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Hello everyone, I’d like to talk about my journey with acid reflux ”GERD”, gastritis, and hiatal hernia. It all started when I was 21-22 years old, I started to get a bad burning sensation in my stomach. At first, the pain was bearable. I thought it was the stress causing this pain, but with time I knew something else was going on.
Two years later, I got a burning sensation in my stomach more often, every day I was in pain, so I went to my PCP doctor for a checkup. He diagnosed me with acid reflux, told me to change my diet and gave me omeprazole. For a few months, the medication helped me get through the day.
At 25 my acid reflux had gotten out of control. No matter what I ate or drank my stomach was on fire, it began to go up my throat. Upon waking up in the morning I could taste the stomach acid in my mouth. All my PCP could do is increasing the dose of my medicine.
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At 26, I got tired of how my PCP was treating my condition, so I asked for a referral to a Gastroenterologist and my PCP refused to say he was treating me. I went to the urgent care and told them my concerns and treatment. They agreed that this has become a major problem because I was vomiting stomach acid daily, couldn’t eat, barely felt hungry and losing weight constantly.
They sent me to a GI doctor, at my first appointment, I felt that I was finally going to get some answers. He scheduled an endoscopy and colonoscopy. When the results came out I found that I had H. Pylori bacteria in my stomach that has caused 6 ulcers, that’s why I was in so much pain. I have been prescribed very high dose-intensive antibiotics for 2 weeks, 5 in the day and 5 at night every day for 2 weeks. finally, I got some answers and hope that I will feel better.
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After a month. I went back for a checkup and found that the ulcers were starting to heal. I was also prescribed two acid reflux medications and was told to keep following up if further issues occurred. A few months later, the pain and burning sensation were back worse than before, there were days I couldn’t get out of bed from the burning pain. Stomach, chest, and throat all burned.
At this time, my asthma had started to get worse, couldn’t breathe and suffered from shortness of breath. I called my GI and the nurses told me that I shouldn’t need to come back because my last visit was in the last 3 months. So, I called for a new GI. Now I am 26, in worse shape than ever, so many fruits, veggies and food I can’t eat because of the pain.
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I went to my new GI in hopes of getting better relief for what I was experiencing. He wanted an endoscopy and colonoscopy. Once again, they found 5 ulcers and the lining of my stomach was deteriorating. That’s when I was diagnosed with GERD and gastritis.
I was put on even higher doses of proton pump inhibitor medicine. I never felt a relief, no medicine could stop the burning sensation and I began to feel so hopeless that this is what I have to live with. Years of weight loss, pain, bloating, belching, not eating out with friends or family, and losing them because they think that your condition isn’t that bad.
In the past years, I’ve had over 20 endoscopies and colonoscopies. After 7 years of acid reflux, GERD, and gastritis, I had my regular endoscopy scheduled a bit sooner than usual because I was feeling a bad pressure and bloating pain in my stomach. I was shocked to find out that my stomach had moved up into my diaphragm and this condition is called “hiatal hernia”.
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My doctor recommended that I should have a procedure to try to stop my acid reflux. My problem was that the sphincter in my esophagus wasn’t closing properly, so all the acid from my stomach would come up while bending over or laying down and even trying to eat.
He recommended that I should have a hiatal hernia repair with a fundoplication surgery, to repair and fix my stomach hernia and close the sphincter so that the acid stops from coming up. He sent me to a surgeon who had experience in robotic surgeries. It took over five hours operation as the surgeon couldn’t believe how swollen I was inside and how my stomach could fit up into my diaphragm because of being so swollen.
They made 5 small incisions, one by my liver, one by my sternum, one by my belly button, and two others in my abdomen. The surgery sucked, I was so swollen from the robotic arms moving around in my body, and was put on a liquid diet due to the stomach wrap, they caused so much air buildup.
After the surgery, I no longer could burp or vomit which has made getting the air out my body very difficult. I still experience bloating a lot. The liquid diet lasted 4 months because I had difficulties swallowing. Finally, no more acid reflux for me.
After a year I am no longer dealing with stomach acid or burning but still have trouble swallowing from time to time. I had a knot under my rib that causes pain time to time, but no one seems concerned about it. The scars are still noticeable, but it doesn’t bother me.I’m now 30, feeling much better and will have a year checkup tomorrow.
Don’t give up on your health issues or concerns. If one doctor doesn’t listen, find another one, if that one is the same find another. We are advocates of our own body and we know when something isn’t right. Keep pushing until you get better care!