Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I'm on TV on my birthday!

(Ooops... I accidentally posted this on the wrong blog yesterday!) I posted it on my Growing in Grace blog instead of this one. LOL

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I've rehearsed my lines. It's pretty simple, really. I pretty much just have to moan and say "Gurgle, gurgle."

And technically, I won't be on broadcast television. And technically my lines will be spontaneous and random... all as a result of the tube they're sticking down my throat as they perform an upper endoscopy on me, examining my stomach and my gastrointestinal tract on my 39th birthday! (Tomorrow, April 8).

A few years back I was diagnosed with a condition called Barrett's Esophagus. One of the main things I learned through this was how to spell "esophagus." E-O-A-U, in that order. Ha ha! Well, anyway, this condition could be called "Erosive Esophagus Gone Wild." You've probably heard of erosive esophagus. All the Nexium commercials and all. Acid reflux is the cause of this condition. Well, if erosive esophagus isn't taken care of, eventually the cells in the esophagus can change into a different type of cell. That's what happened to me, and I ended up with Barrett's. They say 5 to 10% of people with Barrett's end up with cancer, so even though I joke about it, it's a serious condition.

In order to monitor my condition, I'm supposed to open my mouth really, really wide and take Kodak pictures of my throat every once in a while. NOT! Really I have to have endoscopies done every 2 or 3 years. I just had one last year, in May, and as with the previous times, my condition had remained the same - which is good - it hadn't gotten worse. For most patients, this is what their hope is for the rest of their lives - to maintain their condition and not have it get worse. For years the studies have said that once a person gets Barrett's, the condition cannot be reversed. However, some studies have shown that some Barrett's patients have actually had their condition reversed. These are mainly patients who had a certain type of surgery.

A few years ago, I had this surgery. Now, the reason I had such bad reflux is because the muscle between my esophagus and stomach was weak. Not only was acid able to get into my esophagus, leading to erosion, but food was backing up as well. See, this muscle is supposed to act kind of like a valve, opening up to allow food to go down, but closing so as to not let food back up. But mine was essentially not working. So, I ended up having this surgery, in which part of the top of my stomach was stitched around my esophagus, to 'tighten' things up a little.

For the most part, this has helped. At first I had absolutely no food or acid reflux. After a while, things 'weakened' a little bit, and I now have a tiny bit of reflux. Anyway... for the past couple of months I've really been dealing with some irritation in my esophagus and stomach area. I finally went to see the doc, or at least his nurse practitioner, on Friday. After a series of questions and a quick examination, we decided that it would be good to have a look down there and see what's going on. The discomfort I'm having could be due to any of several different causes, so this will either show what might be causing it, or perhaps rule some things out.

I've basically lost count, but I think this will be my fifth endoscopy. Each time, I have prayed that they will look down there and see everything completely healed! I completely leave it in God's hands. Maybe this is a fleshly prayer, maybe not. I don't worry myself about that. I just pray and leave it in God's hands. All the glory is His no matter what!

Anyway... sorry about the title of this post. LOL! I just couldn't help myself. If led, please pray for your brother Joel on Tuesday morning. The procedure is scheduled for 9:30am Central time. It's really not a bad ordeal. The worse part is getting the IV. Sometimes they find the vein right away, sometimes they have to do a little, um, digging... But once the anesthesia starts to be delivered through the IV, it's night night time, and I wake up to my wife's beautiful face in the recovery room!

10 comments:

  1. He Joel,
    You are in my prayers. My Dad has severe acid reflex and he had to go through an endoscopy last year, so I know little about this procedure. In his case, they did only a local anesthesia and after the procedure he felt very nauseated for the rest of the day. Overall, it wasn't a pleasant experience at all but good part is that they found nothing unusual in the results.
    Have you heard about QRA? (Quantum Reflex Analysis). I have listened to Dr. Bob Marshal in a Christian radio station who promotes this QRA medicine which is claimed to be natural and effective. You can in fact call him live to have the consulting on the air. He has been talking a lot about acid reflex these days and according to him antacids will only make it worse (He call the antacid industry as a 50 million dollar white color crime!). It seems that there are QRA practitioners in almost all major cities. The downside is that it is not covered under insurance and I am not sure how expensive the treatment is. You might wanna look into it if you are interested. They has a website healthline.cc

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  2. I left my comment on your myspace. ;)

    Happy birthday!!!! 39 huh? Thats awfully close to 40. hehe

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  3. Joel--I'm definitely praying for you. Looks to me like you've got 3 prayer requests: the endoscopy, Barrett's, and especially your advanced age. ;)

    Happy birthday, brother! You are a blessing...

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  4. Bino,

    I'll take a look at the link you gave. I've never heard of that, but with my condition I'm always looking at various solutions.

    Thanks all, for the birthday wishes. :) The lady who checked me in this morning noticed that it was my birthday and asked me why I chose this day for me procedure. I told her I just wanted something special to remember the day. ;) (The truth is simply that Monday didn't work out for me so the next available day was today).

    Then the gal who attempted to put my IV in asked me how old I was. I told her I was 25. :)~

    Yeah, she attempted to put the IV in but couldn't do it. She is 'in training,' but her main problem wasn't that she was new to this, but because I have a history of having veins that are hard to find with needles! Another gal took over for the trainee and she had some trouble too. I just kept praying that this would be a good learning experience for the new gal.

    After the procedure (which went well, by the way) they even brought me in a little birthday cake!

    I know I heard the doctor tell me what he found, but I don't remember any of it right now! That's because of the effects of the anesthesia. My wife also told me on the way home, but I can't remember any of what she told me, either! So I'll have to read the paperwork and also wait till my wife gets home from work to get it all straight.

    Thanks for all your prayers.

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  5. yos bros...happy birthday and wishing you many more cakes as well as the annual visit from the fire department.

    On the upside...be glad they are you are being approached from this end versus the other!!!

    ~8)

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  6. Joel, I read your blog at work this morning so I was able to pray before you went in as well as during the morning. I'm glad the procedure went well. Give us an update when you find out the results.

    I deal with acid reflux too but the meds I take seem to keep it under control as long as I'm careful. That stuff is a real bummer. Last year, they stuck a light down my throat but fortunately didn't find anything.

    What a way to spend your birthday. A party sounds like a whole lot more fun. Anyway, happy birthday to you and, despite a couple of the comments, there is life after 40 and 50 and . . .

    Aida

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  7. Hey Joel,

    Wow,lots of information....who knew? Hey we almost share a birthday but my year is hmmm a little before yours....So Happy Birthday Brother! And so anyway, I know God has you tightly in His Hands and may you rest in Him fully today. Prayers and thoughts are with you and yours today.

    In Him

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  8. Wow - Happy Birthday Joelster!!!! and I will be praying for you! Blessings!

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  9. I'm glad all went well, but you need to find out what everyone was talking about since they were talking about you.

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