Thursday, June 2, 2011

Today, Diet Coke. Tomorrow? The World.

I always knew I was a quitter.

At least, I hope to be.

See, as I sat there in the office of the Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor's Office last week, with a tube jammed down my nose and into my throat, trying not to throw up on the very cute woman who was doing the procedure on me, my mind kept drifting back to the list I had been reading shortly before the test had started.

It was a list regarding what foods you should and should NOT be eating when you have the condition I am about to discuss. What's funny is, on the side of the list that says 'Foods You Should Avoid/Have in Moderation'...that's pretty much what I consume.


One of the items is Carbonated Beverages. I do drink water, don't get me wrong. I have a thing called a Bubba Keg, it holds 32 oz. of fluid. I fill that bad boy twice a day with wawa and drink it all up. Love the stuff.

I also drink around 3-4 cans of Diet Coke. Love the stuff. That's WAY better than the old days. There was a time when I used to very easily drink 6-9 cans of it a day. Those days are long gone, thankfully.

I was thinking that Diet Coke would be the first thing I would have to attempt to 'quit' while this lovely woman trying hard not to gag me with an elongated camera on a tube. I could actually see the monitor into my throat during the procedure, which was trippy. Through watery eyes as I kept trying so hard to keep my natural reflexes to a minimum as to NOT let it turn in to an actual hurl session, I watched my little throat (YOUR EUPHEMISM HERE) do it's thing while I said the words she asked me to.

It was super fascinating, to be honest with you. I'd never seen that. Didn't even know that was what the interior of a throat looked like. (EDIT: Used to have a photo here of the Voice Box and a few different terms...took the photo down, changed some words...I always wondered why THIS post got so many freaking page views. STOP COMING HERE YOU CREEPY FREAKS!!!!)

And, ultimately, the good news was that I didn't have Tonsil Stones, Tonsillitis, Throat Cancer or any other scary disease. But, the bad news is that I have something that does have me a wee bit concerned only because of the circumstances that may have caused my Mom's current medical condition.

Apparently I have Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Disease (LPR), which is a condition, not unlike GERD, where stomach acid travels up from, well, the stomach, and comes all the way up through the esophagus and spills into the larynx, or voice box, and the throat. See, you have two closures in your throat that are supposed to keep this acid from coming up and if they aren't working right? That acid moves right on up like The Jeffersons and makes itself at home.

This is a step UP from your Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), and more serious. And it is the theory of the ENT that the havoc this acid has been wreaking on my throat is what has made my throat so susceptible to infection, which is why I had such a rough time during my flu, then I got over that, then I got Strep, then I got over that, then my allergies were more localized as far as symptoms in the throat area.

I have had heartburn issues for a while now, always taking over the counter meds for it and it seemed to do OK for me. But more recently, due to stress, medication, diet and lifestyle...well, it has grown into LPR.

That's the theory anyway.

So...please welcome Medication #7 to my regimen of prescription drugs. This has officially become UNACCEPTABLE to me. And that sound you hear? That's a telephone ringing. Yeah, it's a wake-up call. And I'm lucky, some people have heart attacks or shit like that to get a phone call to rouse them from the fog they are in when it comes to their overall health.

But things must change.

And so, yesterday, our Diet Coke supply here at the house ran out. There will not be another. As of today, Carbonated Beverages and I will have a relationship of severe moderation. Simple as that. I weaned myself a little rather than go cold turkey, but now that they are gone, they're gone.

As for the rest of the stuff that needs to be done....well, on that Foods list it also says CAFFEINE should be avoided. I'm not sure how I will pull that off. I do so love, and NEED, my coffee. THAT part I am putting off until I deal with some of the OTHER stuff on the list, and some of the other lifestyle elements.

So what I need to do essentially is gather all the data I'm learning about the disease, stuff like elevating your bed 4-6 inches, put everything together in a kind of To Do list, and start chipping away at making the necessary adjustments that I need to make. Take the medication that the doctor prescribed, and make a second Goals list and try to figure out a way to, one by one, eliminate these medications.

I'm 43 years old, taking 7 prescription drugs.

That's just...wrong.

There's nothing about that I can or should feel positive about. So I need to figure out how to change it.

The medications for stress and anxiety...I have been off of them before, I can be off of them again. And high blood pressure? Again...stress and anxiety and bad health and it's all one big giant inter-connected circle. Perhaps some of them I will not be ABLE to change...the thyroid condition is hereditary, I may never be able to change that. I accept that...but better overall health may result in less of a need for most of the medications, if not ALL of them.

I won't know until I get there. in the name of Hell do I raise my bed 4-6 inches in a way that WON'T pose a threat to my disabled son and still be able to be easily re-converted back to a normal bed for when guests need to sleep here?

Time to call Steve or Todd...



