What the hell is that?
A mouth full of words.
Let's break it down.
Eosinophils are white blood cells.
The Esophagus is what passes food from your mouth to your stomach.
An excess of white blood cells (specifically eosinophils) show up within the esophagus reacting to certain foods, allergens or acid reflux.
This causes damage to the esophageal tissue and causes issues like dysphagia (difficulty swallowing.)
This was my first diagnosis after Mayo PRC upon meeting my Immunologist.
One we didn't expect.
For a little over a year I had been regularly choking on my food.
A couple times a week.
It progressively got worse.
We were up to a few times a day at diagnosis.
Sometimes it was on my saliva.
In fact, I remember being in Missouri enjoying a sno cone while Keith chatted away to a friend and suddenly there I was.
Choking on fucking shaved ice.
Vomiting by the produce stand.
I am graceful.
It had become such a regular thing and I really didn't think anything of it.
I really didn't; there was so much other stuff going on.
As we were prepping for my immunology appointment, Keith mentioned that I must say something about my choking episodes.
While I didn't want to, I knew if I didn't, after the appointment would go like this.
Keith : Why didn't you tell your doctor about the choking.
Me : It wasn't important.
Keith : It's a damn good thing I was there with you so I could. You are not allowed to go the the doctor alone ever again.
Me : Silence treatment all the way home.
So I did.
I told the damn doctor.
All on my own.
He knew exactly what it was the minute I brought it up.
By this time I had become pretty well aware of how I was reacting to certain foods.
& I struggled with dairy growing up.
He gave me my testing options to which I declined.
They went a little something like this.
Biopsy the esophagus.
Add dairy back into my diet.
Biopsy the esophagus.
If the results were negative, move onto the next food.
Fucking torture if you ask me.
He was very respectful of my choice and instead we decided to check out old imaging and change my diet.
That was on September 14, 2017.
On September 17, 2017 I said goodbye to dairy.
On September 20, 2017 I said hello to a fully plant based diet.
On September 25, 2017 I said this to my Dad. "I had no idea you were supposed to have all that room in the back of your throat." For my whole life I felt like I was swallowing my tonsils. I would go to the doctor and they would always ask if my throat was sore because my glands were swollen. While strep was a common occurrence for me as a kiddo, most of the time my throat was not sore. How was this never investigated more thoroughly?
On October 17, 2017 I saw my Immunologist again. He told me this. "Kirsten, you are lucky. You were two months away from the point of no return. Two months from being tube fed. Two months from me sending you over to gastro and them placing a feeding tube through your abdominal wall." Then he showed me an X-ray of my cervical spine from Mayo radiology where you could see my esophagus. There was a space where the diameter of my esophagus was about that of a toothpick due to all the scare tissue that had built up. Normal is ~ 2 mm.
While I don't have a "dairy allergy", my esophagus does.
I will not go into anaphylactic shock if I consume it.
I will feel like shit though.
I will have to pump the Benadryl.
You will hear me hacking.
I will constantly need to clear my throat.
I will break out in hives.
I will get a fever and the chills.
It will last for 5 days.
& eventually, if consumed too often, my esophagus will close.
That's "allergic" enough for me.
I am deMilked.
Hit me up if you have any of these symptoms. Or your kiddos.
I had no idea how one thing could cause so much damage to my body.
- Difficulty swallowing
- Regurgitation / Vomiting
- A history of swollen glands, tonsilitis & strep throat.
- Regularly elevated WBC counts
- Food impaction
- Centrally located chest pain that doesn't react to antacids
Unfortunately our food system is destroying our bodies.
Know your food.