Today was a visit back to my ENT surgeon, Dr. R., to receive the results from the barium swallow test I completed just before Thanksgiving. (See “The Prep Work” blog post)
To be honest, today was another day to be let down by my own body. Like jeeesssussss, can’t a girl just catch a break? Ever since we discovered that my body is attacking my thyroid, I swear they find something new that’s wrong with me every time I check in. This time, I didn’t even realize that this was even a potential issue. I haven’t really noticed any different symptoms and frankly outside of all the things that I experience because of my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis meaning I’m forever in pain or constantly tired, as my new normal, I truly haven’t noticed anything else.
Well, maybe it’s because I’m so consumed by the autoimmune issue that I’m not paying enough attention to everything else? Who knows at this point.
I say this because the results revealed that I have what is called Hiatal Hernia. The test also revealed that I have damage and inflammation to my esophagus due to acid reflux.
So what does that all mean you ask? Well, here’s the cliff notes version:
Hiatal Hernia is a condition where part of the stomach pushes up through the diaphragm. Your diaphragm is the thin muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen and helps keep acid from coming up into your esophagus. With hiatal hernia, it’s much easier for the acid to come up. Essentially it enters through an opening where the esophagus passes on its way to the stomach.
From what I’ve found it’s more common than not, affecting around 200,000 people a year and doesn’t necessarily require treatment. Some are treated with drugs and a few types/cases actually require surgery.
I personally fall into the drug category. I’ve been advised to take two separate acid reflux meds 3 times daily for the next 3 to 6 months. I go back to Dr. R. in 8 weeks for a check in and potentially another test to see if treatment is successful. If they learn that nothing has changed, I’ll be referred to a Gatroenterologist for further assistance.
Great, another doctor.
Y’all, I’m currently shaking my damn head right now because I realized that I’m slowly building up my own team of doctors. Think about it:
Dr. M & Dr. A — my PCP’s in an internal medicine group office
Dr. C — my new endocrinologist
Dr. R — my ENT surgeon
… and let’s not forget David. He’s my pharmacist and he’s pretty cool.
So what’s next? How do you try to help the healing process?
Throughout this new stage of my life, where I feel like I quite literally am a human experiment/pin cushion/bubble girl, I’m learning that getting back to yoga will be more beneficial for me rather than going hard at the gym and intermittent fasting. A few years ago I started a yoga journey and would practice daily. I noticed a drastic and beautiful change within my body. It was probably the best shape I had ever been in physically and mentally. I fell off of it because I started to get into running and hitting the gym more. Then that just stopped completely. So there’s that.
With this new diagnosis/ailment — I need to reconsider getting back into it. Rather, I really just need to do it. To be honest, my love for yoga never really went away. It’s by far the most relaxing and rewardingly beautiful exercise. Looking more into this hernia business but also finding ways to help ease my daily struggles with Hashimoto’s, yoga seems to be the golden ticket.
The trick is learning what is safe to move through versus what isn’t. Did you know that Inversions where once my jam? Really, I swear. By inversions I mean headstands and handstands. Doing one a day once I woke up and worked through a morning routine would jump start my day and lets not forget the ab and shoulder muscles I developed. Because whoa dang… ya girl was fit. I say all of that because if you too find yourself diagnosed with a hiatal hernia, do your research on exercises that can help as well as exercises to avoid. Also know that by exercising with hiatal hernia you can potentially lose weight and also improve symptoms at the same time.
Looking into things, I found ones that can help: walking, jogging, swimming, cycling and gentle or modified yoga just skip the inversions. The key is to avoid strain on the abdominal area, it’s important. So scratch anything that is a bridge pose, forward fold, headstand or handstand. I promise, it’s for your own safety.
There’s so much change that will occur this year and most of it will be healing. Healing of my gut, my mind and really just my entire body. I hope you stick with me and hopefully my experiences I’m sharing with you will help you heal too.
Until next time my darling, just remember perhaps it isn’t you per se, but actually it is and the autoimmune disease that is taking over.
PS. Hug your fellow Thyroid Warrior, I promise they’re fighting more battles than you’ll ever know about. January is #ThyroidAwarenessMonth