GERD Update #eleventyfive

The GERD has been worse the last few weeks, to the point of keeping me up at night and eating Tums like candy. The Pepcid helps, but I’ve had a couple of times where even that did not quell the pain 100%.

At the private dinner the other night, the doctor (who I was cooking for) was telling me that I needed to get GERD surgery or I might have a hiatal hernia that is causing the GERD. He was very sure that a Nissen fundoplication was the answer to my problems.

After some research, it appears that I am not able to have Nissen fundoplication to relieve my GERD since I’ve already had VSG surgery. There are many surgeons who are starting to do the Nissen WITH VSG due to so many VSG patients ending up with GERD or having it get worse. But of course, I missed that train. :(

I asked the Mexico surgeon about it and his only solution was RNY Bypass. There is nothing surgically I can do for this fucking GERD – other than go full on RNY bypass and I will NOT do that. If I’d wanted bypass I’d have gotten one at the outset. Bypass is a nasty business and it interferes with nutrition for the rest of one’s life. NO THANKS.

I can (and probably will) check to see if there’s a hernia causing all this strife. THAT can be fixed laparoscopically. But knowing my luck, it will not be a hernia, just a weak esophageal sphincter, which can only be fixed by the Nissen procedure.

I guess I’m left with GERD. I should buy stock in TUMS since I eat them like candy – literally after almost every meal. And Pepcid, which I have to take occasionally to sleep. Sucks.

The one shred of good news is that the Pepcid is not binding me up too badly, which means it is helping without the horrible side effects of PPIs.

I guess I’m now a part of the chronic illness club. Awesome. I am not happy about this, but there is nothing I can do but treat symptoms. Just like Nick, who can only treat his fibromyalgia as it pops up. Sigh.

Interesting GERD Development

I am still wrestling with GERD, and I have discovered an anomaly!

I started taking probiotics (Vitacost brand) about a month or so ago. Probiotics are supposed to aid in managing GERD symptoms and I’d been taking Kyo-Dophilus before I got the Vitacost brand without issues. Soon after starting these, I began to have bouts of severe hypersalivation (called “water bashing”) which is caused by acids touching the esophagus an causing an automatic salivary response. In addition to having a LOT of saliva, swallowing it would make the GERD even worse! It was keeping me up at night.

I was even getting GERD spikes during the day and occasional water bashing during the day! I thought I was doomed to start back on PPIs to get rid of this nasty symptom. As it was, I was having to take Pepcid (H2) several times a week just to sleep.

Tuesday I decided to look up probiotics and GERD. Lo and behold, there IS actually a correlation to taking them and having worse GERD symptoms! Sigh. I, apparently, am one of the people who have bad results with probiotics. LUCKY ME! I stopped taking the probiotic yesterday and the GERD has already backed off a bit. I think it’s the Vitacost brand that has something in it that does not agree with me. Nonetheless, probiotics are OUT.

I’m still having some water bashing – I had a couple of short bouts last night. I’m hoping it will cease now that I’m off the probiotics. The minor good news is that the H2 (Pepcid) does not seem to cause complete constipation, so I think I can safely use that for nighttime GERD.

So, if you are taking probiotics and your GERD is no better, try stopping them. They might be making it worse!

This fucking issue (GERD) is a moving target. UGH. I’m mostly OK, but it is something I deal with every single day. BUT would I choose to skip VSG knowing that I’d have GERD? NOPE. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done and I’d do it again. It’s worth playing the odds that you won’t have GERD like I do. I think most do NOT. But I will tell you to get OFF PPIs as soon as you possibly can, so your body does not become dependent like mine did. GERD is no joke!

GERD update

I’m still taking no PPIs and only the occasional H2 (Pepcid). The GERD is still around, however, it’s just kind of like whack a mole with how it pops up.

I still have reduced stomach capacity – about .75 cup rather than 1-1.25 cup with PPI, but that’s ok. I really don’t mind that. What I DO mind is random freak outs of Lil Tummy. Occasionally, I’ll have pain after I eat, particularly if it’s protein. It’s like an overfull pain, despite not eating that much volume.

