Health Drama III

April 6, 2015 – I’ve still been having spit all the time. If I don’t get up and spit, the fluid gets caught in my throat and
make be me cough. If I cough for too long I’d vomit. I’ve started carrying two dinner napkins with me everywhere. It’s so frequent, I have to type with one hand while holding the dinner napking to my mouth with the other. It’s worse immediately before and after meals. I’m having to get up 2-3 times a night to hawk up whatever these thick, white globs are. I was so tired from the disrupted sleep and lack of eating, I seriously contemplated taking short term disability until I could get this sorted out. I phoned Dr. Cline who still insists that it must be pulmonary. I don’t have enough money left after paying the previous medical bills to see another specialist and I’m not getting that heaviness in my chest (indicated fluid) like when I have bronchitus. Whenever I’m done spitting up, my stomach muscles feel like I’ve been punched. I’m also still struggling with the thrush. The Nystatin beats it backup about 90% and then it makes a comeback. I went to an appointment with Dr. Mosley and explained my spitting problem. He went through all of my medications and came up with a unusual strategy:

  1. Gastric Issues – I’m to stay on the Omeprazole 40 MG twice per day. I explained that sometimes I starting feeling the burn in my chest before it’s time take my evening dose. He had me pick up some Gaviscon, both in liquid and the chewable tables. I’m to use the Gavison to tide me over until it’s time for me to take the evening dose of Omeprazole.
  2. Anxiety Issues – Dr. Mosley has developed some prejudice against my Alprazolam and is substituting Amlodipine Besylate to help me sleep through the night.
  3. Thrush – Dr. Mosley prescribed a new medication that is often used by AIDS patients (don’t know the name of it). He
    warned me the pharmacy would most likely substitute it with Nystatin anyway. Insurance companies suck.
  4. Spitting – Dr. Mosley prescribed Zyrtec-D twice per day to dry out my mouth and throat so I wouldn’t have to spit so much. I’m also to gargle with salt water whenever I feel the need to spit. I’m supposed to let the salt water pour out of my mouth without spitting.

I’m to come back in three months to see if this new regime works.

June 24, 2015 – This was a follow up with the gastroenterologist, Dr. Cline. At this point, the acid seems to be under
control so long as I take my omeprazol and watch what I eat. Minimal processed foods, nothing acidic and no dairy (dairy makes me spit more). I have decaf coffee in the morning, a berry-based nutribullet shake for lunch and a small meal for dinner. The weight loss has slowed down and I’m starting to get some of my energy back. There’s a lot of conflicting information on the internet and even books regarding which foods are acidic. I wish my insurance company covered a visit with a nutritionist. I’m reduced to avoiding the obvious and guessing the rest based on trial and error. A bad choice can take me days to recover from. I’ll probably never be able to eat in a restaurant again. Too many unknown ingredients in the food. I have noticed extreme stress can still kick off an intense day of stomach and chest burning (I survived the first round of layoffs at work). Since I seem to be holding my own, Dr. Cline had nothing to add and wants to see me in 6 months.

August 19, 2015 – Follow up visit with Dr. Mosley

  1. Gastric Issues – Dr. Mosley thinks I can start taking the omeprazole once a day now. I’m dubious, but I’ll give it a try.
  2. Anxiety Issues – I want my Alprazolam back. The Amlodipin Besylate does get me to sleep, but it does NOTHING for my anxiety. It’s not like I took the Alprazolam everyday. When I do take it, I only take half a pill. The only time I’ve ever taken a whole 1 MG pill is when I was caring for my mother while she was dying or getting on a flight that lasts 3 hours or longer. My mother in law has died, my husband went into a deep depression and has quit working and I’m not sure I’ll survive the next round of layoffs. If there’s anytime I need my anti-anxiety med it’s now.
  3. Thrush – My sister-in-law recommended Fem Dophilus Oral Probiotic to help fight my thrush. It’s still a recurring thing, but it does a much better job much faster than the Nystatin. If I could just remember to take it every morning, I could probably kill it off permanently. Fem Dophilus Oral Probiotic has to be refrigerated though so I keep forgetting to take it before I walk out the door in the morning.
  4. Spitting – My spitting was vastly reduced as soon as I started taking the Zyrtec-D twice a day. If I miss a couple of doses, it does come back with a vengeance though. Staying on the Zyrtec-D has proven a challenge because of the pseudophedrine laws (I hate all meth addicts). A lot of pharmacies just don’t stock it like they used to. CVS’s supplier completely ran out. I switched my script to Walgreens, but they take forever to get the prescription filled. I’m talking days. Thus the missed dosages. There’s also a limit on how many boxes I can buy so it’s not like I can stock up. I’ve got my husband purchasing boxes too. I’m worried we’ll end up on some sort of watch list as meth dealers.

