posts : 197
   Posted 3/4/2013 9:49 PM (GMT -6)   
Andy, Bill, Gastricman. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my rather long story and offering your support.

I just finished my endoscopy and the results were better than I expected. Minor irritation of esophagus, stomach and duodenum. No sign of cancer or barret's. Official diagnosis is gastritis. I am so relieved and feel like I have been given a brand new chance. Gastro dr. wrote that biopsy will be performed to check for h.pylori.

Just got home and walked around the neighborhood with my family and couldn't be happier to be alive. Still feeling weak since I haven't eating anything in almost 24 hours, getting ready for the procedure. I have a followup appointment with the gastro dr in 4 weeks. I still do have many questions but not sure if this dr. is the type who will explain things. But that's a different topic and I just hope my energyand appetite come back soon.

Gastricman
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts : 294
   Posted 3/5/2013 10:47 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Chris,
 
That's good news!
 
Your response is a big change from your original post, LOL.
 
The digestive system is said to have a brain of it's own and is tightly bound to your real brain. I hope that your recover quickly and with less tension. What did your doctor prescribe for the Gastritis? Do you feel that a short term anti-anxiety agent might also speed your recovery?
 
Please let us know.
 
Thanks,
 
GM
 
 

Chris K.
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2013
Total Posts : 197
   Posted 3/5/2013 1:13 PM (GMT -6)   
Gastricman, thank you.
 
The doctor prescribed Aciphex and just told me to keep taking them.  Didn't really offer any other insight or advice.
He seems to think that if I keep taking the meds, I will be better.  (Actually, he never said this specifically.  I am just inferring since he doesn't say anything else but that.)
 
If I may, can I ask some questions and see what you think?
 
1. What could have caused the gastritis?  (Yes, they are doing the biopsy but my stool antigen test already came back negative for H. Pylori)
 
2. Can GERD cause gastritis or is it the other way around?
 
3. I am waking up with sore throat, swollen uvula and stomach full of gas.  This is causing a slight nausea which gets better as the day go on, but it's a pretty crappy feeling and does add some anxiety at that moment.  Drinking water doesn't help but Pepcid seems to calm it down a bit?  Do you or anyone else have any good systematic way to deal with the nighttime/morning GERD troubles?
 
  

Gastricman
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts : 294
   Posted 3/5/2013 1:42 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Chris,
 
Here is a good link for you to view for questions 1 & 2.
 

As for question 3, that is something for your doctor to further analyze.
 
BTW - If your MD prescribed Aciphex, are you sure that you should also be taking an H2 blocker (Pepcid)?
If so, I would try taking the dose of Pepcid at night right before bedtime.
 
Hope this helps.
 
GM
 

VivianL
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 111
   Posted 3/5/2013 1:53 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Chris,
In my case anxiety causes my GERD! I was diagnosed with gastritis as well over a year ago. I think it's going to take about 2 weeks for the PPI to kick in. I was going crazy at the beginning too. For your sore throat you can try to swallow one teaspoon of honey (I used manuka honey) and let it go slowly down your throat. I know chewing gums would help as well. These are all the things that I learn from reading on this forum. :-) Do you like drinking tea? Now I drink about 2 cups of Chamomile tea per day to keep my anxiety down. My throat is much better but I still watch what I eat.
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