Stories about: Dr. Rachel Rosen

Enjoying the little things: Aerodigestive care for Abby

Abigail goes skiing with her family after aerodigestive treatment

Abigail Hurlburt is a true Vermont girl. She loves horseback riding, swimming, skiing and camping. But when she drew a picture titled, “Things I’m Thankful For,” the focus was something far simpler: a glass of milk. It was a sign that — after a rough start — she’s finally able to enjoy the little things in life.

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Andrew’s story: Gold medalist kicks aerodigestive problems

With his asthma under control, Andrew holds the American flag after winning a gold medal

Last November, Andrew Warren stood on the podium in front of the American flag, grinning proudly as the medals around his neck glinted in the light. He had traveled to Orlando, Florida from his home in upstate New York to compete in the Karate and Kickboxing World Championships — and he delivered, taking home both a gold and a silver medal. It was an incredible accomplishment for a teenager once so ill that he made nearly three dozen visits to the emergency department before he was 6 years old.

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Swallowing problems: 4 things to know about dysphagia

swallowing problems

It seems like second nature to most of us, but swallowing is actually an intricate process with multiple stages, from the moment food or liquid passes through your lips until it enters your stomach. If something goes awry at any point in this journey, dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, can be the result.

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“We can fix him.”

Sam, who was diagnosed with achalasiaOur 10-year-old son Sam was always a skinny kid and a picky eater, never enough to cause serious concern. But gradually, things began to darken. Sometimes at family dinners, he would show a pained look, get up from the table and start pacing around. A few times he clutched his chest and began to panic — fear rising in the room — but just as quickly these moments would pass. Perhaps wanting to ignore the signs, my wife and I categorized these episodes as among the many kid behaviors that defy explanation.

But once the daily vomiting started, I hauled Sam to our pediatrician. Sam’s accelerating weight loss was substantial enough to merit a barium swallow X-ray study, “just in case” there were abnormalities in his swallowing function.

We can fix him, she said. Come see us.

I remember that moment vividly — the radiologist gently maneuvering Sam in front of the machine, collecting images, then flashing the bad news to me through a worried glance. Something was very wrong. A terrifying journey was about to begin.

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