Stuff, things & a diagnosis.*
I’ve been on edge the past few weeks because my husband has been ill. Difficulty swallowing, inability to eat anything substantial, very low energy were some of the symptoms. (Want to catch up all the way? Read this).
Five days ago, the gastroenterologist’s office called with the test results. What he has is a complication of GERD, called Barrett’s Esophagus. This means following a special diet, staying on Nexium, having regular checkups and getting an endoscopy annually. Even though the description of Barrett’s Esophagus is a bit scary, I learned that several members of my family and various friends have it as well and have lived with it for a long time. Somehow, that was comforting to know but also not. This happened to each of them when they were older. My husband is only 30.
It just came as a blow to us because it happened so suddenly and he’s generally healthy. He’s been making many changes already to manage this. He’s changed his diet (not willingly, of course) and he’s gone from 4-5 beers a day to no beers a day and hasn’t had any coffee (definitely not willingly!) He’s not thrilled about having to take a maintenance med though (he doesn’t even like to take OTC meds that often). He just “celebrated” his 30th birthday yesterday .. but there was no celebration. And it makes me sad because I know he is feeling deprived. The appetite is there, just not the ability. I’m doing this with him though. I’m not going to torture him by eating the things he can’t have while he sits eating bland things. I can definitely benefit from eating better too.
I know that Nexium is a healing drug and I hope it does that for him. Today he ate better than he has since this all started happening. Dinners have been sort of challenging lately, trying to find things he can eat easily that are also palatable. Thankful for almond milk, Greek yogurt, Kefir, various kinds of herbal tea, and those frozen mashed potato discs from Trader Joe’s. Also thankful he doesn’t hate Ensure because that gave him extra calories during those first few bad days.
I want him to be young and have fun and eat and drink whatever he wants. That’s what I did when I was 30. But I also know a pre-cancerous condition such as Barrett’s is not something to take lightly. Why is getting healthy such a big, scary thing? Why isn’t it an awesome thing?
What I’ve learned through all of this is what a worrier I still am. I thought I had gotten that more under control, but I stressed hard waiting on that diagnosis. I freaked when he couldn’t eat. All of this happening during the stress of traveling for the holidays didn’t help, either. Even now that I know what is wrong, I get frustrated because I feel like he should be eating more already, or the medicine should be helping more by now (even though I know it’s not an instant fix). I ruminated scary situations. I know it’s normal to be afraid when someone you love is sick, but I think the way I was dealing was a bit extreme.
I’m glad to finally know the diagnosis even though it wasn’t the greatest news. It certainly was not the worst news. Hopefully in my future updates I’ll be able to keep reporting his progress. I do appreciate all the words of concern, suggestions & well-wishes. He does too. So, thank you .. from both of us.
*My husband used to blog and his blog title was Stuff, Things & an Evil Monkey. A long, long time ago.