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Spicy Foods, etc.

carolinagirl67's picture
carolinagirl67
Posts: 153
Joined: Jul 2009

Hello Everyone,

My husband had stage IV tonsil cancer on the right side. He is 12 weeks out of treatment and doing awesome. We have our first PET on Thursday. My question is, he can't eat anything with pepper, mustard, ketchup as it just burns the inside of his mouth. Mostly around his lips. Can anyone tell me how long this will last or if this is permanent? He loves mexican food. Wishing you all a Happy New Year! Donna

SASH's picture
SASH
Posts: 277
Joined: Apr 2006

Everyone is different on how their taste will be in 3 months, 6 months, 6 years, etc. It could be the spices or other ingredients in the food that is making his mouth burn. I found that this does diminish some over time and things that I couldn't tolerate after treatment when I could eat, and I can now eat.

I too loved mexican food and still do, but I can no longer eat the hot sauce on chips but I can do the mild and sometimes the medium.

It will be trial and error through time to see if he ever will be able to eat those things again.

Landranger25's picture
Landranger25
Posts: 207
Joined: Nov 2009

I am 2 1/2 months post treatment. Right after treatment I couldn't do fruit or anything with a tomato based sauce. Tomatos too acid, same with the fruits. Now I can do those things OK but like Sash, mexican a little too spicy. Even some spicy pizza sauces are too much. I expect this to continue to change for some time to come. Just keep trying and don't give up. Good luck.

Mike

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5717
Joined: Apr 2009

Hi Donna

I also agree with SASH and Mike, it will take sometime for him to start to be able to eat anything like that as the inside of the mouth is still healing and may do so for many months after treatment stops, but the good news is it will come back.

I could not eat anything with pepper for a few years but now I love again. I even make my own hot Sauce; I call it Hondeaux Habanero Sauce the best tasting hot Sauce you will ever try and it is not really that hot.

On the ketchup and mustard that too will take a while but not as long as the pepper or at lease for me I was able to eat and taste it with in a year after treatment.

RockyJim
Posts: 4
Joined: Dec 2009

I've finished 17 weeks of induction chemotherapy and chemo-radiotherapy for stage IV tonsil cancer on 12/23/09 myself -- have avoided surgery so far. (Good luck to you and hubby, carolinagirl67).

Almost everything burns going down, though I am getting down a little lukewarm coffee. Minor flavors like salts, sugars and fats (like from soup) in a watery medium are painful. I'm wanting to know if and when I can eat something again. Sounds like you all are getting real food, one just needs to be patient.

Should I push it, trying to eat even if it burns, or should I just wait until things don't hurt going down?

Any starter-food suggestions?

SASH's picture
SASH
Posts: 277
Joined: Apr 2006

Look for low sodium things and try to avoid salt, vinegar, acids, pepper, etc.

You can try tuna salad made with lots of mayo. It does take time after you are done with rads/chemo before things taste right and don't burn. My savior was graham crackers dunked in milk, nice and soft and no spice.

All you can do is try. It can take months after treatment before you can start eating normally again. Just take your time and don't get discouraged if something doesn't work for you, as it might a few weeks or a few months later.

Kent Cass's picture
Kent Cass
Posts: 1746
Joined: Nov 2009

Ditto Hondo, Sash and Mike. It just takes time, Donna, and is trial and error. I'm 8+ months, post-treatment, and it took me about 6 months to be able to handle even spicy Italian salad dressing. It all seemed to deaden my mouth sensors, breaking things down to either hurt, or not hurt, but only at first to that extreme. Now- flavor is back, and I do like the flavor of onions, but garlic still is problematic. It'll all come back for you.

Believe.

kcass

CajunEagle's picture
CajunEagle
Posts: 357
Joined: Oct 2009

I'm 6 months this week through with radiation and chemo of my left tonsil stage 4. Treatments (no surgery) got rid of it. Still have side effects of hand and feet neuropathy....ear ringing.....swallowing techniques due to trying not to aspirate....and only half my silava glands working. Other than that, foods are doing great. Only place it burns in my mouth is the roof. Carbonated sodas burn a tad and anything warm like coffee just doesn't work....YET, but for some reason the last two weeks have been amazing. I've been able to eat just about anything. Had prime rib and garlic creamed potatoes last night. Tonight, wife and I went to one of my dream (during treatment) places and ate a wonderful dish of veal parmesian and tender pasta. Lawd, that was great !! Even the reisling went down with only a slight tinge. Every day is a challenge to try something that I used to crave. Just keep a bottle or glass of water nearby. Spices and condiments may still burn somewhat, but not for long with that water. I still have my peg tube and use it with one can of Two-Cal in the mornings. Gone from 8 cans of either Boost Plus and Two-Cal two months ago, to one can at this time. Hope to get rid of all of it by mid January. So, just keep trying different things and keep a simple log. Gets to be sorta fun after awhile.

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5717
Joined: Apr 2009

Let me know when you are ready for some real good Louisiana Cajun Hot sauce, made in the heart of the Cajun country. Wife made some gumbo for Christmas added a little hot sauce, even Boudreaux would be impressed.

Take care

CajunEagle's picture
CajunEagle
Posts: 357
Joined: Oct 2009

#

ratface's picture
ratface
Posts: 1234
Joined: Aug 2009

I've got a pot of chili made with venison on the stove right now. The kids love it and I haven't made it in a while. hard to cook with no taste buds but they are much better and i can get close or ask the wife to taste test. I used to put home grown jalepenos in here but i can't handle those yet. a little black pepper is all I can do right now.

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5717
Joined: Apr 2009

It will not be long, you will taste that venison Chili again with the jalapeños, it will be like Campbell’s soup Em Em good. My Hondeaux Habanero peppers are out of season right now but as soon as they come in next year I will send you a jar, one taste and you might through away those jalapeños peppers.

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

I'm 14 months out of treatment for Stage III SCC of the right tonsil. Shortly after treatment, ketchup was WAY too spicy for me, and a single grain of black pepper burned like fire.
But this summer I once again raised a bumper crop of habanero peppers -- think nuclear strength -- and was able to eat them, diced them on my salad. We just returned from the Virgin Islands, where I picked up a bottle of "Jerome's Hot Sauce," made from Scotch bonnet peppers. It's hot enough that it makes the top of my head tingle and my nose run -- and it's great!
I don't know about anyone else, but my ability to tolerate heat is back to where it was B.C. -- before cancer. It took about six or eight months.
Good luck!

--Jim in Delaware

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5717
Joined: Apr 2009

Jim that is pretty much the norm for getting the taste and tolerant back for hot stuff right around 1 to 2 years, but in the new normal us we have to be very careful not to over due it. Your story makes me remember when I first started eating peppers again; the sweat was rolling down my head & face, but it taste so good.

Take care

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