I’ve also discovered fatty meats or foods made with processed sugars aggravate the spitting. I’m starting to seriously
wonder about the American food supply. It’s a real challenge to find foods I can eat that aren’t full of chemicals. When winter gets here, there won’t be any farmer’s markets to buy from. I take vitamins to compensate for all the foods I don’t eat anymore. On plus size, I’ve felt strong enough to start working out again. The first 60 pounds I lost were due to being sick, but I’ve dropped another 14 from working out.

Health Drama II

So much for working out.

Oct 19, 2014 – Doc phoned with the results. The verdict is acute gastritis. I’ve also tested positive for H-Pylori. Doc initially phone in one medication, but insurance wouldn’t pay for it and it was $800. He substituted 3 three other medications.

METRONIDAZOLE 500 MG TABLET
CLARITHROMYCIN 500 MG TABLET
AMOXICILLIN 500 MG CAPSULE (initially skipped because it gives me a skin rash).

I also got a medication to control the gastritis symptoms.

OMEPRAZOLE DR 20 MG CAPSULE

NOV 24, 2014 – Had to leave work early. It turns out I have the flu. Took the remaining amoxillins to combat it.

Dec 1, 2014 – Over the flu but I’ve developed some very bad and frequent diarrhea. I am also still having to spit constantly.

Dec 16, 2014 – Diarrhea is over. Finally. I was starting to wonder if this was my new normal.

Jan 2, 2015 – Gastric issues seem to be resolved with occassional flare ups. The needing to spit has not stopped however. In fact, it has grown worse. I can feel fluid draining to the back of my throat (I couldn’t before the gastritis calmed down). I have to spit at least four times an hour. I have to keep a dinner napkin with me at all times or I’d spend all my time in the work restroom spitting into the sink. I’ve looked online and the closest thing I can find to my experience is “post nasal drip”. Except in my case the “drip” is more like a running faucet. I’ve tried taking a claritin to dry me out so I won’t have so much fluid to spit, but that hasn’t worked. I don’t know if it’s an infection since I had to spit the whole time I was on an the various antibiotics I’ve taken since August. Falling asleep is hard because I have to stop spitting long enough. I’m using my acid reflux pillow to stay elevated, but then it just drains to my throat and I end up racing to the bathroom, coughing and spitting. Eating and drinking are any more than absolutely necessary is out because again, I have to stop spitting long enough. While I can stand to lose some weight (I’ve lost 35 so far), I’m completely wiped out and having difficulty focusing at work. Brushing my teeth has become a nightmare because when I wake up, there’s this wade of crap in the back of my throat that I can’t quite cough up right away. It mixes with the toothpaste and I spend at least 15 extra minutes each morning coughing and choking.

Jan 5, 2015 – Phoned to see if Dr. Ehrling referred all his patients to someone else. Was directed to the WashU exchange and I have an appointment for next Tuesday.

Jan 13, 2015 – Saw new doc and had exam. He couldn’t find any signs of infection or problem with my sinuses. Serious post nasal drip can be caused by allergies however, so I got a new prescription to combat it.  It supposed to take a few days before this crap kicks in. I’ll try to hang in until then.

