CAT'S PERSONAL STORY

May 5, 2020 Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome

When I was 12 I remember the very first time I ever had heartburn. I woke up from a nap and had sourdough bread. I remember thinking I was gonna die. I never felt this before. My mom said there was no way in hell that I had heartburn at 12. She gave me a tums and we went on with our day. 


From then on I would get heartburn fairly often. At least once a month. I just took some tums and tried to ignore it. When I was 16 I was having the worst heartburn I had ever had and it didn't go away. At the time I was dealing with a stressful parenting situation that resulted in a move 900 miles away from my hometown. I was severely depressed and anxious. I was getting heartburn 6-7 times a week and it was so crippling I couldn't stand up. Tums didn't even touch the pain. I did some research online and learned of Zantac. That stuff was a miracle drug and worked like a charm. My anxiety was still high but lowered a but and I got it under control. 2 years later it came back with a vengence. I finally went to the doctor and was diagnosed with GERD. I was given Omeprazole and sent on my way. I took it for a month and all of my heartburn went away. I could even eat whatever I wanted and sleeping lying on my stomach like I liked to do. Then a couple months later I had an IUD put in and fall out. I went to urgent care and was given a strong antibiotic for the pelvic infection it had given me. The pain went away but I would get extremely nauseous and I even threw up once. After 2 weeks I was finished and I felt fine. I had a Nexiplan implant placed and I had nausea/diarrhea issues immediately after. A month after that I ended up in the E.R for extreme nausea, fatigue, pelvic, and back pain. They did an ultrasound and it was clear (of course). From that point on I had constant issues. I was anxious going to work because I would become nauseated at any time for no reason, I had constant pelvic pain, and my reflux was back worse as before. Omeprazole didn't work this time and Zantac had been taken off the market. 


I went back to my doctor who reffered me to their OBGYN. She suggested a second round of antibiotics in case the pelvic infection was back. I barely made it through them. Then she suggested another OBGYN who specialized in pelvic pain. She told me to do pelvic therapy. I obligued. At that time I started to become insanely constipated. I'm pretty tiny. At my most healthy I weighed 103 pounds. I could literally feel my stool in my belly by pressing down. I went to pelivc therapy and it did nothing. They helped me with "constipation massage" that did help move things along, but the pain and nausea and all the other little things (like bloating and belching) remained. I went back to the doctor who then suggested a GI doctor. By now it is 4 months since this began. My symptoms were worsening. My reflux symptoms moved from heartburn to belching, lumps in my throat, burping up acid, and a terrible upper stomach cramping. I began to lose weight. I quickly went from 103 to 92 (a lot for a little person). I was so depressed and anxious I could barely go to work. I couldn't eat, I couldn't go out with friends, I couldn't have sex. I was losing my mind. I had the colonscopy done and of course, it was clear. I lost more weight. I dropped to 88. I had a cat scan, and an xray done. Nothing showed up. They redid my blood work just in case there was something missing or a false negative. They were all clear. By now it has been 6 months of misery. I felt terrible. Every test was negative, but I still felt horrible constantly. I lost 2 more pounds. I was now dangerously thin. My doctor diagnosed me with IBS, I felt miserable. I didn't even have a treatable disease. I felt horrible and there was nothing to be done. 


That was 2 months ago. I'm 19 now and I still suffer. I started the low FODMAP diet which is helping a tiny bit but not enough. I gained a 2 pounds back, but I'm still way too thin. I'm beginning to think theres no hope. No matter what I do, what I eat, however much I "destress". I am still miserable. I just want my life back. I want to eat, and fit into my pants, and go out without worrying I'll become nauseated and have to leave. This is the worst disease ever and I wish I was a doctor so I could find a cure. 

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