Challenges of Eating


I am almost two years on from total laryngectomy and I’m still finding eating a huge challenge. I try so hard to keep going with trying different techniques for swallowing my food. My comfort zone is soup, yoghurts ,smoothie etc, but every day I try to have something else, even a small piece of cheese, which takes me ages to eat. It’s the fear of food getting stuck which I think contributes to my anxiety over eating. I need to try relax more I realise ,around food.  I would love to just have a proper meal out one day... I do have lots of gravy and sauces etc,, if I have a bit of vegetables mashed up .. does anyone here have food that gets ‘stuck ‘ and then you have to wait until it clears.... it takes hours and hours. Sometimes. So frustrating, and annoying!  I have a stretch now and again and then it’s better for a little while.  

Any tips, suggestions gratefully received.

All the best. 

  • Some laryngectomees report success in removing the obstruction by gently massaging their throat, walking for a few minutes, jumping
    up on their feet, sitting and standing several times, hitting their chest or the back, using a suction machine with the catheter paced in the back of their throat, or just waiting for a while until the food is able to descend into the stomach by itself.

    pressure over your abdomen with your hand. This forces the contents of the stomach upward and may clear the obstruction.

  • Some laryngectomees experience recurrent episodes of food becoming stuck in the back of their throat or esophagus and prevents them from swallowing.

    Clearing the stuck food can be accomplished using these methods:

    i. First do not panic. Remember that you cannot suffocate because, as a laryngectomee, your esophagus is completely separate from your trachea.

    2. Try to drink some liquid (preferably warm) and attempt to force the food down by increasing the pressure in your mouth. If this does not work -

    3. If you speak through a tracheoesophageal puncture (TEP), try to speak. This way the air you blow through the voice prosthesis may push the food above the TEP into the back of your throat, relieving the obstruction. Try this first standing up and if it does
    not work bend over a sink and try to speak. If this does not work —

    4. Bend forward (over a sink or hold a tissue or cup over the mouth), lowering your mouth below the chest and applying pressure over your abdomen with your hand. This forces the contents of the stomach upward and may clear the obstruction.

  • Hello Misscourage, im afraid I depend on my peg as I can't swallow whole food, I don't think its because of the laryngectomy as the damage was caused in previous operations, I can swallow thin soups, tea, coffee etc. Have you had a word with a speech and language therapist as they can come up with ideas that help which might control your anxiety. I understand it and don't know i would react or what would happen if i swallowed a small piece of food. You sound a very determined lady so try a Speech therapist and dietician and see it they both combined can hatch a plan between them. Wishing you all the best, keep up the determination and im sure once your anxiety is lessened you will be on your way, take care.

                                                                                           Chris x

    Its sometimes not easy but its worth it ! 

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  • FormerMember
    FormerMember in reply to seeker1

    Thank you Seeker1 for the tips and suggestions.  I will bear them in mind for the next time.  It’s such a drag isn’t it... I try not to let it rule - but some days it wins. 

    Keep rocking fellows , summer is coming! 

  • FormerMember
    FormerMember in reply to chris2012

    Thank you Christ , you are so kind to always know how to calm and reassure- yet I can see you have your own battles... you are a trooper.

    All best . X

  • I have a book which chris has seen which has everything in it written by a doctor who himself had cancer. That is where my posts are taken from. If you have any other problems let us know. You ask if anyone else has it, now you know that even doctors have it.