For about 22 years, I have been dealing with issues swallowing my food. I clearly remember the first day it started. I had ordered a special croissant sandwich from a nearby restaurant and was going to attempt to eat it during my senior year lunch period. I took a huge bite of the sandwich, and as I gulped it down, something went wrong. The bite didn't go down, but got hung. And it was very painful. After that time, I had periodic experiences of the same thing. I figured, it was just something odd about me.

Many years passed. For friends that knew me well, I would give them a heads up at restaurants that if I abruptly disappeared during a meal, I was okay. I just had to relax and get my food to go down, then I could enjoy the meal.  It was embarrassing. No one likes to disappear into a bathroom for long periods of time.

As Paul and I dated, he decided I needed to go to the doctor. I did not want to go. I went once before, and the solution was to stretch out my esophagus. The procedure was expensive (even with insurance), so I had cancelled the day before the appointment. I heard from some a physician I worked with at the time, that he had the same thing, and it would come back.

After Paul's prompting, I finally went to the doctor and tried to explain what happened to me. During this time, my sister also attended a conference about EOE. So, I had a scope put down my esophagus and a biopsy done, and ta-da! A diagnosis! I had EOE (my sister said she knew it already--sister's always know everything).

It was nice to know I just wasn't crazy. The real name of EOE is a really long name, eosinophilic esophagitis. It's kind of like too many white blood cells that gather after being triggered by allergies--most of the time to food. The problem is figuring out which one.

Because I have had years of data experience, one day I was finally able to deduce that I have issues with soy and possibly other legumes. I put this all together because every time I had a Starbucks soy latte, I had horrible heartburn and couldn't eat the rest of the day. And each time I had tuna fish, I would always get the first bite stuck. Also, when I had sushi the same things would happen (I thought it was because the rolls were too big).

I did some research and exploration and discovered that tuna fish is packed with soy! It's not my favorite food, so I didn't encounter it that often, but each time I did, I would have an issue.

Since the discover I have had some sushi (I love sushi). But I ate it sans soy sauce. And nothing got stuck!

I had an issue swallowing a different brand of fish oil the other day, so I looked at the label: soy.

It feels freeing knowing that I can eat without fear. I tended to avoided some things anyway, but now I know that it's not the texture or the too big of bite, it's EOE. 

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