STANLEY THAWLEY MD
ENT DEPARTMENT
CENTER FOR ADVANCED MEDICINE
4921 PARKVIEW
11TH FLOOR, SUITE A

NASONEX

Jan 27, 2015 – I’ve given this medication two weeks to damp down the symptoms with no results. If anything, the spitting has gotten worse. Whatever this is that I have to spit and cough up has gone from being mildly irritating to out and out burning. The OMEPRAZOLE no longer seems effective. I only have a burn in my stomach every once in awhile. The burn concentrates in my mouth and throat. This time, the lips haven’t just swollen, but the skin around my mouth is extremely irritated. I definitely think there’s some sort of acid reaction going on and something needs to be done before it gets worse.

The most disturbing thing, aside from the physical discomfort, is the lack of appetite. I can go 2-2 1/2 days before my stomach even growls. Even when it does growl, it seems “distant”, like it’s happening to someone else. I’ve lost over 45 pounds since August. That’s okay while I’m overweight, but if this goes long enough, my rapid weight loss may become an additional problem.

Feb 1, 2015 – I’ve been desperately searching the internet as my symptoms get a little worse everyday. I have to get up 2-3 times a nights to spit and rinse my mouth for 20 minutes. I spend every morning spitting and coughing acidic mucous. My tongue hurts because I’ve developed what looks like surface fissures. I suppose that’s a result of acid sitting on my tongue while I sleep. My gums are very irritated and I’m worried my teeth will loosen. The skin around my mouth is irritated and scabbed. I picked up some aloe vera gel just to calm down the burn.

I stumbled across a couple of articles and came across something called “Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (Silent Reflux)”. The symptoms fit almost exactly what I’m experiencing rather than GERD. I have my follow up to the endoscopy appointment on Feb 11. I’ll present my idea to the doctor then and see what he has to say.

Feb 11, 2015 – The doctor seemed skeptical about me having silent reflux. I brought a print out on the information from WebMD and to his credit, he at least read through it. He was still doubtful. I pointed out that I’ve lost 50 pounds (at this point) because I can’t eat or drink more than a cup of . I insisted he take a look at my mouth and examine the skin around it more closely and he seemed to change his attitude. He said he had never seen anyone with this much acid damage in their mouth before. He scheduled me for PH test on Feb 18 (one of the test mentioned in the WebMD article). I am hopeful for the first time in weeks.

Feb 18, 2015 – It turns out that I was having two procedures, an ESOPHAGEAL MANOMETRY MOTILITY STUDY ESOPHAGEAL FUNCTION TESTING and IMPEDANCE/pH AMBULATORY TESTING WITH ESOPHAGEAL MANOMETRY. The first test was not painful, but definitely uncomfortable and I wouldn’t want to go through it again. The second test was not painful, but it took me about two hours before I stopped feeling the presence of the probe.  I was told that I would get my results by that Friday which did not happen.

Mar 1, 2015 – Woke up with a burning in my mouth that was off the scale. I couldn’t take it anymore and had DeMarcus take me to urgent care.

Dr. MOLLIE SPIRE
Total Access Urgent Care
6900 Chippewa Street
St. Louis, MO 314-961-2255

It turns out I had three issues going on. 1) The OMEPRAZOLE DR 20 MG CAPSULE just weren’t cutting it. I explained that I actually have two prescriptions for OMEPRAZOLE, but the 40 MG were not up renewal. The 20 MG prescription was for once a day, but she recommended three times a day to keep the burn at bay until I found out what the cause was. The doctor had an EMT mix up some mylanta and lidocaine to calm the current burn in my throat. This was the first time I hadn’t felt the burn since last fall. Too bad there’s no lidocaine spray. 2) I have a thrush infection which frankly I didn’t even notice. I assumed the coating on my tongue was due to the acid reflux. The doctor seemed a little shocked to see thrush in an adult (mostly babies get it). I got a script mouth wash for that. 3) The thrush was also on outside on my mouth which explained the scabbing on my chin and lips. That required a script creme ointment.

