For a year, Jeff Benton bent life around his difficulty swallowing.
The Murrells Inlet resident turned down friends’ invitations to lunch or dinner. He avoided eating while at work, then made up for it by overeating at dinner – a situation that only made his swallowing problem worse.
“Food, if it wasn’t chewed all the way, would hurt when it got down to my sternum area,” says Benton, a sergeant with the Horry County Sheriff’s Office and popular radio host on country music station Gator 107.9.
Even so, Benton kept finding reasons to put off getting checked out. He was busy, he told himself. It was probably nothing. He didn’t want to look foolish seeking care unnecessarily.
“I’ve never been a guy that liked to go to the doctor,” says Benton, 50. “I’ve always felt like I don’t want to bother somebody. I don’t want to go up there if there’s nothing wrong.”
Eventually, he began having stomach pains unrelated to the swallowing problem. Still, he put off going to the doctor.