Continuous throat clearing and cure

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fishing890
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 11/2/2008 9:16 PM (GMT -6)   
For 5 months now my wife must clear her throat continuously. The only time when she does not do that is when she sleeps or when she sits quietly reading a book. She can hardly talk. Her voice is so low that I very often can not understand. She said that it is extremely difficult for her to talk because there is something like a lump in her throat. Her GI did a scope of her esophagus and told her that she had acid-reflux. She is very depressed because she can not talk! She is afraid that she will some day loose her voice.
She is taking Prevacid once a day now. Actually the doctor told her to take it twice a day but as it did not help her much she went to once a day.

If you have experienced the same problems and somehow managed to get back your voice, please let us know about your treatment and duration. Thanks!

LdyJane
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 903
   Posted 11/2/2008 9:54 PM (GMT -6)   
I was sent to National Jewish Hospital in Denver because of pulmonary problems, including hard to breathe, chronic coughing and throat clearing, always losing my voice. I had great Dr.'s there and they diagnosed Vocal Cord Dysfunction; they are also the ones who found that my reflux was very severe and was most likely the root cause of my pulmonary problems.

One thing that I did for the throat clearing was a simple sipping exercise; using a glass of water and a straw, tip your chin down toward your chest and sip through the straw. This opens up the throat and allows for clearing of the mucous that is accumulating. The mucous is accumulating as a result of the damage from the acid.

This is just a way to help the problem, it certainly won't cure it. Prevacid may not be a good fit for your wife; it took a couple of tries with other PPI's before I found one that worked for me; in the meantime, your wife should be propping her head up while sleeping. This will go a long way in reducing how high the acid may be getting up while your wife is sleeping.

If she continues to have problems like this you may want to look at speaking to a pulmonary specialist to rule out vocal cord dysfunction, or, you can call National Jewish in Denver. They have a nurse line that is open 24 hours a day; you can ask all kinds of questions..
Good luck.
Janice

fishing890
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 11/2/2008 10:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi LdyJane,

How long did it take you to get back your voice? Are you still taking meds?

Thanks!

LdyJane
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 903
   Posted 11/3/2008 7:04 PM (GMT -6)   
My voice would come and go, but I haven't had any problems since the surgery. Once I started the protocol from NJ, I had fewer and fewer throat clearing problems, but I was also on Protonix twice a day and Tagamet too. I think I needed all of these things to help the voice/cough/throat clearing thing.

fishing890
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 11/4/2008 6:43 PM (GMT -6)   
LdyJane,

The sipping exercise does help my wife very much. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to you. She can now talk a little bit and she seems to clear the throat less frequently. I did see her smile a little today. I hope she can recover soon from the illness and start gaining weight. She looks so thin now.

May I ask if you had a fundo or the new esophyx procedure and how long was the recovery time?

Thanks again.

LdyJane
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 903
   Posted 11/4/2008 8:51 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Fishing, I'm glad it's helping; even if it's just a little bit.
\
I had the Nissen fundoplication on July 16th; the recovery for me was pretty rough and I did have some complications. Saying that, I'm just shy of 4 months post-op and I feel great! I no longer have any of the pulmonary problems..chronic cough, throat clearing, breathing difficulties, chest pain; as well as the gastro problems. For me, the surgery was a tremendous success.

While going through recovery, I questioned my sanity about putting myself through this, but around the 5 week mark I turned the corner and it has been great since then. Back then I would never have thought I would do this again, but now, if needed, I would do again.

You need to have the best Dr. you can find; geographically there are great ones. In Florida there is a Dr. Rosemurgy (sp?); Cleveland Clinic: Dr. Thomas Rice; in Seattle there is a Dr. who doesn't a different procedure, but one that is equally as successful; there is also someone at USC. These are the only ones that I have heard of that are consistently best, so choose wisely. I traveled to Cleveland, so I can talk about that first hand.

I'll go through my records and see if I can find anything else from National Jewish that may help your wife; I'll post here to let you know what I find.

Please keep in touch!
Janice

fishing890
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 12/11/2008 6:57 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi LdyJane,

In a month, my wife will undergo the Nissen procedure to rid of her hoarseness. Since you have been through it, we would like to ask you a few questions.

1. What did you eat during the first 3 weeks post-op? Since my wife is a home maker, I wonder if she will able to care for herself or do I need to take a few days (or a week) off to take care of her. Can I buy ready made liquid food so that I do not have to learn how to prepare meals? I guess she still have to avoid acid-producing food for a while until she feels that the problem begins to subside.
2. Did you continue taking drugs (e.g. prevacid) after the surgery? How about calcium pills? The doctor says only liquid food for the first 3 weeks but those pills are solid.
3. How long will the recovery be? Four weeks?

