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  • Barrett's Disease, nothing to take lightly

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    Old 07-17-2007, 11:54 AM   #1
    spp321
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    Barrett's Disease, nothing to take lightly

    I have been taking a PPI for reflux for about 7 years. Last year I started experiencing a lot of nausea which prompted my gastroenterologist to repeat my endoscopy. They diagnosed me with Barrett's Disease (also known as Barrett's Esophagus). My symptoms were not due to the Barrett's, and they told me I was lucky that they happened to see it because now I can be watched closely. Barrett's is a precursor to esophagael cancer. The symptoms I was having persisted and I was on 4 medications including my PPI (Aciphex), so I had a consult with a surgeon and underwent a Nissen Fundiplication. To me it was like a miracle. I got off all meds and had no more reflux, yeah. I resumed my old lifestyle which included alcohol. I was recently being seen in the ER for an unrelated problem, and had 3 different doctors tell me that I MUST eliminate alcohol completely and that I should go back on my PPI. They all said that even if I am not having overt symptoms of reflux, I am literally "a sidestep away from esophagael cancer" and I shouldn't let any acid reflux into my esophagus. I took them very seriously and have made all appropriate changes. This surprised and startled me because my surgeon never told me how serious Barrett's is, nor did my gastroenterologist or my PCP. I have since discussed it with my PCP and she agrees. Anyway, the long and short of it is, if you are told you have a precancer, it should be taken very seriously and while the fundiplication improved my quality of life immensely, because of the Barrett's I still have to maintain a reflux friendly diet and lifestyle and take my PPI. Just thought I'd get the word out there. Thanks for listening.

     
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    Old 07-17-2007, 05:05 PM   #2
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    Re: Barrett's Disease, nothing to take lightly

    I am so sorry that you have this, but glad that you are dealing with it in the early stages. Only a very small percentage move on to get cancer, but it isn't to be messed with. Thank you for giving this warning. We need to advocate for ourselves.
    Take care
    Kim

     
    Old 07-17-2007, 06:16 PM   #3
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    Re: Barrett's Disease, nothing to take lightly

    I was diagnosed with BE in March. Also was having what they thought was gallbladder problems although they really weren't that bad. My reflux was under control with meds and I was living a healthier lifestyle. When the gb problems persisted I decided to check it out. A low function from a Hidascan and the doc told me it 80% likely that removing the gb would get rid of all my problems including the reflux. Because of my BE I decided to do it. 2 months later I am still recovering from the gb surgery very slowly and my reflux is so bad I am now taking 2 Prilosec and that is barely working. Nexium didn't work at all for some reason. The reflux makes me very afraid of my BE getting worse. Haven't discussed the Nissen yet but after the so far disasterous results and recovery from gb I am afraid of yet another surgery, one that is suppose to be a lot harder to recover from.

     
    Old 07-17-2007, 08:07 PM   #4
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    Re: Barrett's Disease, nothing to take lightly

    I think you will find a few here that have worse heartburn after surgery
    Bile reflux can get worse after gall bladder removal. The common bile duct can be surgically moved so that it empties further down the small intestine. whicht will prevent the bile from coming back up into the stomach.
    Carafate can help with bile reflux. I'm no expert, but I think non-acid reflux, though causing similar pain - won't be as damaging as acid. I have even heard of Barrett's reversing with good care and time (I know yours is severe, but here's hoping)-
    Hopefully someone who knows more about this will talk to you
    Good luck

     
    Old 07-18-2007, 07:00 AM   #5
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    Re: Barrett's Disease, nothing to take lightly

    I know there are cases where the fundiplication is hard to recover from, but I was lucky. The first few days were hard because even water was getting stuck, and being on only liquids for a month was no picnic either. But it has been almost 5 months now, and not only am I completely recovered, but my reflux symptoms are gone. That in itself is such a blessing. I have never heard of Barrett's reversing. My gastroenterologist told me that it is permanent. That the cells that line the esophagus are no longer normal, and now more closely resemble those found in the stomach and small intestine. However, thinking that there is a possibility of it reversing is quite exciting, and I'm going to do some research. Thanks!:-) Oh, I forgot to mention that I do have one annoying risidual effect from the fundiplication......gas. I told my husband that I have tuba and will travel. I am a one woman brass band. hahaha But, that too is getting better, so there is hope for me yet.

     
    Old 07-18-2007, 10:04 AM   #6
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    Re: Barrett's Disease, nothing to take lightly

    spp. I know there are now laser treatments that they think can actually destroy Barretts cells. Not sure if this is something you can look into but its worth researching. There are a lot of articles on the web about it.

     
    Old 07-18-2007, 12:42 PM   #7
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    Re: Barrett's Disease, nothing to take lightly

    Hi, the laser treatments are called Barrx and it seems to be very successful.
    Most large hospitals do it. My doctor says it is still to new a procedure and it might cover up buried BE spots. But they have come a long way with treatment. Also with BE you need to be checked at least every year so it doesn't spread up your ephosagus.

    Last edited by HBMod07; 07-18-2007 at 01:50 PM. Reason: Please do not direct users to search outside the boards. Thank you

     
    Old 07-20-2007, 05:36 AM   #8
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    Re: Barrett's Disease, nothing to take lightly

    Really? Every year? My docs all said every two. I will have to ask. Also, thanks for all the info about laser treatments. That is also news to me so I guess I have some research to do. Thanks again.

     
    Old 07-22-2007, 02:37 PM   #9
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    Re: Barrett's Disease, nothing to take lightly

    As I'm sure they told you, coffee,chocolate, and fried foods are also very irritating. My son has BE and has head of bed elevated 4 inches with wooden blocks which also helps. (extra pillows don't accomplish the same thing, in fact aggravates the reflux). He also eats small meals.
    All the best.

     
    Old 07-27-2007, 12:15 PM   #10
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    Re: Barrett's Disease, nothing to take lightly

    I have Barretts also. I'm getting my 2nd endoscopy nxt month in August, since i'ts been a yr since I had it. Your right, Barretts is nothing to play with, and I take it very seriously, and watch my diet, and take my PPI.

     
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