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JCC Sometimes I have to spit because I just can't swallow

Discussion in 'Community' started by Obi-Zahn Kenobi, Nov 10, 2013.

  1. Obi-Zahn Kenobi

    Obi-Zahn Kenobi Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Aug 23, 1999
    I promise this makes sense:

    In 2006, I had an ingrown hair on my thigh that turned into an abscess. I became pretty ill (high fever), and went to the doctor. They injected me with some pretty heft antibiotics and put me on some nasty oral antibiotics.

    Well, the clindamycin they prescribed me gave me godawful heartburn. The abscess did finally heal. After that, I started having random nocturnal chest pain that I assumed was heartburn.

    Over a few months, I started developed a little problem swallowing, as well as heartburn that was sometimes relived by tums. The odd thing about this heartburn was though, it didn't come after eating spicy foods, caffeine, citrus, tomatoes, or anything - I got the pain when I didn't eat. It would happen when I'd wake up at night. Eventually my swallowing got so bad that I had to drink hefty amounts of water with my food. Food would feel like it was backing up, either in my throat or in my chest, and it felt like choking every time I ate.

    I finally got sick of this after a year or so and got an appointment with a gastroenterologist in late 2008. I'd looked up what I thought it was online, and figured that I had gastroesophageal reflux disease that had gotten so bad I'd gotten an esophageal stricture. That's when the damage from acid in your esophagus makes your esophagus scar and become narrow. Liquid still passed fine at this point, and I was only having issues with solid foods.

    He did an endoscopy - this is where they knock you out and deepthroat you with a camera, all the way down to your duodenum. He found no stricture, but claimed that he saw gastritis and esophagitis (I have the pictures and this was definitely him making stuff up).

    The drugs he put me on for heartburn didn't do anything except give me heartburn (through a process known as rebound hypergastrinemia), and none of my symptoms went away. I settled for drinking lots of water whenever I ate and the random pain attacks for years.

    One of the disgusting things I found was that saliva and mucous would build up in my esophagus pretty easily. After drinking a soda, I to this day can spew quite a bit of foam out. It's immensely disgusting.

    This last January I got food poisoning from my favorite Vietnamese restaurant (thinking about it still makes me nauseous), and had some horrible vomiting. Now, unless my vomiting is related to (intentional) ethyl alchohol poisoning, vomiting is immensely painful. I'd have a really horrible sharp pain in my chest, and I'd drive heave three or four times before any vomit would come up.

    Over the next couple days I had horrible, horrible chest pain. This awful, squeezing pain that I couldn't get any relief from. Alka seltzer, tums, nothing would help. I went to urgent care and the doctor once again told me I had bad GERD, even though I could tell that the sphincter between my stomach and esophagus was not relaxing.

    Well, turns out there's a name for "not relaxing". It's Greek and it "achalasia". I found out online about this disorder and diagnosed myself with it based on my symptoms. I went through three doctors in total and all of them tried to diagnose me with GERD. Well, achalasia is the opposite of GERD. GERD is when your esophageal sphincter lets stuff through and it shouldn't. Achalasia doesn't allow GERD.

    I found a GI doc who was willing to do the studies to officially diagnose it. One is called a modified barium swallow. They gave me radioactive stuff to drink. I swallowed it, and they x-rayed me as I swallowed.

    Your intestines work on this basic principle:

    They squeeze food along. Well, turns out that my esophagus doesn't do that (well at least not a lot). My esophageal peristalsis is broken. The barium swallow showed that things I eat stick in my esophagus and slowly drain into my stomach. We did this test where they measure the pressure my esophagus exerts on a pressure meter (manometer), and it showed that my esophagus wasn't squeezing at all - and the sphincter between my stomach and esophagus was super tight.

    This disorder has been absolutely hellish. My weight has gone up and down quite a bit over the past few years. I'm at my heaviest I've been despite the disease being particularly bad lately, so that's a relief. I've varied between 215 lbs and 270, going from one end to the other several times. Many people aren't as fortunate as me and start wasting very quickly.

    The worst part of the disease is sleeping. I wake up every night having inhaled mucous saliva, or whatever is in my esophagus. I wake up coughing horribly. Sometimes I have pneumonia like symptoms for several days before it resolves. Headaches, exhaustion. The last couple years I haven't really gotten a good sleep because of this. I wonder too what the chronic struggle to breathe does to my body and my brain.

    The last few months have been particularly bad, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    The disease is caused by nerve cells dying in the esophagus. They can't be replaced. There is no cure. In 20, 30 years, maybe we'll see stem cell therapy for this. But that's more of a pipe dream at this point.

    Treatment is to make swallowing easier. How do you do that? You make the sphincter relax. There's a few ways to do that. For people who are too delicate, very elderly or very sick people, they inject botox into the sphincter and it relaxes. This works for a few months. In middle-aged women, they use a balloon to stretch the sphincter muscles till they tear, and this usually works for years, sometimes, needing to be repeated.

    For a young guy like me, they go in and cut the sphincter completely. Then they wrap the body of the stomach around the esophagus to make a valve so you don't get horrible chronic reflux.

    Hopefully, I'll be having this surgery on the 20th of December. I'm not looking forward to saying goodbye to my sphincter, and apparently the pain attacks will go away. However, I won't need to drink quite so much water when I eat. I won't feel like I'm choking. I may also be able to actually sleep.

