Once a 62", muscular and fit, 210lb man, I now find myself weakened from the
symptoms of GERD and weighing only 169lbs. Born in 1959 and Software Engineer / GUI
Specialist, I am married with two teenage children.
I was sitting on the floor in my living room after enjoying a big meal at a Mexican
restaurant with wife and children. It was the spring of 1994 and I had just had some spicy
delicacies along with a few brews in Salem, New Hampshire. Out of the blue I felt a
pressure in my throat and then my heart began to skip beats and flutter. I was quite
surprised and distraught. My wife and I monitored my pulse during these episodes and began
to panic as we had never experienced anything like this before. After hours with no
relief, off to the hospital we went. They checked my heart and then settled on anxiety.
They gave me something to calm my nerves and off I went. The rest of the night was
uneventful and I chalked it up to a freak occurrence.
Three days later it happened again and so I began what was to become a long journey to no
where. In actuality, the journey to no where was the most educational process I was to
From 1994 to the spring of 1997, I was diagnosed with anxiety problems and my heart was
always culprit. People who knew me found the anxiety diagnosis odd but I was willing to
accept and try almost anything because I did not know what was going on anymore. The body
and mind I had always trusted was failing me. My episodes came and went through the years
and doctors tried me on a number of different anti-anxiety drugs, none of which worked.
Finally, in the spring of 1997, I had such an acute attack, I had to visit the ER again. I
was propped up in a chair with chest pains so extreme my family was sure I was having a
heart attack. My head was cloudy and I could barely move. I had some trouble getting a
breath and truly just wanted to die. It turned out to be my lucky day however, because the
ER doctor first checked my heart and then went further to find that I had a digestive
problem by giving my a thick greenish drink to swallow and numb my upper digestive tract.
Immediately, every pain went away and my head cleared up. I was ME again. We were all very
excited. Little did we know that there were new battles to fight on the horizon, namely
western doctors with narrow thinking and limited understanding of GERD.
From the spring of 1997 to that of 1998, I underwent relevant testing in a thorough and
paced manner. I have had an Upper GI and Endoscopy. Later, after finding Doctor Walter
Stoll on the internet, I became an expert on my condition. Finding some relief with the
Ginger Root Juice regimen, I have been coping for the past couple of months but my
symptoms persist and evening rest is a challenge.
In January of 1998, I was forced to go on disability at work and I began researching
surgeons and hospitals specializing in digestive disorders. I came up with Dr. David
Rattner of Mass General Hospital in Boston, MA. I made an appointment to meet with the
doctor and we discussed the testing needed to help assure favorable results from the
Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication. He and I agreed on the Manometry and 24 Hour PH
testing. I also requested/demanded a CT scan to rule out other problems. All testing
confirmed the diagnosis of severe GERD symptoms with minimal damage to the esophagus thus
far. The time was right.
The surgery date is set for April 22nd of 1998 and I have only minor apprehensions about
moving forward on this. After much thinking, meditation, prayer and discussion with my
wife, we have settled on the surgery being the right path to take. At the same time, all
of the lifestyle changes I have adopted will remain in place permanently. These being,
Whole Foods diet
Exercise without strain
Connection to my spiritual state of being
Here are some of the symptoms my family and I have been living with for the past 8 months
Stomach pain, lump in throat, burning in chest, chest pain, back pain (upper left), pain
in left arm, heart skips beats then rapid (occasional), flutter in stomach, mild nausea,
headache that cant be suppressed, raspy voice, bloated feeling, fluid feeling in
back of throat and ears, gurgling in throat after swallow, noisy stomach.
Please dont hesitate to contact me with any questions regarding GERD. My wife and I
have amassed a great deal of information from medical partners and lay folks alike. The
best information has always come from fellow sufferers, for they share the pain and first
hand knowledge of this horrible, debilitating disease.