Calidyme

Esophagus Issues. Can't breathe after eating! 10 years post op RNY.

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Hello everyone reading this! Here are my stats, I am 37 years old, I had rn.y gastric bypass 10 years ago in 2008. Starting weight was just under 300 lb, lowest weight was 155 lb, I developed an autoimmune disease within that time frame that cause me to gain 60 lb, and after receiving the proper treatment protocol for my autoimmune disease, I lost the 60 pounds I regained.                     This Thread, unfortunately, is not about me being happy however. I am in absolute, living hell. 3 years post op, I had an overproduction of stomach acid, that gave me symptoms of horrible, aching, cramping pain in between my upper shoulder blades. I went back to my surgeon, explained my situation, and was prescribed Prilosec to take for the rest of my life. This was a Magic Bullet, and worked perfectly for the next four years. Now, here we are, and 3 years ago, this new saga began in my post-op gastric bypass world. For context purposes, I only eat small, healthy meals, such as cooked vegetables, lean protein, typically ground turkey, ground chicken, and very rarely ground beef, complex carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes, or 3 tablespoons of brown rice. I do not do dairy, gluten, or soy, I do not drink carbonated beverages, never have, never will. My diet mainly consists of very lean protein sources, cooked vegetables, and a few complex carbohydrates. I am quite particular about what I eat. You will never find me eating bread, rarely find eating pasta or rice, all the carbohydrates I eat are for nutritional purposes only, primarily legumes, and complex carbohydrates.

3 years ago, after I would eat about 1 and 1/2 cups of food, I would have a slight, annoying, amount of pressure in my chest, where I felt as if I could not get a full breath. The sensation would last for about 10 minutes after the meal, and was very manageable and tolerable at the time. I was able to manage it, and it did not affect my life significantly, because I was still taking the Omeprazole, and would take Gas-X as needed for the occasional more significant feeling of not being able to get a full breath. God, I would do anything to have those days back. For the last 2 years, it has gotten progressively worse, every month it seems. And now, I am at the point where my quality of life is 1%. Literally. I am miserable, walking around all day long with this immense pressure on my chest, as if there is an elephant sitting on my chest. It begins with a sip of water in the morning taking my medications. I do not have the feeling that food or water gets stuck, known as achalasia, thank God. What I do have, is this immediate Sensation, that someone is sitting on my chest, or is it someone has blown up a balloon in the middle of my chest, or as if someone is holding onto my windpipe from the inside of my body, allowing me to never feel as if I can take a full, deep breath. I have been diagnosed with asthma, however, the pulmonologist says that the methacholine challenge I took, said very very slightly that I could have asthma. So, I take Advair daily to control the "asthma" symptoms. However, I am beginning to feel as if this is an esophagus issue, and not an asthma issue. I have seen several gastroenterologist, that have done every, single, evaluation procedure possible. Barium swallow, endoscopy with two dilation of the esophagus, CT scans of my abdomen, 24-hour esophageal manometry, ultrasounds, and even a colonoscopy. I have also been tested for h. Pylori twice, and was positive twice. I was treated with an antibiotic and antacid protocol both times to heal the H. Pylori. The medications my gastroenterologist have tried are as follows, Omeprazole, Protonix, Ranitidine, diltiazem, dicyclomine, hyoscyamine, amitriptyline, the gastric cocktail consisting of Lidocaine and Mylanta, Nexium, and anti-anxiety medicines and depression medicines such as sertraline, Celexa, Wellbutrin, and anxiety medicine such as Ativan, Valium, and Xanax. I am sad to say that none of them have worked. With my endoscopy, it did show that I had a small hiatal hernia, but no Barrett's esophagus, and no gastritis, or ulcers. It is to the point, that even as I am speaking into my cell phone's microphone to create this post, I am out of breath, and as I try to take a deep breath, I can only take about 40 per-cent of an inhalation. I feel like I am dying. I have constant heaviness in my chest, as if there is a balloon sitting in the middle of my chest, making it so tight that I cannot get a full inhalation. I have been to the emergency room 10 times, Urgent Care 10 times, I have switched gastroenterologist twice, seeing my primary for this numerous times, and even brought in pulmonology and Cardiology, to determine what the cause of this horrible pressure in my chest is. My gastroenterologist concluded that I have what is called functional, or hypersensitive esophagus. The only thing they are offering me now, is taking amitriptyline 50 mg per night. I have been doing so for one month, and I have not experienced any relief. My quality of life is completely gone. It is hard for me to get up and take a shower, or do anything even remotely physical and active. Because I always have this locked chest, where I feel as if I cannot take a full breath. Imagine walking around with an elephant sitting on your chest all day and all night. Has anyone else had the same experience, and if so, was there anything that was successful in treating it, or at least making it more manageable? I have had two large -scale dialations, and they did not seem to help the issue at all. This post is about hypersensitive esophagus, or functional esophagus... Please provide any recommendations, treatments, medications, or even alternative protocols that may have helped you if you also have functional or hypersensitive esophagus. Please, please, please, please, any suggestion will be helpful. I am miserable, and I cannot see myself continuing this existence with this constant heaviness and inability to breathe in my chest. I also feel as if I am aspirating food into my lungs. I have read about this phenomenon occurring. But ,according to all of the examinations I have had, barium swallow, CT scans with contrast, etc. they all say that aspiration is not an issue, and that anatomically, everything with my esophagus and my rny gastric bypass is perfect. This is a nerve issue I have been told by gastroenterology, hence the hypersensitive / functional esophagus diagnosis. Please leave your feedback, thoughts, questions, recommendations below. Thank you so much.

