Category Archives: gastroenterology

Simple Fix

I have felt better these past few weeks than I have in the past five years! I have more energy, my appetite has evened out, I feel ‘light’, I have had very little nausea and vomiting. I just feel…alive again.

Why? What changed?

It was all so sudden. At least that’s how it seemed.

About five years ago was when my heart started giving me noticeable trouble. Heartburn (acid reflux), chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue. I didn’t have insurance at the time so I just lived with it and hoped and deluded myself into believing it wasn’t what I knew it was. These symptoms just got worse and worse over the next couple of years.

Three years ago I got insurance and ended up having open heart surgery. A triple bypass put me down for several months. The surgery and subsequent recovery time caused me to develop a frozen left shoulder on top of everything else I was dealing with. I was put on all kinds of medication and filled with heavy duty antibiotics. I never did quite get all my energy and strength back…until now.

Three months after the heart surgery I began a one year journey that would end up being four eye surgeries. More meds… and physical restrictions while healing.

Over the past three years I have been extra prone to developing staph infections in my skin. So this means I have been on and off of heavy duty, double doses of antibiotics.

During this time I have been feeling miserable, frustrated, depressed, anxious. You name it! On top of dealing with my ‘normal’ life of diabetes, I was dealing with all this crap. I just couldn’t figure out the cause of certain symptoms. It’s bad enough to have any symptoms at all, but when you and your horde of doctors can’t pin down the cause, it’s just down right maddening!

Loss of appetite

Weight gain

Inability to lose weight

Chronic fatigue

Frequent nausea and vomiting

Vitamin deficiency (for me vitamin D and B12)

Less frequent bowel movements

Diarrhea

Inability to digest certain foods (sulfur heavy foods, red meat, eggs, etc.)

Now, I do have gastroparesis, so most of these symptoms were blamed on it. But, my gastroparesis was diagnosed as mild and both my GI and my endo implied that my symptoms should not be so extreme and frequent.

So, moving on, the entire month of October this year I suffered with extreme symptoms of hyperthyroidism which we determined was caused by thyroiditis. I lost close to 25lbs and had no strength or energy among other terrible symptoms.

Then, suddenly, I awoke one beautiful morning and felt…good. Just like that, I felt like time had gone in reverse and I was back to five years ago before this whole fiasco ever began.

Why? What changed?

It’s so simple. Why hadn’t I thought of it earlier…and why hadn’t any of my doctors?!

Going through all of this…stuff, I was on so many medications, and even worse I was on SO MANY antibiotics.

Antibiotics…kill bacteria…even the good bacteria we need to be healthy…gut bacteria that helps us digest, absorb nutrients, eliminate properly, etc.

Back in July, I think it was, I began to take a probiotic supplement capsule every morning. I soon noticed that as long as I take that capsule every single day, I feel fewer symptoms. It took some time but as you’ve just read, this glorious little over-the-counter capsule of good gut bacteria has set me back to feeling just about right as rain.

Probiotics, yo, try ’em out if you got problems, it just might be an easy fix for you, too.  😀

pro

Now the one and only concern I have when I go to my doctor is getting my blood sugars back in line. I’ve fallen really far off track with BG control.

Self discipline. I need to kick myself back into gear. I can do it! I’ve done it before! I will get there again!

Probiotics

I’ve suffered from tummy issues almost my entire life. As with most of my issues, this problem was much less significant when I was younger, but has become a somewhat major issue now days.

Who knows what caused my tummy troubles? Heredity? Type 1 diabetes? Anxiety? I really don’t know. It’s probably a combination of them all.

What exactly do I mean when I say “tummy issues”? Nausea, vomiting, pain, loss of appetite, bloat…

The increase in trouble pretty much began when my heart started to give me trouble. It was strange that I began to have severe heartburn at just about the same time I started to have chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, and all the symptoms of heart failure.

I think one thing that messed up my tummy even more than it already was is that for over a year I was taking a double dose of Omeprozole on a daily basis. I was also drinking Apple Cider Vinegar like water because it helped the heartburn more than the meds did.

Within a month after my heart surgery the heartburn faded away. Yes, I am certain it was heartburn and not just another symptom of my heart problems. For some reason the heart congestion was aggravating my stomach. I had an endoscopy done and the doctor did confirm acid reflux.

But, I think, because of all that time with tummy meds and vinegar, my stomach was permanently out of balance. I could no longer eat certain foods without vomiting (onions, red meat, garlic, eggs…), I was nauseous all the time, I vomited about twice a week no matter what I ate, my gastroparesis symptoms were increased….