  1. You can get a set of bed lifts that raise your bed by 5 inches from bed bath and beyond, (or I'm sure some other houseware stores), just put the two under your headboard, and leave the other two.
    Sorry about the throat thing, I have been having crazy heartburn lately too, though I attribute that to being 34 weeks preggo, and not diet. Goodluck with the changes.

    Ok, I have to add that the word verification on this post says "sucked" I just found that funny for some reason.

  2. Artificial sweeteners are the worst health hazard there is. "Diet" anything should be eliminated from the face of the earth. You will be better for it. If you want to sweeten something, use sugar or honey, for chrissakes. Hope you can get on top of it all.

  3. Is it the head of the bed you need to raise? If so there are foam wedge insert things you can get. They go under the fitted sheet. You could also easily make one by buying foam at a fabric store and cutting it into a wedge (use a saw or electric knife to cut it).

    I gave up soda 12 years ago. Used to live on the stuff. Never drank coffee so my soda was very important to me. If I didn't have enough of it, I'd get the shakes. I tried moderation but it didn't work-- once in a while quickly became daily again-- so I cut it out completely. Amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it. You quit smoking, right? This will be easier.

    I've got a similar condition-- though for me the acid goes into my lungs not my throat. Fun stuff, but manageable.

  4. sucks!!! But yeah if you quit smoking you can quit anything...unless you have a secret heroin addiction....and even that's supposedly easier than cigarettes....

  5. You don't need to elevate your bed necessarily, you can just get a wedge mattress/mattress pad or a wedge pillow specifically made for acid reflux. I'm sure it's on your no-no list, but refined sugar is one of the worst offenders in acid reflux as it can cause fermentation in the stomach -especially, if you have motility issues. Constipation makes reflux worse by increasing the pressure in the stomach so it's crucial to get that under control. All that medication that you are taking must mess with your intestinal flora, so maybe you could try some probiotics to restore the healthy bacteria in your intestines. I would suggest to eat some Caucasian Kefir or other fermented food (like sauerkraut) but unfortunately they can also aggravate your reflux. However, you could try to take probiotics as a supplement. Also, low magnesium intake can contribute to constipation, since it is a vital mineral in muscle function, so Mg deficiency messes with your intestinal muscles. Oh and Miralax is only effective if you are well hydrated, since it works by pulling water into your intestines. So it's awesome that you drink lots of water, but caffein dehydrates you so you should take that into consideration. And since I'm already being slightly annoying by giving you all this unsolicited advice and talking about poop, I might as well tell you to please do something physical to manage your stress, if you don't already. Yoga or Krav Maga or just simply walking - whatever works for you.

  6. Dear Blogzilly,

    I am waiting for my "about to hurl" proceedure... really looking forward to it not... I've never smoked... but after a bad bout of laryngitis at Christmas it just came on.

    At present I can't scream, Shout, cry or sing, so my three kids are elated I'm sure!

    I'm so pleased it isn't sinister, and raising the bed at the head end, helped with reflux for my eldest who was a premmie.

    Good luck,



  7. I have found that having 10 pillows in bed on which to elevate my upper body works very good. I can adjust them as needed for comfort. I can throw them as needed for frustration. I can hug them as needed for...loneliness. I would try this before one of those hard, unflexible wedges.

  8. You kicked the nicotine thing so the soda should be a walk in the park.I know you can do it.I know you will.

    Never have drank coffee of soda but if chocolate fell into the caffeine category,I would be seriously screwed.Sometimes it's all I eat.All day.No joke.I love it so.

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  10. Been there done that with the Ear, Nose, Throat specialist. I went to Dr. Timothy Drankwalter in Gahanna. One of the best Docs I’ve ever had (I hate that I’ve seen enough physicians to actually be able to compare them to one another.) Anyways I had severe Acid Reflux as well burning my poor little throat sphincter. Started on Prevacid which totally screwed with my other medical condition, Colitits. Switched to Prilosec and been on it for a few years now. I bought the foam wedge pillow thing, we call it the big cheese wedge, cause it is shaped like a big wedge of cheese. Ingenious huh? That thing is annoying to get used to for sleeping on, but if you are creative it can have other uses around the bedroom; that is all I’m going to say about that.

    Now here is the crazy natural remedy advice which sounds completely like some kind of folklore bologna. Apple Cider Vinegar. I drink two or three tablespoons before I go to bed and it manages the excess stomach acid while coating the throat in a great anti-germ barrier. I used to get sore throats all the time because the acid left my throat particularly susceptible to infection; big time reduction since starting on the ACV treatment.

    Giving up Coke and Dr. Pepper for me was rough. Coffee and beer are the two things left on my “Should Not Consume” list. I’ve decided the possible medical negative effects are outweighed by the positive social effects. I like being around other people, without a coffee in the morning and a beer in the evening I am too moody.

