I honestly really hate to complain . This year since my surgery and the prior four years of incredibly delibitating pain I feel like I have a chance at life again.. a mommy life, a wife life, a daughter life, a friend life and a goal oriented life.. BUT... I just seem to have this problem still with swallowing and feeling like I can't.
I have been living on two shakes a day and a dinner of chicken and any other meat/shrimp/high protein that I can eat that can be cut up so I can avoid choking. I have days with very little problem and then today.. goodness knows why.. I can't swallow well.. The physio lady told me the skin on my throat and neck is very tight and certainly moving that skin around does help the muscles in my neck and throat but I find this a kind of oppressive symptom. If I walk on the treadmill which really helps keep my weight down and my back strong my throat definitely acts up. I would assume its the bobbing and torquing of my head etc.
Anyway... does anyone know any kind of massage, or intervention that may help. I love fruit shakes and protein powder but my weight has dropped and I am starting to get a little concerned as I cannot eat anything major without this dysphagia or swallowing problem. I read it is underreported by many surgeons and many people suffer from this after surgery.. since I didn't lose my voice I felt funny complaining.. but this is real and any input would be appreciated.
My throat has never been the same after surgery, but not to the extent as yours.
Some days it's OK then for no reason it feels like something is "in there" but not enough to choke me or keep me from eating.
I hope you get better soon.
Good luck to you, I have read here how much you have been through.
i understand your pain and frustrations nero, i have been living with the swallowing problem ever since my surgery on 8/01/02. i was unable to get the surgeon to believe me when i said i had the problem, so i had to take matters into my hands and see many doctors and still no answer as to why it happened or what is wrong. i have learned to drink ensure plus, orange juice, v8 juice and i hate to say it but i also drink soda as it is high in calories but bad in nutrition. i too lost a lot of weight, i am tall and skinny to begin with thanks to genetics, but i lost over 25 lbs and became terrified. i have learned to listen to my body now, and that helps me to know when i can try some kind of real food and not my liquid diet. i have learned what foods can be blenderized and still be edible. i have realized that always having ensure plus around has helped me to gain back 7 pounds of what i lost and it also got me the energy i needed to live again. i go to physical therapy and that helped break down some of the tightness around the incision, i also constantly rub and massage the incision even to this day.
i wish you all the best and hope that you continue to improve
So relieved to hear others with this too! I am post op now a yr this past March! Today I was worried that this lump in my throat may not be related to the cervical fusion? but since others seem to have it, maybe I am ok? The only thing I did yesterday was eat alot of salsa, maybe the spicey stuff aggravates it?Wow you would think over a yr later it would be all healed up? Thanks you all for the posts, keeps us all more informed!
omg,I am so happy to see this thread up first,WARNING,I will now forever heed,watch what you eat!!!!! Gee's I am in a hard collar,3 wks post-op,I too have lost alot of wieght,but then I am a happy eater,and happy is not what I am right now, anyway,I just did the most idiotic thing!! I popped a orange slice in my mouth,you know those sticky chewy candies,which I love,anyway it got stuck!!!!halfway down,and the only one in the house w/me right now is my dog,Gee's never again,I had to go as far as opening my collar up, and figureing do or die,I am still shakeing,not good,hot water got it the rest of the way down,tlk about stupid.kk everyone, thanx for letting me yapp,I am sooooo happy I found this site,it helps to know others know what its like,not that I wish this on anyone.Diana
Ok,yesterday I had the orange slice crisis,and that was understandable,I chalked that up to ignorance,but oh yeah,it happened with bread and gravy today,its like it builds up and I can breath ok,but then I panic cuz I can feel it,my 15 yr old daughter has the insight to tell me I am just" freaking out,calm down" which I guess is possible,but tell me have any of you yawned and had like a cramp in the throat, cuz that has happened too,I dont know anymore what to expect, whats normal whats not,when I had the heart bypass,I was able to compare notes with my brother,and that helped alot, but now its like I am alone on some island,just waiting to panic like some nut,thinking way too much about myself,does anyone know what I mean???Another question , I have read some old posts, and alot of people are back to work in a couple weeks, HOW??? My doc has already told me not to go back to mine, (school bus driver)and that hurts,cuz I have had the same route for 9 yrs,and here in the back of my head , I was thinking,oh yes I will be back,untill that trip to Appleton day before to get the new collar,boy that was hard on me the rest of that day into the next,of course I have no way of knowing if in a couple months all this will be behind me,which brings me to just more thinking,kk I have babbled on,please someone respond,Diana
I had the problem with the swollowing after surgery - it was the worst when I was wearing the Miami brace (which I wore for six weeks). I did not eat anything unless I had a full glass of water in front of me. It did improve after the brace came off but it did not totally go away for a while.
I later found out (after undergoing tests) that I also had a problem with my stomach acids backing up.
However, I also account my swollowing problem to tension. I was so tense after the surgery that my neck and throat muscles just never relaxed enough to allow the food to go down without pushing it down with water.
My advice to you is try to relax, have the water available, and take small bites. While this did not toally alleviate the problem it definitely helped. I still have a problem when I hold my head in a position - for instance when looking up and swollowing at the same time, or when I yawn I get a catching feeling in the throat. I figure this is from the scar tissue getting caught.