I had tried to incorporate probiotics into my diet via yogurt and other foods with them in it. But they all mess with my blood sugar because they tend to have added sugar, and they didn’t help my tummy at all.

So I gave up on probiotics for a couple years.

Then, out of the blue, for no reason other than I was curious, I started taking a probiotic supplement. Just one little capsule a day.

In less than two weeks I realized I was no longer nauseous and had not vomited for awhile, and had only had one tummy ache.

I have been taking the supplement for almost a month now and have no issues at all anymore except for still having very little appetite.

What are probiotics? They are a beneficial microorganism (good bacteria) that aid in digestion and stomach “balance”.

Gastric Emptying Study

Let’s say you’ve been having some tummy troubles and your doctor has ordered a gastric emptying study. You have never had one of these studies so you are a bit nervous because you don’t know what to expect. No worries, I just had one done and I’m here to let you know what you can expect.

The first thing you need to know is that this study takes about four hours and there will be a lot of waiting time. Make sure to clear your day and bring along a book, crochet, phone, pillow, kitchen sink…or whatever you need to help pass the time.

Be prepared to stop taking any pain medications at least 48 hours prior to your test. Also, you will need to completely fast (and I mean absolutely no ingestion of anything whatsoever, food, water, pills, anything at all) for 8 to 12 hours prior to the test.

When you first arrive they may ask you to fill out a quick questionnaire that will ask things like what your symptoms are, if you are diabetic, what medications you take, if you followed the preparations for the test, etc.

You will be happy to know that the next thing they will do is feed you! I was given scrambled eggs, two slices of white bread toast with jam, and 9 oz. of water. The food is laced with a small amount of radioactive isotopes. This stuff makes the scans of your stomach clear enough to see the food activity.

They will tell you not to eat or drink anything else until the test is completed.

As soon as you are done eating they will do the first scan. You will be asked to stand between two imaging screens. You need to stand still for one whole minute while the picture is taken.

Then you are sent to the waiting room to pass thirty minutes of time…

After thirty minutes another scan is done, more standing still for one minute.

Then you are sent to wait for thirty more minutes…

After thirty minutes you are scanned again.

Then you are sent to wait for one whole hour…I hope your book is a good one…

After one hour you are scanned again.

Then you are sent to wait for two complete hours…Your blanket you are crocheting is just about done, right?

After two hours they finally do the last scan and now all you have to do is go home and wait for the results.

Good luck! 🙂

From the Gut to the Heart

I had two doctor appointments today. First I saw my new gastroenterologist, and then I saw my new cardiologist. It was a good day all in all.

The GI specialist was kind and soft spoken. He spent most of the visit listening to my history and taking notes. I told him all about my symptoms, when they started, how often and severe they have been over the years, and that my previous GI doctor had diagnosed me with gastroparesis based solely on my symptoms.

“I’ve never had the dye test done.” I said.

I went on to explain that one of the reasons I was here today was because my gastroparesis symptoms have been “flaring up” the past two months and been much worse than usual.

The doctor listened and agreed that based on my symptoms I do have gastroparesis but he wants me to have the gastric emptying study done to get more information on my exact condition.

We talked a little bit about my eating habits. I explained that I follow a LCHF diet and eat mostly vegetables and easy to digest foods. I eat small portions mostly because I get full so fast and easy.

“I tend to avoid red meat and pork because I can’t digest them anymore and they just make me sick and vomit.”

“Yes, yes.”  He nodded.

We also talked about all the medications I take and then we said goodbye.

“After you have the study done I will call you with the results.” He said, and then walked me out.

After lunch I went to my cardiology appointment. Before the doctor came in they did an EKG on me. It came back good.

This doctor was also very kind. I told him about my heart problems and surgery. He was able to look up my angiogram and surgery records from the hospital, as well as my previous cardiologists file on me.  We talked a lot about why I have heart disease at such a young age and what I can do to keep my heart healthy from here on out.

“We don’t do stress tests here unless there are symptoms of issues.” He explained. “Private practice doctors like to do them every six months or year because it’s how they pay for their practice.”  He went on. “Do you know how much radiation you are getting each time you have a test done? One test is like ten chest x-rays. I have these patients that have seen private doctors for years, getting these unnecessary tests done all that time and then they wonder how they got cancer.”

