Saturday, Sunday, March 12-13, 2011
BABY BLUES® by Jerry Scott and Rick Kirkman
Dr. Gott Dr. Peter Gott
DEAR DR. GOTT: In January 2011, your column tion affecting about 1 percent of American adults. It is
responded to a 19-year-old who had a chronic cough for most commonly diagnosed in those age 50 or older and
16 months. I, too, had a chronic cough whenever I sat, in those who have acid reflux. Men are twice as likely to
stood, laughed, was around smoke or after exercising. It develop the condition as are women, with Caucasian
lasted more than 15 months. My other symptom was men most affected. It causes the lining of the esophagus
hoarseness with a sensation of something in the back of to change so that it resembles the lining of the intestine.
my throat. I had been put on prescription cough syrups It is most commonly associated with reflux symptoms
and pills. I had also tried some of the same medicines but by itself does not cause signs. Rarely, sufferers may
that were mentioned in your column, including those for develop a fatal type of esophageal cancer. Barrett's may
asthma, acid reflux and allergies. I was asked about acid be present for many years before this cancer, known as
reflux but hadn't had the usual symptoms for it. I saw an esophageal adenocarcinoma, develops. Unfortunately, it
MARY WORTH by Karen Moy and Joe Giella allergist and a pulmonologist. I had a chest X-ray, aller- often isn't detected until late stages, when treatment is
gy tests, CT scans of my sinuses, breathing tests and a not very effective.
bronchial scope. Barrett's esophagus doesn't typically require treat-
While awaiting an appointment with yet another doc- ment unless severe changes or cancer are detected.
tor about the cough, I had my yearly pap test, and blood Treatment can include photodynamic therapy to destroy
was also found in my stool. I was set up to have a precancerous and cancerous cells, endoscopic mucosal
colonoscopy with the new physician. Before the testing, resection to removed the affected portions of the
I told him about my other symptoms, and he told me he esophageal lining, and surgical removal of most of the
would do an EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy) at the esophagus.
same time. Other readers also related their experiences. One
The results of the EGD showed that I have Barrett's found it was caused by certain cholesterol medications.
esophagus, resulting from acid reflux. It was also found Another determined it was caused by ingesting gluten.
that the blood in my stool was coming from my esopha- Someone else discovered that toothpastes containing
gus. I underwent a laparoscopic fundoplication, with a sodium lauryl sulfate (which I have written about in
full wrap of the stomach around the lower-esophageal regards to mouth sores/ulcers) caused hers.
BORN LOSER® by Art and Chip Sansom sphincter. My first EGD was done in 2008, the surgery One reader experienced a chronic cough for well
was in 2009; a second EGD was done in 2010, and I now over 15 years before it was discovered that she had thy-
won't need another one until 2012. I just thought I would roid nodules that were found to be cancerous. Thyroid
send this information so you could possibly pass it on to enlargement can cause a choking feeling and hoarse-
the person in your column. ness, which may lead to coughing. Treatment depends
DEAR READER: Since that article appeared, I have on the cause. An overactive thyroid may require anti-
received several letters regarding readers' experiences. thyroid medication. An underactive thyroid requires
Yours was not the only to suggest Barrett's esophagus supplemental thyroid hormones. Cancer often requires
and acid reflux as a possible cause. surgical removal of the thyroid, followed by supplemen-
Barrett's esophagus is a relatively uncommon condi- tal hormones to replace those the gland previously made.
Dear Abby Pauline Phillips and Jeanne Phillips
GARFIELD by Jim Davis DEAR ABBY: I recently ran into She has asked me to lunch to DEAR ALL GROWN UP: You
"Grace," who was a dear friend back "catch up." I'm a stay-at-home mom are wrong to prejudge the woman.
in elementary school. Back then my and not comfortable meeting her in While it's possible Grace has a drug
parents helped her mother flee and person, espe- problem, it is also possible that the
divorce her abusive husband. At age cially with car accident left her with an injury
12 we lost touch because Grace my kids. I that has affected her speech. See her
moved to another school and joined feel guilty for without your children and make a
a "bad crowd." not wanting determination.
Eighteen years later I was happy to see some- If she is impaired because of
to see her again, and gave her my one I was so injury, would that make a difference
phone number. I have the feeling close to when in how you feel about her? Your
something is a bit "off" about Grace I was young, lives have gone in different direc-
now. She has called me repeatedly and for tions. She appears to be needy. With
and in her messages she sounds ner- assuming she your responsibilities as a parent,
FRANK & ERNEST® by Bob Thaves vous and stumbles over her words. has a drug how much time and effort would
When I called her back, she told me problem. you be able to devote to her? Only
she was in a serious car accident Am I wrong in making this you can answer these questions. But
nine years ago and hasn't held a job assumption? Should I stop returning to take the coward's way out and
since. The entire conversation was her calls and ignore her, or should I ignore her would be cruel.
strange, and my gut is telling me see her to make a determination? -- DEAR ABBY: I am a 40-year-
Grace has a drug problem. ALL GROWN UP IN VEGAS old single mom who is just getting
back into the dating scene after
being divorced for a year and a half.
There is a guy, "Hank," I'm interest-
ed in getting to know better. We
both have kids who go to the same
high school. We have gone to sever-
al out-of-town football games with
our kids and have texted each other
REX MORGAN, M.D. by Woody Wilson and Tony DiPreta often.
What's bothering me is Hank has
never asked me on a one-on-one
date. Should I ask him, or should I
wait for him to make the first move?
I don't want to appear desperate, but
I really would like to get closer. --
STEPPING BACK INTO THE
DEAR STEPPING BACK: I
wish you had given me a little more
information about Hank -- such as
why he's raising his children alone
and for how long, and whether he
dates at all. However, I don't think it
ZITS® by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman
would be overly aggressive to say
(casually) to him, "You know, we
never get a chance to talk one-on-
one, and I'd like to get to know you
better. Why don't we have dinner
one night?" It's not an obvious
proposition, and if he's at all inter-
ested he'll agree.
DEAR READERS: To those of
you living where daylight saving
time is observed, I offer this gentle
reminder: Don't forget to turn your
clocks forward one hour at bedtime
tonight. Daylight saving time begins
DILBERT by S. Adams at 2 a.m. tomorrow, and you know
what that means -- spring is on the
Dear Abby is written by Abigail
Van Buren, also known as Jeanne
Phillips, and was founded by her
mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear
Abby at www.DearAbby.com or
P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA
To order "How to Write Letters
for All Occasions," send a business-
sized, self-addressed envelope, plus
check or money order for $6 (U.S.
funds) to: Dear Abby -- Letter
ALLEY OOP® by Dave Graue and Jack Bender Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount
Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is
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