Friday, August 1, 2008

All Choked Up

As I watched JT kick his way through karate class and flipped through Vegetarian magazine, I knew it was starting… It always starts with a tickle in my lower throat, and I break out in a cold sweat in sheer panic. Glancing surreptitiously at all the possible witnesses I grab the bottle of water I keep at all times and quickly make my exit. As a few stifled coughs trip out people start to look, noting the speed in my pace I can see them all wonder…. Is she ok? Roughly shoving pass the door I look back at my husband who is watching me, worried, knowing already what is happening. I rush to the nearest bathroom, chest burning, chunks rising, and once inside the door unleash a ripple of shuddering throaty coughs. Gasping for air I cough feeling my throat spasm and contract as I race to the stall. I gag and heave profusely, my body expelling anything that could prevent it from sucking in the air it desperately needs at this point. Soon I am able to draw a sharp breath and sneak a greedy gulp of the water. The coughing continues, deeper in my chest, but slowly dissipates as I sip and ease my raw throat back open. I breathe deeply and go out to the sink, splashing my face with cold water, the mirror reflects my bloodshot eyes and ruddy skin. A scratchy cough haunts me as I slink back to my seat, trying to avoid the curious stares of those I pass. I sit back with my husband and wave off his concerns, I’m fine, this time. JT continues to practice, completely oblivious to my bathroom trip…

Unfortunately choking seems to be another side effect of one of my tumors I just have to learn to live with. Having a slight cold to begin with made last nights episode that much worse, the burning traveled down deep into my chest and only Nyquil helped me finally ease into a restful sleep. I’ve had swallowing exams, neurological exams, and my MRIs reviewed. There is no clinical explanation for these occasional choking spells. As frightening as the episodes are, there is nothing I can do besides staying calm and keeping water with me.

This morning Mica’s round chubby face and lopsided pigtails peeked over the blankets at me… I awoke with a lingering cough and a delicious tightness in my arms and legs. I did my first tempo run yesterday at the gym. I am only now beginning to work on speed and it was incredibly challenging to hold my race pace for 10 minutes straight. 10 minutes sounds so short but feels like an eternity when you are running all out. After the run I really pushed myself on my strength training, adding extra reps whenever possible and stretching deeply between machines. It was worth the exertion, I left feeling weary but renewed and worthy of my day off today. As good as running feels, nothing beats lounging around the couch with my adorable rugrats…


Anonymous said...

I get those cough/choke episodes too. I never thought it was tied to the NF 2 though. It happens randomly sometimes (like at the honors program induction ceremony when i was in college- and i was sitting at the Dean's table!). But it almost always happens if I start laughing really hard when i'm lying down. I think I've only actually thrown up a time or two- but I gag just about every time.

I had to do a (barium?) swallow test once but it didn't show anything.


Sheila said...

Girl that must really suck! If I am around when that happens I'll watch the kiddos for you if you need it! I hope you don't have to deal that very often!! That sucks that they cant find anything to help you out so you don't have to deal with that!

*{{{BIG HUGS}}}*

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