He went on to say that if I ever need a stress test he will do the medicine one for me instead of the treadmill one because of my neuropathy. I was happy to hear that, my old cardiologist never took my neuropathy to mind.

“I won’t hesitate to order any test I think is necessary, but there is no need to run tests just for the sake of running tests.”

We talked about my blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and medications. Then he ordered an Echocardiogram so he could get a good base line of my heart to begin his treatment of me.

I mentioned to him my history of “fluttering” in my chest and how my previous cardiologist wasn’t concerned that my heart was skipping beats but was keeping an eye on it. I told him it comes and goes and doesn’t follow any pattern so it’s hard to catch, but it’s been happening all my life.  This doctor told me if I have any episodes in the future to call him right away and he will give me a monitor to wear so he can hopefully catch it happening and be able to tell what it is all about.

“You are at high risk for sleep apnea…” He began.

“I have an appointment coming up for a sleep study.” I replied.

“Good, good.”

He decided not to mess with any of my medications, and recapped about scheduling the Echocardiogram, and to call him if I get any flutters.

“I think one year visits will be good from now on.” He said as he walked me out. “If you have any symptoms -I’m sure you are very aware of what they are- come in right away or go to the ER.”

All in all a good day.

 

Here’s to a Healthy Tummy

Today I saw my GI (gastroenterology) specialist for the first time since September 2013.  It has been so long for two reasons:

1. I got caught up with heart surgery and then immediately after that I had a year-long adventure with four eye surgeries.  And on top of all that I have been seeing a cardiologist, primary doctor, and now an endocrinologist.  So I guess I just was overwhelmed with doctor visits, surgeries, and labs, etc..

2. All of my tummy troubles completely disappeared after my heart surgery so I felt I really didn’t need to see the GI specialist anymore.

Back in January my GI specialists office called me and requested to see me.  I figured what the heck, I may not feel any tummy troubles anymore but it would be nice to get a clean bill of tummy health from The Man.  I made the appointment and today I went in.

Let me take a moment to get you informed of my past health issues.  In mid 2011 I began to have bouts of what I thought was heartburn.  Very quickly the weekly heartburn attacks became daily and got more and more painful.  I had no insurance at the time so I self medicated by taking over the counter heartburn meds and also by changing my diet and treating with apple cider vinegar (a treatment that helped at first but eventually stopped working).  I eventually got to the point of not even being able to walk slowly down my hallway without having to stop and rest because the “heartburn” was so painful.

In mid 2013 I got insurance and saw a primary care doctor for my terrible heartburn.  She didn’t want to do anything at first but double the Omeprazole I was taking.  She wanted to concentrate on my diabetes first, and also do a full physical.  I went along with this but then kept making appointments with her to bug her about my extremely painful heartburn.  Finally she got the hint and referred me to a GI specialist.

The GI specialist did an examination, asked me a million questions, scheduled an endoscopy, and immediately referred me to a cardiologist.  I had the endoscopy which showed only mild irritation.

Not long after the endoscopy I had an appointment with a cardiologist.  After an EKG, exam, stress test, and angiogram, I ended up having triple bypass heart surgery!

So today I finally saw my GI specialist again.  I like him a lot.  He has a wonderful personality and bedside manner.  He is a doctor who knows his field inside and out.  He is highly aware that women have extremely different symptoms of heart trouble than men and doesn’t hesitate to take into consideration that heartburn and heart failure often have exactly the same symptoms.  If he had not referred me to the cardiologist as quickly as he had, I could have dropped dead from a heart attack at any second.  I made sure to thank him for saving my life!

heart

We talked about my tummy.  I told him I have had zero troubles since the heart surgery.  He was glad to hear this.  I did tell him, though, that when I eat my blood sugar doesn’t rise hardly at all until four to five hours later, it is then that it suddenly spikes.  He said this could be a symptom of delayed stomach emptying (gastroparesis). He asked me if I have nausea, vomiting, excessive fullness even when I don’t eat much, gas, etc..  I said nope, no troubles at all.  He was not too worried at this time and said we will keep an eye on it and to continue eating a healthy diet and gaining tighter control of my blood sugar.

gastro

My cardiologist is also his cardiologist (and good friend, apparently they went to college together).  We talked about my heart, cardiologist, medications, diet, exercise, labs, etc..  He informed me that he is going to be retiring and has hired a doctor to take his place when he eventually leaves.  I was sad to hear this, it seems every time I find a doctor I really like and think is very good, they leave in one way or another.

