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Category Archives: prilosec

New GERD information

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (also called GERD) is the main reason that people start taking PPIs, or proton pump inhibitors, like Prilosec. This research indicates that PPIs and other acid reducing products are not exactly the right way to treat GERD. It’s not the stomach acid that hurts the esophagus, it’s a protein that causes inflammation. Obviously, the article explains this better than I do.

What upsets me is that despite this information, the researchers and doctors are saying that current medications are the way to go for GERD patients. That’s ridiculous, as we’ve all learned that it’s not too much stomach acid that causes problems, it’s TOO LITTLE stomach acid. So taking these PPIs to further reduce stomach acid is the WRONG THING TO DO.

When will doctors wake up and stop feeding the pharmaceutical industry at our expense? This is a money-making industry, not interested in our promoting our health but keeping us stagnant in our diseases and syndromes so they can continue to push drugs at us that make them money.

I don’t feel this way about all drugs, for sure. I know a lot of medicines help a lot of people. But with regards to PPIs and other antacid medications, I believe it’s about the money, not the cure.

http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/newsroom/news-releases/year-2016/may/acid-reflux-damage.html

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2016 in anxiety, health, link, medications, prilosec

 

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Pill expedition update

I have been SO tired that mustering the energy to post about how tired I am was nigh on impossible. Obviously, since I haven’t blogged about it for a couple of days. Along with the no energy portion of the game, I’ve been dealing with an overwhelming feeling of….blah.

I had my session with T today, and of the 60 minute session, I suspect I spent about 15-20 minutes of it sighing and saying how BLAH and tired I felt, often rubbing my eyes like a two-year-old who missed her nap. T offered to end the session early, but I didn’t want to waste my WHOLE session with her. I only see her every other week, and I felt like I had things I wanted to talk about. Partway through two different conversations–that I started–I stared at her and admitted I had completely lost my train of thought. She reminded me this had a direct cause–the progesterone–and that it had a time limit. I told her I was having flashbacks to my prilosec fever, and again she reiterated that this had a clear and distinct cause, and that I could finish the two days I still had. That I needed to just wait it out.

I’ve had thoughts flitting through my head a lot these days. You know, like they tell you not to let things take hold and push you into anxiety? Don’t ruminate on things, don’t obsess, don’t chew on stuff. I said it was getting really weird for me because stuff will pop into my head and I’ll shoo it away like a gnat. So I feel like stuff is whizzing in and out of my head at top speed. So–after telling me that having all those gnats flying around all the time must drive me crazy–she asked me to NOT shoo them away and instead take one and deal with it using all the tools in my box. On my belt? Whichever phrase you’d prefer to use I guess. To take the thought and bring it to its full conclusion…which we did together. But my point for blogging about this? First they tell you to NOT concentrate on the thoughts, then they tell you to concentrate on the thoughts. WTF. No wonder we’re all a little crazy, right? LOL

That’s all I have for today, I guess. I’m still hanging on to those cramps and the headache. The dry eyes are better but not completely resolved. The exhaustion is clearly still on me. Two more pills. Then whatever comes next.

(Oh, on a completely different note, I had a nightmare last night about being bitten in the face by a vampire bat. WTF?? I woke myself up with muffled screaming. Yay.)

 

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Hair raising appointment

I went to see the nutritionist so I could talk to her about where to go next, as she has been helping me heal my whole system. We were originally working on the heartburn and indigestion and stomach issues that I was having…especially after getting off Prilosec. When you go off one of those types of medication, you get unbelievable rebound symptoms that are basically worse than the original symptoms you had. It was not a pleasant time, but I made it through, and then we started on healing my stomach and digestive system. At this point, I feel that we have at least tackled the heartburn and GERD symptoms…much better than I really was on Prilosec. It leads me to believe that the nutritionist was right, that I didn’t have enough acid in my stomach, rather than too much (doctors always say you have too much stomach acid and then they put you on acid reducing medication, which only makes things worse).

So now that those symptoms have been addressed, I wanted to talk to the nutritionist about my weight gain and my carbohydrate sensitivities. I want to know what I should be focusing on to turn my weight gain around and get some more pressure off my knees. She, of course, sympathized that I’m putting on weight even while I’m upping my exercise and watching my food intake. But the thing is, if I even take so much as a small plate of carbs (like, say, white potatoes), my weight will go up. But if I don’t eat the carbs, I feel like crap and my mental and physical condition goes down. If I eat gelato as a snack (my fave!) in the evening or afternoon, I don’t put weight on. WTH? So she indicated that my system may be overly sensitive to carbs versus sugar. I’m not entirely sure how to handle that issue yet.