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Edited by Calidyme
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Hello calidyme,

i had the gastric bypass 10 years ago and I started to have reactive hypoglycemia. In reality I had hypoglycemia before but I didn’t know what it was then till now that it got out of hand and my body became more sensitive.  It somehow feels like what your describing. Heavy chest and unable to get a full breath of air . After I found it was hypos I’ve been having to check my sugar everyday like a diabetic . Due to having part of my stomach and upper small intestine cut off it causes pospondríal reactive hypoglycemia(look it up). Doctors couldn’t find what it was for a long time. I’ve got really sensitive on what i eat and my sugar can go high fast causing it to go extremely low, that’s when I get the heavy chest, heart razing and unable to breath  like if I am going to pass out. I’m on arcarbose and have to watch my carbs to avoid having a high and then drop. Anywho my surgeon is considering having a gastric bypass reversal. I am down to do it if it’s going to make me normal again. I’ve pretty much learned to eat better and not worried about regaining the weight back. I also even wish I never had it done. Although I did enjoy loosing my weight and feeling/looking good for years. It’s weird how all of sudden I get these complications. It’s so bad that I want the reversal. I’m scared of passing out somewhere so I always have to carry something to raise my glucose if it gets too low. Any new updates for you on this, thanks for sharing your experience. 

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 I know this post was awhile ago, but any update @Calidyme?

was just curious because I had those symptoms but they went away when I had my gallbladder out. 

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4 hours ago, Missbalva said:

Hello calidyme,

i had the gastric bypass 10 years ago and I started to have reactive hypoglycemia. In reality I had hypoglycemia before but I didn’t know what it was then till now that it got out of hand and my body became more sensitive.  It somehow feels like what your describing. Heavy chest and unable to get a full breath of air . After I found it was hypos I’ve been having to check my sugar everyday like a diabetic . Due to having part of my stomach and upper small intestine cut off it causes pospondríal reactive hypoglycemia(look it up). Doctors couldn’t find what it was for a long time. I’ve got really sensitive on what i eat and my sugar can go high fast causing it to go extremely low, that’s when I get the heavy chest, heart razing and unable to breath  like if I am going to pass out. I’m on arcarbose and have to watch my carbs to avoid having a high and then drop. Anywho my surgeon is considering having a gastric bypass reversal. I am down to do it if it’s going to make me normal again. I’ve pretty much learned to eat better and not worried about regaining the weight back. I also even wish I never had it done. Although I did enjoy loosing my weight and feeling/looking good for years. It’s weird how all of sudden I get these complications. It’s so bad that I want the reversal. I’m scared of passing out somewhere so I always have to carry something to raise my glucose if it gets too low. Any new updates for you on this, thanks for sharing your experience. 

This describes my situation almost to a "T", although instead of the heart palpitations I struggle with thrush whenever I mistake my arcabose dose, which then results in acid reflux and severe abdominal spasms. I'm interested in what your acarbose dose is. Seeing the endocrinologist again on Monday so I'll definitely be discussing it with him because I suspect I need a dose increase. I can understand how managing reactive hypoglycemia can affect your pysch, because it gets "old" very quickly. It is so depressing for me when I realise I've eaten something that causes a hypoglycemic episode and knowing that I'm then going to face at least two weeks of hell as a result. Have to say though that I couldn't even consider a bypass takedown at this stage. Maybe I'm being too optimistic in hoping I'm going to find a level of control that I'll be able to live with this complication, because I know in my case a full takedown isn't actually even a possibility.

For those reading here for curiosity,  doctors didn't find mine either....I had to work it out for myself by keeping a blood glucose diary and presenting the doctor with the indisputable evidence. In the opinions of many doctors and specialists, reactive hypoglycemia is nearly always self diagnosed and wrong. It's also known as "late dumping" and very often brushed off as minor.  Without the extreme blood sugar figures to back you up, many medical professionals just won't believe your symptoms and won't provide any help other than to tell you not to consume high GI carbs. That's about as useful as %$@# on bull for those of us with more extreme symptoms. 

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What are high GI carbs?

