Spicy Foods?

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Hello Everyone. I am wondering if anyone that has had radiation of the head and neck has the same trouble I do....I can not eat any spicy foods, drink carbonated drinks, things like that. Ever since I have been able to eat solid foods after my 36 radiation treatments, I can not eat anything spicy, black pepper, drink fruit juices. Things like sausage and pepperoni literally bring tears to my eyes. It's very difficult to be able to eat out. I was wondering if anyone else has this problem and if so, is there anything you do that helps? Thanks so much for your help!!

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  • Hal61
    Hal61 Member Posts: 655
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    Nice tat
    hi Tracy, I think about anyone who's gone throgh chemo and rads have experienced your eating problems. Spicy stuff, bubbly stuff, all rough stuff for a good while. Only cure is time, but the prognosis is good. I'm over a year and half out of treatment and can eat most of the hot and spice I could eat before treatment. It took me a little over a year post to get there though. Sounds like you'r doing great.

    best, Hal
  • Skiffin16
    Skiffin16 Member Posts: 8,305 Member
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    A Few...
    I know Sweetblood22 (Dawn) has a terrible time with spicy foods.

    Like Hal, I'm nearly three years post treatment and have completely recovered as for eating.

    It did take time and nearly 2 1/2 years for all to come back.

    Best,
    John
  • Jimbo55
    Jimbo55 Member Posts: 590 Member
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    Same Here
    It took a while, but eventually the tolerance for spicy food did come back for me. 18 months out now and pretty much back to my pre-treatment levels for spiciness. Give it time. Cheers.

    Jimbo
  • fisrpotpe
    fisrpotpe Member Posts: 1,349 Member
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    ditto
    i also enjoy your tattoo

    i am the odd one out on the posted list so far. spicy foods do not work for me, even back pepper and fruit juices. this is now 16 years. it will get somewhat better as it did for me. once in a while i will try again just for the excitement.

    the best way i found to get rid of the fire is to use sour cream, it works for me. when i go out to eat i do not risk anything on the menu, just pick the bland of the bland foods. last time out i even picked a grilled cheese for dinner, all my friends knew why. we eat papa murphy's veg. pizza, it has a little sauce on it and you can tell them to leave off the pepper. i finally found a soda that works for me, mug root beer, it's the only one that does work.... oh ya and alcohol does not work except for rum in the mug root beer. who knows why but it works. i can not do another alcohol.

    keep trying and time will help some.

    john
  • jtl
    jtl Member Posts: 456
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    I had the same problem but
    I had the same problem but only for a couple of months after treatment. I am now a little over 3 months post rads and I can eat and drink anything I want. Taste is still not 100% so eating is not as enjoyable but it is steadily improving.
  • KTeacher
    KTeacher Member Posts: 1,103 Member
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    Sorry
    I am in the same position. Happy to be eating, but careful. Spicy is out. Somethings that don't seem to be spicy are to me. Haven't found something to put on salad, but usually have my veggies in soup. Lots of smoothies, yogurt, creamy bland things. Some things work, Papa Murphy's veggie pizza with with sauce, Mac and cheese won ton soup . . .do eat out, most places have been good to change or let me know ingredients. Pasta tossed with steamed veggies, garlic and olive oil is good. Keep trying, keep milk around.
  • tracylc31
    tracylc31 Member Posts: 9
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    jtl said:

    I had the same problem but
    I had the same problem but only for a couple of months after treatment. I am now a little over 3 months post rads and I can eat and drink anything I want. Taste is still not 100% so eating is not as enjoyable but it is steadily improving.

    Spicy Foods?
    Thanks everyone for your responses. I was diagnosed in 2006 and finished my treatments at the end of 06. Don't get me wrong, it was alot better than it was a few years ago, but I get so discouraged because I am almost 6 years out and like fisrpotpe, I can not eat anything with black pepper, can't drink pop or fruit juice, let alone alcohol. To this day, my tongue will somewhat swell and I get like white ulcers on it and that makes eating impossible. Some days are better than others but most generally about all kinds of foods hurt and irritate my tongue. I have a knot in the center that just came up last summer and it really worried me but I had it biopsied and thank goodness they said its scar tissue. Since it is right in the center of my tongue, its making eating difficult sometimes. Does anyone know if scar tissue of the tongue can be removed?
  • tracylc31
    tracylc31 Member Posts: 9
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    KTeacher said:

    Sorry
    I am in the same position. Happy to be eating, but careful. Spicy is out. Somethings that don't seem to be spicy are to me. Haven't found something to put on salad, but usually have my veggies in soup. Lots of smoothies, yogurt, creamy bland things. Some things work, Papa Murphy's veggie pizza with with sauce, Mac and cheese won ton soup . . .do eat out, most places have been good to change or let me know ingredients. Pasta tossed with steamed veggies, garlic and olive oil is good. Keep trying, keep milk around.

    Spicy Foods
    Oh Hal61, thanks for the compliments on the tattoo. I lost my mom a year ago to multiple myeloma. So one ribbon and the angel is in her memory and the other ribbon is my fight.
  • longtermsurvivor
    longtermsurvivor Member Posts: 1,842 Member
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    tracylc31 said:

    Spicy Foods?
    Thanks everyone for your responses. I was diagnosed in 2006 and finished my treatments at the end of 06. Don't get me wrong, it was alot better than it was a few years ago, but I get so discouraged because I am almost 6 years out and like fisrpotpe, I can not eat anything with black pepper, can't drink pop or fruit juice, let alone alcohol. To this day, my tongue will somewhat swell and I get like white ulcers on it and that makes eating impossible. Some days are better than others but most generally about all kinds of foods hurt and irritate my tongue. I have a knot in the center that just came up last summer and it really worried me but I had it biopsied and thank goodness they said its scar tissue. Since it is right in the center of my tongue, its making eating difficult sometimes. Does anyone know if scar tissue of the tongue can be removed?

    sure it can...
    Just look at the area when it is at its worst. That's how much you would have go have removed. It would be surface surgery, not clear through the tongue, but they'd have to close the defect afterwards. The question would be if it was worth it to you.

