I am a 24-year-old female. Throughout my childhood I suffered with constant GI problems. My parent’s told me that when I was a baby I could projectile vomit like you would not believe. As long as I could remember, I would throw up almost daily. It was fairly random and just became a part of my life. Later on, when I was in my teens I had horrible problems swallowing. I would have to have a huge glass of water near me to be able to eat and get the food down. This was chalked up to not chewing my food well enough, although I KNEW that was not the case.
I was 18, and it was the day before I was to leave for college. I was packing and loading up a U-Haul. I stopped for a quick lunch of leftovers out of the refrigerator. I ate some chicken alfredo. I ended up getting a piece of the chicken stuck in my throat. I first tried taking a big swig of water to push it down with no luck. The water would come right back up. My boyfriend and my sister both tried to give me the Heimlich Maneuver with no success. I could still breathe, although not well.
I went to the doctor and he didn’t even examine me. He tried to force me to drink some water, which I did end up doing, but it stuck in my throat and eventually came back up, as I told him it would. He told me I was just panicking and had probably irritated my vocal cords and gave me a shot of Ativan.
I went back home and was so miserable. I could just barely breathe and it seemed as if no one would help me!
My family took me out to supper that night since I was to leave for college the next day. I couldn’t eat, but I sat with them. I went to the bathroom at the restaurant and was coughing and gagging and guess what…a piece of chicken came flying out of my throat. I showed it to my mother to prove I wasn’t crazy.
It was a very discouraging experience and it was miserable.
I suffered with severe dysphagia for another year or so before I went to another physician. After hearing of my symptoms he told me that I definitely was not crazy and needed to see a GI specialist for a EGD immediately.
I got the EGD and found out I had scaring in my esohpagus, esophagitis, a hiatal hernia, severe GERD, and a Schatzki ring.
I was put on reflux medication. The doctor said the EGD procedure itself dilated my Schatzki ring enough that no further procedures were required.
I suffered with all of these problems for my entire life up until I was 19-20-years-old. I was so used to the pain, burning, discomfort, and emesis that I didn’t even know what it felt like to feel better until I did.
I am so thankful for the doctor that took the time to listen to me and really help me. After seeing the first doctor I felt as if I were crazy and was then just embarrassed.
I still have flare-ups and am well aware I will require another EGD and dilation of my Schatzki ring in the future, but I am so glad to have this persistent problem figured out. I only wish it could have been figured out in my youth so I wouldn’t have all of the scarring and other problems now.