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trying to eat

senoria
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2002

I completed radiation and chemo treatment the end of Jan. My doctor says I should try to eat. I have been trying, but unless it is very liquid I have a lot of trouble getting it down. I am still having some pain in my throat. Could that be the reason? I tend to think it is because I have no saliva. Will I get better? Is there tricks besides drinking a lot of water while eating? What do you do?

br00ksie
Posts: 4
Joined: Jan 2001

Senoria:

I completed radiation 3 years ago and I can tell you that it does get better. I ate what I could and I found milk products the easiest along with commercial protein drinks like Ensure. Milk shakes were my favorite for a long time (and probably still are). But, gradually I began to emjoy eating "real people" food. Franks and beans at first and then we made an event for each milestone: first sandwich, first burger, first steak, etc. For me, the flavors of food were also wrong after the radiation. That too corrects itself with time. Hang in there, what your experiencing will pass.

Br00ksie

senoria
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2002

BrOOksie, thanks for the info. How did you get your food to go down when you started eating? I find that it tends to grow in my mouth and, unless I drink some water, I can't get it down. My throat is still a little swollen, maybe it will get better when that goes down.
Senoria

cbecker
Posts: 89
Joined: Sep 2002

Can you tell me how long it was after your radiation treatment that you were able to starting eating and if you were on the feeding tube how long was that? My husband has had throat cancer and 40 radiation treatments. The tumor is gone (thank God) but the recovery is very slow. Last treatment was July 10th does it get better? help, candy

ilevin
Posts: 25
Joined: Mar 2001

Its different for each person. I couldn't even swallow liquids for months. Finally I could do liquids and then very soft foods. Its now almost a year since radiation. The pain is less but swallowing is still difficult. I also had part of my tongue removed and a neck dissection as well as the radiation. I drink lots of water when eating and use sauces and butter on everything to get extra moisture. I can eat very soft fish, meatloaf and shredded chicken. I also eat lots of mashed potatoes. It took many weeks/months to progress to where I am now. I can't eat anything with even mild spice because it makes my mouth and throat burn. Most people I've communicated with have some long term problems with eating but how bad is different for everyone. The best advice is to keep trying something every day even if its just a small amount. You'll soon find out what works best for you and what tastes ok.
ilene

senoria
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2002

ilene, thanks for the input. I guess I will have to be patient. I completed the radiation in Jan. My MRI showed some lymph nodes still involved so I go to the doctor tomorrow to see how much they are going to take out of my neck. I guess that will set me back some, too. The hard part is that I have always loved to eat and I love to cook. I've always eaten a lot of spicy foods. Now I can't.

Senoria

mkert84354
Posts: 9
Joined: Apr 2002

I'm having the same problem as you. I finished radiation in Jan. and find it hard to eat. I have no pain but it seems like I just keep chewing and chewing and the food goes nowhere unless I drink water with it. I find farina and cold cereals with a lot of milk work great. But I look forward to that big steak and baked potato. Sometimes I get so frustrated that I can't eat good that I end up getting very depressed over it. But everyone says to be patient and things will fall into to place. Is there anyone out there that can eat "real" food after radiation?
Have a great day,
Marilyn

phattpig's picture
phattpig
Posts: 29
Joined: Apr 2002

Senoria,

Congrats on completing your treatments, I know how hard that can be on a person. I finished my radiation in July of 2000. As far as eating, well I am still having trouble, but that is because I still have some swelling in my throat from the radiation. From what I have seen here, and heard from other people it is just a matter of time. Please, do not give up, you have gotten through the hardest part. If the chemo and radiation didn't get you down, then this will be no problem for you.

Personally, I drink a lot of milk while I try to eat. I have found that milk is the only thing I can drink that does not make me aspirate, I guess it is because it is thicker than plain water. So I eat a lot of soups, and drink a lot of milk, and milk shakes. I hope that you continue to have good luck with your eating. Please feel free to e-mail if you want to talk more.

John

rrman
Posts: 12
Joined: Apr 2002

Hi, Senoria. I finished chemo/radiation treatment in the middle of March, this year. Up until 2 weeks ago, I didn't believe that I would ever be able to eat again without the tube. A friend told me wife that one day, I would "turn a corner" and everything would change. She was so right! About 2 weeks ago, I found that I could swallow my meds. Last weekend, I was still trying to eat 2 or 3 tsps. of cream of wheat; no appetite, hard to swallow, etc. Friday, out of the blue, I felt I could eat "real" food. I not only ate a small meal, I've been eating ever since! I'm telling you this because I was looking for improvement on a daily basis. It was explained to me that the healing is "cellular", one cell at a time. I believe that now, because, although I didn't feel different daily, I would suddenly "turn a corner" and everything would be different. Today, I had the tube removed. I just want you to know that there's no timetable. Everyone is different. I didn't have surgery with my cancer but I did have 39 rads and 6 treatments of one of the strongest chemos. Hang in there. It WILL happen for you, too. If there's anything you want to ask me, if I can be of help, I will be happy to reply. Good luck to you.

cbecker
Posts: 89
Joined: Sep 2002

Just wanted to drop you a line for help. Read your advise to Sinora about your eating. My husband had 40 radiation treatment to his neck and throat area, the tumor is gone but his throat is still very swallowen. HIs last treatment was JUly 10th of this year 2002. His there anything I can tell him that will encourage him that he will eat again. He is trying to eat soft foods and liquids. He is always choking and choking and choking because of it being swallowen. HE is so afraid he will have the feeding tube for a long time or forever or as he states I hope they did not burn the heck out of my throat and I will never eat. We cannot get any answeres. Please help, candy

karenleung
Posts: 13
Joined: Nov 2002

I have 48 radiation treatment and 4 chemo and the therapy ended in Dec 2001. For the first two months after the treatment, swallowing was very difficult due to sore throat and oral ulcers. I choked every time I drank water. I found out congee was the best for me and milk too. You start trying different food on different days. It really worked. After two months, I was able to take vegetables, fish, soft meat, noodles and even rice with sauce. Be patient. Things will get better.

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