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Sore throat - what to expect

uvm1978's picture
uvm1978
Posts: 33
Joined: Aug 2010

I am on treatment # 8 of 30 and my throat and ear canal are very sore tonight. They are radiating from the middle of my ear down below my clavicle. I was hoping to not have this raw a sore throat so early in the treatments and was wondering what to expect based on everyone's experiences. When did your sore throat start and was it better some days and worse others, or did it just get continually worse?

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3228
Joined: Jan 2010

Not sure anyone can really tell you how you will react. Some of us could swallow thru rads and others could not. Some had bad but tolerable and others the worst they have ever felt.

Me, I started with pain, mouth sores and bleeding in my mouth very early into rads. I had a PEG tube thank God, and I needed it. I was on 75 mcgs Fentanyl patch with liquid narcotics for breakthru pain and I was still in really bad pain. And I had 7 teeth pulled at once and a tongue biopsy and never took a narcotic. So I'm not a whimp. :) actually my time with narcotics was my neck dissection.
My rads started 4/6/09 and my last meal for six months was 4/19/09.

Try and stay ahead of the pain if you can. Tell your docs how you are feeling if they don't ask. Mine were great with that. Especially
my RO new that I never took pain killers. He told me, now is not the time to try and be a superhero wannabe. You need to get rest and nutrition in you and the painkillers can allow you to do that. At times I wish I could have taken more, but at 5'2" and 87lbs they wouldn't give me more. Also don't be suprised if your pain peaks a couple weeks after you end. Unfortunately you continue to cook after they stop zapping you. :(

Hang in there. You can get thru it. Somedays it might feel like you will make it, but you can. Feel free to vent anytime you need to. You have a site full of people who totally understand and won't get freaked out. Hope that you will have manageble side effects.

Blessings,

Sweet.

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 6122
Joined: Apr 2009

I agree with Sweet, she is giving you some good advice

uvm1978's picture
uvm1978
Posts: 33
Joined: Aug 2010

Thanks for the words of wisdom. I spoke with the techs yesterday and they got me a script for Silver Sulfadiazine to put on my neck and "crease" scar. They said the radiation tends to accumulate in the crease. I used it last night and it did help. They also said to not be a "martyr" and suggested (as you did) that I start taking pain meds early because otherwise it will be hard to manage. So, I am gearing up for the long haul.

luv4lacrosse's picture
luv4lacrosse
Posts: 1412
Joined: Jul 2010

Every one is a little different, but i was virtually symptom free until about 1/2 way through. I did start my Rad. treatments with a very bad case of thrush which I got after my surgeries. I am sure this has not helped as I am still being treated for it. A week ago last Friday i realized my throat and tongue pain was so bad that there was no way I was going to swallow up to 2,500 calories of any type of nutrition supplement. I met with my Doc. on Friday about getting the PEG, had my 2nd Cisplatin on Monday and then was admitted to have the feeding tube placed. I have lost 45-50 lbs since this all started with probably 35 of these lbs dropping off in the last 2 weeks.

My RD says her experience with the patients coming in to see her are peaking out with the pain typically near the end of treatment and for several weeks thereafter. There really is not allot you can do about it. In my case, the mucous is so thick, the Caphasol and baking Soda gargle no longer help.Do alternate Compazine and Atavan to help with the nausea and dry heaving stomach. I find my nausea is the worst when I get up out of bed in the morning as I have probably swallowed most of the mucous. When I lay down for bed, I spit most of it out, but once I get so tired I sleep longer and swallow it. When I wake up the first thing I do is blow my nose as hard as I can as allot of crud collectcs in the nasal cavity and then a few really good hard coughs / heaves to try to clear the rest of the hardened crud out. (this is the very painfull part)

as far as pain goes, ask for a pain consult. I am on 150 MIC's of Fentanyl patch every 3 days and Concentrated Liquid OXY as needed for acute pain. I had stopped the OXY for almost 2 weeks and was forced to re start yesterday.

Hope this helps, not a rosey picture, but pretty accurate as to what I am experiencing.

Hang tough, the light is at the end of the tunnell. You can do this, lean on us here for support.

BEST!!

Mike

uvm1978's picture
uvm1978
Posts: 33
Joined: Aug 2010

Mike,
Thanks for responding. I will talk to them today about some of the drugs you mention. It was a little discouraging to hear from both you and Sweet that the pain peaks a few weeks after radiation - I was hoping to be able to eat Thanksgiving dinner, but I guess I'll have to set my sights on Christmas.

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3228
Joined: Jan 2010

I know you didn't want to hear that, and I struggle with telling the 'newbies' about that and about swallowing problems, but I wish I knew how bad the pain and side effects peak after rads. I was unprepared for that and really suffered both physically and mentally. I don't feel like I was given the worst case scenario and I need for people to be brutally honest. It's just the way I operate. Very forward and direct. It's how I prepare and process. I didn't get that. I wish I found CSN before I had rads.

I'm 18 months out and I may have a shot at thanksgiving dinner this year. :)

Clearblue
Posts: 188
Joined: Apr 2010

error

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3228
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi sweetie. Not really. Just this little feisty Sicilian New Yorker that likes to fight. I'm scrappy. :)

Pam M's picture
Pam M
Posts: 2193
Joined: Nov 2009

I'd rather get the full packet of info - so I can at least partially mentally prepare myself, or at least not have the "OMG - what's this?" reaction. Some of the worst times I had during induction chemo were when side effects hit out of the blue - these were "odd" side effects that usually didn't occur, so my docs didn't have the info in their little "what to expect" packet. I feel I do better with less mental stress.

luv4lacrosse's picture
luv4lacrosse
Posts: 1412
Joined: Jul 2010

Keep realizing that everyone is different when it comes to the pain. In general I think most people are experiencing the worst of the pain towards the end. Just take it day by day. I am back to sleeping in my "LA Z Boy" chair as staying as upright as possible helps with the mucous, and more importantly, clearing all of the stuff out when I wake up.

I am really focusing on nutrition right now, and am using my new feeding tube to the max. The Doc's say this can make the difference between a slow and or a speedy recovery once treatment stops. I would have never guessed that i could take in 2500 + calories and my body is craving for more. I have been told that the healing and production of mucous burns up most of the calories.

You will do this

Day by day.

BEST!!

Mike

Pam M's picture
Pam M
Posts: 2193
Joined: Nov 2009

Just as we all weather treatment in our own way, we each recover in our own way. You never know - you may be able to do just fine for Thanksgiving. Last year, late October or early November, my MO said to me "Thanksgiving is going to suck. So is Christmas. So is New Year's. It's our hope we'll be trading them this year for future holidays." He was on the money - as far as eating being a huge disappointment. I ate seven bites of food last Thanksgiving. I counted. I wasn't the only one counting. Seeing others' reactions to me was worse than not eating. By Christmas, I was in the hospital with neutropenic fevers, mouth sores and a brand new PEG. I got out just before New Year's and was back in the ER New Year's Eve. Oh well. This year, I may not be able to eat a lot of turkey or dinner rolls, but am fully capable of overeating (and that's my game plan). You never know - this Thanksgiving, you may be wallowing in dressing and mashed potatoes (probably not cranberry sauce, through). Even if you're not, you can always use deprivation this year as an excuse for pigging next year. Personally, I hope you have to come up with a different excuse for pigging next year.

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3228
Joined: Jan 2010

Thanks a lot. All this talk about Thanksgiving is making me crave my ex mother In law's stuffing. It's like one of the only things she cooked that I liked. Won't be getting any of that any time soon. Lol. Maybe I will try to make my own this year. Not sure I can swallow it, but could try.

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