I also read the post about tensing up the shoulders - I had my surgery over two years ago. Three months after the surgery I changed jobs and moved to a new city which was a very tense stressfull change for me. I remained in pain and underwent PT for the entire time - up to July of this year). In July I changed jobs again and moved (to a less stressful position) - I have not needed the PT and have been in much less pain since then. I figure it is because of the stress level being lifted. I will not say I am totally out of pain but I will say it is alot less since I am now able to relax more and not be constantly worried about my job.
So I know it is hard to do but just realizing the cause of the pain does help to accept or releive the pain.
I appreciate the advice; especially the contact above this. You are right that stress does tighten me up. I am trying to eat one full meal a day and two high protein fruit shakes. For example, I had already eaten a sandwich type meal at lunch and my hubby and daughter wanted to go to the KEG - seafood steak place here in our vicinity after we had been out looking at homes. I couldn't swallow well so I told them go ahead and I'll just have a cold drink. Well my daughter wouldn't let it go and kept telling me to eat and my husband was all huffy until I finally had to come out and tell them that its difficult for me to get down another meal as its like my throat is alread taxed from the lunch meal. My hubby felt badly and my daughter for pressuring me.
It's hard for them to understand that their reaction just stresses me out even more and I don't need that. Anyway, I appreciate your advice as I am not working and so I am in a glorified position to recover; I would just like to get on with my life but I suppose this is the limitation that you have when you have to go through this surgery. I have had two operations in less than a year and trying to mediate my low back surgery and recover well and my neck gets a little tedious... but I am grateful for the opportunity to have another chance a life... I just have to learn to pace myself on the new road ahead of me... accept that THIS is the way it is for now!!
Many thanks all you folks... this board is a great opportunity to vent and yet learn from others...
I am sorry you are having trouble swallowing. I do, too, but not to any degree that you are having difficulty! Mine is occasional.
I do, however, get a paralyzing feeling at times when I yawn. Probably 1 or 2 times ever other day. The other night it stayed a LOT longer than I ever anticipated and I almost hit my husband (we were in the car) and point to take me to the hospital. I thought it was going to stay that way! Not a good thing!!
I don't know how else to explain it. I'm always thankful that it goes away.
So you're looking at new homes? :-) When will you return to Antigua?
yeah... I dont' know why the throat thing is festering because it was easier after surgery about a month later and now these past few months its been really awkward. Ate a pizza slice last night and just as I was near the end it was like stuck in my throat and wouldn't move..like that paralzyed feeling you describe.. so i stayed calm and said nothing to my family ... as they were all eating up theirs.. and got a drink which seemed to get it moving after a few gulps... what if i had been out to dinner... it makes you become somewhat paranoid eh!!!
Anyway.... I guess this is better than the torture of the pain over the last few years but I admit I took a 1/2 percocet on Saturday night as i had cleaned up a bit for people viewing our home re; our sale and eventual purchase and my leg was going and my shoulder... I just felt really tired and couldn't put up with anymore pain and needed a mental break... i guess it was like having a drink/glass of wine as it ebbed the pain but I woke up Sunday with my right leg cramping and then numb and then eventually couldn't put my heel down because of the disc...
Well I am so glad to vent... even if its just to move forward each day.. I sometimes feel like i wish I could tell my hubby he can move forward and just leave me here.. but.. i love him and probably am just feeling dragged out from all this...
I have to learn to pace myself and be less hard on myself and realize that things have really changed and I cannot do 1/2 of the stuff I used to at the pace I used to do it.... oh well two steps backwards.. one step forward... as they say.
Yeah Antigua is still in view but probably not till October and most definitely for Christmas so I am looking forward to solid hot weather.. all this rain up here in Ontario has been horrible and now we are getting the fall out from the disastrous storms in Florida so it will be a long week.. I really notice it on the joints. Then we get all that winter again till April so the villa in Antigua was the best money we ever spent.
Well I hope you are okay.. I think of your kind words often ... you certainly have done your fair share of pain and recovery and I appreciate your constructive advice... I just need a quick picker upper I think.... like a direct flight to ANTIGUA TODAY (LOL)
The reason why i suggested another route and a doc in a different area other then your surgeon is, no surgon in same practice will rat on each other
an ent will be albe to give you a good exam and tell you if something else is wrong or out of wack
please check it out i know you are sick of docs at this point and going to another is a pain in the wazzo but knowing whats going on is so much better then being in the dark
Hi there! I also had a hard time with swallowing post-ACDF. In addition my voice was raspy and it didn't take much to irritate it to the point of hoarseness. What helped me was going to PT and getting the scar tissue worked over. After the first few sessions it felt pretty good. Loosened up the tightness in my neck and also helped with the swallowing/voice issues.
If you can't get a doc to write a script, you might at least try getting a massage therapist to work on you and see if you notice improvement. Of course, with doctor's orders they worked on my neck three times a week.
Tonight I ate some vegetable lasagna, not very cheesy and I actually ate a bowl of corn flakes for breakfast. THen I has my protein shake at lunch. Now I am having so much trouble swallowing after lasagna. My pt. being, I cannot possibly eat much, either one meal a day and shakes or I am stuck with this horrible obstruction in my throat or continuous blob like feeling . I am going to try ENT dr and confirn issue and I know physio said to work on the skin on the incision area and Chiro said it is the muscles in throat and goes deeper than skin .. soo... all good advice and definitely worth pursuing... glad to see you are still available to us all ... God bless..