About a year and a half ago I had a bunch of tests done on my stomach and throat. Last January, The Doctor prescribed some pills for me. I have been taking them daily every morning- religiously. I never missed a day. The entire time, my stomach issues were non-existent. I was a happy man. Until last Wednesday when I ran out of the pills.
I had called up the pharmacy to get a refill because I had five of them remaining. But because it has been over a year since I first put in the original prescription- they refused to fill it. So I had to get them to contact the doctor in order for him to fax the refill request. No big deal. Except the pharmacy never contacted me to tell me that my prescription was refilled for three days. It was going to be two more days before I had a chance to come get the pills.
I was thinking to myself- maybe I don’t need these pills anymore. I have been taking them for over a year now and feel great. Perhaps it was time to stop taking them and look at correcting my eating habits a bit more. After all, it’s now been a few days and no issues. Boy was I wrong.
By the third day of no pills, my acid reflux was back- but only in a minor way. I figured I could still look at my diet and try weening off foods to find what irritates my innards. Maybe just eat a Tums or two when needed. Again- No such luck. The next day got even worse, I was unable to swallow again. I needed to get back on my meds to feel normal inside. It’s now day six since I ran out and I have just taken my first pill. I don’t think it will be super effective right away, but I’ll be back on my daily regiment and be sure to not let them run out in the future.
Funny how a little pink pill can make all the difference in my health. Thank goodness for modern science.
At the end of November, I had a follow up appointment for my stomach issues: Some Medical Diagnosis I Can’t Pronounce. A couple of days ago on Wednesday I went to see a gastroenterologist to discuss what I can do further. My appointment lasted about five minutes.
We went over my stomach issues. He explained that my esophagus is having an allergic reaction and the effects internally are similar to suffering from asthma. Since I’ve had asthma essentially all my life, I knew the feeling. This was similar to what the other doctor had told me. He then listed off the foods that I can avoid and slowly reintroduce them into my diet again.
He then asked if I was taking any medication since my gastroscope. I told him that the doctor who performed the scope prescribed Esomeprazole once daily on an empty stomach. This new doctor asked if it was working. I told him I hadn’t had any swallowing issues or heartburn since I began taking it. Then came his advice.
He told me that I could go off the drug and eliminate all of those foods to see which one I was having a slight reaction to. Or I could continue to take the drug for the rest of my life and eat whatever I wanted. My decision was quick. I was out of his office with a one year prescription renewal and went straight to McDonald’s followed later on by pizza.
There may come a time that I decide to try eliminating certain foods. But I’m still young enough to enjoy life and all that it has to offer. Especially in the food department. I don’t over indulge in foods, so I haven’t ever gained much weight. I could eat healthier- and that is a goal this year. But I am not ready to eliminate foods. Especially ones I enjoy so much.
I saw my surgeon yesterday for a follow up appointment for all those tests I had done two weeks ago. My swallowing has still remained difficult, but I am hopeful that I can battle the frustration I was having. After I wrote about my experience: The Inner Me Hurts, I found out that others have had the same issues. Now I know what I am suffering from.
Eosinophilic Esophagitis. A big fancy medical term that sounds scarier than it is. The surgeon says it’s as if I have “asthma of the esophagus”. It causes a closing/tightening of my esophagus most likely caused by a food allergy. It also turns out that people with this condition also have asthma. Which is me. Fun. More allergies and tightening of throat tubes inside of me.
My surgeon talked to me about all of the possibilities to help me swallow. What I will be starting with is a prescription antacid. Followed by a meeting with a gastroenterologist in the future. Then an elimination diet to see if I can pinpoint what I may be allergic to. Now I have some mental relief, but a long way to go.
As I sat waiting to see my surgeon I stared at a poster of what our body looks like on the inside. It still amazes me at how complex the human body is and why our organs are the way they are. I had plenty of time to study the poster since the doctor had me waiting for over an hour. I began to wonder if it was something doctors do. Make people wait and get frustrated only to give them good-ish news. Pretty sure if it was something awful, I would’ve been told quickly.
I’m glad it’s not as bad as I thought. I’m still frustrated that there isn’t an easy fix. But I probably should focus more on a proper diet as I get older.
Just like what my wife has been telling me for years…