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Rising Fire: The Heartburn Trials

That familiar burning sensation that slowly rises up your throat. You feel like you might hurl, but instead it just seats there in your esophagus, seeming to mock you. You think it might be better if you do upchuck. Unfortunately, you don't.

Every pregnant women at some point in there pregnancy likely has experienced a little bit of what I described: the dreaded heartburn. When you are pregnant, people speak about it in an endearing way, praising the luscious hair that your baby will come out of your womb with. Are you really thinking about your baby’s hair when you are feeling fire shoot up your throat?

Heartburn is fairly commonplace in society nowadays. With the amount of processed foods that have emerged throughout the decades, it is no surprise that heartburn is such a widespread ailment for so many. People are popping antacids like it’s nothing. In fact, they have dedicated commericals displaying this, almost advertising eating that extra spicy food. Why not? You can just pop a few antacids and call it a night.

I suffer from GERD, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, which is normally associated with frequent heartburn. I started having issues with my stomach, to the point where every morning I was nauseous. Thinking I was pregnant, I just continued on and put it out of my mind. However, once I confirmed that I was not pregnant, my doctor suggested I go see a specialist.

This specialist decided that he needed to inspect my stomach, so I received an endoscopy. The procedure involves them sticking a tube down your throat that has a tiny camera to see what is truly going on inside your stomach and throat area. It turned out that my stomach lining was basically gone and I had a lot of damage to my esophagus. The doctor told me I was at risk for cancer in the future, even though he assured me the chances were very slim.

Hearing the big C word definitely scared me. For a while, I backed off of my favorite food, which is Ramen and hot sauce. In fact, spicy food in general is my favorite food to chow down on. I have never went back to the specialist since they performed the endoscopy, mainly because I was scared shitless, and because I became pregnant a year later.

One thing that I have maintained, though, is taking my acid reducers every day or the days I remember. The doctor told me I would have to take them the rest of my life and I believe him. I can always tell when I don’t remember because my insides are on fire. Being pregnant currently doesn’t help my GERD. Even taking my acid reducers, I still have to pop antacids like they are candy sometimes.

Luckily, esophagus cancer is very unlikely in most cases. I’ve done some research and while it can definitely happen, cancer of the throat is a very low risk cancer to get compared to other cancers. Still, I have toned down my spicy intake. The recommendation of the doctor was to reduce my sodium intake, but almost everything has sodium in it. I mean, can you name something you ate today that doesn’t have some kind of sodium floating around in it?

Yes, heartburn is so unpleasant. I don't understand the reasoning behind it. Maybe it is are body telling us to stop stuffing it with so much junk. I wonder if people in ancient times suffered from heartburn and cancers of the esophagus. It is not likely, I suppose. We have way more processed foods today, which I strongly feel is the cause for many cancers in the world. Either way, my baby is going to have a lot of hair when she arrives in this world.

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