Rich food, fried food, spicy food -- if you have heartburn or acid reflux, those foods have fiery consequences.
Acid reflux forced Majed Khalifa to give up so many of the things he loved.
"A burning sensation in my chest, and then it would go all the way to my throat where I would start coughing," Khalifa said.
But he's back, and even eating pizza with pepper. So what changed?
A new reflux ring made of titanium beads not only controls the painful burning, but also allows people to eat the foods that once caused their reflux.
The ring is placed around the esophagus to prevent stomach acid from splashing up into the throat.
The ring is actually a magnet, which is an advantage so that when you swallow it, can stretch with your esophagus.
Khalify was the first Houstonian to get the reflux ring. The surgery was minimally invasive, using five small keyhole incisions to place it.
"What this device does is fill in the gap for a lot of people who weren't bad enough to need the big operation but they weren't doing well on their medicine," said Methodist Hospital surgeon Dr. Pat Reardon.
So Khalifa gave his new reflux ring a test
"The minute I woke up, I could tell the difference," he said.
An hour after surgery, he drank coffee!
"What if it hadn't worked?" we asked.
"I figured I'm inside the hospital, so if it didn't work I'm already here," Khalifa said.
But it did work. And now -- one month later – Khalifa feels better.
"The heart burn, the coughing, clearing my throat like that -- all that disappeared," he said.
Surgery to get the reflux ring costs between $15,000 and $20,000. You can get more details at www.LinxForLife.com.