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12 minutes ago, Anita62 said:

What are high GI carbs?

Hi GI (glycaemic index) carbs are those that break down quickly after eating causing a rapid rise in blood sugar levels that then results in an insulin rush which in turn drops blood sugar levels, often by way too much to be healthy. Hi GI foods include things like most breads, pastas, rice, and of course high sugar foodstuffs... Cakes, biscuits, sweets etc Google hi and low GI foods and you'll find loads of lists of which foods fit in which category.

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On 11/1/2018 at 2:34 PM, Missbalva said:

Hello calidyme,

i had the gastric bypass 10 years ago and I started to have reactive hypoglycemia. In reality I had hypoglycemia before but I didn’t know what it was then till now that it got out of hand and my body became more sensitive.  It somehow feels like what your describing. Heavy chest and unable to get a full breath of air . After I found it was hypos I’ve been having to check my sugar everyday like a diabetic . Due to having part of my stomach and upper small intestine cut off it causes pospondríal reactive hypoglycemia(look it up). Doctors couldn’t find what it was for a long time. I’ve got really sensitive on what i eat and my sugar can go high fast causing it to go extremely low, that’s when I get the heavy chest, heart razing and unable to breath  like if I am going to pass out. I’m on arcarbose and have to watch my carbs to avoid having a high and then drop. Anywho my surgeon is considering having a gastric bypass reversal. I am down to do it if it’s going to make me normal again. I’ve pretty much learned to eat better and not worried about regaining the weight back. I also even wish I never had it done. Although I did enjoy loosing my weight and feeling/looking good for years. It’s weird how all of sudden I get these complications. It’s so bad that I want the reversal. I’m scared of passing out somewhere so I always have to carry something to raise my glucose if it gets too low. Any new updates for you on this, thanks for sharing your experience. 

Wow! Thank you so much for at least providing a direction for me to begin exploring. Not one of my gastroenterologist, or specialist ever mentioned blood glucose. I will take the advice of yourself, and the other commenters and keep a blood glucose diary for myself. It is so frustrating walking around feeling as if you were suffocating from the inside out all day everyday. I am so thankful that you read my post, and shared your experience, and your remedy. I apologize for the delay in responding to this topic, as I never check my email, and only saw that I had responses to my post today. God bless you all, and I am beginning the blood glucose monitoring this weekend. I will report back my findings, and what happens when I present them to my doctors. I am so thankful that people like you are willing to share your experience, and your answer to this issue.

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On 11/1/2018 at 4:45 PM, Boston Redhead said:

 I know this post was awhile ago, but any update @Calidyme?

was just curious because I had those symptoms but they went away when I had my gallbladder out. 

Hi there. I'm so glad your symptoms went away after your gallbladder removal. All of my abdominal scans show that my gallbladder is in perfect working order. However, I will approach my gastroenterologist and ask him about the possibility of my gallbladder being the culprit here. Thank you for sharing. I will update you all once by see my gastroenterologist about both the blood glucose issue, and the potential of my gallbladder being the issue.

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5 hours ago, Calidyme said:

Hi there. I'm so glad your symptoms went away after your gallbladder removal. All of my abdominal scans show that my gallbladder is in perfect working order. However, I will approach my gastroenterologist and ask him about the possibility of my gallbladder being the culprit here. Thank you for sharing. I will update you all once by see my gastroenterologist about both the blood glucose issue, and the potential of my gallbladder being the issue.

Quick question. You wrote that you feel like an elephant is sitting on your chest. I thought that too, but when I really tried to analyze it, I figured out that it was really an  intense pressure from inside my chest, like something in my rib cage pushing outward. It went away after I had my gallbladder out. Does yours feel like that?

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On 11/30/2018 at 5:30 PM, Boston Redhead said:

Quick question. You wrote that you feel like an elephant is sitting on your chest. I thought that too, but when I really tried to analyze it, I figured out that it was really an  intense pressure from inside my chest, like something in my rib cage pushing outward. It went away after I had my gallbladder out. Does yours feel like that?

Hello darling. Yes, the way I describe this feeling is as if you have to Belch, the largest belche of your life, but it just doesn't happen. I also described it as if somebody blew up a balloon in the center of my chest, it is this tightness in my chest, a pressure so immense in the center of my chest, that it feels like I have a balloon that has been expanded inside my chest, and there is no belch that can relieve it. So, yes... I feel as if it is an intense pressure from inside of my chest, pushing outward. It is exactly like what you described. I am working with my gastroenterologist, monitoring my blood glucose, and have to wait until January 25th 2019 to see him, show him the results of my blood glucose monitoring, and discuss my gallbladder. I know that many people who have had gastric bypass, simultaneously had their gallbladder removed, to avoid issues in the future. But my surgeon thought that I should keep my gallbladder, because it was perfectly healthy at the time of my Roux en y gastric bypass.

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