******Before you read please understand this might be kind of long, and I am not 100% sure I placed this in the same place. I also will try to make this somewhat interesting to read, and keep some structure (forgive my ADD haha). Skip to the bottom if you do not wish to read it all.******
Hello everyone, I have been reading on this board the past few months as GI doctors blew me off, and I did not wish to follow through with tests they seemed to think were worthless, as I also suffer from an anxiety problem and assumed I was just over-worrying based on what they told me.
Of course this was not the case. After almost a year of persistent abdominal pain among other symptoms, I met with another GI (after seeing one regular MD, and the GI he recommended), who suggested I definitely get an endoscopy to confirm a GERD diagnosis. Well after awakening, I found out I had multiple ulcers in my esophagus, a gastric ulcer "with coffee ground material" , a stricture in my esophagus with esophagitis, a possible hiatal hernia, mild deudenitis, and gastritis. It was not too much of a surprise to me as I KNEW at that point (mostly thanks to this site) SOMETHING was wrong, but not to that extent. I was immediately put on 40mg nexium in the morning, along with zantac to be taken at night. I immediately quit all smoking, and drinking, both things I had already cut back on drastically due to pain and clues I was getting from this site. I was also scheduled for a Barium Swallow test, and went to have it done, the staff was amazed I was up and not "high" after the dose of Diprivan they gave me and had me wait a day to go have it done. I obliged as I was craving food (none for almost 24hrs).
The Barium Swallow confirmed a Hiatal Hernia and the biopsies taken during the endoscopy confirmed everything else including some really bad inflammation. At this time I had to relocate to Seattle though. I was gone before I got the biopsy results. I have been keeping in touch with my GI free of charge during this time and for the pain she has upped me to taking the Zantac twice a day and waiting to see if I need the Nexium as well. She also offered to give me a Malanta(?) which she said should help a bit with the inflammation and pain. I will admit adding the extra antacids has helped, but I am still in a great deal of pain.
I had been putting up with the pain for quite a while due to natural pain tolerance, and the false assumption it was mostly in my head. The day of the endoscopy I started taking tylenol when the pain really flared up, something I was not doing before as I do not normally use pain killers, and instead prefer to "man it up". After a few days I started taking XR tylenol for "arthritis pain", given to me by a friend who has arthritis while staying at his place. By that I did not mean I told him I was taking it for arthritis pain, that is simply how it was marketed. He instructed me of the daily limits, although I already have a pretty large understanding of it's effects on the liver (as neuropsychopharmacology is a hobby of mine, getting off topic sorry), and after the next day I was taking 2 of them 3x a day. I continued this for my drive up here to Seattle from LA. Once I made it I stopped and proceeded to only take them when in extreme pain, which does help a bit but not as much relief as I would like. I did not wish to keep taking it as I did on the drive up, because I never went over it with my GI, but checked it over with a long-time nurse who happens to be a family member. I seemed to be ok with what I was doing since I am not taking NSAIDs.
Where I am now, is "waiting to have my medications work", and hopefully have the ulcers heal up in that time. The wait is 8 weeks, and I have gone through just shy of two, which started the day of the endoscopy. After the ulcers have hopefully healed up, my GI wishes for me to either come back down to get re-evaluated, or continue with a GI up here while keeping her in the loop. From there she thinks surgery for the hernia would be a good option, but of course she does not want to jump to conclusions until my stomach and esophagus have healed up a bit.
The symptoms I was having such as heartburn, vomiting, regurgitation, nausea are for the most part controlled now. I still have occasional symptoms of them, but it is down to 2x a week for them, and the nausea is actually being treated by a pill (not sure if I mentioned this earlier). Symptoms I am still having mild to horrible troubles with (in least to greatest order), are liquid in sinuses/middle ear, difficult and painful swallowing, coughing and feeling as if something is stuck in my throat, intense stabbing pain along the outer parts of my stomach that comes and goes every half hour or so, constant dull ache lasting most the day in upper stomach and mid-stomach, and pain in the chest from the tightness that changes and occurs a few times a day. The worst problem for me though is the feelings of being un-able to breathe and perhaps the chest/throat pain that goes along with it sometimes (all other pains are about the same level, until it is this combo). I have to struggle to breathe, along with needing to bend over and take yawning breaths every few minutes, which can in-turn lead to panic attacks, that I already suffer from on a regular basis, leading to more pain and problems.
Now to get specifically to the pain, it's intensity, and impact. As mentioned before I generally have high pain tolerance as it runs in the family (example being father passing kidney stones and using only 2 7.5mg vicodin the whole time) but I will take that into account to how I rate my pain. The recurrent bouts of stabbing pain (without "exaggerations") can range anywhere from a 5-7, maybe 8 at it's very worst but it will only last like that for seconds. The dull aches generally do not hurt as bad and will be mostly in the 2-5 range, maybe up to a 6 at it's worse but rare, time for intensity does not change. Occasional over-all stomach pain does occur rarely as well in a throbbing type feeling, but is usually short lived and only in the 2-4 range. The pain in my chest/esophagus is normally in the 4-7 range, equally distributed in variation, occurring a few times a day but can be the worst due to the difficulty breathing and panic that gets added, adding a mental intensity.
In general this pain is causing me great stress and anxiety and has left me house-ridden many days, and prevents me from doing many daily activities (some might be bearable if not for the added anxiety). It has also made me much more irritable and depressed. These are results directly from the pain, the problems themselves have caused many more, which has led to many self-perpetuating and causing problems that I feel no need to get into unless asked.
A long with my story and final question I have some other perhaps, related questions. If they are not related I will not expect any guesses, suggestions, or answers. I have been having added pain in random parts of my body, including places I think are bones but also in other random places. Mostly an aching/burning type of pain, I want to somehow try to attribute to blood loss from the gastric ulcer. I also think in general the inflammation may be making my whole body start to feel that way, but could also be the new change to cold weather, although arthritis seems unlikely due to my young age, but something like carpel tunnel seems more plausible. Input on these subjects is greatly appreciated, if nothing I will most likely make a different thread because of a wrist bone problem.
***I realize this was long so before I ask the main question I will give my
After a year got endoscopy and barium swallow leading to diagnosis of multiple ulcers,inflammation sites, and hiatal hernia. Pain from this has lead to a greatly diminished quality of life, along with conditions in general. Also have been having increased pain in areas thought to be bones, believe could be related to the bleeding.
I apologize for all the reading if you actually read it all. My main question and reason for this thread is to find out if anyone has been through anything similar, if they got anything stronger for the pain relief, if yes, what?, or were told to just suck it up? Also input even if you haven't but have some insight on pain management in general. Advice and input for the conditions is always appreciated as well. I have already made lifestyle and diet changes and follow my doctors orders to the best of my ability, but have no yet discussed all of this with her mostly because of my anxiety issues. I plan to soon and input from this site would help a lot for me to build some courage. Thank you all in advance and sorry for any typos or confusions.***