Just an update in case anyone is interested...
We've had our building tested for air quality and received numerous Materials Safety Data Sheets on the interior furniture, carpeting, etc and the good news is that I can probably discount any problems coming from the building itself, furnishings or the air inside it. All tests for molds, chemicals and proper air exchange are negative. Although some materials used in the building are so-called "green" materials so there is not a lot of data on their long-term effects on people in a confined space. But for now I'm going to let this possible cause rest.
The heartburn has turned more towards bloating and trapped gas lately. Lower in the body than my heartburn has traditionally been. I have tried my go-to heartburn relief pill, Opemprazol, and even tried Tums, Mylanta & Gas-X but they don't seem to work on this slightly different symptom. I have begun to notice that taking the 1-2 combo of Zyrtec and Singulair seems to help when this symptom appears.
I feel like I'm swollen on the inside and the food I've eaten just stops moving through me when I get this bloating issue so maybe I have hives in my digestive tract that somehow are blocking me up? Weird. But I don't get them in my throat and very, very, rarely on my face at all.
I am continuing to pursue the stress-related causes by trying some meditation but I'm not very far along in that yet. I'm also trying to simply notice when I get stressed by some event and note if any symptoms appear. That and a lot of quiet/meditating breathing techniques. I've also been using Binaural beats for some time now as well.
I do have a referral from my doctor coming in the next few days for Biofeedback to assist me with dealing with stress.
The chronic back pain has been greatly improved of late. I had a set of postural x-rays done to see how much shorter my right leg is from the left. I found I have a right lateral pelvic tilt due to the years with the bad hip. That combined with the improper lift in my shoe was basically giving me a sprain in my lower back. A little more lift in my shoe over the last 45 days has greatly improved that condition. I can sleep on my back again!
With that I've seen the hives and heartburn possibly decrease a small amount but I think it's too early to tell since I've seen them settle down like that in the past only to return in the following weeks.
One last bit- I'm looking into a blood test for PFC's, or Perfluorinated Compounds. Remember the Scotch Guard pollution issue a few years back? Well I believe it may be the same issue. Even though Scotch Guard is no more the same chemicals are used in Teflon pans, food wrappers, etc. More info: http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/pdf/PFCs_FactSheet.pdf
It's an outside shot but elevated levels supposedly cause immune system issues of which chronic urticaria (hives) are one. That coupled with the fact we had some pans at home that USED TO have a Teflon coating. I think we ate what isn't still on the pan over the years and from what I've heard once PFCs enter your body they don't come out on their own. And a enough of a build-up in the body causes the immune system issues.
Again, if anyone would like to add to the discussion it would be appreciated. But if nothing else its good to write down all of this to get it straight in my head. And hopefully it can help lead anyone reading this to a cure for what ales you.