NYSTATIN 100,000 UNITS/ML SUSP
CLOTRIMAZOLE-BETAMETHASONE CRM

March 7, 2015 – I had no intention of having another Sunday like the previous week. After harrassing Dr. Cline incessantly about my results, he contacted St. Mary’s who said I wouldn’t get results until next Friday. Two more Fridays went by before I finally got the results. The PH test didn’t show anything, but the the motility showed something called esophageal spasm. It’s Dr. Cline’s theory this is a side effect of my current high blood pressure medication (BISOPROLOL-HCTZ 5-6.25 MG TAB). I did a little homework and it seems that it does happen. I’m worried because I’ve been on that medication for some time. Dr. Cline thinks that switching my high blood pressure medication should alleviate the spasming. I wonder how long that will take? It took a couple of days for Dr. Cline to get a hold of Dr. Mosley for the blood pressure medication change. There was also a mix up at the pharmacy because the medication Dr. Cline called in was one I already had a prescription for. The pharmacy called me to let me know I wasn’t eligible for a refill until for for 2 weeks. Initially I thought Dr. Cline hadn’t called in the right medication. I ended up calling him on his emergency line because my symptoms were kicking my ass. He called it in again and it turned out the “new” high blood pressure medication was something I already had a prescription for, but didn’t take due to foot swelling (AMLODIPINE BESYLATE 10 MG TAB).  Sorry Dr. Cline.  Plus the spitting still wouldn’t stop. I’ll keep taking my meds and talk to him about at my supposed “follow up” appointment. For me it’s just another episode in my ingoing medical drama.

Mar 14, 2015 – Ahhhhh! The cream I got prescribed for the external thrush worked great. The mouth rinse worked very slowly. When the thrush looked about 80% done, it started making a comeback and I am almost out of Nystatin! Went back to the same urgent care facility. This time got advised to gargle salt water for sore throat as needed. Also they recommended changing my toothbrush every 3-4 days to avoid re-infection (Doh!). Advised the doc (this time Dr. JAMES MCADAM), that I may not have been holding the Nystatin in my mouth long enough due to the painful acid burns. He recommended Gly-Oxide which seems to be a kind of hydrogen peroxide for your mouth. This may allow me to take the medicine with less discomfort. Got a refill on my Nystatin.

Mar 20, 2015 – This was a bad week for the acid and I’m really feeling the effects of not eating very much. I couldn’t bring myself to do much of anything at work or at home. DeMarcus noticed how listless I’ve been and had me drink an Ensure. An hour later I vomited up what I’m pretty sure was every last drop of that bottle. Normally people feel better after they throw up, but that lasted all of about 5 minutes before I had to throw up again. This time it was a thick, white-ish mucous that came up in huge globs. I’ve had drunk-vomits (from back in my 20’s) that weren’t as violent. My adominal muscles hurt for two days afterwards.

Mar 25, 2015 – So I see Dr. Cline and let him know that I’m still not eating, my chest, throat and mouth still burns and I still have to spit constantly. Surprising, he agreed to double to current dose of OMEPRAZOLE DR 40 MG to twice a day. As for the spitting, he is certain this has nothing to do with my gastrointestinal issues. He wants me to see a pulmonary specialist. He has to contact Dr. Mosley to a referral and that’s what I’m waiting on now. Sigh. A new round of test with yet another doctor.

Mar 30, 2015 – Of all the days for this to happen, it had to be a Monday when I know there was a problem with a server over the weekend. A good friend was kind enough to let me have her nutribullet and I’ve been drinking shakes all week. Normally with the way I’ve been eating, I only have to go once a week. Well it seems everything wanted to come out this morning. It was gross. It was painful. Seriously. If I thought crying would have helped I would have. I will speak no more of this event online. The details are too horrible and I’m still traumatized.

I’m going to try blogging in a more regular fashion so I can keep up better.  Oh and I’m down 60 pounds now.  People keep saying things like “Don’t you feel wonderful with all that weight gone?”.  No I don’t feel wonderful.

Gastritis

I had my endoscopy last Saturday and I’m waiting for the biopsy results.  So far the verdict is acute gastritis.  The doc seemed a little disturbed by the amount of acid pooled in my stomach.  I’ve got to change my entire way of eating.  Sigh…

The endoscopy procedure was a breeze.  I was really concerned about having to swallow the scope because of my strong gag reflex, but they knocked me completely out.  I wish the pictures they let me have were a higher resolution but here they are anyway.

