Publish365 038: Your Doctor Isn't Always Right

I know. Shocking.

Everyone, at this point, knows I had cancer. I was diagnosed in October of 2018. went through 2 months of chemo and radiation, had my esophagus removed in March of 2019, then had another 6 months of chemo. It wasn't fun. What caused my cancer is strange to a lot of people; untreated acid reflux. Esophageal cancer is usually caused by damage done to the esophagus through repeated exposure to stomach acid. (By the way, if you haven't had your constant reflux checked, please do it. K thanks).


After my surgery I was mostly fine but in the last 2 months or so I started having episodes of reflux overnight. That wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't on medication to stop it since December of 2018. Here's the crazy thing, though. The medication was also making me feel like crap. How do I know? Because on days I missed a dose, I'd feel better. Sometimes I would just give my body a rest and not take the meds. If I was going to have the reflux anyway, why take the meds that made me feel like crap?


After sleeping on the couch for a few weeks, I got to the point where I wanted to sleep back in my bed. I started doing some research and I found out things I already knew (head and chest elevated, not just head elevated) but then I found a tip that absolutely blew my mind. Doctors apparently have found (based on patient reports) that people who suffer from GERD (Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease) reported a marked reduction in symptoms if they did one thing.


Slept on their left side.


That's it. Just sleeping on your left side apparently reduces GERD symptoms to not only a manageable level, but some people reported that it actually eliminated their symptoms entirely. What did I have to lose? I was already off the meds, and I had been weeks without issues since I was sleeping, sitting up, on the couch, so I had a go.


I got ready for bed one night and found my way to my old spot. I propped up a pair of pillows and put my head on the top edge of them while sleeping on my left side. 10 hours later I woke up, rested, for the first time in weeks. This pattern repeated itself over and over day after day. Over the past three weeks I've slept in my own bed nearly every night and as far as reflux symptoms? None.


No miserable feelings from the meds. No reflux at any other part of the day, and now I'm sleeping perfectly.


I know my doctors were just being cautious, but in my research I found that the medication I was taking wasn't mean to be taken for more than...


I'm almost laughing as I write this...


8 weeks.


I've been on it since December of 2018 which, in case you're from states with bad book-learnin', means a lot more time.


Anyway here's the takeaway: don't assume your doctors know everything. Don't be a jerk patient that is combative and horrible, but do assert yourself and do some research. You can have an opinion on your own care. I'm glad I did because my reflux is gone, and I don't feel like crap from the meds. That's what the English call a result.

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