What I did get from the nutritionist was the trauma of watching her head toward me with a pair of scissors. Without any salon training, I might add.

We decided that getting a hair analysis might be helpful to put me on the right path. The analysis would not only tell me if I’m missing vitamins and minerals, but also what kind of foods are best for my metabolism. But the sight of watching my nutritionist coming at me with those scissors…yikes! I mean, I knew we would be talking about the hair analysis option, but I pictured her yanking out a couple of strands from the root…from multiple spots on my head so they could have options. Instead, she plucked the scissors from her desk and told me that the lab needs hair that is close to the scalp. And that they need a bunch of it.

Whuh?

So she flipped my hair over (it’s a bit below shoulder length at the moment) and started hacking at my hair. She came up with a clump of it and put it onto a little paper scale thing, and then announced that it wasn’t enough! So she went back again to the same area! and hacked again. Unnnngh… To add insult to injury, she ended up snipping off the ends of the hair and only giving them the clump that came from the closest part of my scalp because they don’t use the “dead ends” part. Now I have these short fuzzy areas under my hair that are just making me nuts. Hub says you can’t tell from looking at the back of my head, but I can feel them. I just wish she had taken the two clumps from separate areas so that it wasn’t such a large area of semi-short-baldness.

When I go back to get my hair cut, the hairdresser is probably going to ask me WTH happened. I mean, you can’t miss the difference in length.

So the nutritionist said 2-3 weeks before we get the analysis back. We’ll see what happens. Stay tuned!

Also, SNOW AGAIN!

Note dog snout print in the snow on the bench

Note dog snout print in the snow on the bench

March Snow Trees

 

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Double dose

Last night was bad. Among other things, I did not sleep at all. Why, you ask? Because when I turned out the light and went to lay down, I felt my heart pounding in my chest, harder and faster than I was comfortable with. And this triggered the first of two anxiety attacks that I fought overnight.

**TRIGGER ALERT** for those who get distressed over descriptions of anxiety attacks.

I haven’t had an anxiety attack since I got off Prilosec back in January. Have I had anxiety? Yes, I have. But not to a point of what happened last night. The kind of anxiety I’ve been dealing with has been low-level, during the day, and mostly related to pain. And I’ve been able to handle those issues consistently, and with less time and focus as the months have gone on. Last night was reminiscent of past anxiety attacks, when I was back on Prilosec. It was not as bad because I tried very hard to use the tools I’ve learned since then, but it was worse than it has been in over eleven months. And it’s frustrating. Even ignoring the fact that I slept roughly half an hour’s worth–all of which was taken up by nightmares that started a new slide into an attack–it left me feeling defeated. And sad. And angry. And upset.

So I went to go to bed last night, doing the same routine I normally do. Lights out, ceiling fan on, radio on, blanket off my legs to keep me cool. I tried to make myself comfortable, and I went through my thankfulness list, which is how I turn my brain off at night. Or at least, how I attempt to turn my head off. But last night, after I went through my list of why I’m thankful, I realized that my heart was beating really loudly. And that lead me to realizing that it felt like it was beating fast. I tried to ignore it, but I couldn’t get comfortable. I sat up, I rolled over, I changed positions over and over. I couldn’t get the heavy, hard, beating in my chest to go away. I felt the anxiety roiling up over me, and I knew what was happening. But I remembered what happened to my husband with his too-fast heartbeat, and the anxiety increased. I put my finger to my pulse in my neck, even though I knew it was a mistake, and felt how fast my heart was beating. I tried to do diaphragmatic breathing, I tried to relax my pelvic floor, but neither wasn’t helping. Kind of as a last resort, I tried EFT tapping, even though I was making up the words as I went along. I used the correct meridian points, but I was just talking to myself about how I was feeling the anxiety, but nothing was hurting me. It seemed to work somewhat, even though it took several rounds of it. I think I drifted off a while later, only to have a nightmare within 30 minutes of falling asleep.

I woke again, with the pounding heart, loud and fast, and the anxiety. I felt warm–was I sweating? was it my heart? was I dizzy? nauseous?–and I forced myself to get up and go to the bathroom, to clear my system and put cold water on my hands and face. Back in bed, I felt the racing, pounding, loudly beating heartbeat again. And it started all over. I breathed, I relaxed, I tapped. And I tapped. And I tapped. And I think I dozed again. When I woke up at that point, it was 7:30, the sun was up, and Hub got up to take care of the dogs. And I lay in bed for about 2 1/2 more hours. And I talked to myself about what had happened. A lot of the things I’m saying here. I realized my heart felt okay, even though I still wonder if it’s beating faster than normal. The issue is, when I feel normal, I never touch my pulse to see how it feels. Under other circumstances, I know that my heartbeat is fine, because I’ve been tested over and over again in the past. But when I’m anxious, it feels fast–hella fast–which is so scary to me.

