I’ve had terrible heartburn since I was a child. I’m now a middle-aged man. My symptoms and regular esophageal spasms led me to seek the care of a gastroenterologist. (A gastroenterologist or GI doctor is a specialist of the digestive system.) I felt I could live with the heartburn and acid reflux/GERD issues, but the esophageal spasms had grown beyond anything I could withstand. I’d have many episodes lasting as long as 8 hours. The pain level on a 1-10 scale was always a 10. Quite frankly, I wanted to die to escape the pain during these hours of torture. It was that bad! On January 27, 2015, I elected to have a gastroenterologist put a scope (camera) down my throat, take biopsies to check for problems like esophageal cancer, and dilate (stretch) the stricture in my esophagus in hopes that some solution could be found.
My Medical Bills
To help you make more informed decisions in your treatment process you might like to know some costs. The procedures after my health insurance discount were $1,281.12. Thank God I had insurance! The amount before the discount was $2,967.00! Was it worth it?…
Results of Treatment
What the gastroenterologist and the pathologist found:
- They saw a lot of acid.
- The biopsy showed evidence of acid reflux in my esophagus. No cancer.
- I was told I might have to come back every two years or so to be stretched again.
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol) for that pain due to the dilation of the stricture in my esophagus. The pain was equal to having a cold-like sore throat. I didn’t bother taking the Tylenol.
- Omeprazole (Prilosec) twice a day for two weeks.
If I continued to have issues, I was told to come back and see the doctor for further consultation. I had some heartburn and acid reflux after the procedure, but they haven’t been as bad. I also had one instance where the esophageal spasms started. I took some steps to ward off the spasms, and they dissipated (I’ll touch these things I did future posts). I’m choosing not to go back to the doctor at this time. The discomfort is mild to what I went through before.
I am thankful that my problems aren’t as bad. I wish the best for those of you trying to find a solution for your digestive issues and hope this and future posts will help in your quest.