GERD Diagnostic Testing Scheduled!

I’ve scheduled my first set of appointments with my surgeon and his office.  Before meeting with him, I need to go through three diagnostic tests to test my level of acid reflux and if I’m a good candidate for surgery.  The first tests I’ll need to take are the following:

  • 24 Hour Esophageal Impedance pH test
    • An electrode is inserted into your esophagus and remains there for 24 hours.  During this time it measures how much acid exposure your esophagus gets and how long it stays in contact with your esophagus.  It can also measure bile reflux.  All of this information is communicated to a little device that sits on your belt loop and records the data for download in the doctor’s office.
  • High Resolution Impedance Manometry
    • This is primarily to test how well your swallowing muscles work and if you have any neuromuscular deficiencies in your esophagus.
  • Barium Swallow
    • In this test, you swallow a thick solution of very mildly radioactive sludge called Barium.  Then you lay down flat and an X-Ray machine records images of the sludge as it travels down your esophagus and into your stomach.  This provides a nice visual of how efficient your body is at swallowing and at keeping swallowed liquids in your stomach.

For the first two tests, I have to wean myself off of my reflux medication (PPIs – Nexium) at least 7 days in advance.  This is a very scary prospect.  These drugs are essential for me to function close to normalcy and get any relief whatsoever from GERD.  I’m allowed to use another type of drug called H2′s (Zantac, Pepcid, etc.) up until two days beforehand as well, so hopefully this will help stifle the acid reflux while I’m waiting for the PPIs to wear off.

I know that this process is going to be very difficult, but I think it will be worth it when I have a good set of test results that can verify the nature of my GERD and what my options are for resolving it.

Acid Reflux Breaking Point – Time for surgery!

I’ve had Acid Reflux (GERD) for over a year now and I’ve finally reached my breaking point.  I’m tired of suffering.  I want to get this fixed!  It’s time for surgery.

I’m already taking the maximum doses of Nexium (40mg, twice a day) and Zantac (150mg, once a day) and my reflux is still uncontrolled.  I sleep sitting nearly upright on the couch, don’t eat trigger foods, don’t ever eat after 7pm, and I’m still up half the night with a painful chest and bitter secretions in my mouth.  This disease is slowly chipping away at my sanity and my enjoyment of life!

I’ve also gotten really paranoid that it has started affecting my teeth and that is the final straw for me.  I feel like much of the other damage can be healed, but damage to teeth is permanent and irreversible.  I even purchases some Saliva PH Testing strips online and I often test it to find that my saliva is far below the low end of where it should be (PH: <6 ).  Frightening.

For surgery, I’m most interested in the Torax Linx Device because it seems like the best long term solution for me.  The recovery is very straightforward, and it seems to work almost as good as the time tested Nissen Fundoplication surgery (based on the latest study results.  You also have fewer limitations (no risk of blowing the nissen wrap from lifting weights or coughing, etc.) and retain a normal sized stomach!

The last item is especially important for me, because I like to eat (don’t we all)!  The thought of limiting myself to small meals for months and months sounds very difficult and not at all appealing – and this is a requirement for Nissen Fundoplication recovery.

The latest 4 year study on the Linx device is also quite encouraging and makes it look like a very viable option.  I also like that it is an ostensibly reversible procedure, which allows me to dream that someday there will be a true cure for Acid Reflux (stem cells? muscle cell infusion?) and I’ll require no meds, and no augmentation.

I just want to be a normal healthy human that can eat healthy food, exercise, and sleep laying down!  And enjoy my life, my wife, and my kids a bit more.