My cancer saga started when I was diagnosed at 38 with Stage 3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I have a twisted sense of humor and have tried to continue with laughter and optimism on my journey...

Down the Hatch

Episode CXIII - going down in it


It was time for my second diagnostic procedure to try and figure out my swallowing problems... the nasal endoscopy. Basically, the ENT was going to shove a narrow tube in my nose and down my throat to examine me from the inside. Seriously, I know you are jealous...



Waiting with one of my favorite people!


Not only was I going to endure the nose-raping, I was going to do it with my youngest watching. Take about traumatic... for both of us!

I was only two days post-medical DP (front & back examined on the same day) and I was getting really tired of being poked on. Plus, I had the flu test once and I knew that things going up the nose can be... seriously uncomfortable. Like someone was jabbing your brains!




However, I had to put my own issues aside for now because I had a sweet little impressionable girl watching. Instead of having time to even think about how I felt, I spent the time explaining the procedure and reassuring her that it was all going to be fine. No way it would be bad. And even if it was, well it must be done. That it was only going to last for a little bit and we can all endure things we do not want to do.

It was a good time to show her we have to do a lot of things we do not want to do and often things that are not fun. I guess I was showing her a lesson in positive mindset, as well as being strong!


"They are going to put that tube down you nose and watch???
I'm not looking."


Here is the medical jargon of what they were about to do...

After the nurse uses a numbing spray (Lidocaine), then the doctor will insert the endoscope (tube, light, camera combo) up your nose. It will project the image on a screen for the doctor to watch and record the images.




In case you are curious, the tube is slender and flexible and feels longer than it probably is. You will tilt your head back which unfortunately (or fortunately) does not allow you to see the screen. Unlike the Sigmoidoscopy I just had... were my innards were in front of my face. I wanted to watch - I am weird like that, but instead I just watched black tube being shoved down my nose.

My ENT was going further than my sinuses and down my throat. The transnasal esophagoscopy examines the esophagus and the swallowing tube between the throat and stomach. So, the tube goes past the nasal cavity and down the throat... did I mention down the throat?




Now that the educational, sciency pictures are over here is my personal take on the procedure... be prepared to be amazed...











I am sure my very deep thoughts on the nasal endoscopy where enlightening?!?!

The ENT saw what the speech pathologist saw, plus a deviated septum (explains my snoring) and a tongue issue (weakness probably nervous system related) and a narrowed esophagus on one side (probably from traveling radiation). He agreed with the speech pathologist and said when I wanted he could do the esophageal dilation procedure (expand the esophagus).

I am opting to wait. I think I have enough going on and need a break. When I choke more than I can bare, then I will do it!


In my head...



The most unusual part of the experience was the fact that the tube is right in front of your eyes and it just looks like it is being repeatedly pushed down your nose. And right in front of your eyes!!!

Did it hurt? Not like HURT, but it was not fun
Was it uncomfortable? Yes

I would not say that it felt good, because it did not. Even the numbing spray (which is shot up your nose) was wrong... plus it tasted weird as it drains down your nose to your throat. I would not say that it was not completely painless, because it was one of those weird pains that you know is not hurting you, but you feel extremely uncomfortable and not right. It was a stop that kind of thing.

It was not something I really want to do again, but I would take it over some of the other procedures I have had. Maybe that is why, for me, it was not bad... because of my insane long list of medical examinations.

I will say that breathing and relaxing helps. It helps in pretty much all exams I have had. I know that is easy to say when you do not have tubes going in all your holes... but, I had things go in all my holes in just a few days. That is just wrong. I just have to... breath!!!


“Remember to breathe. It is after all, the secret of life.” 
- Gregory Maguire, A Lion Among Men


Episode Reference: down in it, NIN song


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About Amy Brock

Amy Brock is a cancer fighter and survivor. Diagnosed with Infiltrating Breast Cancer at 38 she has gone through chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, hormone therapy, and other procedures since 2013. Post treatment she has been diagnosed with lymphedema, chemo-induced neuropathy and bone degeneration in her back, as well as other issues including dysphagia, bilateral hearing loss, and arthritis. From being completely healthy, to having a variety of issues, Amy began blogging about her experiences as a way to help others. Read more about finding humor in the craziness of cancer at her blog www.tatawarrior.com Amy is the mother of two children and has worked for various non-profit agencies. In addition, she is a fine artist creating works in multiple mediums which can be seen at www.amybrock.com

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