I was going to start this series with my years of being gluten-free, but decided the only way I could post about that is if I started from the beginning of my health dilemmas. Thus, I will start with my journey of acid reflux (which started a little before my gluten diagnosis).
I was always a kid who loved to try new foods and new tastes. I was never scared or a picky-eater and really loved all food. Except mushrooms, cranberries, and stuffing (now I love all those things). I was always intrigued by food and taste and would never turn down the spicy hot chips or bites of food by dad would always offer me to try. Now I would have to step back and think of the consequences.
I really began to notice my acid reflux symptoms during 7th grade. I really was shocked by the sudden change my body had made, I never had a problem with food before how could this be. I was also under a lot of stress which definitely didn't help. Not really knowing what to do since Maalox and Pepto-Bismol weren't really helping, my mom took me to see a doctor. Low and behold doctor's love of drugs they put me, a 12 year-old on Prilosec then switched me to Nexium. I can't remember why I was switched to Nexium but that wouldn't last long. It gave me horrible side-effects making me rather deal with the acid reflux. I had an endoscopy down and they could see that there were signs of healing ulcers in my stomach. Good sign? Maybe. So then I spent a few years back on Prescription Omeprizole. During Freshman year I was able to ween myself off and get down to a lower dose. Then finally I switched to over the counter Pepcid AC. I took one in the morning and one before dinner. It seemed to work, I just couldn't eat tomatoes, peppers, coffee, and all the spicy hot spices I loved. If I did I would just have to know and deal with the suffering.
Then during Sophomore year my reflux came back full force. I needed a stronger medicine again and had to go back on prescription Omeprizole. If i missed even one day, I would having burning in my throat and chest, be unable to sleep, and wake-up with a sore and raw throat. Not fun, I hated it. I am definitely against anytime of drug. I don't even take Tylenol, so being on these strong meds that were never truly studied in kids and had bad long-term effects on bones and your health really freaked me out. But there was noting I could do. Nothing would help my reflux symptoms but Omeprizole.
Last year I had my second ever Endoscopy and my gastro took a closer look at what could be causing my severe reflux. She found that the flap that is on my esophagus which in normal people is supposed to stay closed, never closes on me. I just have an open gap allowing the acid to free-range in my body. She didn't really say if there was a solution. Only surgery to sew it closed, I guess. But I hate doctors, hospitals, just everything about them so we haven't looked for further solutions. Thus I am still on a daily 20mg Omeprizole pill in the morning and then a 20mg pill of Pepcid before dinner. This strategy seems to be working for now but I still get bad flare-ups and sometimes have to go on Omeprizole twice a day until it calms down. But I still live with daily burning in my stomach, but using it is light and I don't let it bother me. I stay away from tomatoes, peppers, garlic, onions, heavy spicing, coffee (caffeine), and really acidic food, but it is truly hard. Those foods encompass some of my favorite things and are in my favorite dishes (I am talking Chana Masala....O how I miss you!). So sometimes I will eat these foods and just know that I will be suffering with the burning for the next day or two, but I can deal. The meds don't help keep it away when I eat these things, only make the symptoms milder. I also try to not eat anything for two hours before I go to sleep or lie down, which seems to help.
Is it bad to be living on Omeprizole for so many years with no end in sight and starting at such a young age? Yes, it is. It is bad for my bones, health, and making my stomach weaker and dependent on it. But as you can see from my endoscopy, my reflux won't just go away and I won't just grow out of it. But stopping the medication is not an option. It also scares me that having uncontrolled reflux for many years leads to so much irritation and destruction to the digestive track that cancer can be a concern down the line. So right now I am at a stand still and don't really know what I will be doing about this in the future. I don't plan on going back to my current pediatric gastro, that's for sure. But doctors don't seem to help or know anything. I am the only one who knows my body and I just don't want to deal with more doctors.
So tell me:
Do you suffer from Acid Reflux, GERD, or Heart Burn? Have you ever heard of my esophagus condition?
What do you use or take to mitigate your symptoms? Any natural remedies for severe reflux? I heard that apple cider vinegar can help but I am scared to try it. It seems like taking an acid, pouring it in water, and chugging it, is just an all around bad idea for my body. I do however use copious amounts of Turmeric and Ginger. These spices are good for the tummy and help inflammation! But I think the amount of cinnamon I use just reverses their effect! Haha!
P.S. I posted the winner of my Plant Fusion Giveaway on the original post! I will email you if you won so check your inbox!