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I eat pizza, I choke. I eat ice cream, I choke. I drink a glass of water, I choke. Have you ever felt like you had something stuck in your throat? Well, that was me every time I ate. It started off as a simple wow I ate to fast I better get a drink to I ate chicken and now I brought it back up in the food parking lot. My mom growing up has had a narrowing of the throat, so I assumed I was the same.
Of course, I am 23, so I really didn’t want to have my throat stretched. However, when I spent an hour bringing my food and spitting it back up I had enough. I got to my dad’s throat doctor. It took 6 months to get in. When I finally did, Dr. A told me we need to do an upper GI. I agreed thinking the ok time for the easy fix. I was wrong. It came back clear. I was talking with my friend and she suggested a barium swallow test. I called my doctor and asked if it’s something that would help. He told me yes, and made an appointment, 2 months away. I went and got it done.
It tasted horrible! It was like grinding up chalk to make a smoothie. I managed it down. I went back to Dr. A. He told me it’s clear. Nothing was wrong. I was still choking and it was getting worse. It went to the point when I didn’t want to eat in public and I was scared that I will die from choking. I told him this. He gave me acid reflux meds and another odd medication. I had already been taking the acid reflux meds for 4 months. This new medication I took a week or so and when I did I felt light headed and sick to my stomach. I research it. He gave me meds for high blood pressure.
It’s important to note that on a good day my pressure runs low, like 100 over 60 low, so I stopped the meds. It was around Christmas and his nurse called to ask how I am. I told her worse. She called back and said that the doctor said to keep taking the acid reflux meds and hopefully, they will kick in soon. I don’t know about anyone else, but during 4 months they really should have kicked in. I was livid. I called my mom and cried to her how I was being treated badly by this doctor who is supposed to be the best.
She called her throat doctor and I’ve had an appointment for a week from that horrible day. I met his nurse and she told me that the swallow test showed a narrow and he would need to take a look at his own upper GI. I got an appointment for 5 days from that appointment. I did my own research by that point. I cannot stress how important it is to research symptoms with test ordered to figure out why they are doing them.
The GI again came back, my throat passage wasn’t the problem. Anyway, my doctor sets me up with a pressure test. This test was horrible and the biggest pain of my life. They put a tube that looks like anal beads on a long rope down my nose, and then it went down my throat and past the gag reflex into the stomach. It stabbed through the nose cavity and I tried not to puke while past the gag reflex is hard. Then I needed to swallow when they said I need to. That past was easy. Kept my mouth open and close it when they said to swallow. You can’t swallow if your mouth stays open. It tests how your muscles work in your throat. Well with this illness they don’t do anything.
They lay dormant so to eat you rely a lot on gravity to push the food down and not the muscles. Well, this is bad since the part of your stomach that opens to let food down relies a lot on the muscles telling it to open. It will stay closed causing food to build up and this is the feeling of choking. My new doctor knew this. He gave me options. I picked the long-term option – a surgery to cut that muscle and allow food to pass. The weakest option for the elderly is Botox which lasts 3-5 months per shot. The second option is a balloon dilation which has a 50% success rate. I choose to have my insides cut on. Well, I got my appointment a week from the doctor visit. I was gowned up and ready. Be warned, I now have 5 scars on my stomach and woke up in horrible pain. It was so bad I got morphine on my first day. The nurse wouldn’t give me anything when I woke up, so I blacked out. Woke up and my mom was there. In tears, I held up 9 fingers and swayed in and out. She yelled at the nurse since I couldn’t talk from pain to give me something. I got some weak pain medication and motion to my mom for more help. The nurse caved in and gave me morphine. After about 12 hours the pain was gone.
Fast forward 4 months, I am recovered. I still get chicken and bread stuck but a small sip of water unclogs it. I can eat normally and so long as I am not throwing down food I can eat just fine. Long story short if you cannot eat, and a doctor tells you not a thing is wrong, get a new doctor. Don’t beg. This illness goes untreated a lot because a lot of doctors misdiagnose it. Leaving it unchecked can lead to a feeding tube or Bacterial pneumonia. It’s not worth dying to avoid the second opinion.