For the past week or so, I’ve been experiencing almost constant stomach pains and a burning feeling in my chest. Afraid that it was a relapse of my pancreatitis, I went to the emergency room on Saturday to get it checked out.
By the time I got to the hospital, the pain was pretty bad. I laid on the bed, whimpering like a big ol’ baby as they drew blood and inserted an IV. A couple blood tests and some painkillers later, they told me that I had GERD – gastroesophageal reflux disease. This is a condition where the contents of the stomach leak backwards into the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms.
With this diagnosis comes a lot of life changes and adjustments. Certain foods and beverages can trigger GERD symptoms, so I need to adjust my diet accordingly. This means no more coffee, chocolate, tomatoes (I’m Italian!!), mints, spicy food, alcohol, fatty foods, etc.. basically anything that is good and delicious. I was also given a prescription for a medication that will inhibit the secretion of stomach acids, and allow me to eat things like tomato sauce and chocolate with feeling like I’m regurgitating fire.
Chances are good that I developed this as a side-effect of my eating disorder. In fact, I know this to be true. I had purged a lot (and often), and as a result, my lower esophageal sphincter doesn’t close properly anymore. It’s unfortunate that this damage is completely my own doing. What’s even more unfortunate is that I’ve got a whole laundry list of damages: irritable bowel syndrome, eroded teeth, a weakened heart, and hair loss, just to name a few.
Our bodies are precious – we only get one. I don’t know why I am so hard on my own, or why I don’t treat it as well as I should. It’s a little scary, and very disappointing. My quality of life has declined purely because of my own actions and choices, things that could have been avoided completely had I treated myself better.
Hopefully this is my last wake up call to good health. Hopefully, from this point on, I’ll wise up.