Saturday, 20 May 2017

Gerd/Bile reflux ... And me.

So I have had reflux issues since my first pregnancy with Jessica. In hindsight I think I had a mild form of this even before that as I just chucked the rennies down and left it at that!

I started this post 2 days ago. And in true mother style have been distracted from it at least 4 times. I knew what I was going to write and how when I started but right now I have writers block and don't know what to write! Argh! Right I shall proceed and no doubt cause a mess of it any way ...

After my caesarean section with Jess I had a very upset stomach - in terms of pain - and the gp prescribed me Omeprozole which is a PPI for 1 month. For those that don't know a PPI basically reduces acid in the stomach so that your stomach can heal itself. The one month course was up and all was grand so I stopped at the end of the pack. Fast forward 18 months or so and I had been having a lot of chest pain again and a couple of episodes of horrific pain that gripped my throat and chest so tightly that I couldn't breath. I would be leaning over the window sill in agony. I couldn't sit or lay down and it didn't stop. This would go on for up to a few hours. My shortest time was 30 minutes.
I thought this is definately the time to see the GP. I had horrific pain after every meal that would have me laying on the bed for up to a few hours at a time. The GP diagnosed me with reflux in the March and gave me Omeprozole again. When this didn't even as much as touch it I contacted them a week later and they added in Ranitidine at bedtime. This again didn't help massively but began to take the edge off after about 6 months. I had a endoscopy in the May as I wasn't responding to drugs so they wanted to see what was really going on! The scope showed Gastritis and Bile relux. Gastritis is basically just a lot of inflammation and swelling and can cause bleeding. Bile however shouldn't be in the stomach as this stays low below the bottom valve in your stomach causing food to travel one way - down and not have anything else coming back up! I was advised to start on Sucraflate - Which is a "magic" drug that coats itself to the lining of your stomach to stop the acid from irritating it thus meaning it can heal itself. However I could not get this for love or money! Apparently the manufacturer was having issues and couldn't get it. So the GP called the manufacturer who said that I should use gaviscon advanced instead (at around a £10 a bottle!! :-O) I tried for a further 18 months ringing the pharmacy monthly to get this then gave up trying!

I had another episode along the way of the horrific and I called the ambulance out. On this occassion they thought my aorta had burst and sent me off to Southampton general hospital! This was the second time I had been in an ambulance sending my prayers up that I would survive to see my babies again! They diagnosed me with esophageal spasm's and said that I needed to get the GERD (acid reflux) under control. They didn't even seem to acknowledge the previous diagnosis of bile reflux. The only way I can describe the pain is labour pains but in your chest. The exact same tight gripping pain except this was not as kind as labour. Labour gives this to you then gives you a rest. This was one long constant never ending contraction. I tried buscopan - a muscle relaxant for IBS - out of the blue once incase it helped and it actually did. Reduced the pain to 20 minutes! Now any hint of a spasming stomach or anything down there that is quite tight and I straight away chuck in some of those incase it comes back again!

In the October of that year I fell pregnant with Sophie and anything relating to my health went out of the window. Roll on to December last year I saw the GP who was not happy that the drugs weren't controlling this. I started a flare up in the July and was still in daily pain so he referred me to gastroenterology in January. I met with them last month and was advised to try sucraflate again. I told them I had never been able to get it - apparently it is now back in stock and she got some for me there and then from the hospital pharmacy! She also told me that if this didn't help to settle it she would send me off for a ph test to determine if this was acid that was going up into my - now very sore daily  - throat or bile. I am quite scared for this as I fear that Sophie will just try and rip this thing off my face! It will basically be a catheter fed into my throat down to my stomach and will have probes on the end at various points that will detect back to a box when I reflux and what it is. Bile or stomach acid. We need to know this as apparently if it is bile then the ppi's can actually make this worse!
We did talk about surgery and I said I am not keen due to the fact it can cause more problems than you go in with and she agreed so this is off the cards so far. 

I tried sucraflate for 5 days. This resulted in really bad pain that sent me off to bed again after every meal. So I stopped using this and went back on the ppi's as she had told me to do previously. I saw the GP about something else and he read through the notes and told me to try again and that I needed to contact the consult. I dropped her a line putting her in the picture and telling her all symptoms I had ever had. She said to stay on the ppi and see if it settles things. If not she will rearrange a repeat endoscopy. I will mostly likely play this up any way even if things have improved. As in the light of loosing FIL to cancer recently this will put my mind more at ease! Stomach and throat cancers are diagnosed mostly when terminal. So I would rather have another scope and pick this up early than get to that stage ...! Highly unlikely I have it but even so ... Not good for my anxiety otherwise! 

So this is where I am at right now ~  A kinda no mans land in the middle! All we know is I am refluxing something but we don't know if it's bile, acid or both. To try and calm this flare up down I am making small changes. A few weeks ago I changed my breakfast cereal from weetos to porridge. This is meant to be good for your guts. I have reintroduced a daily dose of actimel and am eating more peppers. I have stopped having food late at night which is a massive killer. I love my chocolate before bed - which I really can't do anymore! And I miss my bowls of cereal before bed. I really need those too as I can't put weight on and have lost loads since having Sophie. I really want to put more weight on but every thing I need to eat to do so I can't. Argh! As and when my stomach settles I might sneak in the odd one here and there but need to be careful. As one bowl would be enough for me to wake up with a really painful throat the next morning which could last weeks. This sure doesn't heal quickly!

Right it's late here so I shall go and put myself to bed. Before I reach for a bowl of cherrios as my stomach is growling for food ... Sleep well all! Until next time don't forget to subscribe for immediate updates ... Chin up! And look to the sky! 🌛

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