In the world of acid reflux I have rarely met someone who had been diagnosed as a child and is still dealing with it. Most of the people I have spoken with have children who were diagnosed as infants and went on to outgrow it or they were not diagnosed until adulthood. Since my youngest refluxer is showing no signs of outgrowing her AR I thought it would be interesting to get that perspective.
Sara Brown is a volunteer for PAGER who has dealt with AR since she was a child. This is a portion of the conversation that we had about this issue:
Jen: Sara, when were you diagnosed with AR?
Sara: I was two weeks old when I was diagnosed and I will be 19 in September.
Jen: Do you find that there are certain foods that hurt your stomach or cause your AR to flare?
Sara: Well, spicy foods definitely hurt! Peppermints, chocolate, orange juice, apple juice, milk, Italian and Mexican foods don't always agree with me either.
Jen: Are there any foods that help or settle your stomach?
Sara: Crackers and Gingerale can help when I am feeling really nauseated. Other than that I usually have no interest in eating when my stomach is bothering me.
Jen: We’ve joked that going to work out right after eating isn’t great for AR but has your AR caused you to miss out on activities?
Sara: I have a high pain tolerance so I don’t think my AR has hindered me from doing anything. It has limited things to a certain extent. Sometimes I have had to sit out or take it easy.
Jen: Do your friends understand your AR?
Sara: Some of my friends have experienced some GER like symptoms, so they have an idea of what it can be like at times. They don't think of me differently or anything and half of them don't even know I have it. So, they don't try and understand it, but I don't think they would have a hard time "getting it."
Jen: Is there one thing you would like people to know about having a chronic illness like GERD?
Sara: I would like people to know that just because we have a chronic illness doesn't mean you have to treat us differently. Some days we might not be ourselves but if you give us a chance then, we'll come around.