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how long after tx. can you eat again?

hershey1's picture
hershey1
Posts: 6
Joined: Jun 2009

My husband is 2 weeks tomorrow post 7 wks rad and 2 rounds of chemo. Had primary at base of tongue very small and one lymph node (the one that enlarged on side of neck and took him to the dr. initially.)He has been using the peg tube solely for about 5 wks. My question is how long is normal for him not to be able to eat or drink anything by mouth after treatment has ended.He has tried to drink liquids and they try to go down the wrong
way as he says. He up until yesterday has had alot of mucous but most of the mouth sores have healed. Is two weeks after treatment too soon to eat by mouth. Thanks

Fireman
Posts: 28
Joined: Feb 2009

This will vary from person to person. It took me 4 months after my last radiation treatment before I could eat or drink anything by mouth. Even now a year later I eat and drink more slowly than I did before due to the radiation narrowing my throat passage. Take your time, practice swallowing. By my example your current status is not abnormal for what you've been through. Now I have no PEG Tube and eat and drink pretty much whatever I want. I went through the mouth sores, the mucus, the gagging, infections, and such and now am doing great. Patience and little victories along the way will see you through this.

denistd's picture
denistd
Posts: 483
Joined: Apr 2009

Everyone is different, I had 7 weeks of radiation and 3 rounds of chemo. basically, I ate through the whole thing. The last week and the first week after tx I could only drink thick liquids. I started using the tube three weeks into tx to maintain weight, but I continued eating as much as I could. I started eating again the second week after tx and now am eating normally, my wife tells me I am eating like a horse. My main concern is taste. Although things like meat, veggies etc. taste normal, most sweet things taste bad. Biggest disappointment was corn on the cob, one bite and that was it. I do eat sweet things, cherry cheesecake still tastes something like used to, puddings are fine. My peg tube comes out next week. I have a pet scan scheduled in two months, doc said he fully expects the tumor to be gone, let's hope so. Denis

dianehurley
Posts: 4
Joined: Jul 2009

hi Denis
I was just diagnosed with this horrible thing and I need to have the ct scans to determnine
it stages.....what stage were you in? so why did'nt you have surgery to remove it,did the radiation "cook" your neck?what does tx mean? what is the peg tube like? I would appreciate anything you can share with me
God Bless
Diane

ZooDavid
Posts: 12
Joined: Oct 2008

Radiation "Cooked" my tounge! och! sorry to say.And you should know that sometimes the doctors and nurses do not give you enough info to manage side effects of radiation or the pain meds you will need to take.I am one year later trying to break my addiction to pain meds.,very difficult, and ... wait let me back up.My tounge became like every taste bud was a Razor-blade every minute of every hour 24/7.I had what looked like a strip on each side of my tounge cut away by radiation burn.Sorry to scare you but I can answer some questions and help you with some things I have learned, after the fact, to ask.
Take Care,
David

hershey1's picture
hershey1
Posts: 6
Joined: Jun 2009

Thanks so much for all the responses. I understand everybody is different, depending on
rad and chemo tx. I am just concerned that he needs to get back to eating by mouth as
soon as possible for the swallowing. Am I correct in assuming this or will he just be
able to swallow OK again. I keep encouraging him to try things but to no avail. He says
he just isn't ready. Last night he tried soft serve ice cream,(reluctantly) took two bites and said it burned his tongue too bad. Any comments would be appreciated :)

sunflower5468
Posts: 10
Joined: Jun 2009

I have not been able to eat food since January 09. I am trying my best but it is atill to painful. I have no taste buds left and I'm praying that will return. My onocologist said that every person is different in their recovery. I am finally able to swallow liquids so I guess there is hope. Hang in there and lots of prayers to you and your family.

