Once a 6’2", 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 ever undertake.

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,

Daily meditation
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 steady:

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 can’t be suppressed, raspy voice, bloated feeling, fluid feeling in back of throat and ears, gurgling in throat after swallow, noisy stomach.

Please don’t 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.

Take care,

David Harrison