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Phlem:(

fishingirl's picture
fishingirl
Posts: 188
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Everybody! Hope everyone is on their way to wellness:( I have a question about spitting up phlem. I had my last radiation treatment 24 days ago, and I had not stopped spitting up phlem!!! It is constant. Does anyone have any idea how long this goes on for? It's one thing that is keeping me home. No one wants to hear and see someone honking and spitting. lol!!

Thank you
Cindy

delnative's picture
delnative
Posts: 452
Joined: Aug 2009

... but the three to four weeks after treatment ends are the worst. The phlegm was awful for me for about four weeks, then started to slack off. After maybe eight weeks it was pretty much gone, or at least gone to the point where it wasn't too bothersome.
I'm now almost 14 months out, and the only phlegm issue I have is when I first get up in the morning. I gargle with Biotene, hack out whatever's down there and that's the end of it till the next morning.
Hang in there. Things will get better.

--Jim in Delaware

fishingirl's picture
fishingirl
Posts: 188
Joined: Nov 2009

Thanks delnative! You made me feel better! I just joined this website, as I had NO ONE to talk to about my cancer. Of course I have a very supportive family, but it's still not the same as someone who has gone through the same thing. It feels so lonely sometimes.

Could I ask you another question? How long did it take you untill you could swallow food? I can swallow puddings and yogurt, but I just tried a tiny bit of scrambled egg, and I felt leary about it. I didn't choke....but something told me to not try any more. I might be trying too hard:)

Cindy in B.C. Canada

delnative's picture
delnative
Posts: 452
Joined: Aug 2009

My memory is getting a bit hazy as to exactly what happened when. (Hey, I'm 55. Cut me a break.)
I remember that for many weeks I existed on Cream of Wheat, various types of soups and soft-boiled or poached eggs.
I then got a little more adventurous. Because I live on the coast and seafood is readily available, I found that oysters (which I dearly love) and clams (ditto) slid down really well. I actually went out to the dock, met the workboat and bought a half-bushel of oysters, shucked 'em and made a big vat of oyster stew. I really jacked up the cream content because I needed the calories, and my oh my it was good. Of course, my arteries are still complaining, but that's another story.
After that I found I was able to deal with chicken, so long as it had some gravy or sauce to help grease the skids. Pasta went down well, too, but the homemade tomato sauce we'd canned from that year's garden was too spicy. (We'd spiced it up with our homegrown, nuclear-strength habanero peppers.)
Because I'm a deer hunter and always have a lot of venison in the freezer, I eventually tried to eat some of that. I found I needed steak sauce to help get it down, and I could only eat very small pieces, but things gradually improved from there.
Today I can eat everything I could eat B.C. (Before Cancer) my saliva is back almost 100 percent, and life is good.
Hang in there. You'll get better. It's a gradual process, but you'll get there.
Happy Thanksgiving!

--Jim in Delaware

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Cindy, congratulations on your survivorship and welcome to CSN! As I have advised many another, it is a crummy club, due to the 'qualifications', but you will never find a kinder, gentler, more helpful group of people anywhere on the entire internet.

As to your question, there is no pat answer. As you may or may not know, radiation to the head/neck area may permanently adversely affect the salivary glands. If this is the case, the phlegm may never go away entirely.

On the other hand, many folks talk of recovering saliva in one or both glands over time, and/or of losing the phlegm action.

In my own case, I had surgery in October of 2005, followed by chemotherapy and rads, and even now, nearing the end of 2009, I still need, on occasion, to eject phlegm 'manually', by gargling water and sort of coughing it out.

The good news, at least for me, is that what started as a problem that woke me every two hours, literally: like clockwork! ... has become a more or less twice a day sort of thing, and something I could probably avoid altogether if I needed to.

What you need to remember right now is that your rads are more than likely still cooking and that some of the effects you are feeling now, including the abundance of phlegm, will very likely dissipate and even disappear as the rad action stops and its effects also then do the same.

Your treatment does not end, Cindy, when the treatments end :). They keep on doing their job for some time after.

Be patient, be strong, and stay hydrated. STAY HYDRATED.

You are on the road back and, again, I both congratulate you for that and welcome you here.

Take care,

Joe

fishingirl's picture
fishingirl
Posts: 188
Joined: Nov 2009

Thank you soooo much Joe. I have notice how generous and kind you are by reading some questions:) And you have answers! lol!! I have heard that the radiation continues after they have finished with you. I hate to say still cooking. Yuck! It reminds me of being microwaved. And here I ALWAYS stood away while it was on, just in case it gave cancer. lol! Anyway...I wouldn't mind it the phlegm was only a couple times of day. It's just this allll day long!! And me too, it wakes me up every couple of hrs.

