When things get stuck..

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Regular Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 93
   Posted 5/13/2011 6:35 AM (GMT -6)   
I have to say this is the most painful frightening experience post surgery NF. I have thought I've been very careful choosing what to eat, only soft food and chew chew chew but for some reason I am still getting food stuck and choking on it. It's happened maybe 5 or 6 times and the most recent was a well chewed peice of soft papaya fruit. Last night it happened with very creamy soft mac n cheese. Is there anything I can do when this happens? Water seems to make it worse and creates ungodly amounts of nasty phlem like stuff that comes up all the while my esophagus is still spasming and it feels like it's trying to pass large boulders. It lasts like 3 minutes or more and I try not to panick. Should I just stick to liquids completley? My dr oked me to have a soft/dysphagia diet so that is what I've been doing and chewing well but it seems things are more swollen now. I am just afraid for it to happen again, it is so painful and scary!

PH Fan
Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2009
Total Posts : 88
   Posted 5/13/2011 11:47 AM (GMT -6)   
I see you had the surgery on 5-10-11,I've never had the surgery but from reading different threads from people that have had the surgery,you may get more swelling before it starts going down,keep positive and give it time to heal,Goodluck on your recovery!

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7180
   Posted 5/13/2011 12:49 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Nikki,

You are so early in your healing that it's TOTALLY normal for things to get stuck. When I was first chatting on this forum, other more experienced members compared it to "hairballs", that they sometimes even coughed up.

When something gets "stuck" just relax...drink a little room temp water or warm tea, and gradually things will go through.

Whatever you're eating, take TINY bites, and chew, chew, chew. Do not swallow unless what you're chewing is a complete liquid.

Your wrap is still swollen and will become more so over the next days. You can certainly back off what you're eating if that works for you. I'd stay away from even the softest raw fruit, as it can cause difficulty. Even bananas can be tricky.

Spasms are totally normal. I remember getting so much saliva up during spasms that I had to spit it out. My worst day seemed to be Day 4 for some reason. It's not that much fun to swallow at this point, and all that slimy saliva was too much for me. I just spit it into a paper towel as it formed. This doesn't last long. I don't think I had it more than a day or so.

When you get things "stuck", or irritate the wrap, you will get some spasms, and I found that room temp water, and even better, tea...(always have some decaf tea close by--there's nothing as effective as calming a spasm as warm tea)helped to calm them down.

It will get better. Let your wrap and esophagus determine what you can eat. My surgeon (although he set me free to eat anything that could be chewed to a liquid on Day 5) said that my swallowing would continue to get worse over the first two weeks due to continued swelling, then begin to improve after that.

Hang in there! We've all been there. Just be patient and relax. Things will gradually improve. No need to worry. It's totally normal!
Take care,
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