A California woman who almost died during a dinner at The Cheesecake Factory almost two years ago says she still feels the physical and emotional scars from that night (video below).
Natalie Licheli recalled the night in November 2014, which began as a relaxing dinner.
"We went there -- my husband, my son and me -- and we had a lovely dinner," said Licheli.
The near-fatal incident began when Licheli started picking out pieces of lettuce from her son's unfinished chicken Caesar salad, according to KGTV.
Licheli quickly realized something was wrong when she attempted to swallow the food.
"Could not breathe and I turned blue," Licheli said. "Tried to cough as hard as I could, my body was going back and forth. I felt something lodged in my throat and I start choking."
A piece from a metal spring then popped out of Licheli's throat, but it offered no relief as it was only part of the spring.
"When I was coughing, I thought that was the end. I felt like I am dying. That's how easy people die. You know, it was scary."
Licheli was treated at the hospital and the rest of spring was removed from her throat within 45 minutes. But she still bears the scars of the near-tragedy.
She says she needs to be able to see everything she eats, and she confessed to having trouble going to sleep.
"I wake up [feeling] like I can't breathe, and then these traumatic flashbacks."
The family has not been back to The Cheesecake Factory, and Licheli has since filed a lawsuit against the restaurant chain.
Despite all that she's been through, Licheli said she was thankful for one thing related to the incident.
"I always thank God that I got this thing, not my son. Imagine that my child would die or something in front of me. I would prefer to die."