Thanks,

LdyJane
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 903
   Posted 12/12/2008 8:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Fishing, and hello to your wife! I'm happy to hear that you're moving forward with this; it is a scary process to be certain, but the rewards, for me, were life changing. I'll do my best to answer your questions and help you through the process. There is a thread that I followed with others that experienced the surgery at the same time. Their words, coupled with the wisdom of veterans on the forum were a saving grace. I'll find the thread and tell you where to find it on another post.

I'm going to split your first question into two answers:
1. Your diet for the first several weeks starts with liquids and very, very soft, mushy foods. These include puddings, mashed potatoes and gravy, soups, yogurt, oatmeal or cream of wheat, etc. I was told to follow this diet for 3 to 4 weeks, but others had different instructions. I was told that I could advance the diet as was tolerated, but to stick to softer foods for that first month. A big one for me was no lifting anything over 5 pounds for the first month, 10 to 15 pounds the 2nd month and no working out until 6 months. I have followed this one to a "T".

2. From my Husbands perspective, his response to you is that he would definitely have stayed home with me for the first couple of days and then evaluate how I was doing to determine if he should go into work or stay home. He's retired now, so it's a hypothetical for him; but I would agree with him on this. He said, after the first few days at home, his biggest job was to make sure I didn't lift anything! I have to tell you though, I had my surgery in Cleveland on Wednesday, and they kept me until Friday morning. I had to stay in a hotel until I was "officially" released for travel on Saturday. We drove the 4-5 hours home to Michigan on Saturday (it wasn't horrible, but I did sleep through a good part of it!).

My recovery was difficult and I did have complications afterwards; this is major, major surgery; just because they can do this laproscopically doesn't lessen the magnitude.

3. Medications, for me, had to be crushed up and mixed in with some liquid motrin; I had a very difficult time swallowing afterwards. I was not on Protonix after surgery, but have re-started it. Not because of reflux, but because I still produce a significant amount of acid and it is causing problems in my stomach. This is important: make sure you have something for nausea; I had zofran for the day (it is stronger) and phenergan for the night (not as strong, but helped me sleep!). Get a prescription for this or these from your Dr. before you leave. Also, pick up chewable gas-x; this will help tremendously with the shoulder pain and the gas that's left in your stomach and intestinal track.

4. 90% of your recovery will take place in the first 8 weeks; the remaining 10% can take a year. Depending on your age, the 5 week mark seems to be almost magical! The younger you are, the faster your recovery; at least that is how it seems from the postings here. I'm 53 and it took me the full 5 weeks before I could say I'm feeling good; but I can tell you, that the recovery is worth it. I feel better than I have in years, Years!! I no longer cough all the time, clear my throat, have trouble breathing and a whole host of other things.

Stay with us here, there are incredibly good people on the forum and they were my lifeline. I'll be watching for your posts as well and will help you every chance I can. I'll look for the other thread, like I said, read through the postings but do not be put off by the angst of some of the remarks, look instead for the tips and helpful discussions and information.

Good luck! Let us know how you're doing and if you have ANY questions, write here for the best information. I would start a new thread...name it something like..surgery coming soon, have questions! or something like that..you'll have a lot of good people helping you out!

Janice

stkitt
Elite Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 12/12/2008 11:04 PM (GMT -6)   
fishing890

Welcome to HealingWell . I am Kitt.

I have found the support, validation and encouragement that I receive here, to be so helpful and healing. I hope and trust that will be your experience as a member of the HW family.

I see you are already connected to one of our wise and caring members.  We have many and each one has personal expertise of a different aspect of this disorder.

Stay with us and know we care.

Gentle Hugs

Kitt

 


 

Kitt, Co-Moderator: Anxiety/Panic & Depression
& GERD  Forums
*~*
http://www.healingwell.com/donate *~*
Not a mental health professional of any kind
It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.~Mahatma Gandhi~
Clickable Link: Anxiety-Panic Resources


LdyJane
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 903
   Posted 12/13/2008 9:15 AM (GMT -6)   
Here's the link to the thread I told you about; if it doesn't work you can find it near the bottom of page 10; the title of the thread is "new member-John in Seattle" and the member who started it is "downtownseaguy". There is a lot of really good information in these posts, information that really helped me in my recovery, I hope it helps you too; if nothing else you'll receive a lot of reassurance!

You'll have to cut and past the link below to get to the thread, and if it doesn't work try looking for it with the information above.

http://www.healingwell.com/community/default.aspx?f=45&m=1193547

Janice
 
Edit: Janice, I direct linked your link so the member can just click on it.  smhair Hope that is ok with you?
Kitt

Post Edited By Moderator (stkitt) : 2/16/2009 9:03:37 AM (GMT-7)


fishing890
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 12/15/2008 9:46 AM (GMT -6)   
LdyJane,

Thank you for all the information. It is very valuable for us! On Saturday we went to a Walmart and we have located all the items my wife will need for the first few weeks after the surgery. The weekend before the surgery we will buy all the food items she will need for a period of a week and after that I will be buying them for her.

