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  • Problems with Throat / Breathing

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    Old 07-18-2011, 09:36 PM   #1
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    Problems with Throat / Breathing

    For the past month or so, I have been having a lot of issues that noone can seem to explain. First, a month before these started, I had left-sided chest pain that would come and go and what seemed like fluttering on the left side of my chest (although it wasn't actually my heart). Within a week or so, I got very dizzy. It wasn't the spinning type, but the type where it feels like some force is pulling against your head. Like, if I tried to rise from a laying position, it would try to suck me back down. Also, my left left seemed to tighten permanently like it was numb almost, but only slightly.

    After about a month, the chest pains and dizziness subsided, but something weird started happening. My stomach started feeling very tight and making a lot of gurgling sounds like things were struggling to move through or something. I would get these spontaneous burning feelings in my lower back and rib areas, almost as if it was a pressure sensitive type burning, and my ribs seemed to be sore almost out of nowhere.

    The next thing that happened was I noticed my throat started feeling very tight on one side. It was as if my throat was slightly closed up on that one side. For instance, if I suck a cough drop, it's like only the left side really feels the effect of it and the right side is almost like numb to it or can't feel the cooling effect. When I take deep breaths or swallow, I often get one of these two things: a one or two second delay, then this grumbling sound on the left side of my abdoem, or this feeling like a gurgle or hissing in the back of my throat.

    The next thing I noticed was my abdomen and chest in general felt very tight all the time. Basically, if I get the urge to burp, I have to really contort my body and make a strong effort to make it go through the tightness of my abdomen and chest. Another thing is if I try to swallow the burp, it creates this insane gurgle all the way down my chest into the left side of my abdomen, I guess stomach, almost like blowing a straw in soda.

    Now, the worst symptom of all of this developed, and that's shortness of breathe. It has 2 or 3 manifestations. The first type is where you feel like you need to take a deep breath, but you can't quite do it. For me, I know this because I will usually feel this little feeling near the middle of my lower chest that tells me I actually got a good breathe. It almost has to like "click in" or something to let me know. If I don't, I know I didn't. The other type manifests more with the neck tightness feeling. It's as if one side of my nose is closed off at times and seems to correspond to the same side of my throat. It's as if I'm trying to breath in, but something from either my neck or chest is fighting me. It's like I'm trying to breathe against some type of suction device fighting me.

    The dizziness has subsided already, but it's like my chest is perpetually sore. If I press in my rib areas, it's like they are just sore for no reason. Then, the burning may start with or without eating. What's strange is, certain symptoms are worse depending on my position. For instance, laying on my back, my chest burns the most, and my throat feels more closed off. It's as if one side is completely not functioning and I can sort of like feel the coldness of air going against my throat as I breathe in. It almost feels like the sides of my throat or esophagus are too close to each other, like they are about to touch or something. I often feel like food is stuck in my throat, but my testing shows it's not. My chest sort of feels like after you have had a cold and are coughing a lot, where it gets sore. Except in the middle, epigastric area. It just plain burns badly there. Depending how I lay, I either feel burning, or feel like there is just some type of pressure against my sternum.

    If I lay on my left, I usually get better results with the breathing a bit, and less chest burning. Right side, burning in chest, but can still manage to breathe. But, I feel under my sternum like some big ball is just sitting there putting pressure. I noticed in different positions it seems that my mouth spontaneously produces saliva for seemingly no reason. It's like it just pools in the right side of my mouth.

    With sitting or standing, I can actually feel worse. It's like a vice grip around my abdomen and chest. I can really feel like someone is squeezing my chest and that area below the sternum starts to create a sudden pressure and burn.

    But, it's all so positional based. When it's at its worst, I'm almost afraid to even move my body. It's like just a subtle shift in turning my neck one way or turning my body to one side can change the symptoms. Even things like eating or bowel movements seems to do something to my muscles to where after I'm done, I feel even worse. I don't get why. I lost a bit of a weight like they requested. I don't feel or look bloated after eating, so I keep thinking something must be getting dislodged or something in my chest or abdomen.

    I'm not sure what it could be. With the initial symptoms of dizziness and chest pain, of course I was considering mainly heart issues and had numerous tests that checked out. I looked into a neurological avenue, but he didn't think vertigo matched up. So, the basic conclusion was maybe some type of virus.

    However, when those went away and I got these new symptoms, I became very worried. My doc tried to convince me it was just reflux. The problem is, no reflux medicine has any effect. I'm currently on Nexium. It feels more like some type of chest wall soreness or pressure anatomical issue to me. Here is what I've had done:

    EKG (numerous times)
    Holter Monitor
    Chest X-Ray (numerous times)
    Stress Test
    Venous/Arterial US of legs
    Carotid US of neck
    Brain MRI/MRA
    Laryngoscopy (2 times)
    Upper Endoscopy
    Upper GI Series
    Chest CT
    Neck CT
    Abdomen CT
    Abdomen US
    Pelvic CT
    Thyroid Ultrasound
    Blood Work (too many to list, but things like thyroid, lyme disease, lupus, ERS, blood count, metabolic panels, etc.)
    Stool Analysis

    So, what did they find in all that? Well, the Upper Endoscopy told me I had mild gastritis, which seems to be something they tell a lot of people. He put me on Prilosec and Carafate. I'm on like my 5th PPI and realizing this probably isn't even acid reflux or reflux at all. I can eat just fine without feeling my chest burn. My chest burns more based on position than eating or not eating certain foods. He did say he found a very small hernia, but it should not be causing these extreme breathing issues. I've heard of the shortness of breathe with deep breaths associated with them, but mine are like all day I feel like my nosed is 90% blocked or something when it really isn't. It's like I'm fighting some type of vaccum suction to breath, but it can change almost instantly if I change my body position like lean over, bring my legs up to my chest, etc. It's real bizzare. Interestingly enough, the upper gi series didn't find any hernia or any issues of reflux.