He said he is very happy I am doing so well.  He wants to see me again in six months to revisit my possible delayed stomach emptying and make sure I am still doing well.

Here’s to hoping my tummy is good…’cause the rest of me sure is falling apart.

Treadmills and Poopshivers

August 15, 2014 started out just fine.  But then some portal from hell burst forth and grabbed me by the female balls and proceeded to torture me with the force and anger of a baby who’s favorite binky has been stolen.

I rolled out of bed at 5:45 A.M. and walked out the door at 6:45ish.  The ride to Fresno with my man and his brother was as it always is;  manly discussions of Magic the Gathering, Titanfall, and other geeky, nerdy, dorky things.  We were accompanied by Bob and Tom on the radio which was actually amusing this morning.  Eventually we made it to hubby’s work and I switched from our car over to my mom’s.

It’s always so much fun, and exercise, to hang out with mom. The woman is in her 70’s and runs around like a 21 year old.  It’s downright exhausting.  But worth it to be with my mom.  We had some time before I had to be at my cardiologist’s office for a stress test, so we went over to the recycler to drop off… you guessed it!  Recyclables.  After that, we went over to Uncle Harry’s to get awesome bagels. I got sesame with cream cheese, mom got some orange cranberry thing that smelled like heaven.  We drove over to the cardiologist’s office and ate and chatted in the car until it was time for me to go in.

We said our goodbyes and I love yous and then I went in.

I checked in still a bit early so I sat in a comfy chair in the waiting room.  this is when hell started peeking it’s nose into my realm.  My lower abdomen began to cramp a little.  It felt like gas.  Really?  The last thing I need at a treadmill stress test is gas.

Dun, dun, DUN!

I was alone at the moment here in the waiting room so I do what women are so very good at.  I discreetly let out a bit of silent gas.  I am relieved to find it doesn’t smell.  But the release doesn’t seem to help any.

After a bit I get called back. The nurse takes me to an exam room, gives me a gown and instructions, and tells me the tech will be in to get me in a few minutes.  I remove my shirt and bra and put the gown on with the opening in front.  I sit and wait for the tech.  My stomach is now more than gassy, I feel as if I am having menstrual cramps.  Lovely, I’ve been on my period for five days now, it should be ending, not starting!  On top of the pain, I am still worrying about having gas while running on a treadmill.  The embarrassment will be enough to shatter my fragile existence.

It’s impossible to hold in farts while running.

It doesn’t take long for the tech to come get me.  We walk over to the testing room.  He asks me to lay on my back on the table.  I inform him I just had eye surgery and am not supposed to be on my back.  He says it will only be for a couple minutes, is that OK?  I think it will be fine.  Several minutes later he has me roll onto my side and does the pre-exercise ultrasound of my heart.  He then finishes up hooking me up to all the machines.  The doctor hasn’t arrived at the office yet, so I am left alone to wait and dwell on the growing pain and urgency in my lower abdomen.  I now feel gassy, crampy, and rumbley.  Yay!  I am considering taking all these machines with me into the restroom.  I have an aversion to using public restrooms and this is the sole reason I have not yet made that trip. At this point, I hate myself and all my stupid quirks.

This is the only time I have ever been happy a doctor was late.

The tech comes back into the room to get something.

“I hate to ask you this terrible question…”

“You have to use the restroom, don’t you?”

*sheepish smile* “Yes, I’m sorry.”

“Don’t worry, you’d be surprised at how many people do this.”

“If it’s too much trouble to unhook me, I can hold it.”  OMG!  Please unhook me!

“It’s no trouble at all, I just need to unplug two things, then you’ll have to carry all these wires in with you.”

“I promise I wont let them fall in.”

“Please don’t.”  He smiles.

I shuffle on over to the restroom which is a tiny one toilet room with a sink and a push doorknob lock.  At least it has a fart fan.  I can hear everything going on outside the door which means they can probably hear me.  The business I do is not what I expect (explosions of volcanic magnitude) but it does leave me feeling a bit better.  I gather myself and walk back to the testing room.

By time I get back the doctor has arrived and we jump right into the test.  Surprisingly the only discomfort I feel regarding my tummy during the test is a bit of menstrual like cramping.  The test doesn’t last too long and I find that my heart is healthy but I am out of shape.

Once the running stops I have to get back on the table for the post-exercise ultrasound.  This is when that hell portal decides to open much wider and grab a lot tighter.  The cramping and rumbling come back with a passion.  All I want to do is get out of this place.  Why have they not invented teleportation yet!?  I need my toilet!  The one I have an intimate and private and very personal relationship with.

