Thank you all so much for your comments and support. Yes, when they did the endoscopy, they said they checked for H-pylori too and it was negative. I remember because I don't have insurance and that was a separate bill that cost something like $600 alone just to look at a couple of slides. The costs were insane. I remember I researched everything beforehand and the cost of the whole procedure (endoscopy + colonoscopy) was supposed to be around $800. When I asked the doctor to confirm if that would be about right, he scoffed and assured me it would be significantly less.
Yet when all was said and done, it cost me about $3,000. What the doctor even seemed to be unaware of was that I got a totally separate bill for the anesthesia and also a huge bill from the pathology dept which just looked at two slides. I honestly consider these people to be criminal opportunists who seek to profit off people in need at their most vulnerable time.
Anyways, today was very positive, but I'm being very cautious and suspicious. My symptoms were getting so bad with constant heartburn and my teeth being melted from acid at night, that I was extremely depressed. Then for some reason, last night I only had to get up 3 times instead of the usual 4 or 5 and I woke up feeling pretty good. It's sort of like that thing where your car has some problem, then when you go to the mechanic it magically disappears.
I went to the gastroenterologist, had to wait almost an hour AFTER my appointment time, then was rushed in. I tried to ask as many questions as I could before he blew me off and raced off to the next dozen patients. But I really didn't find out anything new. He once again said they don't know the reason for the LES becoming messed up. I can't handle the thought of being on this medication (emeprazole) for the rest of my life, so I'm not sure what I'm going to do. When I told the doctor that one of my main concerns is how my tooth enamel is being damaged and my teeth are sensitive all the time now - he tried to downplay that and said that people have acid reflux for years and he almost never sees tooth damage. I find that very hard to believe.
So I am going to dedicate myself to reading this forum, as I have already learned more here than from the doctor (today's 10 minute chat cost me another $120). I am also going to continue taking the licorice extract, glutamine, apple cider vinegar, and the aloe vera juice. I've only been taking them 2 days now, but maybe that is why I already feel better.
Thanks again for having this great discussion group.