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Trouble Swallowing during Radiation

CiAnnaBananna's picture
CiAnnaBananna
Posts: 106
Joined: Mar 2010

So i've had 10 radiation treatments or 20 for Hodgkins. I am being radiated in my chest area. The doctor had told me one of the side effects that most patients complained about was having trouble swallowing. I had no idea how bad it would be. I can barely swallow my own saliva, let alone anything to drink or eat. If i try to eat something, it feels like I am swallowing shards of glass! Along with this, I am also having terrible acid reflux, which I've never experienced. it feels like I am constantly having a heart attack. The doctor gave me some medicine called "Larry's Solution" which is supposed to numb the esophagus and make it easier to eat. Well that isn't helping!

Anybody having similar issues and/or what else can you do to get some relief? Im ok not eating much, but not being able to swallow is killing me!

forme's picture
forme
Posts: 1162
Joined: Aug 2010

Hi CiAnna,
I have found that the Head and Neck board are full of wonderful advice about radiation and how to lessen or at least deal with the effects of it. I really would suggest that you pop over to them and ask all your questions. You will get tons of answers. They have been so helpful to me. They know all about the magic mouthwash and swallowing issues etc. I get my rads in 11 days.
peaceful healing
Lisha

CiAnnaBananna's picture
CiAnnaBananna
Posts: 106
Joined: Mar 2010

thanks great advice. good luck with everything

allmost60's picture
allmost60
Posts: 3184
Joined: Jul 2010

Hi CiAnna,
I am only throwing this out here because it works for me, but I have never had radiation, so of course you would have to clear this with your doctor first. I take one tbls of baking soda and put it in a 4oz glass of water(stir it well) and then I drink it. With in minutes it makes me burp and completely relieves indigestion, heart burn and acid reflux. I brush my teeth with the baking soda 3 times a day along with rinsing my mouth and also brushing my tongue with it. So far I have not gotten any sores in my mouth from the chemo, and my mouth/teeth always feel fresh. It truely gets rid of my heart burn and acid reflux which I have daily. ASK your doctor first. So sorry the rads are giving such problems! Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers...Love Sue (FNHL-2-3A-6/10)

vinny59's picture
vinny59
Posts: 1032
Joined: Nov 2006

Before I had Hodgkin's, I had head and neck cancer, I had no saliva what so ever, I got a saliva producing gel from my dentist, it did help a little bit, I used the magic mouth wash, and like you said, it hardly worked. I lived on a diet of Ramon noodles, and pastina soup, scrambled eggs also, these foods were easier to get down. I also had a water bottle connected to my hip, I too had the acid reflux, and Nexium helped with that. Hope that helps, how many more treatment's do you have? It does get better after the treatments finally end.......... wishing you well Vinny

CiAnnaBananna's picture
CiAnnaBananna
Posts: 106
Joined: Mar 2010

i only have 10 more treatments. doc said it should go away within 2 or 3 weeks after rads. i know its not a long time, but it is painful! it is helping with my diet though!

forme's picture
forme
Posts: 1162
Joined: Aug 2010

Hi again,
Over on the head and neck board there is a thread about egg drop soup. It's up close to the top. It has great comments about swallowing and how hard it is. I really hope you take a look. Sounds like Egg Drop Soup is very helpful.
Thinking of you
Lisha

cathyp's picture
cathyp
Posts: 373
Joined: Dec 2009

I experienced the same thing 20 years ago. The radiation hit the top of my stomach so I had naseau and vomiting which burned my throat even more. Treatments were stopped for 2 weeks and I was hospitalized because I couldn't swallow my own saliva and had esphogitis and radiation induced anorexia nervosa. I remember a priest coming in to see me and he probably read my chart. He said, hun, there's no reason to not to want to eat! He didn't realize I couldn't eat. I don't mean to scare you but I did have a problem w/the rads. I got stronger and resumed treatments. Hope yous doesn't progress. Things have improved over the years and what happened to me may not be applicable.

Best to you,
Cathy

CiAnnaBananna's picture
CiAnnaBananna
Posts: 106
Joined: Mar 2010

thanks cathy for sharing your experience. i'm all about eating less and losing some weight since i gained 70 lbs during chemo....however, not even being able to swallow saliva is pushing it!

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