Swallow it.

I tend to have “theme songs” throughout my life. They usually change weekly, but this particular one has been a perfect fit for the past few weeks. Ladies and gents, I present to you “Swallow It” by Brandon Flowers (if you recognize his voice, he’s the lead singer of The Killers and now going solo – very successfully, in my opinion):

Seek out the light between
Time and confusion glowing up ahead
Instead of slipping through
You bit off more, much more than you could chew

You could not swallow it
No baby you’re not ready, slow down
And take the time to evolve
You could not swallow it
No baby you’re not ready, slow down

We had a lot to learn
Table manners and grace, how to wait your turn when
Time came to clear your slate
You had too much, had too much on your plate

You could not swallow it
No baby you’re not ready, slow down
And take the time to evolve
You could not swallow it
No baby you’re not ready, slow down

Take your medicine and crawl before you walk
Think it through before you open you open your mouth to talk
Be an advocate of joy
Find your little heart’s desire and

Follow it
Whoa baby you’re not ready, slow down
And take the time to evolve
You could not swallow it
No baby you’re not ready, slow down

No, no, no, no!

Don’t be afraid, this is your year
It’s gonna be all right, you’re a performer
Just take your time, but not too much time

Let’s rewind

Okay, so it’s a cool song. But why is it the theme song for my life right now?

For the past few months, I’ve had issues with swallowing. It sounds so silly, right? Most people just chew food and swallow it without even thinking. I forget what that freedom feels like. I’ve been to the doctor several times, even had my blood drawn, to see what my deal is. First we blamed allergies for causing frequent sore throats and drainage issues, causing me to be an extremely cautious swallower. So we got rid of our dog – the most logical answer, as the sore throat symptoms started right after Christmas, the same time we got our first indoor puppy.

I improved a little. But not for long.

About two weeks later, symptoms started up again. I just couldn’t swallow food without experiencing a choking sensation, panicking and spitting it out. Business lunches became awkward, dreaded events. I started to question whether it was anxiety-related. When relaxed dinners out with family resulted in full-meal to-go boxes (as I was only able to nibble on my entree), I nixed the anxiety notion. And, when meals alone at home were a challenge, I knew it was more than nerves.

Then, I noticed something else: I could handle small amounts at once. A plateful of food caused worry: how will I ever make it through this meal? But small snacks throughout the day kept my energy up. I could handle a slice of toast or an apple or a slice of cheese – as long as they were spread out over several hours. My most current conclusion: acid reflux/GERD. I’ve been avoiding large meals, embracing “snacks,” sleeping with three pillows, taking Prilosec, avoiding trigger foods and stopping eating and drinking well before bedtime. But, my symptoms aren’t really improving – yet.

It’s a constant challenge, and like I said, it seems so silly to anyone who’s never heard of such a thing. Trouble swallowing? That’s whack.

What the words really say

“You bit off more, much more than you could chew.” I know I’ve been through this before, but my life moves fast. I know everyone’s life moves fast, but I’m just an impatient person who makes it move faster. Graduation (early). Marriage (early, in today’s society). New town. Job. House. Check, check, check, check, check! Too often I make life a race.

Acid reflux and anxiety have an eerily close connection. Google it; it’s a chicken or egg story. Does anxiety create acid reflux or vice versa?

Regardless of which came first, I’m afraid I’m battling both issues. And this song made it all clear to me: I bit off more than I can chew. Both figuratively (in life) and literally (at the dinner table).

So, what’s next?

I’m going to do exactly what the song says and slow down. As well as the valuable advice in the last verse:

Don’t be afraid, this is your year

My translation: Relax. Stop worrying. God has good things in store, always. Be hopeful. Things will get better.

It’s gonna be all right, you’re a performer

My translation: God gave you talents. Use them boldly. No reservations.

David says it well in Psalm 94:19: “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” I realize it’s weird to mix the lyrics of a Brandon Flowers song with the Word of God, but I think it’s important to seek out the light in everything.

My prayer is that He can help me overcome this challenge and, in the artistic words of Brandon Flowers, “be an advocate of joy.”

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