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phlegm and eating

mrbmx70's picture
mrbmx70
Posts: 5
Joined: Jun 2013

I am only 3 days out of tx, which went well, tumor is gone lymph nodes are back to normal.  My problem is the phlegm and ropey saliva is making getting proper nutrition hard. After eating or drinking something I usually spend the next 10-15 mins. coughing up phlegm like crazy. I have tried all the typical suggestions,  salt & soda, Nuetrasal, club soda, etc... nothing has really worked. My weight keeps dropping a couple pounds every week because I can't get enough calories due to the phlegm. I know eventually it will subside but the weight is getting low and I need to try to get more calories, but between the phlegm and the sore throat I don't know how to. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Tony

phrannie51's picture
phrannie51
Posts: 3821
Joined: Mar 2012

welcome to our little slice of the internet....I don't know if you've been lurking and are just now saying hello, or if you simply stumbled in here today.....none the less you have found a great forum to voice your concerns.

I didn't have the phelgm mostly due (I think) to the fact that I also had Amifostine during my rad treatments....but I've surely heard a lot about it in the year+ that I've been here.  Some people have had good luck with Mucinex, so you might want to give that a try.  Hot tea, also....most tho, simply get thru each day until the crap goes away.

If your weight becomes too much of a problem (you didn't say how much you've lost over all).....you wouldn't be the first person who ended up with a tube after treatment is over.  That is one way to circumvent the phlegm causing problems.

p

 

jcortney's picture
jcortney
Posts: 426
Joined: Sep 2012

it sounds like you don't have a peg so, if you can drink successfully then Ensure Plus would get you your calories.  Depending on what your treatment was after about 10-14 days you will begin to feel significantly better.  When I first ended treatment I had the same problems and on the 2nd of August I will be six months out and I still have some mucous.  But, I did have my first tuna sandwich the other day so there is hope :)

Take care,

Joe

mrbmx70's picture
mrbmx70
Posts: 5
Joined: Jun 2013

have been drinking Ensure plus and Boost plus, but they make the phlegm problem worse due to the milk base of them. Have lost about 25+ pounds since starting tx, chemo was very hard on me and killed any appetite most of my weight was lost those weeks of chemo.

TracyLynn72's picture
TracyLynn72
Posts: 739
Joined: May 2013

With the Boost and Ensure making it worse. I ended up having to get a peg with just 6 treatments left. It saved my life as I was losing a lb a day! I'm 3 weeks out of treatment and the thick junk is almost all gone! Drinking a LOT of water helped me the most. It was gross but I'd hack up as much as I could then drink a glass of water. Wait an hour or so and do it again. I did the baking soda,salt and water rinse...sometimes 2 quarts a day!! I hope you get relief very soon. 

CivilMatt's picture
CivilMatt
Posts: 3067
Joined: May 2012

Tony,

Welcome to the H&N forum, where we have problems with phlegm and ropey saliva coming out our mouths.

Keep working the problem, keep swishing and spitting, try warm drinks, try soda, try water based protein drinks, try thinning out the Ensure or Boost, but keep putting the calories in.  Even if it takes all day to get what you need.  About the time you learn to deal with these issues, they will most likely be gone or better.

The post treatment side effects can be a challenge; there are very few successful “short-cuts” to the hurdles you must jump.  Try anything legal, but get an ok from the onc if it seems risky.

Happy healing,

Matt

hwt's picture
hwt
Posts: 1991
Joined: Jun 2012

Welcome but sorry you had a need to find us. Wish I could offer advice but that was one of the few bullets that I dodged. Hope you find a quick resolution. 

debbiejeanne's picture
debbiejeanne
Posts: 2590
Joined: Jan 2010

tony, just want 2 say i hope u find something that works very soon.  it will just take time.

joe, i hope ur 1st tuna sandwich tasted real good.    :0)

dj

cadharose's picture
cadharose
Posts: 51
Joined: May 2013

Oh yes, the mucus. I have been dealing with that in a major way since my treatment ended nearly 3 weeks ago. There seems to be no end to it and eating does seem to provoke it. I was in the doctor's office a couple days ago and reassured that it will come to an end, probably in about 2 weeks.

As someone else said, you might try a thorough washout of your sinuses and mouth, etc., before eating. I do that, but it seems as soon as I think I've gotten it all out, then there's more.

As for more calories, load up on those protein shakes. ScandiShakes are great (if you can find them) - mixed with whole milk they have almost 600 calories each. I have also been downing a large spoonful of canola oil with each protein shake, for an extra few hundred calories per day. I know that sounds gross, but I don't really taste it and it goes down easily.

robswife87's picture
robswife87
Posts: 181
Joined: Mar 2013

We used Glutamine in water, per Phrannie suggestion. It helped with mouth sores but really thinned the mucous and phlegm problem. I couldn't find the powder form locally but we picked up tablet form and I would cruch 2 and put in a 16 oz bottle of water. He sipped it all day long

fishmanpa's picture
fishmanpa
Posts: 1127
Joined: Jan 2013

Hi Tony,

Yes, the dreaded mucous/snot devil. I read of folks talking about it and he came to visit me about the 4th week of treatment. I was going through boxes of tissues for weeks! (Puffs with lotion are from heaven!). Like many others, a rinse that containing glutamine worked pretty well. I used 16oz water, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon baking soda and 5 grams (one scoop) powdered l-glutamine. It helped the mucous issue and soothed my mouth as well. 

Give it some time. It was about 2-3 weeks out and all of a sudden I wasn't using as many tissues and then poof!... it was gone that quickly... within a couple of days. Then comes the dry mouth... save it for another thread...

Positive thoughts and prayers

"T"

 

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