The surgery will be on a Tuesday. The doctor said that she would probably be in the hospital until Thursday. I will take Tuesday, Thursday and Friday off to be with her. On Friday, our daughter will come to us after work and she will stay with us till Sunday afternoon. Hopefully by then she will feel much better. My work location is only 7 minutes from home and I always come home for lunch. If she needs me any time after the first week, I can be home within 10 minutes.

Kitt.

We also have found the support, validation and encouragement here. They are so helpful and healing. We are very grateful that we have found this forum, where we can connect with the caring members and ask for their experiences and guidance.

Thanks,

fishing890
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 1/24/2009 1:52 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi LdyJane,

My wife we operated on Monday 1/19/09 and she stayed in the hospital until friday (1/24/09) morning. Since coming home she has not been able to eat much clear liquid food yet. She has hard time swallowing the food down. I wonder how things happened in your case.
The doctor told me before she went home that because of the swelling, she will have swallowing problem for a while. Once the swelling subsides swallowing will becomes easier.

Thanks,

LdyJane
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 903
   Posted 1/24/2009 8:15 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Fish, I've wondered how things were going, thank you for checking in. I had a more difficult time than many with swallowing after the Nissen, so this doesn't surprise me. Of the valuable advice I received from everyone here, one thing that helped all the time for everyone, was drinking warm fluids..tea, water; this helped a lot. I was on liquids, almost exclusively. I had a lot of swelling in my esophagus and that precluded me from eating too much.

Is your wife only able to drink fluids, or is she having trouble getting fluids down too?, I wasn't clear on this. If she is having trouble getting fluids down then I wouldn't wait too long before having her checked. In my case it was 2 weeks and I was back having emergency endoscopy with dilation; I had swelled almost shut, so watch out for signs that she's becoming dehydrated and undernourished.

There is no need to push solid foods just yet; stick with things that are liquid if necessary, like soup, ensure, etc. if tolerated, try applesauce or popsicles, move to yogurt too. Do push fluids and offer warm and hot liquids like tea and hot water like I mentioned above.

Keep me up to date with how things are going and good luck!
Janice

fishing890
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 2/14/2009 9:13 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Janice,
My wife is now almost 4 weeks post op. She does not feel like there is a lump in her throat any more and it looks like the reflux has stopped. However she still has swallowing problems. She keeps holding the saliva in her mouth. I asked her why and she said, the it was hard to swallow even water.
The saliva seems to be mixed with mucus also.
Her voice is still very hard to understand. She can only say short sentences. The doctor told us that he was confident that she would recover her voice. He did not prescribe any drugs at all and my wife is off the prevacid as well.
She is eating soft food right now, puree chicken soup, pudding, yogurt and insure. I believe that she is getting enough nutrition.
Is her recovery normal at all? Is there any thing she can do to speed up the recovery? Both of us have been wandering when her voice is normal again. My guess is that as long as she still has swallowing problem, her voice can not improve much.
Thanks,

LdyJane
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 903
   Posted 2/14/2009 10:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Fish, it's been a long 4 weeks hasn't it? I'm glad on one hand to hear that your wife is progressing but I understand your continued frustration. I would say that you are still early in the healing process; week 5 to week 6 seem to be the real turning point for people my age (I'm 53). Swallowing may still be a problem at times for her and she is still early in her recovery. Since she is able to get adequate nutrition with her diet, my thought is that this is still a post surgical situation.

My suggestion would be for you to follow up with a speech therapist for the swallowing and voice problems though; I'm saying that only because that is who I saw when I went to Denver. I was surprised to learn that speech therapists deal with a lot more than speech problems in the manner that I thought traditional, they also deal with swallowing disorders.

My feeling is that a consultation with a ST who is well versed in swallowing disorders would be a very reasonable thing to do. My assumption is that, prior to surgery, she had a manometry done to determine motility issues, was that normal? I'm learning that I have some post surgical complications that involve motility and poor emptying, so there are times when swallowing is an issue for me as well.

Please continue to write, if you would choose, you can also click on my name and get my e-mail address if you want to contact me that way as well.

Continued blessings and hugs for you and your wife.
Janice

waterratt5
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted Today 10:34 PM (GMT -6)   
I was on proton pump inhibitiors for years. My throat clearing just got worse as time went on. Doing online research, I found out that heartburn symtoms can happen because of to LOW of acid as well as to much. I stopped the ppi's and switched to betain hydrochloride (stomach acid in a pill from a health food store). My throat clearing has stopped by 98% and I have only had 5-6 episodes of heartburn in the past year. What's to loose? Good luck.
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