As I hadn’t written an update on my ongoing health problems, I thought I’d write an update.
Six weeks ago as things weren’t really clearing up I went back to see my ENT specialist. He did a full set of allergy tests and also used an endoscope to check out my throat.
The allergy tests confirmed that I was massively allergic to grass, which I knew about, but also allergic to house dust mites which I didn’t know about. However the endoscopy identified what has probably been the source of a lot of my problems over the past months.
Although I haven’t been getting any traditional heartburn symptoms the endoscope showed clear evidence of damage to my throat, and also a growth near my vocal cords, so the consultant diagnosed LPR or silent reflux, putting me on a course of daily Lansproprazole, a proton pump inhibitor that stops acid production in the stomach, along with doses of Gaviscon Advance after every meal, plus a stronger nasal steroid spray for the allergies.
Yesterday was the follow up appointment where although the granuloma had shrunk a little, my consultant wasn’t happy so I’m going into hospital next month for a microlaryngoscopy to remove the granuloma so they can biopsy it and ensure it’s not cancerous.
Of course it’s always rather scary when the ‘C’ word is mentioned, but he assured me he was 95% certain it was a benign growth, but he just wanted to be sure. He did offer to do some work on my nasal passages as well at the same time, as I’d be under a general anaesthetic for the microlaryngoscopy, but since my nose hasn’t really given me that much problem aside from running a lot during the summer I thought it was best not to have things done there if not strictly necessary.
Having been diagnosed with LPR there have been a number of changes. First off my diet has changed. We’re following the diet set out in a book called Dropping Acid, which is cowritten by one of the leaders in the field Jamie Koufman. I’m also now avoiding eating within 3-4 hours of bedtime, ensuring that there is minimal stuff in my stomach to reflux back during the night. To further ensure that I’m also now sleeping with a special wedge pillow that angles everything so my throat is above my stomach. I’m also not allowed to sing, which is most frustrating, and need to be careful of any activity that could cause stomach contents to back flow, so lots of bending and lifting is out too.
As to what caused the problem, nobody seems to know. There are a lot of online discussions with a remarkable number of people who had LPR develop after a heavy cold, which of course I had. The other option is that maybe I’ve got a hiatal hernia, which is when the top of the stomach comes through the hole in the middle of your diaphragm. In general since it’s a relatively newly identified condition doctors don’t seem quite sure. For the moment though it’s Lansproprazole and Gaviscon regularly and watching what I eat.