    Hang in there Ken, I’m sure you will be able to implement a few new regiments to your daily routine. You’ve always had willpower in spades and a tenacity to tackle any obstacle that I really admire.

  11. All the advice you have been given here is great! If you really want to raise the head of your bed you can go with cinder blocks if you don't want to spend the money on plastic lifts (and you happen to have cinder blocks around) but I think the foam wedge works just as well. Another vote for apple cider vinegar here, and still another for keeping the coffee and beer (in moderation).

  12. Mummy Tiffany
    Thanks for the suggestion. My fear is the plastic structure. It isn't designed for the stress of the angle of the bed posts, and my familiarity with plastic tells me it PROBABLY would be prone to stress fracturing if it did not have the opposing two pieces on it. In other words, if you go off the map for its intended use, it probably fails in its ability to withstand pressure.

    How do you feel about Stevia?

    The foam wedge thing is a concern because you do not want to 'pinch' the body. Then the acid can stop somewhere internally, or so I am told, and you won't even know a problem exists inside of you until it requires some kind of surgical fix.

    And actually...the lungs thing is very, very concerning. In any reflux condition, there is a tendency when breathing in for there to be some splashback into the lungs, for some people when it is much more severe this can be devastating...and is quite possibly one of the major causes (doctors believe) of pulmonary fibrosis. I wouldn't mess around with that at all.

    Stryder Wolfe
    I dunno...X-Box would be really, REALLY difficult...

    See above about the wedge thing. And as for refined sugar, yeah I understand that too. I am using Stevia in my coffee now instead of sugar and I eliminated the artificial creamer as well. This in conjunction with no carbonated beverages. I drink tons of water, so I am not too worried about that, and by all means advise away. I agree on a physical outlet for the stress. I have this great bike that I really do want to ride, the problem is that I have some issues caused by the other issues that mean me and a bicycle seat just can't really hook up. That's ANOTHER issue I have to try and fix.

    Thanks...I still haven't raised the bed yet. Gonna wait until after this whole vacation thing is over since I'll be with Bennett in the big bed then out to my Mom's, but so far a lot of the OTHER steps I have taken have helped tremendously too.

    Not a terrible idea but that would make me very hot. I tend to get really warm when I sleep, and all that pillowness would just seal in the heat! :)

    Zoey's mom
    I know if it was nut up or shut up time and you figured you had to take the plunge or risk not being around to care for Zoey, you'd be taking the plunge. Of that I have ZERO doubt.

  13. steve
    What's ColiTITS? Sounds sexy!

    You'll be happy to know that as of 3 days ago, unfiltered and unpasteurized, FULLY ORGANIC, Apple Cider Vinegar and I have become good friends. 2 TBSP each evening are placed into something, I haven't figured out yet what works best for me yet, since I can't really stand sour shit...although I must have at one point in my life cause one of the things I drank reminded me that I did, back when I was a drinker, order Whiskey Sours.

    Not sure which Ken you knew, but the Ken I know has very LITTLE willpower. At least, he has to dig pretty deep for it. I just decided it was time to dig. I mean, go back and you can see it in this blog, for how many months have I been bitching about making some changes? And I am just NOW starting to? That ain't willpower... :)

    Will keep coffee, I don't drink alcohol so no need to worry about that. But I will gladly take a hit if a bong is getting passed around. See? Now THAT'S organic! The cinder block thing might be too tall, but that did give me a thought...PATIO TILE. They make some in one foot square sections, and BETTER still, they make them in CIRCULAR sections, at 12-inch diameter. If the concrete tiles (the ones you lay into dirt to walk on along a path) are around 2 inches thick I could buy 3 for each side, bond 3 together with some kind of adhesive, run a soft silicone edge strip around the perimeter for safety, get a rubber cap for the end of each post to create more grip and prevent the posts from sliding against the tooth of the texture (which I can get great texture of the tile itself since it is an outdoor item. The only real concern would be migration of the bed from the center of the tiles (ideally where I would want the posts to be) to the wall. I could drill a hole through all three tiles and run a long bolt up through the bottom of the tiles through the rubber cap and into the post itself, and that could actually ensure it would not go anywhere.

    Sorry...just thinking out loud. But it did give me some food for thought. Of course, I will probably end up in the ER if I attempt this on my own. Last time I tried to build a simple trampoline I put a screwdriver through the palm of my hand.

  14. I was informed that I will be having the same procedure in two weeks. I am so excited. If it makes you feel better to have company, I take as many prescription meds and I am 28. Elevating the end of the bed and sleeping on your left side were both recommended to me. Of course my pulmonologist wants me to sleep flat on my back without a pillow. I swear.

  15. Nah, doesn't make me feel better. Makes me feel WORSE...for you. And you know WHAT? I was told the RIGHT side. Can these docs make up their friggin' minds?

    You gotta bad gag reflex? I do...and man I really just wanted to puke all over that poor girl.


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