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throat cancer/caregiver

scold01
Posts: 1
Joined: May 2014

Hi, I'm new to this site. My husband was diagnosised 4 weeks ago with stage 2 larynx cancer. so far they have taken a biop and lasered his vocal chords, to open his airway. he was haveing difficulty breathing. We have two kids, one 21 and one 11. both boys, oldest has severe anxiety attacks, and cant work, or drive. Youngest has slight form of austism and is being home schooled. My husband is the only one who works, and he is an over the road trucker. Usually gone for 4 weeks at a time, and home for 4 days. He will start his radation treatments on the 10th of may, and I am wondering how to help the skin at the site. How bad will the redness and soreness get?? Doctor said somewhat like a sunburn, will aloe vera gel help the skin? And how do you deal with being the caregiver?? I am soo scared, I don't want him to lose his life, or his voice box.....but I am also worried about losing our house. If he cant work, we have no income...And even if I went back work, I could never make what he did...I could'nt keep our home.

Ladylacy
Posts: 465
Joined: Apr 2012

Sorry you had to find this site.  Caregiving is hard.  My husband was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer in 2010.  He underwent radiation, chemo and then had to have a complete larygectomy.  As far as the radiation, everyone is different in how it affects the skin.  My husband had no burns from radiation.  But then again my husband loved to be outdoors so his skin was tough.  Second round of radiation was different and he did have some skin burns.  

If he is having difficulty breathing, he might need to have a trach to help with his breathing.  There is nothing you can put on the skin before radiation treatments.  Skin has to be clean.  You can apply aloe vera gel after the treatment if needed.  

Treatment is hard and I hope he has a feeding tube insert before he begins treatment so that if it is needed, it will be there.  He has to make sure he drinks plenty of water to stay hydrated and to keep his swallowing muscle working.  My husband's throat was completely closed off from the radiation, but remember not everyone responds to treatment the same way.

Another good site for those with cancer of the laynx is www.webwhispers.com because they deal mainly with this type of cancer.

Wishing you both the best -- Sharon

DrMary's picture
DrMary
Posts: 527
Joined: Nov 2010

You have a lot to think about, so I recommend trying to focus on one at a time.  His care will take a while and it is mostly programmed, so (hard as it is) move that down 1 notch on your list.  I would talk to a social worker as soon as possible (there might be one at the hospital where he is being treated) about what programs are available to support you.  It sounds like you will need some help at home with your sons and protection against having your house reposessed.  You might want to talk to whoever holds the mortgage now to see about having a period in which you only make interest payments.  Keep both of these things in mind when people ask if they can help.  No one is likely to take over your mortgage payments, but several friends might chip in on one month to give you some breathing room.

 

About your radiation concerns.  Yes, nothing on the skin before each treatment, but you can put aloe vera (no alcohol) on after.  My husband liked Bert's Bees.  He will often be tired after the radiation, so plan on nap time for all then.  

 

Keep us posted and good luck.

Noellesmom
Posts: 1279
Joined: Aug 2010

I agree with the other comments of one day at a time being the best way to deal with this crazy roller coaster ride called cancer.

For reference and encouragement, let me tell you my husband had hypopharyngeal cancer diagnosed four years ago.  We have been NED since the first PET following treatment.  I hope you will find this encouraging.

Treating the skin after radiation: my husband's skin did not require any treatment but as others have mentioned, Jim is an outdoors kind of guy.

It is not likely he will be able to work during the treatment for long because it is quite an energy drain.  You don't 'mention chemotherapy.  As long as your husband follows the processes proscribed by the doctors and his cancer team, he will do much better.

As for your house: I hope you are looking into disability for your husband.  I can't tell from your post if he is self-employed or works for a trucking company - look into long term disability if he works for a company and it is available where you live.

It's been a while since you posted and I can understand how busy you've been.  

Let us hear from you.

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