The test is done, the doctor blessedly has not much to say because all the news is good.  I get dressed, stop in the lobby to make my next appointment, and then leave.

This is when I remember I have to call, and wait, for my ride home.   SHIT!

I decide to walk slowly across the street to the 99cent store.  I call my ride while on my way.  Once at the store I walk around slowly, trying not to to look like I am on the verge of literally losing my shit.  I finally decide to buy something and get in line.  The line is long and it takes several year like minutes to finally pay and get out of there.

My ride hasn’t arrived yet.  My bowels are battling with my strength and will to restrain them.   This is not comfortable at all.  I think I am on the verge of birthing a demon.  I casually walk back into the store and ask the cashier if they have a restroom.

“Back right corner.”

Why do stores always have to put their restrooms in the deepest darkest corners of Mordor?!  I begin the journey to Never Never Land putting all my might into not letting the demon win.  Walking ever so nonchalantly to the back of the store.

The restroom is what you would expect a restroom in a 99cent store to look like.  It looked like an alcohol fueled bum party had burst forth through the doors and left every ounce of filth behind.  It was disgusting, but I was having a down right emergency here.  I did take a second to put down a useless paper guard even though my bowels screamed for me to skip that step.  I was in the bathroom from skid row for awhile.  Long enough to have this text conversation with my hubby.

“In the shitter, be out soon.”

“Just got here.”

“Exploding…be a few minutes.”

“At the back near cold stuff.”

“KK.   Got the poopshivers so bad.”

“O no.”

“Didn’t have to pay doc this time.”  This was in regards to my co-pay at the cardiologist.

“Oh good.”

Finally I felt good enough to escape the bathroom from Jaba’s palace.  My hubby was empathetic but still wanted to shop.  We wandered the store for about ten minutes, then the cramping started again.

“OK, let’s go.”  Hubby says.

“You go pay, I’ll meet you at the car.”  I head back to the bathroom from shit creek.

Several minutes pass and I once again feel good enough to separate myself from the cursed porcelain throne.  I walk casually out to the car.

Now, I have noticed that it’s about every 10-15 minutes that I get the really bad and urgent waves of demon spawned cramping.  The ride home is at least 20 minutes.  Hmmm.

Right on schedule, about five minutes from relief comes the biggest, most urgent rippling wave of cramp I’ve had yet.

“Oh my god! It’s like I’m in labor!”  I feel like Satan is prompting me to push, push, push!

By time we make it home I have been working so hard at not pooping myself that I now feel nauseated on top of it all.  I make my way to my precious, private, comfortable bathroom and rip off all, yes, ALL of my clothes and settle in for the long haul.

Playing Doctor Pinball Pays Off

This was originally posted to my old blog on October 15, 2013

I have written in the past about my ongoing troubles with GERD.  For those of you who don’t want to travel back through my previous posts, I have GERD and up until today, I thought all of my pain was attributed to this terribly uncomfortable heartburn problem.  I was wrong…well, not all wrong, I did suspect that there was possibly something else.  About that, I was right.

My primary care doctor, a few weeks ago, sent me to a GI specialist to try to figure out why my heartburn was not being successfully controlled by medication and diet.  The GI specialist ordered an endoscopy.  Let me go off track here for a moment and tell you the wonderful story of how the endoscopy went.  They give you an IV and through that they give you nice drugs that relax you and help you doze off a bit.  My IV either punctured through the vein or was not in it at all.  All those wonderful drugs filled a nice lump in my arm, NOT getting into my bloodstream and therefore NOT making me relax or sleepy. Needless to say, I felt every moment and millimeter of the endoscopy.  Not a comfortable experience, but not terribly painful.  Thank goodness it only lasts a few minutes.  After the endoscopy was done, I would say about 30 minutes to an hour later, the drugs finally hit me and I slept like a baby for several hours.

OK, back to the story at hand.  The GI specialist, after hearing me explain that I don’t get heartburn from foods, or when resting, and not too often when lying down anymore; but I do get it real bad whenever I try to engage in any physical activity, with no relief from medication, suspected I might have a heart problem in addition to the GERD.  He referred me to a cardiologist.

The cardiologist checked me out, did an EKG and a stress test with ultrasound and found an abnormality, “a narrowing”.  So, now I get to go in and have an angiogram to find out the extent of this issue.

At least I know what the source of the pain is now and can move forward to get it resolved.

