Posted 6/5/2013 3:41 PM (GMT -6)
I live by the rule of not giving out real names to the public openly, so I'll go by Missy, as its a real nickname my family uses for me. I am a 32 year old who has been a very long term sufferer of GERD which was called Acid Reflux Disease when I was first diagnosed at 15 years of age back in 1996. To give a little back ground about myself, I was found to have a severe case of GERD in 1996 after I had a sudden attack that nearly everyone, including my doctor thought was a heart attack. I had extreme pressure on my chest and ribs, I couldn't breathe, was wheezing badly, was very pale to the point of bluish tinge due to being unable to breathe probably, and was covered in a cold and clammy sweat.
My parents rushed me to the doctor, where my attack ended, with me regaining proper color, breathing and pain easing without any medical intervention. My doctor ordered two tests, one the next morning on a completely empty stomach, the barium chalk test (sorry, I'm not sure I spelt that correctly) and one a day later, what I think was an endoscopy, they put a nasty spray into my mouth and down my throat, then put a tube with a camera down it to take a closer look.
Long story short, I was diagnosed with a severe case of GERD and LRD due to the complete lack of the valve that closes off your stomach and throat. I had been a very high stressed kid, and lived a very stressful life, and was already diagnosed with severe anxiety attacks. The doctor said my high stress level contributed to the fast destruction of my esophageal (sorry again on that spelling) valve and put me on a series of medicines that didn't work and cost way to much for a family with no insurance. I don't remember my first medicines, but I do know that most of them have been removed from market due to lack of effectiveness and dangers previously unknown.
I have lived my last 17 years with at least three pillows under my head, a low-level "elbow" under the bed, a pillow beneath my upper back, and waking up chocking nearly every night. I have had problems eating since I became pregnant with my first baby. The doctors said it was only morning sickness, but even after my second child has long since reached the age of 8, I still cannot eat without the food getting "stuck" in my throat and having to (sorry in advance for bluntness) vomit out what is stuck so that I can even breathe. I have learned to eat extremely slowly, and have to avoid thick foods all together as they don't swallow easily. Bread, most meats, heavy pasta like spaghetti, rotini, etc. which leaves me with very little and specific diet. I am terrified of my children thinking that its okay to just casually vomit out food after eating as well since I do it so often, I try to make it subtle (can do it with no sound now, a sad and horrible thing to master) but I know they're clever enough to figure it out.
In the past two years, its gotten much worse. I was recently (Feb 2012) diagnosed with gallbladder stones which quickly escalated into emergency gallbladder removal, and after the surgery, eating has become an agonizing chore. Due to depression, anxiety and fear over eating, and new sudden worsening of my symptoms, my doctor has placed me on two meds, Prilozec and Zantac. I don't have insurance, so the ones she wanted to put me on are far beyond my budget, and these help with the symptoms for only 6 hours after taking them, leaving an agonizing 12 hours of misery each day.
I've scanned the internet for a place where people might have some input, or I might feel a sense of not being alone in this problem, and stumbled upon this place. I'm hoping that my fellow GERD sufferers might have some experience that I have not heard of that can be of some help.
My current diet is problematic as I am also have fibromyalgia, chronic migraines, duel spectrum diabetes (which means its in the process of changing from hypoglycemia to hyperglycemia) and kidney stones. I roughly eat the same thing everyday: Toast (toasted bread is the only way I can eat it and with small bites), milk (whole milk vit D. as any milk makes the mucus in my throat worse), water, strawberries (when in season we grow them in yard :) ), various seasonal fruits (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, pomegranates, kiwi, bananas), small glasses of caffeinated drinks to prevent migraine flares, more water, tea (green teas with honey added as sweetener, local honey--aids with any seasonal allergies), salads, and on the occasion a meal of rice, special chili (is not spicy or hot) and shredded cheeses on top with maybe a hotdog cut into very small bite-sized pieces.
I can't eat sandwiches as the bread gets "stuck" in my throat, and because of my long term problem with acid coming up into my mouth, even with extreme care of my teeth, they have mostly eroded and are now rotting away, as dentist says only hope is to "pull and replace with dentures" and I have no insurance to pay for expensive procedures like that, I must suffer with lack of chewing power now as well. I can't eat fried and fatty foods as without a gall bladder these foods don't "last" in my system for more than 15-20 minutes before they are quickly excreted, which my doctor says is also exaggerated by my acid levels in my stomach. I can't eat broccoli and cauliflower, apples, oranges (unless they are canned mandarin peeled small pieces) and grapefruit as they create way to much conflict with my GERD and/or gas buildup.
So I suppose my main question would be: does anyone know a good diet to be on that would allow for ease of swallowing and eating that doesn't cause massive flareups or gas as a side-effect? Or any natural remedies that will assist with the issues GERD causes?
Thanks so much for your time reading! I'm sorry the post was so long.