Do I have a big, fat GERD Problem?

With the onset of middle age I’ve had an increase in stomach fat.  In fact it seems that all of my weight gain has been through my middle.  Most of what you read says this is not good from the perspective of many diseases (heart disease, diabetes, etc.)  I am also wondering if the increased fat may be contributing to GERD symptoms.

My GERD started right about the time I started putting on more stomach fat.  This was the kind of fat that is around the internal organs, not just a spare tire.   I was scheduled to go to a dietician anyway for a slightly elevated cholesterol level.  So, I asked her about eating to get rid of stomach fat.  She gave me lots of good advice.  It seems that the cholesterol lowering diet is also very effective at getting rid of the dreaded stomach fat.

So, I’m 2 weeks into eating healthier.  I’ve had absolutely no fast food (a big weakness of mine since I dont’ like to cook) and I’m eating a lot more fruits and vegetables and less meat.  So, we’ll see how it goes.

I’m interested in hearing if any of you noticed your GERD symptoms reduce when you lost weight?

I miss sleeping flat!

I’ve been sleeping on a slant for a year and a half and its driving me crazy.  It helps with night time GERD a lot.  But it isn’t comfortable and I swear I think I am sleep deprived from the lack of deep sleep.  Some times I skip dinner altogether so that my stomach is ultra empty and night and try sleeping flat or on my left side.  I never last very long, though. Its maddening.

All I want for Christmas is a magic potion to jump start my LES valve!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, what’s for dinner?

The holidays can be a challenging time for those suffering from GERD.  Afterall, quite a bit of our celebrations revolve dining with family and loved ones.  We treat ourselves to more sweets and fatty food than we do during the rest fo the year.  So, how are you going to enjoy the treats and keep GERD episodes to a minimum?

Luckily, there are lots of things you can eat.  Remember eat small portions and avoid the common culprits of onion, garlic, tomato products, chocolate, citrus and caffeine.   Here’s what I’m cooking:

Baked Ham, cheddar potatoes (excluding the onion from the recipe), Green Beans with almonds, cranberry jello salad with cream cheese topping.  Apple pie and ice cream wraps up the meal.  Its going to be hard to avoid eating too much.  I’ll be serving wine but am going to pass on it myself since that proved a bad idea over Thanksgiving.

What are you (or did you) cook for your holiday meal?

Miss Coffee? What about Red Tea?

Ever heard of Red Tea, known also as Rooibos tea (pronounced like “roy-bos”)?  It means Red Bush in Afrikaan.  Is a natually caffeine free herbal tea.  But its different from all those fruity (read acidy) herbal teas.  It comes in different flavors (my favorite is Good Cape Hope Vanilla by The Republic of Tea.)  It tastes richer than other herbal tea so you don’t feel quite as cheated when you can’t have a cup of coffee.  Drink it English style wiht a little milk or cream, yum!

I know, its still not coffee.  But, seriously, give it a try if you need  a substitute warm morning drink.  Yum!

Falling off the wagon

Slowly, over time, I’ve discovered little things (diet-wise) I can get away with.  Its good news on the one hand and not so good on the other.  I now know what causes only mild problems for me and I’m over eating those things.  Because of that, I’ve gained back all 15 lbs that I lost after my original diagnosis.  The weight is bad enough.  But the extra pounds have worsened my symptoms.    So, I’ve come full circle.  I need to know take my own advice and dial back my eating and stop eating the things that I know will cause issues. 

Its been weird.  Every since I’ve started eating things I shouldn’t have, I’ve become like a food addict.  I really crave ice cream, pizza and all kinds of fattening foods.   I ate 2 bowls of ice cream one night!! 

Be forewarned, don’t even get started ‘pigging out’ like I have.  It will only make you miserable.

Risking a Celebratory Drink

I haven’t had any alcohol since July 2008 when I was diagnosed with GERD.  Its always been something I could give or take.  However, I did enjoy a nice glass of wine or a marguerita with the girls periodically.  Once I had things a little bit under control (last month) I decided to try a glass of white wine.  Wow, big mistake.  It really burned!  So,  I assumed that alcohol was permanently out of the picture.

This weekend I was out with a friend for dinner and decided I would try a marguerita.  It was probably a dumb move because it is alcohol AND a citrus base.  But, I was pleasantly suprised that I had no bad reaction at all.  Mind you, I only drank one and I didn’t drink it until after I’d eaten a portion of my dinner.  I was really pleased that I may be able to celebrate with friends every once in a while without suffering all night for it.

Remember, everyone is different and this might not work out for you.  But, like everything else in this journey, its trial and error.

Cheers!

United Healthcare disagrees with my doctor!

I went to my doctor today with excitement in my step.  I was going to finally get a perscription for the GERD medicine that works best for me.  As I said in my previous post, I tried ALL the different meds available due to the generosity of my doctor and her samples.  Prevacid was the winner.  But there was a big BUT.  United Healthcare won’t cover Prevacid.  They only cover:

  •  Aciphex which only comes in a 20 mg version and stops working by mid-afternoon
  • Zegerid which has sodium bicarbonate in it that makes my fingers swell and it makes me constipated
  • Protonix which didn’t work at all.  I might has well have taken a sugar pill.
  • a generic form of Zegerid without the sodium bicarbonate which dulled the pain a bit but also quit working by mid-afternoon.

So, the doctors want me to take Prevacid to avoid damaging my esophagus (which can lead to cancer.)  But the phone clerks who think they are doctors at United Healthcare disagree.  They told me I could take it by buying it at 100% retail ($159 for a 30 day supply).  Yeah, right.  They say that all the drugs have the same effect.  Then why didn’t the others work as well as Prevacid?

So, I’m pricing it in Canada.  So far, the cheapest price is $59.95 for a 30 day supply which is about $10 more a month than I would have to pay for one of the other meds.  If I can work out buying from Canada, I might be OK.