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I would really like to explain what has been happening to me and get the community's advice and knowledge. So thank you in advance for taking the time to read this!
To start, I am a 35 year-old male who has never smoked or drunk alcohol. This past December, I was working a lot of hours at work due to the holidays and also doing A LOT of shoveling snow at home (huge driveway) and I began to feel a bit under the weather. Nothing serious, but rather only a slight cough (even though my lungs were clear according to the doctor), occasional headaches, a bit of pressure near or behind my ears, and a slightly scratchy throat. I had a vacation coming up on January 8th so I did not take any sick days as I was not truly feeling that bad.
Jan. 8th came around and I began my vacation. However, I was taking a shower and I felt a small bump on the back of my neck, below the hairline. It was not large but I had never felt it before. So I went to the local walk-in clinic and saw a doctor who told me it was a lymph node and that I was indeed sick. I had a temperature of 100, my throat was slightly swollen and my ears were also slightly inflamed. He proscribed some Doxycycline and sent me home.
Within two days of taking the Doxy, my symptoms EXPLODED. I was hit with the worst exhaustion and fatigue I had ever experienced in my life. I am a very active/athletic guy who plays sports/lifts weights ... and I could barely walk up stairs. Holding a cup to my lips made my bicep feel as though I had just done 20 curls. In addition to this, my throat was assaulted with feelings of thickness, inflammation, the most horrific thudding and popping feelings when swallowing, tightness in various parts of the throat, as well as hoarseness when talking and seemingly constant throat clearing.
After a few days I visited the same doctor at the walk-in and he said I had developed a very bad case of post-nasal-drip, in addition to whatever else I was fighting. He proscribed Dymista and salt-water gargling and using a humidifier in my room.
So after finishing the 10 days of Doxycyline, I started to feel better. My energy and strength slowly returned. Within 2 weeks of this all starting, I was working my full shifts at work + overtime and back to lifting weights. However ... what did not improve at all was my throat. I was still experiencing sensations of tightness and thickness and extremely uncomfortable swallowing. Sometimes the tightness would be under my jaw, or instead around my larynx, or sometimes in the part of the throat right above the collarbone, which I guess is more like the upper esophagus. I was having no pain at all in the typical "sore throat" sense. Swallowing was uncomfortable, not painful.
I returned to the same doctor and he checked my throat again and said he could not see or feel anything strange and also felt my thyroid and found nothing of concern. He said that clearly I had been quite ill and this all was likely a result of that. He told me to give it time and see how I did.
So 4 weeks after January 8th, my symptoms were the same and I got an appointment with another doctor who is now my Primary Care Physician. He also looked at my throat and felt around and could not find anything out of place. He proscribed Sudafed and put me on 1,800mg of Ibuprofin a day. He thought my post-nasal-drip was still causing havoc and inflammation in my throat.
Another two weeks past and still NOTHING changed. If anything, things seemed to be worsening. In addition the tightness, thickness, excess mucus, and swallowing discomfort, I also developed a terrible "thudding" feeling when I swallowed on the left side of my upper throat, above and slightly to the left of the Adam's Apple and below the jaw. I could feel something catching or popping or thudding in that exact area. People standing next to me could even hear it if they listened closely. It did not hurt, except in the sense that after 30+ times the whole area would become tender. It was at this time that I also noticed how that area would bulge slightly more than the other side when I swallowed. It was not like a bull-frog or anything that extreme, but it was becoming more and more obvious. So my doctor decided to send me to an ENT.
So I have been waiting weeks for my ENT appointment, which is next week. During this time, my symptoms have continued. I wake up every morning to the thudding feeling when I swallow, in addition to random attacks of tightness. I have also noticed that when I lay down on my back with my head on a single pillow for reading, I sometimes feel a tightness or pinching sensation in my lower throat (upper esophagus?) in the area right above the collarbone. If I don't change positions, it sends me into a coughing spell. Even if I am standing up, if I put my chin to my chest, the same choking/tight feeling triggers. In addition to this, I am having feelings of heaviness on my chest when I lay down simultaneously with the choking feeling. When I sit up, the chest heaviness goes away. This seems especially true if I lay down after eating. Yes, for many many years I have been a late-night eater and have often slept soon after eating.
Needless to say, it has been nearly 2 months since this all started and I am getting worried about what is actually happening. Does it sound like I have GERDS or LPR?
Symptoms I have had:
Throat tightness (especially in the area below the larynx/above the collarbone), excessive mucus, hoarseness, post-nasal-drip, throat clearing, coughing, occasional ear pain, feelings of "thudding" or "crunching" when swallowing, uncomfortable swallowing, muscle tightness on side and back of neck, chest heaviness when laying down (especially after eating).
Symptoms I have not had:
Typical Soar throat, trouble eating or drinking or breathing, weight loss, vomiting, nausea, heartburn.
Before I became very ill on January 8th, literally NONE of these symptoms were affecting me as far as I could tell. But since then, it has been every day/all day. Does this sound like LPR/GERDS? And can LPR/GERDS be so acute?
I know this was long. My apologies. Thank you again for reading!
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