Living with bile reflux disease isn't easy, but I've learned some ways to cope and want to share them with other sufferers.
A Personal Journey
Reading some of the comments on my first article inspired me to write a second article about my experiences living every day with bile reflux disease. I probably could write a small novel about the experiences I have had. Each time there is what I call an "episode," the effects on me are draining. Based on the comments from my first article, it seems a lot of other sufferers go through similar symptoms. Keep in mind each case has basic criteria and symptoms the doctor uses and diagnoses you with. Each case is different in severity, pain, nausea, weight loss, etc., which leaves sufferers feeling very alone when we need support the most.
1. Evaluate Your Medical Team
Pay very close attention to your doctors. What I mean by this is very simple. Fire your doctor if you don't like him or her. In my case, my medical team wasn't working for me. They switched my medications around on a whim—prescribing things I didn't need such as antidepressants, vitamins, antihistamines, etc. It also seemed at one point they weren't listening to me or my symptoms. They wouldn't refer me to other doctors I asked to be referred to; they wouldn't help place me on medical leave; and I realized they weren't even doing the basic patient checkups during my visits. All the while, my "episode" was getting worse.
I was shocked to discover, once I "fired" my doctors and found new ones, just how sick I had become. I had vertigo so badly, and I didn't even know I had fluid on my ears. The old doctors said it was nerves, and placed me on an antidepressant. The new doctor looked in my ears—and placed me on antibiotics and helped me arrange a medical leave.
Now mind you, the vertigo I experienced is not part of bile reflux disease. However, in my case, I was so sick with an ear infection, it helped trigger the symptoms of my condition. Think about it, if your sinuses are draining heavily into your stomach, would one not feel the affects? The answer is yes. Because even the most talented nose-blower will not get all the mucus out; therefore it drains to your stomach.
When I am feeling my worst, I have noted (for myself and my condition), there are other things going on that usually trigger my symptoms. Logging the things I am feeling, even little pains, or things others might deem insignificant, are usually very important in helping relieve symptoms. If your doctors won't listen, fire them.
2. Educate Yourself About All of Your Medications
Something doctors tend to forget is that we are people who have lives. If a medication doesn't seem to be working, or if you experience adverse side affects, or if you're not sure if you should be taking the medicine at all—make sure you bring these questions to the attention of your doctor.