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Digestive Health | Last Active: Jan 7 11:31pm | Replies (58)

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Hi, I'm over 86 and am told no surgery. Eating was always an enjoyable time ... no longer. I can get food into stomach by turning head extreme left to swallow food or liquid. Sounds easy enough. But I have to chew on left, move food to center, get ready to swallow, turn head near shoulder LEFT and turn right back to close the sphinter muscle. Over and over again. Doc suggested I eat alone, not with hubby, no tv, no distractions .... even then my mind wanders ..... but it must not. Who wants to eat like that? Hubby is into 9th year of Alzheimer's and I'm his caretaker. So .... I try.

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Replies to "Hi, I'm over 86 and am told no surgery. Eating was always an enjoyable time ......"

Hi @bilobabe,
Welcome to this discussion forum about achalasia. @amoll157 certainly will understand your situation. She too has to be very concentrated when she eats, chewing 20 times and taking up to 30 minutes for even a small meal. Recently @fjg827 had a PEG (feeding) tube surgically implanted. I hope they will return to share their experiences with you.

Bilobabe, what reasons did your doctor give you about why surgery isn't an option in your case?

My age is the reason.  I'm over 86.<br><br><br><br>

What a complicated ordeal, @bilobabe. I don't really know what the problem is with my swallowing. I have to be careful to hold my breath when I drink, or I spend some time coughing. The rings or waves in my throat that are supposed to move consecutively to propel the food downward to the stomach move at random instead. I have to do a lot of chewing, and I always toast bread. Sometimes trying to get food unstuck, I will drink, but that doesn't always help. Lately, even water will take time to swallow. My sister and several cousins have MS, and dysphagia is one of bunch of things that are problems for me that are symptoms of MS. I don't know if my doctor has done anything to get me in to see the one neurologist in our area who does MS diagnosis, and it takes several months to get an appointment. The same thing happened to me recently, waiting 3 months to see the one pain psychologist who assesses people to qualify for a spinal cord stimulator. I'm finally scheduled to do a trial implant in April. It's for the burning nerve pain of idiopathic peripheral neuropathy. I would hope that if I were 86, they wouldn't tell me I'm too old. I'm 66. If I were 86, I might be looking for another doctor who didn't view me as an old person. I pray that you'll find relief from your eating issues soon.


Jim .... Sorry about the LONG wait to get help. My doc recently told ME to find a doc who can help me. Swallowing pills has been a big problem. A couple days ago I began eating and would swallow a pill between bites when eating was going okay. It seemed to help. From items I've read your age shouldn't be a problem .... just find out somehow WHAT's the 1,2,3 problem. I know you are trying.


I was very healthy all of my first 50 years. Then I started showing a mixture of symptoms. I went to my pcp, and told him that what I was going through could indicate depression. Just in case, he started me on an antidepressant, then began looking for organic issues. I think the first thing we found was sleep apnea, which is when I started using a CPAP machine, and felt way better. Then, I found that my gall bladder wasn't working, and had it removed. I don't remember the chronology, but 45" of my small intestine quit working and had to be resected, 80% of my colon became impacted - the doctor said it was like concrete, and within days or hours of tearing. Then I had peptic ulcers, then later had to have surgery to repair scar tissue from the previous surgeries. Then I started feeling pins and needles in my feet and legs, which gradually became more and more painful, and burning. In the middle of all of this, I became deeply depressed and suicidal. A psychiatrist informed me that I have major depressive disorder, PTSD, anxiety disorder, panic attacks and depressive bipolar disorder. The mental health issues became significant in 2015, and I've been seeing therapists most of the time since. I just went 18 months without any counseling, and I was deteriorating mentally the past several months. I finally decided to try the spinal cord stimulator, after trying all of the meds for neuropathy without success. I know that the increasing pain was worsening the depression. I saw the pain psychologist last week, and he was pretty concerned with my condition. The trouble with him is that he's an hour away, but a new therapist is starting locally next week, and I was at the top of the list for scheduling. Yay! I meet him Monday at 10am. He may just save my life. We live in Oregon, but my wife flew out to New Hampshire this week, to be with our daughter, who's having her first baby at the beginning of next week. Our son has a 4 year old daughter, so now we'll have 2.

I could tell you the rest of my life story, but enough is enough! I'm glad to meet you, Nanc. I have a sister Nancy, who just moved to Tennessee, in the foothills of the Appalachia. Is it the Appalachia, or something else?


@jimhd Hi Jim, Keep us posted on your progress with the new therapist as well as with the the spinal cord stimulator. I'll be praying for you. Teresa

@hopeful33250 and everyone else.

My granddaughter #2 was born 30 minutes ago! I'd share a picture if I knew how. Kaitlyn Rose is her name.


@jimhd How wonderful, Jim. Congratulations to Kaitlyn Rose and the whole family! Teresa

Congratulations @jimhd, that is awesome news