I was not able to swallow for a month, then I am healed completely!
:::I CAN’T SWALLOW
End of May 2017. It was a week after the brainstem biopsy, I was sent to Ear and Throat department in Frankfurt Klinikum to see if I was able to swallow.
The doctor entered a tube with camera from my nose into my throat, and asked me to swallow a tiny bit of jelly. I failed.
I tried again, squeezed my mouth tighter, pushed back harder, until I felt it hit my airway. I was choking!
Afterwards I felt shaken, confused, in a state of disbelief. Why would my swallow not start? This didn’t make sense. After all, bodies just know how to swallow, just like they know how to breathe or pump your blood. Right? This just doesn’t happen!
The doctor said this is from the tumor. Then the doctor implanted a Nasogastric Intubation (NG-tube), insertion of a plastic tube through the nose, pass the throat, down to my stomach. It was uncomfortable, I was crying rejecting it, but the doctor insisted for my survival.
I felt scared, confused and trapped. Back in my room, Tobias held my hand and promised me that I will get better, we will walk to the bakery and will eat my favorite Nusschnecke (peanut croissant) and drink earl grey tea at home for my birthday. It’s my birthday (24 June) wish, our wishes.
1 June, I was transferred to Karlsruhe Klinikum. I was very weak, I had not have solid nor liquid food post biopsy.
In Karlsruhe they start feed me with Hipp liquid food through the tube. It gives two flavor: chicken pumpkin flavor and apple banana flavor. I cant tasted it, just down to my stomach from my nose.
There’s one weekend I went out with Tobias and my parents. I felt embarrassed to have this tube hanging from my nose.
::: PEG-TUBE IS BETTER THAN NG-TUBE
10 days later, the doctor in Karlsruhe took out the NG-tube and changed it with Peg-tube. I had minor surgery inserted peg tube with endoscopy. It is placed directly into my stomach.
I was happy. I felt free. No more uncomfortable feeling with my nose and throat.
But by this time, my weight was plummeted. From 54 to 46 kgs. During this time I had patch to my neck to control the production of saliva, so I won’t choke from it nor have aspiration pneumonia. I also had locopedhie therapy to learn to swallow again. It took me a half an hour of constant, focused effort to eat half of glass of soft jelly.
One night, I felt broken and desperate, I took a little sip of water. I choked and quickly press emergency button where the nurse came and help me. There seemed no escape no answers.
No matter how hard I fought, everyday my weight continued to drop. I syringed at least 1200 calories per day. People need food to live, without it, they die.
::: MIRACLE HAPPENS!
A week before my birthday, in a very early morning. I had a dream. In that dream I was in tears touched by God’s love, that He finally answered me when I denied and disappointed with Him, He sent so many friends and strangers praying and loving me. I can only feel thankful and loved. All pain in the past just gone. I woke up as a different Titien. I was lost and blind but now I know and see what is grace.
Later that day, I was sent again to ear and throat department. The specialist entered the camera tube from my nose and check me while I struggled to swallow a small spoon of jelly. “Don’t be afraid! you can swallow!” said him loudly. Then he gave milk to sip. I choked. He arranged further treatment and medicine on Monday. I was sad, but I was keeping hope, like the specialist faith, I can swallow! That day I took 2 hours trying to eat half portion of mash potatoes.
The next morning, I was allowed to spend weekend at home. We went to a Chinese restaurant for lunch. I brave myself to have a bite of rice mixed with sauce, and miracle happens, I SWALLOWED! Second bite..third bite..it became easier. I ate slowly, I was so excited, indescribable joyful with nothing kept me from smiling.
The next day, Tobias asked me to drink tea without thickener. First I was afraid but trusting Tobias by my side, I took courage, and I DID IT. I can drink again!
I smile all the time because I was so grateful. Since then my weight very fast gain back to normal.
The doctor and therapist can’t believe my spontaneous improvement, it’s a miracle. God’s answer on time. Because I can swallow, I can start my chemo treatment (temodal tablet).
I remembered few years back I had bulimia from depression. Many women consumed diet pill to kick the drive to eat, or the odd of chewing and spitting food. If only all of us can be grateful for the ability to swallow, and be happy.
I thank God, Tobias, radiotherapy, and locopedhie trainer. I was able to swallow again. On my birthday I was able to walk to the bakery, and ate my favorite nuss-schnecke, drank tea. Wish came true!
The peg-tube is still attached to my stomach, so I can’t go swimming in the lake or public pool. It needs to be flushed and cleaned everyday.
However, how amazing feeling to be able to swallow, to tastes again. Food now just tastes better.
For you who need to keep alive through feeding tubes, I understand when you feel “no option, just do”. Here, I want to say that you’re strong and I am proud of you, that you are not giving up hope, fighting to improve. I pray for God’s miracle healing happens to you. Amen.