Chris' Story Name: Chris Robinson Lives: Southampton Diagnosis: Barrett's oesophagus Did a kidney stone save my life? I'd had acid reflux all my life; it had got bad and I was eating Rennie like sweets, as my Dad before me had to, but he'd died when I was a boy. A typical obstinate male, I wouldn't see the doctor for "just heartburn" but then I had to. I had painfully passed a kidney stone on holiday and the attending doctor said I had to see my own GP when I got home. Following a long discussion and prolonged urine tests, he concluded that my kidney stone was due to excess calcium from all the Rennie. He sent me for an endoscopy. That's when I discovered I had Barrett's. The surgeon who scoped me said, "We don't like to see that in the oesophagus: it's like the lining of the intestines and could become cancer". Not knowing, then, anyone who'd died of cancer, the C word didn't scare me. "I could give you an operation," he said (meaning a fundoplication). That did scare me so it was years later I eventually went under the knife. Meanwhile the omeprazole I'd been put on had cured my oesophagitis: I was heartburn free but had the chronic reflux cough. For me the fundoplication was the best thing I ever did. The cough went. I also discovered I had a sense of smell and my ear problems cleared up. (I hadn't realised they were due to reflux.) A widow I met since told me her husband had been like me and wouldn't see the doctor until he couldn't swallow. "Six weeks later, he was dead." I wonder whether that could have been me had the kidney stone not sent me to see my GP earlier. Associate with HCUK: Chris Robinson is the Chairman of Barrett's Charity, Barrett's Wessex.