JESSICA’S PERSONAL STORY

Hi, I was put on PPIs for my stomach when I was 17. I was constantly burping and would get bile up my throat. The pills seemed to help, and I knew what I couldn’t eat, so I avoided things like carbonated drinks, citrus, etc. I lived my life and was relatively fine. Fast forward, I’m now 28 and I noticed my reflux getting worse over the past year, but nothing extreme. I had changed my diet completely, going to a low-carb diet with lots of protein. Some days were great, others were harder, but still mostly lived my life.

This past June, I had a cold and I haven’t been the same since. I drank lots of tea and ate very little else. I thought I was better, but then I started having shortness of breath and I couldn’t clear my throat. I did the dreaded thing and drank some ginger ale to clear my phlegm out. A couple days later, I ended up in the ER twice. Everyone wrote me off as just anxious. Around then, I had started having trouble swallowing. And my stomach was so bad, I just felt like a ball of acid. I was extremely stressed and almost couldn’t very without feeling acid wash up my throat, even taking protonix. They told me I could have a stricture and to have mostly liquids. I was terrified. I felt like I couldn’t eat anything. Everything made me feel sick. I had an EGD done and he told me I don’t have any signs of reflux. All biopsies were negative for anything.

All my tests come back normal, including both kinds of swallow studies, x-rays, pulmonary tests. I’m definitely grateful that I seem to be okay on paper. I just wish I felt the same. I went from 173 lb. in early July to 156 in early September. I worry about eating enough. I get to 1200 calories each day and I feel like I never stop eating because it takes me so long to get the food down. Sometimes my heartburn stops me from eating. When I feel food get stuck and I clear my throat, I feel like my stomach is a bottle of pop that I just shook and acid starts coming up.

My whole life has changed completely. I can’t do much of anything and I’m extremely stressed. I’m maxed out on Protonix twice a day, plus a Pepcid complete, and I still feel awful. Tonight, I was woken for the first time ever choking on acid. I am terrified and I don’t know how to go back to sleep. I already switched to a wedge pillow months ago and now that’s not working, either. I follow all the rules and I’m still suffering. I am scheduled in a few weeks to have a Bravo test done via endoscopy with a different doctor. I’m supposed to be off my meds for a WEEK before I get it done and several days after. And then if they can justify a surgery, I’ll have to wait to do that, too. I don’t know how I’m going to get through this. For every moment I feel like I’m okay, there’s another that I feel like I’m dying. The anxiety I have is off the charts. I wouldn’t wish this hell on anyone. I just want my old life back. I really hope everyone here finds a solution that works for them, because this is an awful way to live.

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