OMG! Carmen! we have the same symptoms. You described it so well.
Well hopefully this will help you.
For me it started just like that late september, i thought it was asthma coming back after 20 years, or heart problems, i also have mildew at home and thought i had a lung infection.
Later i realized the pressure on my chest was mainly on the left side. At night i would wake up with a stinging feeling sometime in my stomach.
Well i went to 3 docs, my family doc had me on zantac, and it didn't work. the second one, didn't believe that the breathing was GERD related and gave me aciphex and said "come back in a month if you are not feeling well"
I waited for 10 days on aciphex, the breathing thing almost went away, and then i had a burrito and boom!
I felt the breathing thing again and almost felt like i had to go to the ER. Next day went to a new GI doc
ready to have him do an endoscopy and see what i had.
This great physician assistant, answered every question and mainly confirmed that YES the breathing thing is part of GERD, SPECIALLY if you had asthma as a child, your lungs tend to be weaker and more sensitive so GERD affects us that way while other folks with GERD don't get shortness of breath.
The main things she said that has helped me tremendously:
1. Take something to reduce acid (I recommend aciphex)
2. Don't bend over too much, when you bend over the acid can go to your esophagus. I've seen it happen.
I've gone from feeling great to awful in 2 minutes by bending over to pick up something instead of flexing my legs.
3. DON"T EAT FAT. This one is very important, i was avoiding acidic stuff but not fat, try to eat low carbs and lean meat, veggies, some fruits, PROBIOTICS, yogurt.
4. Avoid coffee, smoking, alcohol, sodas, or bubbly drinks, mints, spicy food
5. Raise the head of the bed a little by putting blocks under the feet of the bed or get a "wedge pillow" to sleep on so you are never flat so the acid won't go to your esophagus.
6. Eat smaller meals, stop eating 2-3 hours before you go to bed.
That has done the trick for me, basically you need to give it time to heal. You won't necessarily have this all your life, just baby yourself for a couple months, doing this stuff. It has worked for me, the breathing thing hasn't happened again. I am terrified of it coming back but it hasn't come back.
So i think it is healing, it is hard to be good when you are feeling better, so watch out. I've done that having 2 cups of coffee or eating something spicy.
My problem is that i eat out a lot so it is hard to control what you eat and what kind of oil they used and spices, I hear cumin is the worst. So avoid indian and mexican for a while and anything deep fried or fried.
I feel 80% better, the only thing i feel is bloated sometimes when i eat something bad.
Also something that has helped much is Aloe Vera Juice and tablets. If you can go to a health food store
I think Probiotics and Aloe will help you with your Crohn's too.
Hope you feel better soon!!