During his mid-thirties Bill suffered from the effects of lifting heavy equipment in his construction job. After years of construction work, he changed fields, returned to school and started working in electronics. Bill, though very young, was diagnosed with a hiatal hernia.
For several years he lived with a persistent pushing up of the diaphragm into his throat. A full glass of milk in the evening was about the only thing that would relieve the discomfort. His doctor was surprised that at his age he had a hiatal hernia, but the x-rays clearly indicated that was the problem.
A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of your stomach pushes up through your diaphragm and into your chest. The diaphragm is a large muscle that lies between your abdomen and chest. You use this muscle to help you breathe. Normally, your stomach is below the diaphragm. However, in people with a hiatal hernia, a portion of the stomach pushes up through the muscle. The opening it moves through is called a hiatus. This condition mostly occurs in people who are over fifty years old. It affects up to sixty percent of people by the time they're sixty, according to the Esophageal Cancer Awareness Association (ECAA).
The exact cause of many hiatal hernias isn't known. In some people, muscle tissue may be weakened by injury or other damage. One of the causes is the lifting of heavy objects. Some people are even born with an abnormally large hiatus, making it easier for the stomach to move through it.
Bill's doctor had him drink a liquid with barium in it before taking an x-ray. The x-ray showed a clear silhouette of his upper digestive tract, and it indicated that his stomach was protruding through his diaphragm. He had a hiatal hernia.
The only treatment available was to take over-the-counter antacids to neutralize the stomach acid. Surgery was not recommended, and Bill accepted the discomfort as just part of life.
The Sunday morning service went as usual, and Bill was filling that strong upward pushing in his throat. At the close of the service, the pastor asked if anyone needed prayer for healing. Bill stood up and went down. The pastor asked for the men to come and lay their hands on Bill. As they prayed, Bill felt the upward pushing in his throat stop! All symptoms were gone. Later x-rays indicated no change, the hiatal hernia was still there! Bill's doctor had no explanation.
Now at the age of seventy-three Bill has accepted this gift of love for over forty years and had no other symptoms. Bill uses caution, follows his doctor's recommendations and continues to live a very active lifestyle.