Let's talk GERD **part ONE**

GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease.  You can read more about the details from clicking the link.  I am going to take you through my journey of this issue and what I know about it.  I'll make these multi-part just because I tend to be a little wordy and don't want to make it too overwhelming.  So this is just part one.  :-)

When I was in high school I started having problems sometimes after dinner.  It would be this horrible burning pain in my stomach and throat.  My mom would give me some Rolaids and they usually cleared up the symptoms.  Rarely I would wake up in the middle of the night from this, but when I did I had a feeling like I had vomit in my mouth.  It was not fun.  

Then around when I was 20 I started having issues more often.  There was burning, feeling the bile rising in my throat, having trouble laying down, etc.  These got progressively worse until I was taking Rolaids about 2-3 times a day every single day just so I wasn't feeling sick.  I started trying other things.  Tums, Maalox, Mylanta, Alka-Seltzer, Prilosec, Nexium, Aciphex, Zantac.  Those are just the ones I remember.  Either they would create nausea, the reflux would be back way too quickly, or they never took care of the symptom in the first place.  I read up on acid reducing diets and went on one.  Basically I ate super bland food, drank only water and kept a diary of when I would get reflux.

I still got reflux almost EVERY day.  Then came the chest pain.  Josh and I were sitting in our old barn apartment one night after dinner.  We had been eating baked chicken (with no spices or rubs on mine), rice (no butter) and green beans (again no topping).  I had eaten most of my chicken and there was just a little rice left - all my green beans were gone because I love those.  One second I'm talking, fine, feeling good.  Next second I have this excruciating pain running down my neck and almost completely paralyzing my right arm.  I couldn't move it at all.  

Josh was really concerned and said the words I had been dreading.  "You need to call the doctor."

I need to take a quick side note here.  I do not like doctors.  I get an extreme case of white coat syndrome.  My mom was a Diabetes Educator and I was around the hospital and doctors a lot.  And I still have complete meltdowns and forgot what I am saying or doing.  Sometimes I completely forgot to tell them what I am concerned with.  It's bad.

So I find a doctor that is in my insurance network and make an appointment.  Now I've already covered my story with this doctor in this post.  So there is no need to go through all that again.  And let's just say he was definitely not the doctor for me.  Mmmmkay?

This is when I was referred to a new doctor who is still my doctor and by far my favorite person that has ever taken care of me like this!  SK is the best thing that happened to me thus far in my medical debacles and I appreciate her very much.  Amanda told me that she went to see her and really liked her and I figured after the previous guy, it wouldn't hurt to try someone else.
Amanda also told me that it is another doctor's office, but he was an older gentleman and although fine, it was SK (who is his PA) is who I wanted to see.

I still remember my first visit to this office.  I walk in and as I am walking over to the desk to sign in, a DOG walks out into the waiting room from what I can only assume is the exam rooms.  It's a fluffy white thing and it kinda of sniffs in my general direction and walks back through it's doggy door into the unknown.  I was a little weirded out at first and glanced around the waiting room at the other patients waiting to see the doctor just to gauge their reactions.  No one snorked, sniffled or coughed, or even looked up when the dog made it's super fast assessment of the situation, so I figured this was just the norm for the office (It is by the way.  The dog is always there.  It isn't very friendly though and won't let you pet it ever.  That is the only thing I still find weird about the situation.  *shrugs*)

Okay so once again I am drifting far from topic, so I'll try to stick to the issue at hand.  I met SK for the first time.  I loved her immediately and could tell she was really interested in my issues (which I had outlined in a 3 page word document with personal health history, treatments, family history and a little about who I am and what I do - whatever, I wanted to be thorough!).  She immediately set me up to get some blood work drawn and to get my first EGD.

Blood work is typical for me (I have genetically high cholesterol.  And no, not like "oh just eat a healthier diet and exercise more" high.  I'm talking off the charts scary high.  We'll discuss that another time.).  What wasn't typical was being scheduled for this EGD thing.  I had no idea what to expect or how to handle anything.  

The procedure wasn't bad.  It was a little weird because there I was chatting away with the doctor in a closet (okay, so they said it was the procedure room but it was SMALL and Lucy told me after my latest EGD that since they were renovating, it actually WAS an old storage closet!), and the next thing I know I wake up and make the nurse scream.  Apparently I woke up super quick and she wasn't expecting me to be awake.  Her back was turned to me and when I gurgled "water" she had a little meltdown.  They brought Josh back (poor guy was sitting in the ER waiting room with all the sick people - yuck) and the doctor gave me the results.  

Now I know why they insist you bring someone with you.  Do you think I remember these results at all?  Seriously?  I fell asleep for a few seconds while he was going over the findings since I was still groggy from anesthesia!  Basically I had two ulcers, a hiatal hernia, and some esophagitis.  He suggested I continue my Protonix and add Reglan to my medicinal mix.  He also suggested I get my hiatal hernia fixed through surgery. Hmmmm....

The Protonix was working for the most part, but I ended up stopping the Reglan due to some side effects. I accidentally saw the doctor after all this (they scheduled me with him and not SK) and the doctor wasn't too keen about me having surgery (I was "too young") and suggested I just take the meds and continue on a low acid diet.  I saw SK not long after that (yes I scheduled an appointment with her even though I saw the other doctor.  I liked her better and wanted her opinion!)  She said I could see a surgeon if I wanted and she would give me some recommendations.  I might have decided I didn't want to deal with anyone else for a while and threw away those recommendations.  Maybe.

So I was at this standstill of Protonix and the occasional Rolaids for about a year when I decided that although the Protonix worked, it didn't work well enough and I needed to think about the next step in making me healthier.  The next post will get into what all my next step (but certainly not my final) entailed!

*hugs and kisses*

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