I saw Dr. Awesome on Wednesday to discuss my ER trip and possible esophagitis. They were great to work me in with a busy schedule, and everyone there was glad to know I was ok after such a scare (one reason why I love my doctor and her staff).
She agreed with Dr. Wonderful, the ER doc, that my episodes were more than likely esophagitis, caused by GERD, although we aren't ruling out ulcers or a hiatal hernia. We discussed how to keep this from happening again: taking 150mg of Zantac daily; eating small meals; staying upright after eating/taking medicine. She also told me how to handle a future attack: immediately take mylanta; take the antispasmodic Levsin. Hopefully with these measures I will at least avoid another episode, and keep any damage to my esophagus from getting worse.
And then there's the upper endoscopy. I am waiting to hear from my GI doc to get that scheduled. Though I'm nervous--they do not completely knock you out during one--in my mind, it is infinitely better than what I went through on Monday. And once we know, we can tackle whatever it is.
As for the cause, we know that my meds are part of the problem--Dr. W said anytime they see someone like me with lots of chronic illnesses, they tend to see GI problems because of the number of medicines the illnesses require. Dr. Awesome thinks my years of Cataflam use probably did a number on me as well--which is why I can't take so much as a single ibuprofen anymore. And excess bile acid--because I no longer have a gall bladder--can also be the culprit. Which may explain why these things have hit me after having my gall bladder removed.
I'm going to add the probiotic Align to my daily regimen since it has different properties than the Florastor. I'm thinking the two of them will probably get my lower half working much better than it has been.
Despite the fact that my new health problems are not extremely serious, it has been incredibly stressful. But as some of the pieces of the puzzle are coming together, and I've taken steps to improve my health, something good has come from all of this.
Even though I have more wrong with me than I did 8 years ago, before the birth of my son, mentally I'm feeling more like I did back then, better than I have in a long time. I wouldn't say 'content' because there is still a lot to do, but definitely more settled. I feel less anxious and more peace. Less afraid and more faith. So despite the medical chaos, I feel blessed.