Tuesday, December 1, 2009

what I learned today....... :(

Bob had a dysphagia (inability to swallow) evaluation test today...he failed the test....I wasn't surprised but I was hopeful that it would be different....They brought a mobil unit out to the apt. ...the driver was accompanied  by a doctor and a speech therapist.
 ...we went outside into the unit, he sipped a tiny bit of barium and they filmed as he swallowed ....we were able to view  his throat muscles, pharynx. esophagus,..even his teeth...and they gave us a dvd of it ..

....swallowing  triggers a reflex that passes the food through the pharynx (the canal that connects the mouth with the esophagus). During this stage,  the throat muscles tighten to raise the larynx (voice box)...that motion closes off the airway, breathing stops momentairly to prevent food or liquid from entering the lungs so that what you swallow goes into the esophagus to the stomach.....

.....his throat muscles moved only the slightest bit  and his larynx did not lift and close over his airway enough to protect his airway...anything that he swallowed would go partially into his lungs.  
This could likely be a permanant situation..however,
most unused muscles atrophy over time but can possibly strengthen with continual exercise ..his would need to be  daily therapy (two or even three times a day) for several months...(he's been doing this with   his personal therapist,Lorie,  twice a week for about the last month....)

or the damage from the radiation could be permanent...may God grant that this not be so...never to be able to eat again...I'm overwhelmed.

wait...there's more.

He is constantly plagued with coughing  ...he is unable to swallow his own saliva and the secretions that naturally accumulate in ones mouth...these things trickly down into his throat obstructing his windpipe causing  him to choke and cough and clear his throat and mouth by spitting....awake or asleep...no reprieve.. This "exercise" is one of the things he suffers with that keeps him drained of energy.....and this too for the remainder of his life?  I'm beyond overwhelmed....


  1. God knows the end from the very beginning... nothing suprises Him and you and Bob are in the hollow of His hand; there is no better place to be. Praying for you daily!

  2. Its no wonder you are so overwhelmed. My father suffered with this condition to some degree. You and Bob will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  3. Thank you very much Cheryl (do I know you?)
    and Alan...

  4. Charlene, you don't know me personally but I have followed your blog for a long time now. You and your husband have been such an inspiration to me. I, too faced a long and grueling rehabilitation about 13 years ago, though not due to cancer and can identify so much with your struggles. You are in my prayers every day. Stay strong!

  5. continuing to pray for the both of you!!

  6. I too have been overwhelmed. It is such a roller-coaster, but you know what Mom? God knows your and Dad's situation. He created that throat, muscles, and all that is there once, and I know he can do it again. It is my prayer that He will restore Dad's ability to swallow. Keep up the faith. Blessings


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