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9 weeks after radiation therapy..

Michael McDonnell
Posts: 9
Joined: Jun 2013

Hello, I've had chemo and 35 sessions of radiotherapy which finished 9 weeks ago, and i am still unable to eat. How long will I have to wait til I'm able to eat food again??? Any advice also for a quicker road to recovery?

cureitall66's picture
cureitall66
Posts: 863
Joined: Aug 2012

Yah! Ring that bell!! You are done!

Welcome!

 My loved one was dx Aug 2012 and finished his tx at the end of November. He was SCC BOT, with lymph node involvement (same side), HPV 16+, Stage IV. 7 wks Rads and Chemo-Carboplatin & Paclitaxel (once weekly - no surgery) He is currently NED (No evidence of disease) as of February. He had a feeding tube put in the middle of tx. He wanted to try to go without it, but it just didn't work out. He kept himself fed with Boost and Ensure and 2.0 as well as kept hydrated with water....all through his tube. You don't mention if you had a feeding tube put in during or prior to treatment.

If you could mention whether you have one or not, others will chime in to help you along with this also. My loved one was not able to "swallow" water until about 3-4 weeks after tx as his mouth was pretty swollen. He had to go in to tx center to get IV fluids so he could keep hydrated a few times. As far as actual food...that was awhile (maybe 2 months or so after removing PEG) . He had his PEG (feeding tube) removed in January. He then continued to drink his Boost or Ensure and water through his mouth...but with a little difficulty. He lost about 50lbs. Eating soft foods was his goal....that consisted of applesauce, puddings, oatmeal, etc. Now at about 6 months out from tx he is eating quite a bit of other foods. Some of the taste has not come back completely. Some textures still bother him. Breads are the hardest....he has to drink a lot of water to get it down.

Don't get discouraged. Everyone is different. Some people have been able to do things quicker and some take longer. Some have even gone through tx without the PEG.

My advice is to keep using your swallowing muscles...even if it hurts. You must utilize them or you could lose them. Keep hydrated and get some Ensure or Boost to keep up the calories. It takes time to get through the process.....be patient and take little steps...eventually it will all come back.

Take Care,

~C

Michael McDonnell
Posts: 9
Joined: Jun 2013

I didnt need a feeding tube. At the moment I am able to drink water,ensure, smoothies etc. My mouth is still sore with ulcers so eating solids is painful and my mouth is very dry. My scan is next Thursday, hopefully treatment worked, wish me luck!! 

phrannie51's picture
phrannie51
Posts: 3741
Joined: Mar 2012

You don't say what is stopping you from eating....is it pain?  Is it hard to swallow....or what all you've tried to get down the hatch.  Are you swallowing liquids, like water, or thicker things like smoothies and Ensure?

It takes different lengths of time for individuals to get to eat real food...I started out on canned soups, like chicken and noodle, vegitable beef....and then added the soaking of French bread, slathered in butter into the soup.  I still have trouble with anything spicy...stings....and I'm almost a year out of treatment. 

Improvement comes in weeks and months....so keep hanging in there.....

Michael McDonnell
Posts: 9
Joined: Jun 2013

Yes its my ulcers and dry mouth that is preventing me from eating solid food, but i can still taste food thankfully!! Yes I'm drinking liquids and smoothies and have started beginner foods such as soup and eggs. Scan next week wish me luck!! 

phrannie51's picture
phrannie51
Posts: 3741
Joined: Mar 2012

then at 2 months out....smoothies and soup.  Actually, soup is still my favorite food to eat....dry mouth needs so much water to get down....and soup needs nothing to help it out.  I still soak bread and crackes in my soup to give it more body.

Have you tried using L-glutamine powder mixed in water for those sores?  It sooths and promotes healing....the mouth sores are a b**ch, I know.  I'd hold it on my sores, then swallow it (it's also good for digestion).

p

Michael McDonnell
Posts: 9
Joined: Jun 2013

Thanks for the tip on the L-glutamine, i'll have to try it. The roof of my mouth is still sore so just having soup once a day. I'm using gelclair which is a concentrated oral rinse gel also.

CivilMatt's picture
CivilMatt
Posts: 2977
Joined: May 2012

Michael,

It sounds like as soon as you tame your mouth you will be bellying up to the table.   As you said, you can still taste and are on beginner’s food; well you are on your way the road to success.  You just need to make friends with “time”, be grateful but be patient.

Well done,

Matt

Michael McDonnell
Posts: 9
Joined: Jun 2013

Cheers matt! Never thought i'd miss junk food

peggylulu's picture
peggylulu
Posts: 367
Joined: Dec 2012

Michael you are half way there, if you can taste food !! I am 8 months out from 33 Radiation Treatments and I can eat almost anything ( with something to wash it down ) but nothing taste good ! Hang in there and before you know it you will be eating the things that you like .  Best wishes for that to happen soon !

Peggy

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