For the entire day I have felt like I have swallowed an entire box of razor blades. It has felt like someone is dragging their fingernails ever so slowly down my entire esophagus. Perhaps the GP Elves have decided to scrape off all of the wallpaper from the inside my esophagus and are making sure that the job lasts for the entire year. Pick an analogy, any of them. All of them would be an understatement to the extreme pain and discomfort caused by GERD.
You might be saying WOW, another acronym?! Yippie! Whatever does it stand for? GERD stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. It basically means an extreme version of Acid Reflux. Think of the old movie “Twins” staring Arnold Schwarzenegger & Danny DeVito. Normal acid reflux is Danny DeVito & GERD is Arnold Schwarzenegger. GERD is the super sized, extreme version of Acid Reflux.
GERD leads to a lot of serious issues (on top of the normal adventures with Gastroparesis). Simply stated, GERD erodes your esophagus. Think of what happens to a hillside after a rain storm; part of the hillside is gone and will never come back. This same concept is what happens to your esophagus after a boatload of acid has washed over it; part of the esophagus rips away and does not return.
When you begin to have enough rips, tears, or erosion of your esophagus you are labeled with yet another medical issue (and corresponding term). So let’s add Esophagitis to the mix. Now the fun part about Esophagitis is that you can achieve anywhere from a Grade A to a Grade D rating. Thankfully I am holding steady at Grade A Esophagitis which is the least severe of the 4 ratings.
GERD & Esophagitis are extremely common in GPers. The concept behind this is pretty simple and is best illustrated with the help of the photo below. Gastroparesis means that our stomach is paralyzed and does not expand and contract like a normal muscle does. This leads to any “food” that we consume to be laying in our stomach for extremely prolonged periods of time. (This goes for liquids too.) This creates a build up. (Imagine the yellow food in the photo below rising all the way to the Esophagus.) This creates very little space for acid production within the stomach, so that acid has nowhere to go but into the Esophagus.
Yes, I am on prescription medication to limit my acid production. Even with my three doses per day, I still have a severe ripping sensation in my throat. When this occurs, it means that I have to sleep sitting up to have gravity help pull the acid back down. It is extremely difficult to sleep in this manner and usually results to not falling asleep. This leads your brain to wonder which is dangerous for GPers. (More on this in future blogs.)
So as I attempt to sleep sitting up, I start to feel those GP Elves ripping away at the wallpaper on my Esophagus. When I feel the ripping, I worry that they are going to cause it to be downgraded for Grade A to Grade B. I guess I’ll find out how much progress those elves have made next year in my Biennial Endoscopy.
Please note…I am NOT a trained medical professional. All medical terminology is based on the insane amount of medical research and knowledge that GPers are forced to understand (more on this in future blogs). A formally trained medical professional should be sought out in regards to your specific medical situation & treatment plan.