dianehurley
Posts: 4
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi sunflower,
I have just joined the ranks of this horrible cancer...and hope you can share some
of your experiences with me..did you have a feeding tube? what stage were you when you
found out? I had trouble swallowing even when they bioipsied me and surgically removed
on of my lesions! is that just a preview of worse things to expect?
Hope and pray for a complete healing for you and me.
thank you
diane

sunflower5468
Posts: 10
Joined: Jun 2009

I had my feeding tube put in 1 week prior to starting radiation and chemo. I started feeling sick in Novemeber 2008 and was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in January 09. I am still in shock. I had a lesion removed from my tongue also and I still suffer with pain from that surgery. This is a long, hard, journey. My doctors keep telling me it's going to get better but I have my doubts. I have been suffering since Novemeber and had hoped by now things would of been a lot better. I realize that everyones body is different and I know I have to keep that in mind. I just want to be the old me again. Even if it's for a little while. I will continue to hope and pray for all of us here. Write me anytime, I'm a great listener.

Fireman
Posts: 28
Joined: Feb 2009

Even though I could not eat or drink anything by mouth, I still practiced swallowing to keep my throat muscles active. Mouth stretches, neck excercises all may have helped. My swallowing is not what it used to be, but I can now eat and swallow whatever I choose to.

ZooDavid
Posts: 12
Joined: Oct 2008

Its 0ne year for me and food still tastes horrible.I can eat but rarely have a desire to.If I could only enjoy a cold beer it might help, but beer and worse Soda are some of the worst tasting things of all.I loved Indian food at one time.My doc says 33 percent of people never get taste buds back again.33% some and 33% all the way.

Patti740
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2009

My husband had tumor on the base of the tongue and a large mass on the lymph node on his neck. He had 6 weeks (30) of radiation and 7 chemo. He still has allot of mucous. gagging and spitting. He has a very dry mouth and is unable to swallow. He is eating through a peg tube. I feel guilty eating in front of him. I refuse to eat any of his favorite foods. I know it takes time and everyone recovers at a different pace. Just keep good thoughts and know that he will be eating again.

hershey1's picture
hershey1
Posts: 6
Joined: Jun 2009

Patti my husband had basically the same thing. His stage was T1N1. The mucous for my husband is horrible. It is slowly, and I mean slowly getting better.
Patti740 how long has your husband been out of tx. Mine is going on 3 weeks. Saturday he
tried a cup of coffee for the first time and drank half of it. My husband says he feels
like he has saliva, but things like cream of wheat seem too thick to go down. It is definitely trial and error on the food. Just have to keep trying. I know what you mean about feeling guilty about eating in front of him. I would go in another room to eat and
hated cooking in front of him. My husband while going thru tx. and using the tube really didn't want to eat, food didn't appeal to him. Now almost 3 wks post
things are starting to smell and look good to him. I will keep all of you guys in my prayers. This is a very slow healing process, but after 7 wks of tx. he is just ready to
be a little more normal again. It will happen, but it just takes time.

TIM_WWJD
Posts: 38
Joined: Jan 2009

First of all it is real important to state what type of cancer you have to help those of us who have a similar one give responses. Since everyone is so different even that does not mean yours will be the same but it might be closer. I had (and I truly believe had) stage four tonsil cancer. I am now five weeks out of treatment and every day seems to get better I am sure the cancer is gone. I spent two or three months on the PEG tube because of the radiation tratments. It was hard to swallow at first and some things like pills still get stuck going down. My tastes buds are so so and it seems spicy things I can taste but the down side is they hurt my throat. Like someone said sweets have no taste yet and I really don't have an appitite for anything. I still use the peg tube to get enough nutrition because I just don't want to eat. It is true to keep trying to swallow even if you are just going through the motions. I was warned that I might lose the ability to swallow if i didn't keep it up so keep it up. I do give thanks to God everyday for my recovery through this. I can tell you all it is not easy but it will get better. I realize life will not ever be the same, I will use flouride trays every day for my teeth, my feeling in my feet is messed up from the chemo and nothing will ever taste just like it did but I am alive and able to do most things as normal. There is an end to this and it is important to keep a good attitude. By the way speaking for myself, my wife was also feeling guilty about eating in front of me. I have told her this is not her fault and to be honest most things I really don't want. I hope you spouses all communicate well enough to let each other know that this does not have to cause guilt and bad feelings between you. The spouse who is providing support is part of the healing process and deserves praise and not any feelings of guilt. God bless you all.

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