Hi my name is Jemma; I am 19 years old and a student.
The purpose of this post is to state all of my health concerns as of June 2008 and see if anybody out there has an opinion or idea of what is actually wrong with me and possibly what I could do about it, I would like to point out that up until this point I was always healthy – to the extent where I would usually not even contract a cold if my entire family had.
The first time I ever felt strange was in June, it was the afternoon after a night out and I was on a bus – I had had hangovers many a time before and I knew how they felt but this was much different - my chest hurt, I was dizzy and I felt generally unwell. I started to worry that I couldn’t breath, felt sick and got off the bus at which point I had what I now believe to be my first panic attack.
This passed, but that night in bed feeling strange still I started to worry again, felt a strange dizziness when I lay down and closed my eyes, a strange ‘lump’ in my chest and couldn’t sleep because of it. I was fine in the morning.
I think this was when I first started having symptoms of acid reflux – which I think was the cause of the chest pain and the chest pain the cause of the panic attack (and of course the alcohol the cause of the severe acid reflux that day).
For a while before I knew or was diagnosed with acid reflux I had occasional panic attacks, I went to the doctors who told me it was just anxiety but I knew there was something else wrong and when I went back and suggested it could be that they were just like “yeah, ok here’s some tablets” which I find very unhelpful.
The symptoms that I have that make me believe it is acid reflux are:
• Constant (all day every day) feeling of a lump in my throat that I cannot budge
• Aggravated by alcohol/smoking/fatty meals/any meal that tastes of anything!
• Much worse when laying in bed
• Only occasional heartburn (which I think is rare for the condition?)
• Sometimes burping up stomach acid
• Pressure in my chest (feels like I need to belch but can’t and if I do doesn’t alleviate it)
• A horrible rumbling sound in my chest that radiates up to my oesophagus if I don’t belch
• Nausea caused by minor hunger
I have tried omeprazole 20mg, which did nothing, and omeprazole 40mg which made me feel sick but no better so I did not complete the course (I let it go for about 4 days before I could no longer put up with the extra symptoms). Thing is, I think that most acid reflux medication is supposed to help with heartburn which I don’t very often get and if I do get I have learned to live with as it is minor in my opinion by comparison to how I feel otherwise. I had a blood test that said my thyroid was functioning normally.
I am currently experiencing other symptoms that I cant attribute to the acid reflux, I have been coughing up yellow/green mucus for the past 4 days and tonight I had a very sudden severe stabbing chest through my chest/back when I inhaled – it only last for a couple of minutes but was very worrying at the time.
Other things that I get – sometimes I have pain/numbness in my limbs, occasionally when I try to sleep I get that strange dizzy feeling I described before – but whenever I am just falling to sleep I wake up with a start, a deep breath (sort of like coming up from being underwater) and feel disorientated and panicked.
My skin, hair and nails are showing the way that I feel at the moment – my face is red and patchy and dry, my nails are splitting and falling off and I think this is a good indicator of the poor health I feel.
However, I am not experiencing any fever or any other symptoms not described above – this is a comprehensive list of my symptoms!
My biggest concerns are:
a) It’s not ‘just’ acid reflux, as I diagnosed myself and medication doesn’t help.
b) The chest pains that I experienced tonight, even if they were brief.
c) The sleeping/waking/startled thing.
d) It is going to get worse before it gets better, if it ever does.
e) I have not been able (whether voluntarily or otherwise) to vomit for well over a year, I have tried when I have felt very ill and although I go through the feeling I never actually vomit.
My lifestyle is relatively unhealthy – I drink quite often and smoke occasionally, usually much more so when I am drinking. I eat healthy evening meals but lunch tends to be quite unhealthy, I walk pretty much everywhere but don’t participate in any other sport/fitness.
I am aware that I need to control this if I am ever to get better, and so I have almost completely quit smoking now and have cut down the amount of alcohol I have been consuming (I hope it can be appreciated that because I am a student there are certain lifestyle changes that are quite hard!)
If you have got this far, I very much appreciate that you have taken the time to read this and I hope with all my heart that I can gain some more insight from you as to what could be wrong – doctors just keep throwing antacids at me and they do not work.
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