At the age of 21, I was diagnosed with EoE. I didn’t know what that was, I have never heard about it before, I just knew that every time I tried to eat I couldn’t swallow. Two years were needed –since I started feeling the first symptoms, to when I was diagnosed with the correct disorder. All started with minor difficulties when swallowing, for example I use to feel the peel of certain fruits such as grapes or apples stuck in my throat, and even though I tried to swallow it seemed that my throat wasn’t strong enough to do it. After this stage the situation was getting worst. Eating simple foods like grilled chicken or fish proved complicated. These episodes lead me to fear eating all together, regardless of whether I was with family or eating alone. The fear of chocking made each meal a nerve wrecking experience.
My meals were accompanied with a 2l bottle of water and after each bite a big sip of water was required in order to help me with the process of swallowing. The breakfast was always the easiest meal of the day in terms of difficulty. The doctors told me that the reason for this was that during the night I didn’t ingest any food, so my oesophagus was less inflamed in the morning, but as the hours passed, it was getting more and more complicated, up to the point that my dinner was three spoons of puree. Then came the moment when consuming liquids was complicated. Even swallowing when you breathe or to clear your throat was complicated. My throat was always bloated.
Those were difficult moments. Many days I was experiencing emotions which contradicted each other and left me frustrated. I was unable of eating alone due to my fear of choking and that nobody would be there to help me, but at the same time I wanted to be alone, because I felt how my parents, family and friends were looking at me. In a way their presence put additional pressure on me. They had such high hopes always expecting the best outcome which in turn resulted in pressure being put on me as I wanted to give them positive feedback. This was seldom the case
Each time I couldn’t swallow or the process to do it took longer than usual, I use to start jumping and walking, this helped me to swallow. I use to do this because once I heard that when you choke and can’t breath, if you jump you move your diaphragm and this makes the air inside the lungs to be compressed and to be thrown off forcefully, which makes the piece of food to be ejected too. I never knew if that was the true reason or if that was something physiologic, but it use to work on me.
Finally, the day came when I was correctly diagnosed and I started the elimination diet. The result of the diet was that my EoE was caused when eating wheat, eggs, rice, rye and barley.