One evening, last year, I went to pick up my husband from work and as I drove the car I felt this persistent upper chest pain, it was like a dull ache that wouldn’t go away. I felt so bad I didn't even want to drive. It hurt for me to inhale and exhale. This pain was occurring every day all day long. If I didn’t eat I still had pain. I was taking every over-the-counter antacid drug on the market yet I was still in pain.
I thought that I could beat this. Some days I would starve myself so I wouldn't feel the pain. I would take things I liked out of my diet believing it would help and it did but the pain came back. At times, when I swallowed I could feel each and every piece of food traveling down my esophagus and into my stomach. I finally realized I needed medical help. I visited my primary care doctor around this time last year. My doctor referred me to take a series of tests, an X-Ray, endoscopy, and finally a MRI. All of the results proved to be negative but the endoscopy showed that I have 3 benign tumors in my stomach. I was prescribed Dexilant for 3 months, of which I couldn’t afford, it would have cost me $400 for a 30-day supply! I purchased the generic brand, Pantoprazole, only $10. The doctor provided me with information about GERD and a list of foods that I can have. Looking at the list I knew I had to make changes about my own food selections. There were no cupcakes and donuts, the list only had whole foods. I have never been the type of boxed-macaroni and cheese having, Rice-A-Roni-eating, Zatarain’s Jambalaya mix eating kind of girl. I loved sweet pastries, sweet cereal, bread with every meal, spicy food on a big plate with seconds, maybe even thirds.
Here are some changes that I made:
- I slashed my portions in half - now eating dinner on a saucer (unless it's salad) and instead of swallowing my food out of sheer greed I actually slow down and chew it.
- I became aware of what I ate that triggered pain.
- I stopped treating the kids to donuts and cupcakes because I wanted it more than they did - If I forget to pack a healthy snack while we’re out grocery shopping or at a store I buy them a banana or apple. It’s cheaper than a donut and healthier.
- I stopped eating CEREAL before bedtime which increased the pain I would feel - What’s insane is that I was eating cereal with whole milk and my stomach does not like whole milk
I had to be honest with myself. I knew that the way I was eating would not impede the health issues that would likely occur in my 40’s. Though I have consistently been exercising 4-5 days a week for a year and a half I know exercise alone cannot sustain my body. For a year I have made positive efforts about my food choices. I still experience days when I fall short of my goal of eating healthy. Monday I had 8 red velvet donut holes from Dunkin' Donuts. OUCH! I am still not discouraged. I believe my diet will completely change for the better, I see it in every victory. The same day that I woofed those 8 donut holes, I reset myself and had healthy meals for the remainder of the day. Those 8 red velvet donut holes let me know that I still have work to do. I can emotional eat at times and I can binge too. Researching the topic of eating healthy I have come across this mantra:
“Eat to live don’t live to eat”
I don’t want to have to depend on Pantoprazole everyday of my life because I have over-indulged food. I don’t want my kids to believe that unhealthy eating is a way of life or worse living to eat!
I have not been purchasing the Pantoprazole but whenever I over-indulge foods high in sugar or over-eat the pain comes back , not as bad. Not too often that happens. I have to go for a follow-up soon so I’ll keep you posted.