Upon the light of day, post sleeplessness, I didn’t want to get out of bed. Even though I felt–once again–betrayed by sleep, I wanted to stay in bed and wallow in what had, and what almost, happened. But I roused myself and got into the shower, pushing myself to go forward with what I planned for the day. And as I showered, I try to remind myself that sometimes these things are because of body-memory. History of what has happened to you, physically, is embedded into your brain. And I am trying to be hopeful that this was a result of body memory…in that my unconscious reaction to the hard-pounding, fast heartbeat was to become anxious about it. It’s the only way I know how to react, I guess.

When I went downstairs after my shower, I told my husband what had occurred overnight. He immediately hugged me, then reminded me that I should have awakened him so he could help me. And truthfully, I did think about it when I first started feeling my heartbeat, but I felt ashamed. I felt like I needed to handle things on my own to prove to myself that I could. I don’t know that having him awake with me would have helped, because his ability to stay awake in the middle of the night is, to be nice, sucky. And then I would have felt more alone because I would feel like he’d purposefully abandoned me when I needed him. This morning, when he got up to go let the dogs out and feed them, I almost asked him to come back to bed afterward to stay with me, but I didn’t want to feel that weakness.

So on a positive note, I guess the fact that I didn’t go into a full-blown attack either time is good. The fact that I was able to use the tools I’ve gained to stay in control is good. The fact that I was able to handle things was good.

The fact that it happened at all SUCKS.

(**bonus note, I had no anxiety the following night when trying to go to sleep, so that’s good)
 

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A year ago

A year ago at this time, I was on the down-slide of my “Prilosec-fever.” I was at the beginning stages of lethargy, I had already cut out all carbs and sugar–cold turkey–and I was falling deeply into depression. I ate very little and was barely leaving my bed. I was paranoid and having panic attacks. I had no idea what was happening to me, but it was both physical and psychological. I thought I was going crazy…I thought my brain was broken, along with my body.

Today, I’m driving and taking care of a lot of things due to my husband’s ankle problem (poor boy is in a walking cast now). I’m cooking for a get-together on Saturday, I’m grocery shopping without Hub (something I hadn’t done in years), and running errands on my own. I’m going to PT twice a week and seeing T every other week…driving myself to nearly all appointments. I’m doing laundry and taking care of the dogs, traveling out of state with family, and a few weekends ago I helped my parents setup for, run, and breakdown a yard sale.

And I’m still afraid. I’m afraid that this is all temporary and any day I will fall backwards into the pit I was in a year ago. I’m SO much more mindful of things today, of where I am physically and mentally, but I’m still afraid. I let these thoughts drift through my consciousness, but I don’t linger on them. I don’t want to dwell, I want to live in the moment and move forward in the state I am in now. I try very hard. I often wonder if other people have to try this hard to be “normal.” (whatever “normal”  means.)

I still struggle with fatigue and anxiety, don’t get me wrong. But when I look back to where I was a year ago this time, I am grateful for the progress I’ve made. Last year on Christmas eve I was in the ER, in tears, sure I was about to be committed. No one knew what was going on with me, even there. They sent me home saying I was dehydrated and needed to eat more. They sent me home thinking I had a horrible tumor growing in my brain that they would do nothing for unless it began to impact me significantly (a diagnosis that was later redacted…after I spent weeks and weeks freaking out). I still struggle with pain from my chronic illnesses, and I still get down more than I’d like.

And Hub has pointed out–and I see it myself now–that I do get short with people sometimes. I feel like I have reasons for getting exasperated with people, but Hub disagrees with me. He says I get that way without any reason he can see, but a lot of times I don’t tell him why I’m annoyed because it’s him or something he has done. But I am at the point where I pick my battles and the rest of the time I don’t want to start anything with him. It isn’t worth the energy or the aggravation, but apparently I’m still letting my annoyance show. I’m trying to work on that. I know I have this issue with my mom sometimes, too, but with the same explanation. I really really dislike (see “hate”) when she asks me three or four times in one conversation if I’m OK. Just because I’m not ebullient (fucking cheerful) all the time, she worries…and so she asks repeatedly if I’m okay. If I say YES the first time, don’t ask me again. It really aggravates me to no end. And I have told her this, but she doesn’t seem to get it. I don’t want to fight with her, but again the annoyance comes through, and i hear it, too. It is something I will continue to work through.

