GI Studies: Barium Swallow Test

After having a crazy couple of weeks with medical appointments all over Hell’s half-acre, I finally have a slower week.  I originally had only two appointments, psychiatry and physical therapy.  I was so excited to have a week without medical anxiety, then I got the call for a barium swallow test which is now scheduled for tomorrow.  Cue my anxiety!  

My rheumatologist wants me to get this test done to see how bad the esophageal dysmotility is.  I have Limited Scleroderma, which is also known as CREST Syndrome and esophageal dysmotility, or difficulty swallowing, is one of the main symptoms.  I have been having trouble swallowing foods, drinks and medications for a couple of years now, so it is definitely past time that I get this done.  Of course, if you have been reading this blog for any period of time, you already know that I am the ultimate procrastinator when it comes to my health.  My fear of the medical community has become one of my biggest obstacles in life.

So, tomorrow I get to put on my big girl pants and face my fears and get this procedure done.  It’s supposed to be a simple, non-invasive procedure but that does not make me feel any better.  No procedure is simple when you have medical anxiety.  This procedure is going to involve me eating food that has been sprinkled with barium.  The barium is used to help the technician see what happens on an X-ray while you chew and swallow the food.  The procedure takes 30 to 60 minutes to complete, so hopefully it won’t be too bad for me.  

Depending upon the results of the barium swallow test, there are a few different treatments, but there exists no cure for this condition.  Some treatments include medication to prevent spasms, or dilation of the esophagus.  Side note:  I already had my esophagus dilated back in October!  I kind of feel like this is a waste of my time and is causing more anxiety than it will probably be worth, but I made a promise that this is the year that I am going to deal with all of the medical crap that I have put on the back burner for the last several years.  That promise is turning out to be harder to keep than I had anticipated. 

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