Nov 13, 2011 - 6:54 pm
I'm 10 weeks post-op for a modified radical neck dissection and here are my top 5 suggestions for the physical issues that I had. I am neither a doctor nor a PT but I have been lifting weights since I was a teenager and have studied the affects of diet for many years as well. Only one side on my neck was dissected and 59 lymph nodes were removed as well as my thyroid. My spinal accessory nerve was sacrificed.
1- Getting back in the gym and lifting the lightest weights possible has helped the pain in my trapezius muscle immensely. The machines which allow for separate right and left arm use with full range of motion are incredibly useful but don't discount the ones where the "strong" side helps the "weak" side. I only use enough weight to control the machine. I do NOT use enough weight so that it feels like I am "lifting weights".
2- Baths. Preferrably with epsom salts. In the beginning I was taking 3 baths a day. I have an air jetted tub but a standard bath helps too. I also have plenty of wash cloths that I soak in warm water and use as compresses for my neck and trap muscles.
3- Carrot juice. Although my swallowing has improved in 10 weeks, in the beginning it was really difficult to swallow. And the liquids I drank need to be thick. Carrot juice was like liquid velvet going down my throat. Incredibly soothing and healthy.
4- Eat a healthy diet. As hard as it might be, don't let yourself use too many comfort foods. I found that fruits and veggies were much easier to swallow than junk food. I always had fruit cups and applesauce on hand. Trader Joe's has incredible "pear sauce". Also, Target has organic squeeze packs of baby food in lots of fruits and veggie combos.
5- The worst part of the day for me is when I first wake up. The muscles around my neck and back are rigid and screaming with pain. I spend 5-10 minutes massaging them before I get up each day and also if I'm in intense pain, I do some of the PT exercises prescribed for me.
I hope I posted this in the right place. If you guys/gals who have been around for awhile know a better place for me to post it, please tell me. And please tell me your suggestions too! I'm no where near full recovery and any advice is very welcome!!!