February 29, 2012

Report From My Gut: One Year Follow-Up Today!

Today, I am visiting Dr. C. for a follow up!  It's been just over a year since my upper endoscopy and GERD diagnosis.   I am excited to share thoughts about where I am now, and see what Dr. C. suggests for the things still affecting my gut.   Since last year, I've been on three different reflux medications, journaled a few food diaries (and began this blog!), experimented with diet modifications, and have gained much awareness of my gut.  

I no longer get nausea as much as I used to, and I rarely have cases of sleep apnea (though last night, I had a horrible episode, the first one in months).  I almost can convince myself that "wet chest feeling" is subsiding.  I have not had regurgitation or that classic "burning heartburn" in months.

BUT -- I still have a catalogue of symptoms daily.  Every so often, I get startled when I notice I am feeling entirely "normal" with no GERD sensations at all.   The fact this is so rare means I am far from solving how to manage my gut.   Here's what I plan to discuss with my doctor today.


  • Wet chest feeling/food stuck in throat feeling:  These are chronic, pretty much 24/7 sensations.   Some days are more pronounced than others, and sometimes I do feel completely free of them, but that does not last long.  (The moment I recognize it's gone, it comes right back.)   When the wet feeling/FIT is gone, this usually coincides with my feeling extremely relaxed or during/after an extremely GERD-friendly meal (small portion, slow eating, easy to digest).
  • Belching:  I have not been tracking my belching, but I notice this can occur at any time. I am often belching during and after meals, particularly when I eat fast, too much, or too rich foods.    I also am prone to belching when I wake up.  These are all big airy burps with no regurgitation.
  • Nausea/fullness/reflux:   Over the past months, my nausea moments have greatly reduced.  I can hardly recall my last episode.  More often, I experience "fullness" after eating, and not a burning but a "gnawing wet feeling" in my stomach-esophagus.   I think I am becoming better at identifying the source of discomfort (not the referred area).    What can/should I do about these symptoms?   
  • TUMS:  I resisted relying on the Tums for symptom relief, but caved in and now use Tums 3-4 x a week, sometimes more, sometimes less.  One Tums provides immediate relief of reflux and nausea.  I'll ask Dr. C. if this is an adequate response, or if I should experiment with prescription meds again.   My thought is I should be stopping the symptoms before they even begin -- by the time I take a Tums, isn't the damage already done?   
  • Constipation:  I'll also share an update from my intestines.   I've improved my efforts to keep "regular" and am generally pleased with my lower guts; however, it's a daily challenge and when it doesn't work out, I am anxious, stressed out (because I'm usually running late on top of it, because of it), and uncomfortable.  The correlation between my GERD and constipation is definite -- so when things aren't moving along, everything is a wreck!

A full accounting of my visit will be posted...

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