During the past two weeks, swallowing has become more difficult. Previously it was difficult in the morning, but now it’s morning, afternoon and evening. Dr. Barbara, my oncologist, ordered another swallow study. I had one back in August when I was in the hospital and ended up with a feeding tube.
If you’ve never had a swallow study, it’s pretty interesting. However, it does not taste too good because you need to eat food and drinks mixed with barium, which has a chalky taste.
But the intriguing part is the large “TV” screen where you get to watch a “moving x-ray” of the food as you swallow. In my case you could see some of the food remain on the “trap door” (epiglottis, I think) that keeps food and liquids from entering your lungs. So the trap door is not returning to it’s proper position. Also, the tongue is supposed to push the food down your throat as you swallow. My tongue is not working as well as it should.
Recommendation from the speech pathologist was to do my swallowing exercises twice a day to strengthen my tongue. Apparently these are not exercises to help the “trap door” function better.