with Dr. Barry
cause problems. Or if it was a good powder
day and I was skiing really hard, I’d get down to
the bottom of a great run and I’d feel terrible.
“I hated that chest burning. I just hated it.”
The “chest burning” is heartburn, which is a
symptom of acid reflux. Here’s what hap-
pens: at the entrance to the stomach, at
the bottom of the esophagus, is a valve.
This valve usually closes as soon as food
passes through. If it doesn’t, or if it opens
too often, acid produced by the stomach
can splash up into the esophagu — heart-
burn. Acid reflux disease is when this painful
burning happens more than twice a week.
Acid reflux doesn’t occur just during
physical exertion. Stress can aggravate the
condition and it can affect sleep, too.
“It’s all tied together,” Jeff explains. “Stress
is a part of life, but I also have a stress-
ful job. When you have a stressful job, you
need a good night’s sleep, but you can’t get a
climbing at the rec center
in Gypsum,” Jeff Shroll remembers. “I was beating
on my chest, complaining about the acid reflux
that I’d had for a decade or more. He looked at
me and said, ‘I can fix that.’ I said, ‘I’m listening.’”
“He” was Dr. Barry Hammaker. The fix was
an elective surgery called laparoscopic fun-
doplication and it changed Jeff Shroll’s life.
Jeff is an active, busy guy. Originally from
Grand Junction, he made his way to Gypsum
from Crested Butte and has been the town man-
ager for 20 years. He has coached track at Eagle
Valley High School for 17 seasons, enjoys running,
climbing, skiing, lifting weights, fly fishing, hunting
and is determined to bag all of Colorado’s 14ers.
However, his gastroesophageal reflux disease
(GERD), better known as acid reflux, was ham-
pering his ability to do the things he loved.
“Running, weight lifting — really during any
kind of cardio workout, that acid reflux would
kick up,” Jeff says. “My stomach gets to go-
ing and that stuff comes back up and it would
The Acid Reflux Test
A simple procedure can produce big payoffs
for those suffering from acid reflux