Taming Acid Reflux

BigRed | 5:53

Listen to Story

"I felt depressed. I felt like there was something wrong with me."

Read more about this story:
Acid Reflux:Managing a Common Disease

Acid Reflux GERD Food Allergy Atkins Diet Sleep Wheat Prevacid

Story Transcript

I have struggled with extreme heartburn and acid reflux and GERD for a very long time. I was diagnosed probably in 2000 or 1999, I’m not sure which, with acid reflux and then a little bit later we moved onto GERD. It was awful. I would eat and then I would go to bed at night and would wake up with this horrible feeling in the back of my throat, burning. It was horrible. And I would cough. I couldn't sleep. It kept me up, night after night. I couldn't figure out what to do. Finally, the doctor said, okay, the only thing I can tell you to do is put you on a prescription. And they put me on what they used to call the little purple pill, which was Prevacid at that time. I think they changed the color to pink now, but at any rate. I took that. It was not over-the-counter at that point. They’d not released it as over-the-counter. It was a prescription. It was very expensive. And yeah, it helped, but didn't stop it completely. It went from being a nightly thing to maybe twice a week. Still, just so aggravating. I felt helpless. I felt depressed. I felt like there was something wrong with me that we couldn't figure out. It shouldn't be this hard. And I couldn't seem to relate it to any particular kind of food that I was eating. Or anything, it just seemed like it didn’t matter what it was.

So I stayed on Prevacid medication for quite some time and then ended up getting divorced. And when that happened, I lost my health insurance and my income went way down. And I didn't have enough money to buy a prescription anymore. They had not released this, Prevacid at that point, as an over-the-counter medication still, so I was kind of lost. And I just started reading and doing some research. And still couldn't find anything. Then kind of the weirdest thing happened. My father who has struggled with his weight all his life. My mother had become ill. She had dementia which turned into Alzheimer’s, which ultimately took her life. They moved my parents from their home into a retirement facility. My mother was actually in the nursing home side and my father was in an apartment. And he suddenly began having all kinds of problems, issues with the same kind of things I was having issues with. And he was gaining weight left and right and he wasn’t really eating any more food. So he was eating in the cafeteria or in the dining room. And he talked to the dietician, and the dietician and him sat down and had a long conversation, he said over a table. And what they figured out was that he probably had celiac disease, which is an allergy to like wheat products and that sort of thing. She explained that even in the institutional ice cream that they served in this dining hall that there’s flour in it. So he was all of a sudden eating a lot more flour than he had ever eaten before and a lot of other added things that he had not eaten in the past. So he went to the doctor, the doctor tested him, full blown celiac disease was his diagnosis.

As soon as the dietician worked with him, and got him off all of those kinds of food, his weight started dropping. His acid reflux went away, the GERD stopped, the heartburn stopped, it all stopped. He told me about it. I went to my doctor, and I said, okay I got these same issues and I’ve got on a few extra pounds while I’m at it. What do you think? He said, I’m not even testing you. Get off the carbs. So, without going completely to Atkins. I started using their bars and their shakes. I dropped white flour, white rice, white sugar, white potatoes. Basically if it was white, I couldn't eat it. And I stopped all that stuff. And I mean literally, within a week, it was gone. And I started dropping weight. I lost all the extra weight that I had. I felt so much better than I ever had. And I never had to take another prescription medication again.

Funny that you called me today for me to tell this story because yesterday was Thanksgiving, right? One day a year, I just blow it, right? I eat anything and everything anybody puts in front of me. Because it’s what Thanksgiving is all about. I went to a party where we had a huge amount of food, alcohol on top of it, and I just ate myself silly and drank way too much wine, and giggled and laughed and had the most fun, knowing, absolutely knowing that I was going to pay for it when I got home. I went to bed last night, middle of the night, there was the acid reflux, then the GERD started, all the burning in the throat, all of that. I hardly slept at all last night. Didn't think far enough in advance to take any Prevacid over-the-counter, whatever, I just went, okay I’m gonna deal with it for a day. So it’s taken me all day to get over it, but it stopped.

But that is absolute, positive proof to me that it’s the sugar, the refined sugar, the refined flour, all of that ugly carb stuff that was causing my whole problem. So it is possible to fix this. For anybody out there that is struggling with it, I know learning to not eat white pasta and not eat white rice and not eat white bread and blah blah blah sounds like a big deal. But if you are suffering from this, it is a small price to pay to get this taken care of. To not have to add any more chemicals to your body. To not worry about it anymore. Just deal with it. It's a mindset. You just have to get into it. But trust me. It works. And you will not feel helpless anymore. Because that’s the way I always felt was so helpless. It's so worth it to give this a try.