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.