So I’m a work in progress. No shock there. But I am far forward from where I was last year. Thankfully.

 

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My adverse reactions to Prilosec

In the early fall of 2012, I realized that the OTC version of Prilosec I’d been taking was not helping me as much as it had when I was taking the prescription version 12 years prior. I went to a recommended gastroenterologist and spoke to him. He told me that taking OTC Prilosec was a joke because it was only 10mg. For someone like me, with the symptoms I was having, I needed to be on the full dosage, 40mg twice a day. Since I’d taken RX Prilosec before, and knew I didn’t have any side effects with it, I filled the prescription and began taking the pills.

See, I’m really sensitive to medications. If there is a side effect, I will get it. I can’t take anything anymore, including advil or motrin or alleve or anything…OTC or Rx. I even have weird side effects from taking anti-biotics. I only take them when I absolutely have to, and in that case I only take a z-pack, because I know the side effects I will get (which include burning hands and feet…something my doctors had never heard of, but it comes on shortly after I start the first pill and doesn’t go away for several weeks after I’ve finished the pills). But since I’d taken RX Prilosec for almost 8 months the first time, I figured it was safe.

I began taking the Prilosec as prescribed. The first week, it relieved my symptoms and I felt okay. Shortly thereafter, maybe 5 days in, the chronic gastritis symptoms returned, and some new ones came on. I thought it was the gastritis getting worse, but found out afterwards that it was the Prilosec side effects (like that horrible lump in the throat feeling? yeah, that one that makes you feel like you have to clear your throat all the time or swallow harder, or for some people–gag!) that were bothering me.

At the time I was taking Prilosec, I’d already been seeing a therapist about some grief issues, which were wrapped up with some mild depression over the loss I had sustained. The anniversary of the loss was coming up, and I knew I’d need to talk to someone, so I started going to see a nice (and highly recommended) therapist to talk. It seemed like she was able to help me with the grief and the trauma from the grief, but the depression seemed to be getting worse…going from mild to somewhat moderate. In addition, I began to feel tired all the time, lethargic and uninterested in getting out of bed. My energy was gone, my interest in even moving to go to the bathroom was zilch. I’d been dealing with food issues because of my gastritis, including cutting back on carbs and sugar, as well as the regular GERD diet, and I was eating smaller meals to relieve my stomach pain and heartburn. When I began to drift into this lethargy, I stopped eating almost everything and began watching every morsel that went into my mouth. I also started to become paranoid about what was IN the food I was eating. I was sure everything I ate would give me an allergic reaction (like anaphylaxis). Food that I’d never had issues with before were starting to scare me. If it wasn’t something plain, like grilled chicken or lettuce or cottage cheese, I wouldn’t eat it. My mother made tuna salad with mayonnaise and celery, but I wouldn’t eat it because I was afraid there was something in it that would make me sick. I eat tuna salad all the time…but my brain was telling me no way was I putting that in my body.

I also began to be afraid to be alone. And in some cases, not just alone in the house, but alone in my bedroom–which was where I was living…in bed. I wasn’t drinking, I wasn’t eating, I wasn’t moving. I was existing, in a weird reality of depression and anxiety and paranoia. In addition, my body was in pain. My neck and shoulders were stiff, my limbs all felt heavy and immovable. I couldn’t hold my head up. But yet, I couldn’t lay still in bed…I was constantly shifting and moving my legs and my body. There were times when I could carry on what felt like a normal conversation with the person who was staying with me, and other times when I couldn’t bear to concentrate. I was too tired, or too depressed, or too upset. This all was occurring when my husband and I were hosting his parents in our home for a week. What luck, yeah? They were in from California, and we hardly ever see them. So while my husband entertained his family, my mother would sit with me in the bedroom.

One evening while the in-laws were here, I just couldn’t deal anymore. With encouragement from my parents and my husband, I decided to go to the ER of a local but well-known hospital. The night before, I packed things I might need if they wanted me to stay. I prepared myself with personal products and clothing, wrote a note to my husband about how I felt about him, how sorry I was for doing this to him, and what I wanted from him if I didn’t come home again. I was entirely convinced that the hospital would want to commit me, or that I would die. The morning we went to the ER, I begged my husband, in tears, not to leave me alone. Not to let them take me away. That it was my utmost fear that they were going to commit me and take me away from everyone I knew. I was desperate enough to go for help, but terrified at what the “help” might actually mean.