    My theories initially were of course my heart related issues or some type of brain problem like vertigo. But, none of those panned out. Now, I feel almost certain there is a gastro connection. Every time I take a deep breath or swallow, it's like a chain reaction where I hear either a grumble 1 or 2 seconds later in my left abdomen, or I hear a gurgle in my throat. None of these were there 2 months ago, I don't see how they can be there now. My right side under my rib and back often feels heavy when I go to use the bathroom. Both my sides burn however. It's not like a painful burn, just like a real intense burn that seems to be worse only if something is actually touching against those areas.

    Anyway, I know it's a long shot, but now I've been given the anxiety label. I went to a psychiatrist and he told me anxiety is causing all of this, blah blah. I told him I don't think it makes sense for a couple reasons. First, I've been far more stressed before and anxious, and it's never caused these types of problems all day for months. Second, just because the docs can't find a physical problem doesn't mean it's anxiety. There are numerous people who are in the same boat I am. Third, he says the chances of me dying are slim with my workup. I told him that's great if it's not life threatening, but what about quality of life threatening? He also told me searching more at the doctors will make me worse because I probably won't find any answers. Sadly, I agree with him on that, but I can't just let this go. It's too severe. Anyway, I've been on Xanax off an on. It calms me a bit, but my physical symptoms still remain. Now docs just keep telling me to go to a university or clinic, blah blah. I highly doubt I have some type of rare disease that warrants going to a clinic. I mean, I'm willing to concede that it's not my heart or lungs, but something is affecting them somehow. I can only think it has to be my stomach or esophagus that is causing this. I know my oxygen level is normal and tests are normal, so they say I'm breathing fine, but that's a clinical assessment. While useful, I'm not breathing fine in turns of effort and feeling of what's actually coming through my nose.

    Anyway, next up is maybe a modified barium swallow to see if I really am having food get stuck, etc, and some allergy testing. I may consider a small-bowel series since I had one in 2007. Could be usefule to compare the course. Besides that, the only thing I could think of is maybe I should look into my spine or some musculoskeletal issue. I mean, I really feel it's my stomach, but I hate to get surgery and not be right. Although, if I did get surgery for the hernia, it would just be a simple patch repair, so no harm done I guess. But, I am just not sure what could be going on here. I feel like it's something to do with my diaphragm or my chest, but not the actual organs in my chest.

    Anyone have any thoughts or recommendations?

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    Old 09-19-2011, 10:06 PM   #2
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    Re: Problems with Throat / Breathing

    This just keeps getting worse and worse. Here is all I know:

    1. I have a "small" hiatal hernia on endoscopy. But, 3 barium studies fail to reveal it.

    2. In 2007, I was told I have a malrotation of my small bowel. Now, they say I don't. That's just hilarious...

    My lungs have been checked out over and over. But, my breathing is worse and worse. The problem is, I know it's my stomach, and many agree, except they simply think it's reflux. But, I know the reflux isn't causing my breathing issues. Yes, I know about LPR, but my throat isn't even irritated and it would have to be to be causing these kinds of breathing issues. I even went to a surgeon to ask him to fix my stomach whatever it may be, and he says just to take the reflux meds. The problem is, I know it's not reflux, even though I keep taking them. I really think it's just the pure anatomical problem with my stomach. I don't even know if it's a hernia, but my shortness of breath is not from my heart, not from my lungs, causes great pressure under my sternum and problems in my throat. I mean, what else could it be but my stomach? Is surgery really that risky that they won't do it even if I ask a surgeon to? I'm not looking for any kind of wrapping this or that. I just want a simple crural repair to prove to them it's purely anatomical. I know reflux is a big problem for others, but I'm so certain the shortness of breath is due to the anatomical nature, not any kind of reflux. What's strange is, it appears many people suffer from this and I wonder why none of them seem to get it fixed? I have done lots of research, and I really haven't found many downsides with a simple surgery except potential reoccurence. I do see some of the issues with the wrapping one, but that's not even on my mind. It's like I have come all this way and thought the surgeon was my final frontier just to hear "keep taking the pills, they work". I guess they work if acid reflux is your problem. But, it's like I'm so short of breath, I don't want to even move my body certain ways. It's crazy. Now, all this pressure under my sternum is basically getting to be insane. I don't know why those barium tests don't show any hernia, but something is definitely going wrong with my stomach. I did notice that the little bubble on my x-rays seems to be changing from a few years ago, like it's bigger and and more leftward and stuff:

    I don't know, but this is getting insane. Noone should have these kinds of trouble breathing and be told it's reflux or anxiety repeatedly. It's just silly.

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