I want to tell you about my journey with antacids. It started in my mid-twenties, not unlike other family members. Though this is a history, I now speak as though present in the past.

Going to bed at night is not easy anymore. An onset of burning pain, and feeling overfull. Some nights got worse; as I settle for the night, a bit of puke-like stuff rolls up into my mouth only to be re-swallowed in disgust. This is no way to live. No way to start my sleep!

Most frequently, I can alleviate the burning with antacids. First came Tums, then came Pepsid, then came Pepcid Complete, which usually replaces the other two, except for the mildest of symptoms.

I realized I had a problem, and it seemed the more pills I took, the worse it got in the long term.

I did not want to be dependent on pills! Dependency is weakness, and proves my limited view. I am independent; dependent on God only for my needs!

If antacids are not part of God's plan for me, then what should I do? Is there another cure? Must I suffer needlessly?

My first successes were limited, but everything I tried helped a bit as you will read.

Fighting against antacids: What I tried to stop the stomach pain

Eat less spicy food. I think this helped, but probably mostly because I would eat less. I've since started enjoying spicy food again, but always consider it a special treat so I don't overindulge.

Eat less acidic foods. This means less citrus, soda, less candy, and less beef. All good advice generally, but other than my avoiding orange juice, I don't know it helped my sad tummy.

Eat less egg whites. This definitely and obviously helps me have less trouble. This was an obvious thing to try because I am allergic to egg whites, but I wonder if the sweeter baked goods are just as much trouble as the egg whites themselves. Besides donuts, cookies, and pastries, something here might be said for controlling allergies as a means to reduce stomach problems. My worst onset of allergies causing asthma attacks were stress-induced. Feeling the most stress in meetings at work I would have coughing fits with what felt to be an uncontrollable tickle in my throat, and I would have to leave for a drink of water and an inhaler (once I realized it was asthma).

Eat less? Eat early? Eat less sugar or carbs? Less milk or dairy? Though helpful, I have not been very successful with any of these attempts. The ways I reduce eating tend to either make me more hungry, or less functional. I think there's something to be said here, but I have trouble implementing this one. I sometimes stay up late finding entertainment without snacks, and with water as my only refreshment. This is the closest I've come to eating early on a regular basis.

The more I choose not to take antacids, the more I realize that antacids are making my pain worse the next night. While considering the possibility of Nexium or another daily pill, I realize that this treatment would hide any such similar observation and would make me more dependent than ever. I didn't want this extra expense in my budget. In short, I was not ready to embrace greater dependence while I believed other measures might still help to alleviate suffering. So, I continued using Tums, Peptobismal, or Pepcid complete (my all-time favorite).

I now continue the search for life changes that would help.

How do I control the acid in my body? I know lactic acid (like the milk?) builds in the muscle when exercising. It goes to reason that acid build up in the muscle would reduce acid in the stomach. This worked sometimes, but also proved I didn't know how to exercise properly. Most regular exercise of a significant duration and intensity requires stretching, warm up before, and I think they say a cool down, and stretch after helps too... I don't know. All this variation in activity doesn't feel natural and I have trouble implementing it. For me, the only exception to this unnatural challenge of exercise, is throwing a ball which seems to need much less stretching... so I continue basketball practice as often as I can move the cars out of the way to shoot it. Naturally I will shoot layups and jumpers for awhile, get bored/confident, shoot long three-pointers until tired/bored, then come back and shoot inside close shots once again. I've also started biking, but that's another story for another day.

The plumbing was clogged. Every time I attached a new pipe in my house, or puked in my mouth, this became more obvious. I wasn't willing to choose bulimia in this fight, so my only choice was to push it through the other end until I made some room up top! These thoughts came at night when my stomach refused any attempt to sleep into the night. So I sat on the toilet, and worked like I was constipated. I started to realize I was actually constipated because I couldn't get anything out. After my legs were wobbly from lost blood flow I had success, which in size was nowhere near the time and effort involved. But the real success was not what lie below, but what I felt within. No more stomach pain!

Now what to do about those hemorrhoids! Witch hazel. The nice big wipes work best without feeling...unnatural. You may have seen those little round pads...they work too, but are really just gross.

Better but burned

All these things and with what I believe is over a year of less symptoms, I'm almost ready to declare victory. I am very proud to say that despite an abundance of stress I rarely, rarely ever take an antacid now; usually the weakest one I can find. Surely some credit is due to having my allergies in control, but I give the most credit by far to my number 2.

Actually, my current fight is with a sunburn. The 4th of July was all about fun in the sun. This included over an hour starting at noon, with no shirt or sunscreen in the swimming pool. Any tips? Let me save you from stating the obvious which is don't be so brainless. I surely was an idiot.

For my sunburn, Here's what I tried so far:

  • Green goop (Aloe Vera kind) seems to help and hurt/irritate.
  • A cool shower feels nice too, but only if the water flows across the burn without striking it.
  • Last night, I tried an Aloe plant which we peeled and applied. The pain is worse this morning... oh well, maybe just too much rubbing for the amount that we applied.
  • Julie picked me up some spray on Aloe Vera before work this morning. No rubbing, so I hope it does the trick without irritation.

I've got rip marks where the skin refused to stretch on my shoulders, which causes most of the pain.

Update: The spray worked well, and smelled like chloroseptic (throat pain reliever). I am happy with the spray on relief.