EndoscopyResults

Also earlier this week, I found this awesome Android app that lets you create your own database.  I’ve created one to track my Gastritis symptoms so I can report back to the doc how I’m doing.

Health Drama I

It’s been along time since I’ve posted.  At first it was because I was slacking, but just when I had mentally committed myself to starting back up again, I got sick.  I probably should have kept posting to track my illness, but I just created a text file instead.  This situation is ongoing, but I hope to have enough energy to try working out this coming Monday.  I’m going to go ahead and post my existing notes here along with any future developments.

Aug 17, 2014 – Had a “tickle” feeling in back of throat all previous week. Started coughing really badly.

Aug 18, 2014 – Coughed hard enough to throw up, started standby antibiotics

LEVOFLOXACIN 500 MG TABLET – RX # 0209069

Aug 19, 2014 – Refilled standby prescription cough syrup. Didn’t help.

PROMETHAZINE VC-CODEINE SYRUP – RX # 0233695

August 24, 2014 – Finished standby antibiotics.

Sept 3, 2014 – Went to new ENT, started new antibiotics

SULFAMETH/TRIMETHOPRIM 800/160MG TB

Sept 4, 2014 – Started steroids (too late in day to start yesterday)

METHYLPREDNISOLONE 4MG DOSPAK 21’S

Sept 11, 2014 – Coughed hard enough to throw up again.

Sept 22, 2014 – Head and nasal congestion gone but still coughing badly enough to keep me up most of the night. Throat feels scratchy and raw. Chest hurts worse than ever.

Sept 24, 2014 – New appointment at 9:00 am. Discussed possibility of acid reflux because of when coughing intensifies at night and immediately after meals. Concluded unlikely due to never having had these symptoms before the bronchitis. Got new prescriptions.

DOXYCYCLINE HYCLATE 100 MG CAP
BENZONATATE 100 MG CAPSULE

Sept 30, 2014 – Finished antibiotic. Benzonatate worked a bit at first, but was less effective each time. Stopped working altogether by third day. Not coughing as often, but still having coughing “fits” 4-5 times a day. I think Dr. Ehrling was right about acid reflux. There’s an ache in my chest and a dull burning sensation in my throat and mouth. If I breathe through my mouth, my mouth and throat feel like I’ve swallowed something mentholated. Also, instead of the normal coughing up of phlegm, my mouth just suddenly fills with saliva and it’s really salty. Also sometime between Sept 11 and Sept 22, my tongue felt irritated in spots. I thought I had just eaten something too hot.

Oct 1, 2014 – I avoided spicy, fatty and fried foods and took a Pepcid AC. It’s a little better but my chest and throat still hurt with little flare ups of intensity throughout the day. Weirdly, I also had an ear ache.

Oct 3, 2014 – Coughed until a threw up, but just a little.

Oct 6, 2014 – Trying to schedule an appointment with gastroenterologist, but having issues. Can’t get in without general practitioner’s referral. Also most doctors on the insurance list are either not accepting new patients or are retired. WashU doc offices were a little imperious about it.

Oct 9, 2014 – Feeling better, but still getting a burn after each meal and can’t engage in even the lightest activity without coughing up whatever this crap is (I don’t think it’s phlegm like when I have bronchitis). After a few coughs, the strong salty taste hits my mouth. Going to pick up my referral from the docs today. Hopefully I’ll finally be able to make an appointment.

Oct 10, 2014 – Made an appoint with gastroenterologist.

Oct 13, 2014 – Slacked up a bit on the change in diet and felt the results. Had a rough night. Some burning in the stomach and a lot of hard coughing. Salty taste was back after coughing the first few times.  After coughing, tasted a bit of bile. Pressure in chest but it doesn’t really hurt. Throat is irritating this morning and my voice is hoarse.

Oct 15, 2014 – Went to see gastroenterologist. Doc says sounds like typical acid reflux, but I’ll be having an upper endoscopy Saturday just to make sure there are no other issues. Started a medication called Dexilant. Will see if this works.