If you’ll excuse me, I need to go shave my groin now.

GERD, or better known as “Oh, my God, just let me die already!”

Originally posted to my old blog on April 26, 2013

I wrote and posted the following six months before I ended up having open heart surgery.  If you are experiencing “heartburn” or any kind of chest pain, see your doctor right away and have your heart checked thoroughly.  I was misdiagnosed with GERD when my problem was actually coronary artery disease. When you are diabetic, age doesn’t matter!  I was only 34 when I had heart surgery!

I have a high pain tolerance; as a child I used to get ear infections and not even realize I had one until my eardrum burst (or at least was on the verge of exploding).  I suppose most of the time it is a good thing, being a Type I diabetic and having to take three injections a day and prick my finger several times a day; yeah, it’s a good thing to have a tolerance for pain.  Really, the injections and prickings aren’t painful in the slightest.  A better example of my tolerance for pain would be the broken finger, tail bone, and many other injuries I have had over the years that I didn’t really find very painful.  A bad thing about having a high pain tolerance is the annoyance I feel toward people that have a low tolerance for pain; I just can’t understand why they are being such babies.  It’s just a broken bone, gosh…

Well, I can understand now what people mean by “Oh, my God! Just let me die already!”  It all started about a year ago, maybe earlier.  The symptoms began infrequently, a couple times a month with a mild pain in the center of my chest.  Being a diabetic with no health insurance (I haven’t seen a doctor in about 7 years), I worried it might be heart failure.  I just buried it in the back of my mind with all the other things I was in denial about.  Quickly, but just gradually enough, it became more frequent and severe.  The pain in the center of my chest kicked in whenever I tried to do anything active, or bent over, or lay down, or ate a big meal.  The pain spread to my arms, I got weak and tired and just had to sit down, sometimes the pain even penetrated through to my back!

It was when the pain was there everyday, mild pain all day with two or three severe flareups a day, that I finally researched the symptoms.  According to the Internet (I read up on several sites) it was either heart failure or Esophagitis (AKA GERD).  Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease, my symptoms fit perfectly.  The sphincter at the end of the esophagus that opens into the stomach isn’t working properly and acid is backing up into the esophagus causing painful and damaging heartburn.  So, what can I do about it without health insurance?  I did everything the Internet told me to; I cut out all the foods and stuff that cause heartburn: Onions, grease, fat, tomatoes, chocolate, caffeine, carbs, peppers, other spicy things, citrus fruits, tobacco, alcohol, etc.  I tried to lose weight and succeeded to a small degree but it is hard to lose weight when you can’t do any physical activity without severe pain.  I ate TUMS like they were candy and tried Prevacid but it didn’t help in the slightest.  I ate black licorice and drank aloe vera juice, and ate foods that help relieve or prevent heartburn, with very limited results.  I finally found a treatment that worked but it has its own down sides, apple cider vinegar.  I have no idea how or why it works but it is the only thing that brings relief almost instantly and lasts for hours.  I take a shot glass and fill it half way with apple cider vinegar and half with water and shoot it down in one gulp.  After gaging for a moment I drink three shots of water to wash the taste out of my mouth.  Moments later I feel much better, but not completely pain free…

Until recently the pain only kicked in when I tried to be active or ate too much or the wrong things.  Then the day came when the pain woke me up early in the morning.  This was the first time this had happened, heartburn on an empty stomach and while I was already asleep?  On top of the strange timing, it was the most severe pain I had ever had; severe pain in the center of my chest, nauseating, dizzying, pain down my arms and across my collar bones, leg weakening pain, and even a bit of shortness of breath.  I thought for sure I was having a heart attack!

After several hours in the emergency room, an EKG, chest x-ray, blood work, a nitro patch, and some other tests and observations, I left with the diagnosis of esophagitis and hypertension.  They prescribed me Omeprazole and gave me instructions on how to control the heartburn (all the same stuff I’ve already been doing).  So now I am relieved that my heart is healthy* but discouraged that I may never be rid of this constant and debilitating pain.

Will I forever be frightened to walk?  Frightened of bending over?  Loathing of the one thing I used to love almost more than anything, going to bed, because laying down is so very frightening now?  Scared to eat because all eating does is cause me horrific pain?  Will I ever be able to live, walk, clean my house, exercise, again?

*I was misdiagnosed in the ER.  This diagnosis happened only six months before I ended up having open heart surgery.  Be careful, have your symptoms checked by your primary doctor.  Insist on ALL the tests.