Jun 05, 2013 - 11:52 am
Hello everybody! My husband Kenny was diagnosed with metastatic squamous cell cancer of the tonsils, stage IVA, last January. I've been reading these posts for several months now and appreciate all the great information and helpful souls out there. But my husband rarely goes online and prefers to get info filtered through me. So here's what I'm wondering: Kenny finished the last of his rads 4 weeks ago yesterday, and he is still not able to swallow liquids or eat anything. He underwent a very rigorous treatment of 2 three-weeks cycle of chemo infusion and then chemoradiation for 7 weeks, and he's had a terrible time with side effects. From the first week-long administration of chemo (during the infusion period) he developed severe mouth ulcers (one of the worst cases of oral mucositis our nurse had seen, she told us) which have continued throughout his treatment period. His radiation oncologist eventually put him on MuGard, but then he got thrush soon after that and has just had a devil of a time with his mouth (and poor, burning tongue). His mouth sores did eventually heal once treatment ended, but by that time his throat was so sore it didn't seem to make much difference as far as the pain is concerned. He's still wearing fentanyl patches and taking 6 doses of Dilaudid a day and is still in pain.
He hasn't been able to eat anything since early April and hasn't been able to drink water since mid-April. So as you can imagine he's lost a lot of weight (50 lbs. and still dropping) and he's getting very despondent over the fact that he's not getting any better. He's starting to think he will never get well! Of course, I tell him he will, it just takes a long time, and to measure his progress in weeks and not days (as I've read on this forum a number of times). I just feel that without being able to eat and get decent nutrition (the feeding tube formula is keeping him alive, but not well nourished), he's not going to heal any time soon. Kenny has also had problems with excessive phlegm (he's had to sleep sitting up for the past several weeks), but that seems to be geting better.
So I guess our question is - is this normal for recovery to be this slow? His throat isn't getting any better, and now he's getting more mouth sores again - I think he may have thrush as his tongue is white in the center and there are white patches (as well as bumps) in this mouth. Any words of advice would be much appreciated!