So here’s what happened…

I usually  do not like to talk about myself as far as health issues go, but I
know that a lot of people wanted to know what happened. Also, it would not be
fair of me to keep to myself the miracles that God has done in my life!

So, first… you all should know that I have never been a complainer and I have a
pretty high tolerance of pain and tend to write things off as not a big deal.
All of this to a fault! Some of the things I am going to share are very
personal and truthfully somewhat hard to talk about.

I have dealt with, as long as I can remember, getting choked very easily. I
have been choked many times in my life and it is a very scary and traumatic
thing! Because of that, I chew my food until there is basically nothing to it.
It takes me FOREVER to eat! Most doctors have told me when I mention to them
that I have to have liquid medications because I can not swallow pills that it
is all in my head and I need to overcome it. I even had one doctor suggest I
go home and try to swallow whole M&Ms. Of course, I did not and this is not my
current Dr. whom I love dearly and has been a God send to me! So, basically
I assumed this was normal life and people who ate fast were just taking
chances that I wasn’t willing to take.

So, fast forward many years and last Wednesday my mom and I were having lunch
as we always do on Wednesdays.  Everything was fine until I swallowed a piece
of crust from a peach cobbler and felt it get stuck in my throat. I could
still breathe, but this has happened before where the food would move and cut
off my air so I was of course worried but trying not to panic.  I swallowed
some water, nothing moved, I still felt the food stuck in what felt like the
back of my throat. As stubborn as I am , I had said nothing to my mom not
wanting to scare her and she noticed my hand shaking when I picked up my cup.
She asked what was wrong and I told her that I had something stuck in my
throat. We go outside, I try to get it out….  didn’t work. She got me to
contact Eric. My amazing husband got in touch with my doctor and told me to
come right over. ( I hate the ER and was trying to avoid it at all costs.) My
doctor checked me out, figured out that I was not in immediate distress, got
me to swallow a little water and sure enough strangled on it, which showed him
food was still lodged in my throat.

He made a couple of calls, the doctor he wanted to send me to was in surgery,
so he sent me to someone else whom he didn’t really know. He wanted me to have
a scope put down my throat to see what was causing this. The next doctor I
went to was awful. I was not treated well by their receptionists or by the
doctor. I was very uncomfortable with him and as you can imagine my husband
and my dad, who were there by that time, was not happy at all. This guy ended
up telling me to go to the ER. Eric called my family doctor, he said “nope,
come back here.” I got there, he was waiting outside and sent me to his friend
he got in touch with who was at Biloxi Regional and was very firm to go now.
I can not say enough about Biloxi Regional. The staff there were amazing! They
were kind, concerned, professional and helpful! We were taken right in, all of
my paperwork had STAT on it, so we were in with x-rays, blood work and the OR
before long at all. I was ok until they said they would have to put me on
general anesthesia. We do not get along so well.  I then got pretty nervous.
But, I got to meet my specialists who are an amazing married couple that are
Christians. They are passionate about what they do and all I felt from them
was that they really wanted to help me.

The next thing I know I am waking up in recovery, NOT ABLE TO BREATH! I mean
like they had to bag me! Yep, I was freaking out. They were not and they said it
was common and that I had too much muscle relaxer with the anesthesia and it took
my body a while to recoop. Boy did it, after I was released 24 hours later I
felt awful, couldn’t keep anything down, almost got dehydrated and the doctor
was almost ready to readmit me. However, he didn’t have to because of all
of the prayers, I was able to start keeping liquids down and slowly started to
get better.  It took my body a while to get all woke up I guess and so I was
very weak. Still gaining strength, but feel so much better.

So.. what was wrong with me?

You know it is bad when a specialist who has been doing this for 30 years says
it is the worse case he has ever seen! Further validation came when is wife
said “on a scale from 1 to 10 you are a 15.”  Never what you want to hear. So,
my esophagus was so small they could barely get the small little guide wire
down it. He said he was unsure how I ever ate! My “choking” was esophagus
getting full and food getting stuck from having no where to go. The doctor
said that I could have aspirated in my sleep and that I was a very blessed
little girl!! We all know that was God!!! I had a LOT of ulcers and scar
tissue in my throat, so they believe this was caused by reflux. The acid would
go in to my esophagus, cause ulcers which would cause scar tissue and so on…

There could of been some other causes, they took biopsies and so far
everything has come back ok.  They were able to stretch my esophagus 3 times
what it was, which is just the beginning. For now, I am on a lot of meds, a
soft diet and a faith that the next time I go back to the doctor, that all will be normal and I will have no more reflux or ulcers!!
All the glory to the Great Physician!

