Recently I wrote about my sessions with my speech pathologist, Harvey Ostriecher, and the amazing work he’s done to preserve my ability to be understood. I wrote about the importance of strengthening my swallow. Ironically, at my last Dr’s appointment, with a pulmonary specialist, it was suggested that I look at having a feeding tube installed in my stomach ~ even though I may not use it for years~ because my breathing has now deteriorated to the point where if I’m going to with stand the surgery to implant the feeding tube, I had better do it soon. UGH. WTH? This was a shocking conversation to have – no one had prepared me for this development or even mentioned it as a possibility.
So, I have until Mid January to improve my respiratory capacity and stave off the surgery. We shall see. It has become more and more important to maintain my swallow. I’m a foodie and I love to eat. I even took the certificate level semollier exam in 1998 for crying out loud! Food and fine dining has been an integral part of my life. Athough I have embraced the addition of raw food ( and I strive to have 60-70% of my diet come from Raw or uncooked fruits and vegetables) I am at heart a gourmand. I’ll eat only raw food for 5-6 days a week and then go out to a fabulous restaurant and have whatever my heart desires. That’s how I deal with the other 30% of my diet. Or I will eat raw until dinner, especially in the winter as I get cold and I hate being cold. Soups are definitely on the winter menu.
So you can imagine that a feeding tube would be my idea of hell. I guess I’d eat more raw fruit smoothies that way…but what more information do you need to practice swallowing audibly and stregnthen that muscle??? Not much I’d wager.
If you or someone you know has lived successfully with a feeding tube for a long period of time I’d like to know about it and hear how they did it!! Do tell.