Patient Comments: Barrett's Esophagus - Experience

Please describe your experience with barrett's esophagus.

Comment from: Cindy, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: November 16

I was diagnosed almost 2 years ago with Barrett's, GERD, and a Hiatal Hernia. I was having a lot of heartburn and reflux, to the point that several times; I thought I was having a heart attack. I was also having back problems in the left wing of my back/shoulder. I made an appointment with my family physician for my back (a follow up after being in the emergency room for several spasms). I mentioned to him that I have acid and heartburn pretty bad. He asked how often and I laughed and told him, "everyday.” I never thought it was that big of a deal. He immediately sent me to the gastro doctor, and commented that my back problems could be part of the GERD. The gastro doctor, ordered an EGD immediately and low and behold, I waited too long. Fortunately, no cancer, however, this is something you never get rid of. I will always be medicated for my acid and to prevent barrett's from worsening. I am reading that so many of you don't know whether to push for more tests, or you wait until you are way too late. You are the only patient you need to worry about! The doctors have many. You need to worry about you and push for anything you feel you need. I am fortunate enough to have great doctors that have been with me for years, and have listened to me when I complain, but many people do not have that, you need to be your own advocate! You want another EGD, then you tell them, and you get them to help you get it approved with your insurance. I just had my second EGD and my doctor has made it very clear that I have to have the EGD every year to make sure the barrett's isn't worsening. I am waiting for biopsies from this last one and they don't anticipate a change, however, I will see him again next year!

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Comment from: jer8226, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 03

I was diagnosed with Barrett's when I was 24. It is extremely scary knowing I have this at such a young age. I had the endoscopy because I had extreme pain under my right rib. I thought it was my gallbladder, but it turned out to be Barrett's. This past week, I've been having problems swallowing. I recently moved and can't find a doctor to look at me until May. I just want everything to be OK.

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Comment from: retch-retch, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 19

I was diagnosed nine years ago with Barrett's esophagus and a hernia. Since then, I was also diagnosed with a peptic ulcer. About three years ago, I had an emergency gall-bladder removal, then a stone removal, plus I fell, shattering my wrist all in one week. My only relief for Barrett's is to take Rantidine 300mg (Zantac) at night before bed and sometimes during day when it flairs up. For the last couple of years, I have found two or three days of Ramen noodles soup and crackers will also get me through the painful episode when you're hungry. Medicines and pain meds are just a Band-aid now. I need surgery. The smell of food makes me want to vomit all the time.

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Comment from: tlc1, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 05

My doctor came across my barrett's by accident. We thought I had celiac disease. I was 34 when diagnosed. I never suffered from traditional heartburn I just had a constant burning in my sternum. My first endoscopy several years earlier detected esophagitis. I am on an expensive drug called zegerid 40mg. once a day. It is a life saver. I notice when I forget to take it my Adams apple feels like it has been hit with a lead pipe. I just had my follow-up with the same diagnosis, premalignant dysplasia. My diet changes and belly weight loss seemed to have helped. No changes. So I am good for 2 yrs. unless I feel sick again.

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Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 19

I am a white female. Ten years ago, a friend of mine did me the biggest favor: When I told her I always had heartburn, and it occurred no matter what I ate, she told me to immediately set up an appointment with her gastro specialist. I was surprised that he immediately performed an endoscopy. He found I had Barrett's and put me immediately on Prevacid. I was prescribed to take two tablets a day rather than one. I had to go to the VA for care after I lost my medical benefits. They would not prescribe Prevacid but Prilosec. I asked my physician repeatedly for endoscopies to be performed because of the Barrett's. He said I had no symptoms and therefore the medication was working. I finally changed doctors after four years of this. To my surprise and dismay, I had stage II esophageal cancer. The doctor told me to put my affairs in order. This is not something to play with; when you are concerned, fight for your endoscopy. I wish that I had and I might not be going through this. There is nothing to the test, and you are given medication to put you in a dream-like state. Please be sure that you see your doctor on a regular basis and have endoscopies often if you have Barrett's. This is a horrible cancer and you may need to advocate for yourself. I wish I had! I pray that none of you let yours get out of hand. Of course, we now have more information, but stay on top of it, and prevent yours from developing into cancer.

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