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Acid Reflux / Medical Anxiety Hell

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by harryhaller, Apr 11, 2021.

  1. harryhaller

    harryhaller New Member

    I hope there is someone who can help me. I seem to have gone into a really bad place.

    I have known about TMS since 2016 when I used it to cure my chronic neck pain. Much like now, the neck pain had taken over my thoughts completely and blighted my life for over two years. I get emotional thinking about Sarno and TMS and how I got my life back, but of course I regret those wasted years.

    Now I have fallen into some Acid Reflux trap. This was something I never had. I had never in my life even bought a single pack of Tums or any other such thing. Actually this is not completely true. In 2006 I had a 3 month episode of some stomach upset (which included a little bit of chest pain, although at the time I saw the problem as mostly my stomach), which, like now, took over my life. During that time I tried some Zantac. I spent hours researching every possible condition on the internet. Since I was fairly young, my hypochondria gravitated towards unlikely things like cancer or parasitic worms. Eventually I realized this was ridiculous and got over it, and I have always regarded it as psychosomatic. Since then I never had another upper digestive problem. Four months ago I was not even aware that there was this hell of chronic reflux suffering. I did not know there was an army of people on lifelong PPI medications (including my own father), or many people living in constant misery and needing to be constantly checked for cancer.

    2020 was a horrific year for me, as it was for many others. When the problems started with the pandemic, I was already not in a very stable situation. I also became separated from my girlfriend, who was in Europe. Many things happened during that year in my own life which were quite terrible. I eventually left my apartment in Philadelphia (or more like fled) because the situation was unlivable. I ended up living in temporary situations and hotels, in Europe for a bit, where I got caught in a second lockdown. Beyond my own personal experiences, even worse is the fact that I couldn't accept certain things that I saw happening around me and in the media. The "new normal" as many have (seemingly with glee) talked about. Throughout the year I was in a constant state of fight-or-flight.

    In December I started having some signs of upper digestive problems. My stomach was swollen, I began feeling bloated all the time. I was living in a hotel room in lockdown, getting very upset and drinking a lot. On the last night before the lockdown there had not only been a terrorist attack not far away in the city I was living, but also I broke up with my girlfriend.

    I didn't really worry about the bloating. It didn't seem like a serious problem. Just "well I should probably take better care of myself" type of thing. I didn't even worry too much when I started getting some pains in my stomach, which I attributed to some careless use of Ibuprofen. I just figured, "well maybe I have an ulcer, I'll have to get some kind of treatment when I am back in the US." I had decided I would come to my parents' house for Christmas, and it was an agonizing decision because I didn't know if I would be able to get back to Europe. After my experiences in Philadelphia earlier in the year, I fully expected civil war at any moment.

    The day after I arrived at my parents' house, I began to experience regurgitation, and what I regarded as "heartburn". I learned that my father had a hiatal hernia and was on Prilosec for life. That his father had surgeries to try to fix his acid reflux. And my uncle had a problem as well. I soon discovered this whole world of "sufferers" of lifelong acid reflux. The information, everywhere I could find on the internet, was that it is permanent.

    During Christmas and New Years, I did not have reflux, although I still had the bloating. But soon it came back full force a few days into January. I woke up with it after having bad dreams. And it has not gone since then.

    I have since descended into total misery. All efforts to find a solution. Hours upon hours of time spend on the computer looking up every aspect of acid reflux. After great indecision I left my parents' house, and rather than trying to go back to Europe, went to Florida where I knew some people. Nothing has changed. In mid February, around the time I broke down and started taking Prilosec, I developed a constant sore throat that makes it hurt to talk, in addition to the bloating, burning, sternum pain, etc. I no longer feel like a human.

    Eventually I scheduled an endoscopy in Philadelphia (I only had insurance in Pennsylvania). So I had to fly there and stay in a hotel for several days, needed a covid test in advance, etc. I spent hours upon hours worried that they would find the hiatal hernia which would mean my life would never be the same. Hours and hours spent on the internet trying to find any hint from some obscure post somewhere by someone that that was not what I had. Ultimately I was told I did not have one. Instead they found an "inlet patch" in my esophagus (which I am told is benign and congenital, although it is not so clear and I worry about it unceasingly). They also found inflammation proving I was refluxing. My main hope was they would find gastrits, which I know is eminently treatable. They found some, but then the doctor told me that the level I had was the same as what everybody had, and that it could not be causing my problems. Hearing that I didn't have real gastritis was actually crushing. So apparently the diagnosis is just the awful thing: GERD. Which it says everywhere that I can see is INCURABLE.

    I thought having no hiatal hernia would allow me to see the reflux problem as TMS. I thought if they didn't find one, I would be free, I would have my life back. But that is not what happened. I am now in a sheer hell of all day spent on my bed, on my computer, frantically searching about reflux. Hoping what I have is "functional dyspepsia", or "functional heartburn" (i.e. TMS). Bland foods only. No alcohol, no coffee. No pleasure whatsover - have to be good, and heal. No humor. Today I ate plain boiled chicken and green peas. And felt pain in my chest afterwards. I am back on a PPI - that's all the doctor could say: "take Prilosec" "I already tried it, it didn't really work, and definitely didn't help my sore throat" "well take double. And make it Nexium". That's all. I have been taking a double dose of Nexium now for three days, and it is as bad as it has ever been.

    So now I am living in this paradise in Florida, but I spend all day inside on my computer in agony. I wake up every morning (or rather in the middle of the night, since my reflux wakes me every night about 4 hours after going to sleep), and after maybe 5 seconds remember everything. How my every waking moment is now filled with these thoughts of reflux, all these new and terrible and small things and terms that have now begun to make up my world. No more love, no more adventure, no more beauty. Just hernias, fundoplications, inlet patches, LPR, GERD, LES, dyspepsia (and yes, the words "dyspepsia" or "gastritis" sound like music to me, setting off my dreams and hopes, because those things are curable). Sometimes when I think of the enormous change in my life, even since those bad times in lockdown (which now seem like a dream), my head starts to spin.

    I know I need to get out and live, but nothing is enjoyable anymore when I do. I feel like half alive, or less. I just want my life back. And somehow I know that no amount of tests or procedures will get me there. And I can't even make rational decisions. I need to decide if I will go to Pennsylvania and try to get every test possible before my insurance expires. To try, without support from anyone, to create a situation there (rent a motel, buy a car, find an apartment...). Or stay here in Florida where I have a room and the town is very nice and sane (but no medical care). At this moment, I am supposed to leave at the end of the month, and I don't know where I will even go.

    Well this is my story. I hope that somebody has some insight. I hope someone has had such an experience and can tell me this is not forever.

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