Occasionally, I’ll have a bout of GERD about a half hour after eating. Which is odd. Typically, Lil Tummy will exact its revenge right after I eat too much or have something it doesn’t like. ??

Same goes for night time. Sometimes it’s fine, other times, I’ll have acid up to my throat. No rhyme or reason.

The good news is that Tums will calm any burning and at night, Pepcid will calm the reflux for sleep. Not much can be done for when Lil Tummy decides I’ve eaten too much or the wrong thing and it gets painful. Just gotta ride it out.

Due to taking Pepcid 1-2x a week, I still struggle with constipation issues. I’ve found the herbal supplement Smooth Move to be extremely good at helping with this. I hope all this will plane out eventually, but if not, eh, I’ll live. I don’t gripe about it too much, because Nick has fibromyalgia and has body pain pretty much every day. I don’t feel as bad as he does, so I really have little to complain about.

I do think that things are getting incrementally better. I hope that continues. I still do NOT regret VSG surgery. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.

PPI Stepdown pt 4

Another update in my ongoing battle with GERD. Sigh.

While I am glad I’ve rid myself of PPI use, I can’t say that it’s been without its issues. I have bouts of GERD every single day, while awake and while asleep. I typically get a flare after eating (doesn’t matter what it is) and occasionally with wine.

I was using Pepcid, an H2 blocker with antacid (10mg famotidine) when GERD was really bad or it was flaring before bed – and it works GREAT! But. As usual, I have the terrible side effects of H2s – even with limited use. H2s give me terrible, debilitating constipation. It really makes me ill. Then, of course, I have to take things for THAT. UGH, it never ends. ::sob::

So, I have to forego all PPIs and H2s. I have aloe juice (gross), alkaline water (dunno if it helps or not? maybe?), TUMS (also has calcium which does not help with the bowel issues), probiotic supplement and some herbal tea to combat the flares.

I alternate what I take and hope for the best. I got some pricey Enzymedica shit from Sprouts today to see if it helps with the flares of GERD. It’d BETTER for $18!! Of course the shelf price was WRONG, as ALWAYS with fucking Sprouts (said $9, actual $18). That place is a scam. I only go there when I need something NOW and don’t want to wait for Vitacost (Kroger) delivery.

So, that’s where I am. Not great, but not dying. Just uncomfortable a lot and cranky even more. Again, not terribly unusual. #getoffmylawn ;)

PPI Stepdown, pt 3

It’s been about 5 days since my last dose of esomeprazole. I got myself a care package of aloe juice, alkaline water, stomach tea (with similar ingredients to the Ibrogast formula that is too pricey) and the Target brand of Pepcid (famotidine 10mg + antacids).

The day I got the supplements, I didn’t use anything at all and made it through the night. The next day was rougher, with more breakthrough GERD and I took the Pepcid before bed. The day after that, fine.

So it’s been very uneven as far as the breakthroughs are concerned, but overall, I’m doing pretty well without the PPI. I think I’m done. I am so relieved!

I take Tums for minor flares, aloe for worse ones and occasional Pepcid at night. I’ve taken a tums before bed a couple of times when I feel that there *might* be a GERD incident. So far, so good.

I’ll update again if there is any change, but I think this is probably where I’ll be from now on. I think I’ll always have some sort of GERD flaring up, simply because of the shape of VSG making the stomach basically a turkey baster that pushes acid up to the esophagus. No particular foods have any effect, nor does alcohol, it’s all very random. I’m hoping the volume of my Lil Tummy™ goes back to about a cup, but if it doesn’t, no big deal. I think the overall inflammation is getting better.

So, I’m living proof that you CAN get off of PPIs. From start to end it took me about 6 weeks. Perhaps 8. With the quarantine of Covid-19, my sense of time is a bit distorted. I think it’s about 8 all together. It was not too bad for the most part, I did lose some sleep here and there, but I have to say, it’s been easier overall than it has ever been in the past to stop the PPI. I think it’s because I did the stepdown slowly this time. The first step was a month or so, then the second and getting off was quicker. I actually feel that the half tab at night made things worse than just not taking it.

I hope this roadmap might help others who want to be off of PPIs before they find out they have kidney damage or other issues.