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Really hard to eat, especially dinner. Feel like it is just stopping in my throat.


Re: Really hard to eat, especially dinner. Feel like it is just stopping in my throat.

Hi verukasalt2525

Thanks for posting.

It sounds like a difficult time for you.  Recovery following a bilateral mastectomy with immediate implant reconstruction can take some time.

It’s not possible to say what may be causing the symptoms you are experiencing, the tube inserted during your general anaesthetic may cause irritation to the throat for some people, which may be adding to your symptoms.

As Anniej and Jaybro mention sometimes chest tightness and shortness of breath can be due to panic attacks, although it’s still important that you get checked out.   It is reassuring to hear that you are seeing your GP today at 11.30, hopefully they will be able to assess you and let you know what may be causing your symptoms.  As it is only 8 days since your surgery, it may also be helpful to contact your treatment team to let them know about your symptoms. 

Do call our Helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. Your call will be confidential, and the number is free from UK landlines and all mobile networks.

The number is 0808 800 6000 (Text relay prefix 18001).

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Best wishes


Breast Cancer Now Nurse

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Re: Really hard to eat, especially dinner. Feel like it is just stopping in my throat.

Hi Heather

Our bodies behave in strange ways. Three days before my surgery, having found some peace with the situation and resigned myself to whatever was inevitable, I found I suddenly couldn’t swallow fluids. I managed with a straw but this was a cruel trick my body was playing and has continued to play. Stress can express itself in many forms so that’s a possibility. I’ve lived most of my life with phobias and panic disorder and I agree that waking like that and being afraid to go back to sleep is very much like panic to my amateur but experienced ears.

I’ve had difficulty swallowing food without a sip of water ever since treatment. An MRI has revealed nothing amiss - it’s all in my mind, though I do think the dry larynx is down to chemo and radiotherapy - and poor hydration. All in my mind doesn't make it easier to live with - you should see the palaver of taking a tablet!! - but it does remove the fear that something else is wrong now.

Are you using the pulse oximeter on your doctor’s advice? I ask because a friend of mine bought a blood pressure machine on whim and became obsessed with what might be wrong with her. Looking back, she acknowledges that it actually raised her bc. My GP advised me to get one and I’ve only used it twice. A friend gave me a Fitbit for Christmas that does everything bar doing the exercise for you (sadly) but personally I’ve decided too much information isn't helpful to me.

I hope by now you’ve been reassured by your GP and won’t need the forums in the early hours when we hormone-induced-insomniacs lurk and pounce on any fresh post! Presumably you have a treatment plan ahead - that in itself could induce anxiety reactions so do your best to stay off Google, ignore any gadgets not advised by your medical team and practise meditation, mindfulness, relaxation, EFT - anything that brings you a bit of relief from anxiety. I wish you all the best xx

Community Champion

Re: Really hard to eat, especially dinner. Feel like it is just stopping in my throat.

Hi Heather, you sound as though you are having a horrible time. I am glad you are going to get a physical check up as I think that will put your mind at ease. You do need the swallowing checked out. Personally, and I’m not a doctor , I think it unlikely you’re having a heart attack, more like a panic attack. I’ve had a few of those brought on by the situation we are experiencing. Our bodies are great little machines, until they’re messed with. I guess you’re in flight mode at the moment, as opposed to fight mode . Having experienced some of what your going through I would ask your doc for a bit of chemical help to smooth your way. Lockdown is a bit of a nightmare, isn’t it, but you can do u tube for exercise and meditation which got me through. Thinking if you today , so let us know how you got on. Best wishes . Ann 🍀💐🤞


Re: Really hard to eat, especially dinner. Feel like it is just stopping in my throat.

Hi Heather

I had the same op, one day after you. Really sorry you're having to struggle with even more side issues, it just makes a hard time that much more pants!

My first reaction to your issue is, I hope, not too personal, but urm... How's the other end doing? I was so unpleasantly 'bunged up' by all the painkillers after my last op. Really doesn't help anything! And I did indeed get to the point of my body just being queasy at the idea of more food going in. This time I got them to start me on laxatives almost from the start, combat those extra strength painkillers.

Whether it's that or not, hopefully your doc can help today xx


Really hard to eat, especially dinner. Feel like it is just stopping in my throat.

hi -

I am on day 8 after having had a double mastectomy and direct to implant breast surgery. The surgery lasted 5 hours. I was in a lot of pain but I'm doing better now but have a new problem...

Really hard to eat much of anything and even hard to gulp water sometimes. I was told I had a "slight" hiatal hernia...I wonder if that has now become an issue? or do you think it could be something  ominous like a blood clot or heart attack? I don't have chest pain, just chest tightness and shortness of breath. I have a pulse oximeter and woke up last night gasping for air and my oxygen level was 89 (?) so now I'm scared to go to sleep tonight (thus hanging out on this site at my bedtime)...

I see my general practitioner tomorrow at 11:30 - hope I make it until then! That is 12 or so hours away...