Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Swallow study

Well, it was interesting!

Two very nice young women were the speech pathologists, plus they brought in a doctor. They put barium paste onto all kinds of food, applesauce, bananas, crackers, turkey, etc. And watched thru flouroscopy the food go down.

The end result is that I'm swallowing fine. It seems the opening to the esophagus is slow to relax after the food passes and they think this might be what I feel and am mistaking as food.

I also took a barium pill and swallowed that and felt a bit like the pill was still in my throat, like I always do, but they said the pill went down really fast and they followed it all the way down to my stomach. They really don't know what is up.

They said because I've been diagnosed with brainstem compression, that I will always have the possibility of swallowing problems developing. And they also understood that if I had gone out and done something that would have fired up the brainstem compression, that the test might have come out differently.

I took a pain pill about an hour ago and just now am I feeling like that feeling of a pill stuck in my throat is starting to go away. It makes sense that it could be muscles in there that are not exactly spasming, but are staying tense and giving me that sensation.

I guess that's the gist of what we found out yesterday and I am glad too that I'm not in danger at this time of aspirating. I told them all about Chiari which they knew nothing about and they were hungry for knowledge. I had two biz cards for CCI which explains CM and gives the website for CCI for them to go and learn more info, they were quite happy to get them. They are young and eager to learn.

Praise God. It's good to know that it's not actual food that is sticking. Also, when I asked what they thought about the time when I had such a lump in my throat, it felt like a bolus of food, and my vision darkened and I felt light headed and got tingly etc, what did they think of that? And one said, "Perhaps you had stopped breathing." And I thought she was right on as I do have that issue of stopping breathing (after expiration) and having to get things going again consciously. So, I felt they were a blessing, it all only took an hour and I felt okay about it all when I left.

Note: last night, I was e-visiting with a friend who has had the fusion I am going to have. She told me that she and several other fusion-folks she knows also had the sensation of lumps in the throat, also had normal swallow studies, and all of them had resolution of that lump in the throat after the extraction fusion. Very interesting for me to hear!

I've decided now to start a fusion notebook. Everything I can learn about them, including emails and posts from others who have had this kind of fusion (craniocervical fusion with extraction upwards at TCI in NY). I am going to start asking lots of questions and thinking more about going ahead and having this procedure done.

Yes, I fear it. I fear it will fail. I fear I will need multiple revisions down the road. I don't like the sound of wearing the halo for four months at least post op. It is a huge step for me to decide to take, IF I decide it.

But my head is feeling wobblier and wobblier on the top of my neck and my symptoms are increasing. Dr. B, my neurosurgeon, told me that he knew I would definitely reach a point where I'd be ready for surgery and ready to take the risk. I think starting more in depth research and interviews will be a part of this process.

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