I am lucky to live in a pretty cool neighborhood in New York City. Forget that there are tons of families and Grandma lives close by, but there are some amazing people that live within a ten block radius of where I am! That means I get to meet some of them occasionally, and no, it’s not really creepy if you follow Sting down the street for a while hoping he’ll turn around so you can at least wave. (The restraining order doesn’t allow for much more than a wave.) Kidding!!! There’s even some remarkable people in my building. Robin Quivers used to live here, that was fantastic, and we have a whole assortment of incredible medical professionals. From ER doctors, to neurologic radiologists, to oncology experts, to ENT’s! One of those incredible ENT’s, and todays WARRIOR WEDNESDAY, is Dr. Jonathan Aviv. As a voice actor in my oh-so-spare time, I knew of Dr. Aviv because he is the Clinical Director of the Voice and Swallowing Center at ENT and Allergy Associates. What I didn’t know, was that Dr. Aviv is also a pioneer in the world of acid reflux, which happens to be a world that I am all too familiar with, unfortunately. Turns out, “Doc” (that’s what I call him now), is such an expert, he is frequently an invited guest on television to talk about his advances. He was even called upon to comment on the procedure that sadly preceded the death of Joan Rivers, on the Dr. Oz show.
When I learned Doc was working on a book, I was really excited for him. When I found out it was a book that would potentially help me (and a gazillion other people), I was really excited for me! I ordered the book, Killing Me Softly From Inside, as soon as I could, because I was tired of that lump in my throat that would sometimes cause soreness and even hoarseness, and it had become clear on visits to my doctor, that it was reflux. Even though I didn’t have the “regular” symptoms of heartburn, I had what Dr. Aviv refers to as Throatburn. Yup. And now I have this book, that to be honest is so simple and straightforward, that I should never be symptomatic again. Of course, I am not the most compliant patient, but the book has absolutely helped me make better choices throughout my day, which certainly impact whether or not I will be symptomatic. I asked Dr. Aviv some questions about the book that I am happy to share with you, although I urge you to get it for yourself because there’s so much useful information in it, along with great recipes, too!
When considering acid reflux, most people think it is a gastrointestinal issue. I asked Dr. Aviv when people should go to an ENT instead or in addition to a Gastroenterologist:
“This is where the history comes in and this is where distinguishing between Heartburn Reflux and Throatburn Reflux comes in. If you have heartburn see your GI doctor. However, if you have Throatburn Reflux, that is complaints of chronic cough (more than 8 weeks), hoarseness, frequent throat clearing, and/or a lump like sensation in the throat, start with your ENT doctor.”
When discussing the differences further between Throatburn and heartburn, here is what Dr. Aviv had to say:
“Throatburn reflux is a term that I coined that means acid reflux disease without the classic symptom of Heratburn. Remarkably 90% of the patients in my practice have Throatburn Reflux. So instead of heartburn, patients complain of chronic cough, hoarseness, excessive throat clearing, and a lump-like sensation in the throat. I call these THROATBURN REFLUX symptoms, “ALARM” symptoms which means that acid injury has likely been going on so long that your are numb in the stomach and esophagus, but you still feel changes in your throat. So you need to have your throat and esophagus examined.”
The book has a whole plan, referred to as the Acid Watcher®Diet, which is pretty simple, if you follow it, and again has great recipes. After I read the book, which was pretty much in an evening, I ran into Doc in the lobby and told him I hated him. True story! I told him that his ridiculously simple list of ten things to avoid was basically made up of all the things I enjoy! He gave me that look that all doctors give when a patient is non-compliant, and he said that it’s my choice to be healthy or not. So there! With that knowledge, I asked him out of the Top Ten no-no list, what are the three most important to follow immediately, and he said:
“No soda or other processed food.
No laying down within 3 hours of eating.”
Now that I can manage! You can get the rest of the list when you get the book, that I have now recommended to many people. Two dear friends of the family went out and got the book immediately, and positive results for both, were instantaneous. One of them had even gone to Duke University Hospital to try and figure out why she was having such difficulty breathing. They diagnosed her with chronic pulmonary disorders and yet she still had no relief. Following Dr. Aviv’s book, she immediately stopped coughing, and for the first time in a long time, was able to take deep breaths without ending in a coughing fit. To her, this book is a miracle. So much so, that she started calling Dr. Aviv’s office to try to get him on the phone! I couldn’t be happier for her and for the many, including me, that will receive tremendous relief from this book. That’s why Dr. Jonathan Aviv, is this week’s WARRIOR WEDNESDAY!