Left Tonsil Cancer

MLC53 Member Posts: 109
edited March 2014 in Head and Neck Cancer #1
Hello, I am a newbie just looking for some support. There are lots of great posts and some good advice here! Anyway, I was diagnosed with left tonsillar cancer in April '07. Stage 2 with 2 lymph nodes involved. I did not have surgery to remove anything because the docs felt they could get rid of it with 35 consecutive treatments of IMRT radiation along with 7 weeks of chemo. I finished my treatments in June '07 and am now three months post treatments. The exams show the tonsil CA is gone, but I am having a very difficult time with this very slow recover phase. I am still on the peg tube (it was put in on April 4, '07, the day of my biopsy and diagnosis, and I thank God and my docs for having it). It is your lifeline through all of this! However, I've already had to have 3 dilations to my esophagus because the radiation shrunk the opening down to 6mm from the standard adult size of 18mm! The dilations have torn my esophagus because radiated tissue is so sensitive. The tearing is still healing and causes pain upon swallowing. My saliva is still not back to normal yet but it seems to be heading that way. I am luckily able to drink clear liquids and eat Campbell's bean with bacon soup. Sometimes I have to chase the beans down with broth or water. My biggest problem is depression and patience with the recovery and wanting so badly to get back to my normal self. Any tips or encouragement is very much welcome.


  • TereB
    TereB Member Posts: 286 Member
    Hi, I am sorry to have to go throught all this. The peg tube is necessary because it is the way you get nutrition which is important for your recovery. I have a different type of cancer, had eating problems but no peg tube. I used Boost, a drink with lots of nutrients.

    Recovery from radiation is slow but it happens. I know well that it is a lot easier to say it than doing it but you need to be patient, give yourself time to heal. You also need to rest so just do what you can without overdoing it.

    Don't lose hope, that is important. Have faith, it doesn't matter in what Supreme Being you believe in, it helps. Depression is normal. Many oncology depts. have social workers that can help you deal with your depression and emotional aspects of your treatment and recovery. Most of all, give yourself time to heal, to take a nap, to relax, to take it easy for a while.

    I have a rare tumor in my head with mets in many bones so I've had radiation many times. I was diagnosed in 1987 so after so many years, treatments, etc. I've learned to relax and be patient. I know it is not easy but it is possible.

    Therapy worked for me when I was so depressed because of the mets.

    Have you tried the survivor's chat room? They are pretty good about support since they have been through similar things.

    All the best,
  • BugHunter
    BugHunter Member Posts: 152
    I too lost my left tonsil to scc. My last imrt was 3/28/2007(33IMRT 14 weeks chemo Taxol/carboplantin). I still have a hard time with harder foods, and have had to make other adjustments, like to a chewable vitamin as my throat laughs at me when I try to take a normal one. LOL Bread is still out as my saliva glads have yet to mount a big comeback yet, but they will. You are at a point I remember all too well. Sure you will never eat "real" food again, sick of spitting and gagging, bet you still cant blow your nose either. It will all get better sooner then you think it will, I promise!
    I got it in my head early on the cancer would have to fit into my life, I would not allow it to control me, become "me" if you will. Next thing I knew, everthing I read, and all those who told me what I am telling you.....what do you know! They were right! So now, every 6-8 weeks I pull on a t-shirt someone sent me that simply reads: "Cancer doesn't know who it's dealing with" (from ACS) I go for my check up with people grinning at me and my shirt!
    OK, I know I am rambling on so in closing, Yes, it will all be better soon!