When you say stay hydrated, do you mean only water, or does that include tea, and the odd cup of coffee? Water is so boring, but I'll do it:)

Cindy

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Do not accept this from me: see your doctors for clarification, but I believe that coffee is a diaruetic, meaning that it sort of compels urination, something you want to do of course, but not too often in a given day.

Water and tea are both good for you, of course, and OncoMan, when I indicated I was drinking sports drinks, suggested that I give them up for seltzer water...he said seltzer water was more hydrative (if that is a word) than even regular old water, for some reason I can no longer remember.

Always check with doc first, but I am fairly confident he or she will not begrudge you the occasional cup of coffee.

Take care,

Joe

Dazey
Posts: 86
Joined: Sep 2009

I responded to the other post, but on this subject, I can certainly relate. The doctor kept telling me to have patience today - this is a side effect of the radiation and it will get better, it will just take a long time. ( And a lot of stock in Puffs tissues) He said to drink plenty of water. We can compare notes weekly and see just how long a long time is! Dazey

fishingirl's picture
fishingirl
Posts: 188
Joined: Nov 2009

OK!! That sounds GOOD!!!

Cindy

pk's picture
pk
Posts: 192
Joined: Aug 2009

My husband is 8 weeks out of treatment. He was constantly spitting too. But I would say for the last 2-3 weeks it has become sooooooo much better. He pretty much just gets his throat cleared in the morning upon getting up and he's good to go for the day. Mouth is still very dry, but atleast he's not honking up crap all day long. PK

fishingirl's picture
fishingirl
Posts: 188
Joined: Nov 2009

That's good:)This spitting is becoming pretty annoying! I should say discusting. lol!!

SASH's picture
SASH
Posts: 279
Joined: Apr 2006

There are some foods, dairy for one, that will increase the production on the mucous. Stay away from this and maybe it will help subside the feelings.

I carried a box of puffs tissue with no scent and no aloe every where I went and when my mouth was getting full, I would pull out a few pieces and clean all the "crap" out.

Don't get caught in a strong wind. This happened to me once and I had a phlegm kite about 15-20 feet above my head. I couldn't stop laughing when this happened.

fishingirl's picture
fishingirl
Posts: 188
Joined: Nov 2009

lol!! I know what you mean! I was just out for a bit (having to pick up a few things at the pharmacy), and I forgot to bring tissues with me. Well? I glad I didn't choke...cuz I had to swallow it! lol!! Feeling better now that I'm home:)
Fishingirl

fishingirl's picture
fishingirl
Posts: 188
Joined: Nov 2009

Sash...can I ask you a question? It may be personal, so tell me to mind my own business if you want. But, why did you post such a scary pic of yourself? It scares the crap out of me!!! lol!!

SASH's picture
SASH
Posts: 279
Joined: Apr 2006

That is the real me, a real monster.

Actually I posted it because it shows that scars and differences don't make the person and we all just have to live with the new us.

fishingirl's picture
fishingirl
Posts: 188
Joined: Nov 2009

Oh OK:) I don't judge people anyway. I never have. That's just me. But al least I now know why. lol!!

Scambuster's picture
Scambuster
Posts: 975
Joined: Nov 2009

HI Cindy,

I am in my 7th week out and had bad mucus issues more during the last weeks of treatment and first few weeks post treatment but my Doctor (the Onc) gave me 'Fluimucil'. It comes in small sachets you mix with water and had an orange flavor. This helped to break up and release the mucus so sleeping was better and the mucus and phlem released easier.

There are other names for this product depending what country you are in but if you google it you will get the generic name and your Dr should also know it.

The actual description on the box says ' FLUIDIFICATION OF MUCOUS AND MUCOPURULENT SECRETIONS' so there you go.

I seem to be fairly clear now so rarely use it unless I feel blocked up in the evenings and then its a pre bed time thing.

One of the guys (Sach ?) mentioned in the thread to avoid 'Dairy' as that will also exacerbate the problem and cause mucous prodcution. I use Rice milk or Soy milk only now and organic if you can. Most supermarkets have it now.

Hope this helps. Hang in there. Week by week you notice improvement as I've learnt you can't measure day by day or you will go crazy so measure you recovery in bigger time frames like weeks. That has helped me a lot.

Regds
Craig the Scambuster

fishingirl's picture
fishingirl
Posts: 188
Joined: Nov 2009

Thanks Scambuster!

I go see my Oncologist Dec 7. For my 1st follow up. I'll ask him about that. That is if I still have a lot of phlem.

Fishingirl

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