Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Reflux, Endoscopy and My Fears

I've always had a bad stomach. But I have really bad heartburn. At times I feel like I'm having a heart attack. The pain in my chest is so bad that sometimes I'm virtually incapacitated. I've taken Nexium which really helped. Then United Healthcare didn't support Nexium (bastards), so now I'm on Prilosec, which isn't doing as good of a job.

For years, Doctors have suggested I see a GI doctor. So has my wife. But every time the discussion has come down to getting an endoscopy and that's where the conversation stops every time. I have a terrible gag reflex. I haven't even gotten a throat culture in 20 years because I don't want to strangle the doctor. So the thought of having a scope being put down my throat paralyzes me with fear and anxiety.

Now I know that it's the right thing to do. I've heard about the possibility that the reflux could lead to esophageal cancer and other ailments. I've had several friends and colleagues tell me I should and they have stories about other people who have done it. I have not lost sight of the fact that none of them have had the procedure done themselves, but it is all good counsel.

So yesterday I finally broke down and went to a GI...just to talk. I was hoping he would have said the barium milkshake test was enough, but damn him to hell, he said I need the scope (even worse he suggested that in addition to having cut caffeine out of my diet, that I should cut out chocolate!! Heresy I say.). He told me about all of the sedation choices...all of which are conscious sedation options. I was hoping to get general anesthesia and not have to worry. I just don't know if even hopped up on Valium I can even deal with seeing them put the scope down my throat, even if I don't feel it.

So now I have to make a choice. Any thoughts from my legions of loyal readers (besides my wife)?

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