My Hiatus Hernia and Healthy Eating Change

by DGMEFM Network Member

I’m used to making big life changes when it comes to my health.  My body can be so sensitive to abnormalities.  

Sadly I felt it would be easier to die than managing the acute pain from two stupid gallstones.  I cut my saturated fat right down to the bare minimum to avoid the acute painful episodes, living off clear soup, M&S chicken and Powerade juices.  Eventually, my body still retaliated resulting in my gallbladder being removed about 15 years ago. 

I developed IBS as a direct result of taking Meloxicam, my first pain medication.  Being given Omeprazole to allow my Meloxicam to continue.   Either it reacted with my Meloxicam or my body just reacted to the Omeprazole on its own.  Since both became counterintuitive I stopped both. 

This is the cover picture for the book 'What your Doctor may not tell you about Fibromyalgia'

One of my most radical life changes was following the Guaifenesin programme, check out ‘What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Fibromyalgia: The Revolutionary Treatment That Can Reverse the Disease’ that just so happens to be in our lending library.  This programme worked for me but external factors relating to my job got in the way.  I simply didn’t have the strength to continue with the Guaifenesin programme and went back to prescription medication.

My Beliefs

There is so much about our condition and symptoms that are out of our control.  Our bodies seem to have their own agenda loaded with pain and misery.  I am an advocate for The Serenity Prayer:  the common name for a prayer authored by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971).

What form works best for you?

  • God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
  • God, give us the grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, the courage to change the things which should be changed and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

They are both slightly different and will evoke a different response or action.

My Values

What matters to you Logo.  Ask what matters, listen to what matters and do what matters

Supporting or hopefully working in partnership with ‘my beliefs’, is my values which tell me it’s ok to ask myself ‘What Matters to ME?’.  Mostly, I ask myself this question when my health is poor and I seek help from my GP.  I write it down so I don’t forget.

IBS and Plant-Based eating

About eight years ago when I started getting IBS again, I decided to change to plant-based eating i.e. vegan.  My stomach may have just become sensitive as I wasn’t overweight at the time.  Initially, I was a bit poor at avoiding dairy but I soon found that my body didn’t quite like dairy, resulting in bloating and cramps.  My only vegan lapses tend to be round cakes, although tasty vegan cake options are getting so much better so my lapses are very rare now. 

Heartburn & GERT

Due in part to trying different medications, a decrease in activity due to mobility problems and the gradual increase in my pain, my weight increased gradually over the last 4 years.  Being heavier, I started getting horrendous heartburn or GERT. I was literally slugging the supersize bottles of Gaviscon to ease my symptoms.  With Covid-19 rampant, I managed on my own.  I would try a course of vegan probiotics every so many months, which helped.  But everything was a bandaid and not a very good one.

Healthy Eating Support aka Diet (If it quacks like a duck, it’s a duck!)

In September last year, I felt I had to buy some size 14 tops, not to mention the new 40inch bra I bought.  Well, I kid you not, my chest has never been so big.  Well actually that’s a lie, it was super-sized when I was breastfeeding.  To wake up one morning to ‘hello’ where did you come from was expected after childbirth, but the gradual change, you don’t tend to notice.  Being the organised woman that I am, I know I’m laughing too!  I have clothes in different sizes for fat and thin days.  I could still fit in everything, except my underwear hurt like a ‘bleep’ ‘bleep’ ‘bleep’ 😉.  So it wasn’t until I had to buy a size that I didn’t own that I stopped to think.  

That’s when I joined noom.  I needed to lose weight and knew I needed an ‘invisible’ support network to help.  Invisible because it is harder for me to self manage my health being around too many people and much of our illness is ‘invisible’.   And no I didn’t increase my physical activity because I physically couldn’t.  Changes had to be sustainable for me and not counterintuitive to the other aspects of managing my health aka chronic pain and fatigue.

Sliding Hiatus Hernia

Sliding Hiatus Hernia diagram

In January, I was diagnosed with a 2cm sliding hiatus hernia and duodenitis.  Prior to my weight loss, my hiatus hernia would have been bigger.  Now just in case, anyone out there doesn’t know; getting Ibuprofen tablets stuck in your throat can lead to nasty things happening in your oesophagus. This was the reason I got referred for my Upper GI Endoscopy in the first place.  I didn’t feel I had red flags for Cancer. My Mum had Cancer in her throat and deep at the back of my mind I couldn’t help but worry.  Thankfully, even with increased waiting times to be seen, my referral completed just before Christmas resulted in my January appointment. 

In February, I discovered that Omeprazole really doesn’t agree with me.  I started on 40mg a day for 6 weeks following my Endoscopy.  I was so itchy. Between the developing rash and my scratching, I looked like I had measles over 70% of my body. After 4 weeks the consultant confirmed I could stop at my telephone follow up appointment. 

My Health Improvement

I joined noom in late September 2021 and by late February 2022, I reached my goal weight, with a healthy BMI.  Fitting comfortably back into my clothes.  I feel empowered to manage my eating habits better than before.  Accepting that I can only eat small portions now as despite my hiatus hernia being small, it will flare up if I eat too much.  My heartburn and/or GERT have improved greatly.  It’s a lifestyle change to help me live, just that little bit better.  I think I will always remember what occupational health told me during my last few months of work, “You are living to work when you should be working to live”.  My chronic pain has not reduced because of my weight loss, nor has my fatigue improved but there is no magic cure to my condition.  

Thank you for reading, big and gentle hugs to you all 🤗