Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Why I didn't order the steak!

When I was 12 I thought I almost chocked to death. It started out a normal hot summer day in Bensalem. Everyone was at work and I was home with my Baba (Grandmother in Ukrainian) and cousin Steve. I had just microwaved a tv dinner for lunch. BBQ Chicken Breast with mash potatoes. My favorite tv dinner! Two bites in and I start to panic. I can breath but every time I try to swallow I have a horrible pain in my chest and I can feel the meat stuck. I start doing what I hope is the international sign of hey im choking over here please save me grabbing my throat then I realize I can talk and say "foods stuck!" Right away my cousin leaps into action, only being a year older than me I look back now and realize how amazing it was. He tries giving me the Heimlich Maneuver which doesn't work. Then my Baba tells me to stick my finger down my throat to throw it up. As I try to do that I realize the food has gone down. Now I'm thinking I didn't die! I didn't die! My cousin is extra nice that day any game I want to play in the pool whatever I want to do with the rest of the day since I didn't croak. It's not until I'm 16 that this happens to me again. Hanging out with friends driving around we stop by a McDonald's I order a burger. No drink. I had no cash on me. While on our drive back to my friend's boyfriend's house I take again only two bites of the burger and oh no I'm choking. With not one drink in the car. I scream pull over I'm going to throw up. But then nothing happens. It's just stuck. I suck it up for the 4 minute drive home. As soon as we get there I get a huge glass of water and run to the bathroom. I sip and sip and it just comes right back up. Burger is still lodged in my chest. The pain and feeling like I'm about to die is overwhelming. I drink and drink until finally the burger comes back up with the water. For those little tiny bites I am in there forever bringing it all back up. Mortified in front of my cool friend, her boyfriend, and his much older and cooler brother, I feel like I need to run out of there and disappear into dorkdom forever. It's not until years later in my early twenties that I meet another person with this problem. I thought I was the only freak in the world. That something was wrong with me. I remember even as a small child I hated taking pills I would make my mom crush them. Probably because I could feel them go all the way down and sometimes stick and not go down. My friend tells me he had to have his esophagus stretched and has problems with acid reflux. Everything exactly the same. It was comforting, maybe I'm not deformed. In the next couple of years google takes off and I'm able to research my problem. It hasn't happened in so long I never take advantage of my health insurance and get it checked. Until one day out of the blue it happens in the middle of a busy mall food court. Oh no! Chinese Bourbon Chicken! Just one small bite and I'm panicking all these people a gross public restroom. I am in there for a half hour drinking soda and it just keeps coming up. The people in the stalls around me probably thinking I have an eating disorder or food poisoning. A full half hour of throwing up with my son and old man waiting on me. My son is so freaked out, he thought I was dying. How mortified I am. I'm so upset I scared him. This time was the worst broken blood vessels and my eyes looking creepy. By the time I try to schedule an appointment to get this looked at I find out I'm pregnant with my daughter and cannot have any procedures done. So 9 months hoping this doesn't happen..what if I end up with a blockage and have to go to the ER I could hurt the baby some how. Olivia is now two and a half and I haven't had any "spells". Thank God! Not having insurance right now stinks! I could go have this fixed! Every time it happens it feels like this is it! The food is never going to come out! I've learned what to avoid, to relax, and only take small pills that are gel caps. Thank the Lord for adult gummies. I can now take a vitamin without fear of feeling like I'm dying. I share this story in the hope that if someone stumbles across this blog post they will realize their not alone and someone else understands how much it sucks. Also there are treatments. I think a lot of my problem comes from GERD which is the fancy terminology that you have acid reflux damage to your esophagus. 

According to the Mayo Clinic this is what's wrong with us:

Causes

By Mayo Clinic staff
It takes about 50 pairs of muscles and nerves to accomplish the simple act of swallowing, and a number of conditions can interfere with this process. These conditions generally fall into one of two categories: esophageal and oropharyngeal. Sometimes, however, the cause of dysphagia can't be identified.
Esophageal dysphagia
Esophageal dysphagia refers to the sensation of food sticking or getting hung up in the base of your throat or in your chest. Some of the causes of esophageal dysphagia include:
  • Achalasia. This occurs when your lower esophageal muscle (sphincter) doesn't relax properly to let food enter your stomach. Muscles in the wall of your esophagus may be weak as well. This can cause regurgitation of food not yet mixed with stomach contents, sometimes causing you to bring food back up into your throat. This type of dysphagia tends to get worse over time.
  • Esophageal stricture. Narrowing of your esophagus (stricture) can cause large pieces of food to get caught. Narrowing may result from the formation of scar tissue, often caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or from tumors.

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