Patient Comments: Barrett's Esophagus - Experience

Please describe your experience with barrett's esophagus.

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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Comment from: Barbaraws1, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 18

In December, I was diagnosed with Barrett's Esophagus. I had a mastectomy in January and reconstruction. I was not feeling very well and my doctor was out of town. I then went and saw the P.A. and as he walked out the door and was closing it he said, "Finally, got to see somebody who is not sick today." I was his second patient. A few days later I went and spoke with our small town surgeon. He wanted to do an upper and lower series. I agreed. The pathology report came back with Barrett's esophagus. I had no heartburn to speak of and he was very surprised. I just went to see my new Oncologist yesterday. He advised me that I was very lucky to have a surgeon who did the biopsy after seeing tissue changes, I agreed. I am still learning about this disease. I am a 52 year old woman. I have a 17 year old daughter. I am treated with medication; however, I am now having more symptoms. I don't know what the future holds, however, I just wanted to write this to let everybody know that only you know what is going on with your body and if you hear a remark like the one I did, please see another doctor. This doctor may have saved my life or he at least, found out what was bothering me and got me on the medication and ordered a PET Scan that was like 3 years over due.

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Comment from: rgb, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 12

I just got a diagnosis of Barrett's Esophagus today. I had an EGD done on Friday and they put me on proton inhibitors which have helped. I had been sick for months with vomiting and it finally got to the point I could not keep anything down and I lost 10 pounds in a week. I am very upset that my insurance company will not cover my medication. They will cover it if I were to be diagnosed with esophageal cancer, but not now. I think it is a real shame that an insurance company will let you progress to cancer before they will pay for your medicine. I can't go on without the medicine so I will pay over a hundred a month for the medicine. Today is a sad day for me.

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Comment from: Chris, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 06

Last February in 2008, I had a feeling of a lump in my throat, so I went to an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor and was diagnosed with GERD. After taking various proton pump inhibitors for several months and still feeling the lump in my throat with no changes, I was referred to a gastroenterologist for further diagnosis. He performed an upper endoscopy that showed that I have Barrett's esophagus. This was a surprise as I had never even known that I had a problem with acid reflux, let alone Barrett's esophagus. There were no symptoms until I felt the lump in my throat! I have a normal/thin weight, exercise and eat very healthy, so I have questions as to why I have this disease. Now I will be taking Protonix two times a day as well as calcium and will have another endoscopy in a year to monitor my condition. Since this was found early, it can be monitored and hopefully controlled over the years.

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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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