My ER experience…

(Luckily, after researching Prilosec after my ER visit, I quit cold turkey and the “adverse reactions” tapered off. It took several weeks for me to start feeling normal again! It is appalling that this isn’t being talked about and that doctors aren’t warning their patients of the possible adverse reactions…)

 

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Anxiety is inside me

That’s what I have, anxiety. Sometimes it splashes into panic, but most of the time it is a humming, buzzing level of anxiety. It’s always inside me, sometimes I notice it, sometimes I can ignore it. But no matter what, it’s there, and I have it.

I’m okay to tell people I have anxiety. I can admit I have had panic attacks — at this point in time I am able to recognize two major episodes. The first one brought on by my first illness about thirteen years ago, the second one induced (I believe) by an adverse reaction I had to Prilosec. The two panic attacks were very different, which has also led me to feel confirmation that the second panic attack was due to the Prilosec I was on. Even so, yes, it was a panic attack. And yes, I went to a local walk-in clinic to get medication because I was so afraid that I was not going to recover without pharmaceutical help. The adverse side affects to Prilosec I had were varied and, well, pretty intense. I hope to never forget the whole incident, because it taught me a lot. And in this instance, Google was my friend, because it helped me find that I was not the only one having these side effects from Prilosec.

I have chronic health issues, which I will talk about another time. The onset of those health issues began in 2000, and it took years to figure out what was going on. During that period of time, I had lots of health anxiety because no one could tell me what was going on. I’m one of those people who needs to know. It’s why I pretty much live by Google. I’m learning now that Googling symptoms or researching health-related things is bad for me. I am trying to restructure my thinking to not run to Google everything. When I began to understand why I was having the health symptoms I had, my anxiety levels decreased. I understood what was happening, and even though in many cases I was unable to get rid of the symptoms, at least I knew what they were coming from. It was the unknown or unnamed that I could not handle.

For many years after my diagnoses, my anxiety was manageable, where most days I was unaware of it. I know, of course, it was still inside me, but I was living as normal a life as I could with my chronic illnesses. Then I had a traumatic event. Grief and depression began creeping up on me, and I believe it triggered some of my chronic illnesses, among which is a stomach ailment (chronic gastritis). When I went onto prescription Prilosec from my gastroenterologist, the depression got worse and the anxiety got higher. I have health anxiety, so every time I had a pain, my anxiety  levels peaked…it was a vicious cycle. On top of which the adverse reactions to the Prilosec started piling up, and I had no idea where those symptoms were coming from. By this time I was seeing a therapist for the grief and depression, but when I began to have more major issues that I couldn’t identify or handle, I ended up going to the ER. I stayed for many hours, had many tests, unfortunately got a bad diagnosis for something totally unrelated, and was sent home after being rehydrated. The day after I came home from the hospital, I had the second major panic attack… I was getting an adrenaline rush, I was shaking and crying, moaning, wailing, telling family members that my brain was broken. My husband and mother helped me get dressed and into the car, where I continued to sob uncontrollably, and we sped off to a walk-in clinic. I do NOT take medication because of side effects, but when I’d been in the ER, they gave me a small dose of Ativan so I could go for an MRI (I have a fear of MRIs). Since I was in the hospital where I could be seen to if there was an adverse reaction to the Ativan, I let them give it to me. And I was okay, other than feeling sleepy and sort of…numb. So I thought if we went to a walk-in clinic, I could get two or three pills to tide me over until I could see my primary care doctor to get a prescription. However, the clinic would only prescribe Xanex, and I’d never had that before. We went to a CVS to get the Rx filled (the clinic never stocks these kinds of meds, they tell me after the exam), but I knew I wouldn’t take the pills. At the time, my paranoia and fear was too high. By the time we returned home from the clinic and CVS, I had calmed enough that I could lay down without sobbing. I think I slept, while my husband tried to contact my therapist again. He had tried before we went to the ER and after we got back, but she never responded. When we asked about medication, she told him to call my primary.

By this time, my husband was really pissed off at my therapist for being both unresponsive and unhelpful. The next day, she referred me to a new therapy office where I could be seen by both a therapist and a psychiatrist…my current state was too much for her to handle. I made the appointments with the new therapist and to see the psychiatrist, and shortly after that, began researching Prilosec. Something came together in my head that morning, telling me that my depression had started getting worse after starting the Prilosec, and so did the rest of my health. I was shocked and appalled at what I found… I talk about that in another post, because it is important on its own. I’m well aware that not everyone has the same issues I did with Prilosec, but it’s clear from the reports that many many people do…most of them without any history of anxiety or panic. And if no one talks about what could happen, others could wind up the way I did, without knowing what was happening.

This was a long first post, so I’m going to cut off here. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here merely to bash Prilosec, it just so happens that it is an important link in my life and my experience.

 

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