    It's been a rough awful road, and knowing that this disease won't go away sucks. Even after the surgery, I may need to have it redone. Down the road, twenty, thirty years, symptoms will probably come back and I'll need a balloon dilatation to upkeep the myotomy (the cutting of the sphincter surgery).

    I wish none of you every get this disease. The incidence is about 1/100,00 per year, and about 1/10,000 people get it over the course of their lifetimes. It's fairly rare, but damn it sucks.
  2. VadersLaMent

    VadersLaMent Chosen One star 10

    Apr 3, 2002
    This is reall yabout your penis, isn't it?
  3. Violent Violet Menace

    Violent Violet Menace JCC Ravager star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Aug 11, 2004
    Thanks for putting my 1st world problems in perspective. I'm reminded of the old adage "as long as I have my health".
  4. Coruscant

    Coruscant Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Feb 15, 2004
    Good luck on your surgery and get better as quickly and as much as you can.

    Incidentally, last summer, an ENT doctor told me I had GERD. I had a sore throat at several different times over the summer, an ear infection twice (which I almost never get), and even some difficulty swallowing. I also woke up sometimes because there was so much mucous build up in my throat. Antibiotics appeared to work, but then I forget to take them one day, and Bam!, the sore throat was back the next morning. Eventually, I realized I might've had mono, which fit, because I would also get randomly depressed.
  5. Obi-Zahn Kenobi

    Obi-Zahn Kenobi Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Aug 23, 1999

    Maybe you have eosiniphilic esophagitis? That would explain the mucous build up in your throat as well as any non-cardiac chest pain. Any trouble swallowing?

    Also, mononucleosis is caused by either Epstein-Barr Virus or Cytomegalovirus - neither of which would respond to treatment with antibiotics. to be honest, it sounds like you just might have had a bad strep infection that traveled to your ear.
  6. duende

    duende Jedi Master star 5

    Apr 28, 2006
    this is really about your vagina, isn't it?
    Dark Lady Mara and Coruscant like this.
  7. Coruscant

    Coruscant Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Feb 15, 2004
    Whatever I had, it's all over. How long does a strep infection last? What I had was a recurring sore throat for about two and a half months. It would go away, come back, go away, ad nauseam, until September.
  8. Obi-Zahn Kenobi

    Obi-Zahn Kenobi Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Aug 23, 1999
    Surgery tomorrow at 7:30.

    They're cutting the sphincter to make it easier for food to go down, then they're wrapping my stomach around my esophagus so that food won't come up.

    I used my phone.
  9. Coruscant

    Coruscant Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Feb 15, 2004
  10. Aytee-Aytee

    Aytee-Aytee Jedi Master star 5

    Jul 20, 2008
  11. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 2, 2000
    Wow, best of luck with all that , dude. Sounds pretty frigging awful, so I hope the procedure helps.
  12. Saintheart

    Saintheart Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Dec 16, 2000
    Given the thread title, your job prospects in the pr0n industry are somewhat shallow.

    Seriously, best of luck.
  13. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 14, 2002
    Best of luck.
  14. Obi-Zahn Kenobi

    Obi-Zahn Kenobi Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Aug 23, 1999

    I used my phone.
  15. Barbecue17

    Barbecue17 Jedi Knight star 2

    Nov 11, 2013
    How did things go? Are you recovering well?
  16. CloneUncleOwen

    CloneUncleOwen Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 30, 2009

    Flacid, feeble and unable..he dreams of small boys, weak women and plastic toys, inserted...

    Well, other than that... well, there's this toad thing.

    They're small, you know.

    Just... small.

  17. Sandtrooper92

    Sandtrooper92 Jedi Knight star 2

    Jul 31, 2013
    I sympathize. Sorry for all the dewshy responses on here.

    Sent from my SGH-T989 using Tapatalk 2
  18. Dark Lady Mara

    Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 19, 1999
    Sorry, dude. Hope you at least got some decent drugs to help you through the recuperation.
  19. Violent Violet Menace

    Violent Violet Menace JCC Ravager star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Aug 11, 2004
  20. I Are The Internets

    I Are The Internets Force Ghost star 8

    Nov 20, 2012
    Hope you're recovering nicely.
  21. Obi-Zahn Kenobi

    Obi-Zahn Kenobi Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Aug 23, 1999
    So it's been three days since the surgery.

    Four of the surgical incisions were covered by band aids - ridiculous how much they can do. Those don't hurt at all. The one large incision through which they put the scope still hurts when I cough or tense my abs. The nurse on Monday night pull up my gown to look at the bandages and said, "You don't see THAT everyday" with a smile on her face - made my sisters and my girlfriend, who were on the other side of the room, wonder what exactly she was talking about.

    Anyways, swallowing is much easier now. I'm on a liquid only diet for two weeks, then a soft food diet. I should be able to resume completely normal eating after about six weeks.

    Food doesn't get stuck at all. I even think I feel the occasional peristaltic wave. Definitely looking forward to being through this.

    Last night I dry heaved three or four times - the ensuing pain for a couple hours afterward was not fun.

    They wrap part of the stomach around the esophagus. As that's still healing, wow, believe me, it's tender.
  22. darthcaedus1138

    darthcaedus1138 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Oct 13, 2007
    Me too. I'm responding to your title alone, not the wall of text I didn't bother to read. Sorry.
  23. VanishingReality

    VanishingReality Jedi Knight star 3

    Apr 21, 2013
    I thought "Well this must be a horribly offensive thread" and now I just feel bad :<