Poor Me

I’ve recently been diagnosed with laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR). For those of you who don’t know what that is (as I didn’t up until a month ago), it’s similar to acid reflux, but instead of affecting the esophagus with a burning sensation it goes straight to the vocal chords and throat. The result is hoarseness, sore throat, a burning sensation around the vocal chords, almost constant throat clearing and post-nasal drip. It responds very slowly to treatment, and unfortunately if you Google it you’ll read all of the misery stories of people who’ve been on Prilosec for 2-3 years with no relief. In addition, even though the chances are remote, every website is sure to tell you just how LPR can lead to throat cancer, which of course kills like 137% of people who get it. So my wife has forbidden me to look up anything remotely medical related ever again on the internet.  Poor me.

With LPR there are all kinds of dietary restrictions, lots of don’ts and very few dos. Here’s a short list of the no-nos…

  • Coffee
  • Fried foods
  • Tomatoes
  • Citrus
  • Pretty much any beef
  • Nuts
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Anything fatty
  • Coffee
  • Pizza
  • Cheese
  • Most deserts
  • No spicy things (like no hot wings)
  • Coffee

And did I mention that I’m not supposed to drink coffee?  I’ve managed to negotiate my way into a small cup of decaf in the morning, but I’m not sure if it helps or just makes me long more for that rich robust flavor that is full bodied, fresh ground whole bean goodness. And it doesn’t help that Starbucks stores in Oregon are like Baptist churches in Mississippi. To make matters worse, there’s a Five Guys Burgers and Fries right next to the grocery store where we shop. Poor me.

Then there’s the testing, poking, probing and guessing. I’ve been on a prescription strength of Prilosec for over a month now with very little improvement, so I was referred to a GI specialist who suggested I’d benefit from having a tube stuck down my throat and into my stomach to “look around.” So while the diagnosis is technically LPR, there are a few other things it might be, like an ulcer, a hiatal hernia or another really fun thing called Laryngeal Sensory Neuropathy, which in layman’s terms simply means, “oversensitive nerves in the throat.” But I like Laryngeal Sensory Neuropathy better as it sounds much more serious and is likely to illicit pity from people. Poor me.

Tonight after dinner my little guy was rolling around the house. I was sitting in our little glider chair watching the Braves almost snatch defeat from the jaws of victory when I called over to him, “You want to come sit with daddy.” In an excited burst of energy he yelled out “yeah!” and quickly rolled over to me.  I unbuckled him and gently lifted him onto my left knee. He immediately did something that he’s done even since he was a baby; he laid his head on my shoulder and just snuggled in.

I looked down at Isaiah and just pondered my own situation and his for a few minutes. I’m complaining about my coffee, my pizza and my hamburgers. I’m frustrated that the meds aren’t working quickly enough. I’m nervous about being put to sleep while a man I’ve never met before does a photo session on my innards. Isaiah, on the other hand, doesn’t have a pill that can fix his disability. He doesn’t have one surgical option that can make things right. His are expected. It’s only a matter of time before the next surgery comes around, the next medicine has to be increased, the next test has to be done, etc.

Then there are the therapies, the catheterizations, the enemas, the not being able to walk, run, jump, swim on his own, climb, hop, etc. In the face of all this he laughs, smiles, plays with his iPad, watches his sermons and the Duggars. My trial is nothing compared to his, and I often think just how tough this little man is, tougher than I am in many ways. At the end of the day, in the midst of everything he faced, he climbs up in my lap and snuggles and I get to hold him. If only my faith was such that I could consistently take comfort in my heavenly Father. Poor me? No. Blessed me.