Oct 22, 2010 - 1:40 pm
My husband, Jim, is now almost two months post-treatment, radiation and chemo, for hypopharyngeal and base of tongue cancer. PET scan showed only residual activity at the site of the treatment, which was great to hear. This was a couple of weeks ago. An increasingly troublesome ear pain has caused him to move back onto morphine, still using the Fentanyl patches, too.
This week, Jim has been complaining of progressively drier mouth and throat. Using Biotene mouthwash, drops and spray and drinking LOTS of liquids.
At a follow-up ENT appointment Wednesday, the doctor discovered an area of necrotic tissue in his throat and some exposed jawbone. While he was startled to see the tissue, the doctor was quick to say the oncologist would need to let him know if this was normal or something to be worried about. Same thing with the jawbone: he, of course, deferred to the oncologist from whom we are now anticipating a phone call.
The ENT also told us Jim's dry mouth was likely the result of salivary glands which no longer function plus the effects of the radiation. The ropy mucous we've heard others describe is now also an issue for Jim, as with such a dry throat and mouth, he can neither move it up, nor down nor out without extrememe difficulty.
Long story, but Jim's real question is this: is it possible the dry throat and mouth could just now be occurring for Jim with the radiation as the cause? He has no real issues with this until the past week or so. This morning, he had difficulty swallowing breakfast - this has not been an issue since he recovered from the initial biopsy.
Anybody else have these "later" symptoms appear?