God was with me and has been the whole time. From keeping me alive to guiding
me to all amazing Christian doctors who care about me, to surrounding me with
the most amazing family that ever was! Why did I have to go through it at all?
I don’t know. But, I do know that God is faithful and I believe that just as
Romans 8:28 says all of this will turn out for my good. I will be better for
it when it is over! Can you imagine the things I can eat? I can’t wait to not
be worried about choking every time I eat!! God was in even the smallest
details. My doctors  insisted that I raise my bed 6 to 8 inches. Not with
pillows, not with one of those beds that make  half of you tilt up… but the
whole bed! The whole bed has to be slanted. So my hero, my husband and my dad
go to the garage to figure out what to do and there just happens to be 2
cement blocks that we didn’t know we had, which is exactly what they
suggested. WOW!

I can never say enough about my family. There are not enough words in this
world to describe to you how I feel about them. My husband demonstrated his
love for me through this in amazing ways. He gave me the support, strength and
love I needed from him. This is marriage, the commitment that takes you
through the rough times and that gets you to a place where you know that no matter
what, you will always have someone to go through this life with in good
times and bad.  I love that man with all of my heart and soul!

My parents… I was blessed when I was born into this world to them. They
never fail to go above and beyond for me. Their love and support have always
seen me through every situation. They are amazing people who were willing to
do whatever was needed to help me, Eric and Ethan. I could never thank them
enough. I hope they know how much I appreciate and love them. I hope to be as
good to my family as they are to theirs!

My Ethan.. he is the sweetest, most kind hearted person I know. He was worried
about his mom, but he wasn’t afraid to jump up in the hospital bed and lay
with me a while. I love that he just laid there and talked and talked… as
Ethan does! Lol! He is such a social person and I love his crazy sense of humor.
God truly gave me the desire of my heart with him.

I know this was long, I think I wrote it more for me than you. Being faced
with the fact that you are alive because of the grace of God will change you.
I have always loved my life, but I now want everyone to know how much I love
it. I want the people I love to know how much I love them! Every moment is a
gift, every breath divinely inspired. I know God has a purpose for me and I
want to live it out to the best of my ability to please Him.

Thank you to my friends, family, Oasis Church, ARC Women and the “Leading and
Loving It” gals who were praying for me. It is amazing how in a flash, your life
can change. I am thankful in times like that, that I have God and all of you!

One more thing… if you struggle with this at all, please go see a doctor! It is not normal! If I had went years ago and got my reflux under control I would not be dealing with it now!

19 thoughts

  1. What a testimony!!!!!! We are all blessed. God is there all the time. His strength and power is awesome. Praying that all tests are favorable and healing continues.

  2. I’m glad you shared your story. I was in the hospital in June with a paralyzed esophagus and dealt with many of the same issues. It’s a common occurrence for me these days so I know how scary and frustrating it is. Thank God they figured it out and was able to help you…glory to Him!

  3. Glad you are okay. May God continue to bless you. He is the almighty healer. It just makes your heart full to know how much he loves us, doesn’t it?

  4. A few years ago when i was sick alot…i know pastor remembers because he would find me in prayer & tears running done my face. i too have a high pain tolerence. i ate mostly oatmeal for 4 yrs. i had the acid reflux so bad too that i couldnt hold water down. nothing on the market helped. i too have to sleep with bed tilted…had to change diet….i went thru the stretching etc. by God grace he placed an excellent dr in my life. i still deal with it….carafate & kepidex… plus surgery. Feel so much better.

  5. Im so glad you are feeling better. yes i was praying the moment i heard. great testimony. we serve an awesome God…im just so thankful they found the problem…you are not going to know how to act to be able to eat things you love…to God be the glory…..

  6. So glad to hear you are doing so much better and your family was so patient with the process of getting through the bad events to get to the caring physician. I would love to know the physician who helped you because I have reflux and need to see someone who is really good with gastric issues. I can call your church to find out his name if you would prefer not to post it here. Continue to heal and you can live without fear! Blessings!

  7. Thank you soooo much for sharing with us, in intimate detail, the struggle you have and are facing. As one of my favorite songs says….”We will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the words of our testimony!” God is an on-time God and greatly to be praised. I am greatful that He is working this out for your good and for the advancement of His kingdom. Blessings to you, Toni. I just know your healing miracle will be timely and perfect in every way. Love you!

  8. What an amazing testimony! Thanks for sharing so beautifully. I worked with a man who had this condition. He had to have his esophagus stretched periodically. May God’s healing grace bring you a permanent cure. Love and appreciate you.

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