    I was waiting for this clarification from you regarding the time interval. I had my original radiation in 1998, and had all of these problems for a long time, many years. Heck, it still hurt the side of my tongue to talk a lot years after the rads. That all very gradually faded away.

    My taste came back to normal (how would one know this?) within maybe 4-5 years of rads. Saliva continued to improve for at least 8 years. Now here's the wierd thing: I eventually found that spidy foods no longer bothered me. In fact, I could eat hotter spice by quite a bit than I could before my radiation. Seriously. I still don't do carbonated, or ethanol, just lost the taste. Oh, and since ethanol is a cofactor in the development of throat cancer, I decided I wouldn't miss it anyway:)

    Now, unfortunately, Im finishing radiation for the second time. We'll see if this pattern repeats itself.

    Pat
  • sweetblood22
    sweetblood22 Member Posts: 3,228
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    Spicy Foods
    I finished on 5/15/09 and I still have a hard time with eating. I do all my own cooking for myself. I cannot really go out to eat or eat anything others cook, because they just don't "get it". Not only do I have issues with spicy, and salt, and tomatoes and really, anything acidic, but I also have a stricture, and hardly any saliva. So eating most most meat, is a no. It takes me anywhere between 1-2 hours to eat a meal. I really do not go out to eat at all, it's very rare. Maybe four times a year, but if I do, I have learned, to eat before I go, And then, I order an appetizer, or if it's a main, I ask them to fire it with the appetizers. This way I have time to try and eat it. If I have to go to someone's home, I either bring a dish (we have a lot of those type parties here in PA, where everyone brings something) that I know I can eat, or I eat before I go, and hope that they have some milk and something I can nibble on, just to be polite.

    Eating before I go, eliminated me feeling hungry, frustrated and overwhelmed that I can not eat what everyone else is eating. I know it sounds like it defeats the purpose of going out to eat, but it is what it is, and that's my way of accepting it. Sure as heck ain't happy about it.

    You can also try L-Gluatmine. I really feel it helped me reduce some of that burning and tongue issues. You use a heaping teaspoon in a cup of water, and swish and swallow.

    You can read about Glutamine on the HNC Superthread that I complied, here:


    HNC  SUPERTHREAD

    I think it's in the section that says something like, products that help relieve side effects.
  • NeoTheron91
    NeoTheron91 Member Posts: 75
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    No Spicy Food
    I've finished my radiation for 2 months but still cannot eat spicy food. No taste for most of the food except a bit sweet stuff. I hope all will come back one day when the time passed.
  • josh r.
    josh r. Member Posts: 264 Member
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    No Spicy Food
    I've finished my radiation for 2 months but still cannot eat spicy food. No taste for most of the food except a bit sweet stuff. I hope all will come back one day when the time passed.

    Mustard
    Hi Tracy, I too had a great deal of difficulty with spicy foods for nearly two years after treatment. Even an open bottle of mustard near me would have me breakout in a sweat. I am now able to smell and eat what ever I choose. It's one more blessing. All the best, Josh r.
  • Kent Cass
    Kent Cass Member Posts: 1,898 Member
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    josh r. said:

    Mustard
    Hi Tracy, I too had a great deal of difficulty with spicy foods for nearly two years after treatment. Even an open bottle of mustard near me would have me breakout in a sweat. I am now able to smell and eat what ever I choose. It's one more blessing. All the best, Josh r.

    Onions and Chili and BarBQue...
    This subject has arisen before, and there's a few others like me- who love the Spicy foods and the experience. I was NPC, so got the full blast of rads to the mouth and nose, complete with the flesh-colored stripes of "scalding" running lengthwise down my tongue, and sores that extended to my lips. The regiment of my Cisplatin and FU5 was a bit different than any others, here, but the rads likely typical. Of course, we are all differnt in the specs of our C, just as each of our bodies is different from others. For me, it takes the spicy to really register, still, as being tasty, and is not really unpleasant at all. Yes, it takes awhile to down my daily Roadhouse Chili at work, but I do enjoy every spoonful.

    The food that opened the door for me to try aggressive experimenting with different foods? None other than a brat with mustard and relish at a golf outing some 4-5 months after my last rad! So, some of us can recover well enough to re-partake in the eating of the spicy food, and after only a few months. For all who are in, or about to start, treatment- it is possible that eating most anything will return in a short while, though the taste experience will be changed for a lot longer time.

    kcass
  • Skiffin16
    Skiffin16 Member Posts: 8,305 Member
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    Kent Cass said:

    Onions and Chili and BarBQue...
    This subject has arisen before, and there's a few others like me- who love the Spicy foods and the experience. I was NPC, so got the full blast of rads to the mouth and nose, complete with the flesh-colored stripes of "scalding" running lengthwise down my tongue, and sores that extended to my lips. The regiment of my Cisplatin and FU5 was a bit different than any others, here, but the rads likely typical. Of course, we are all differnt in the specs of our C, just as each of our bodies is different from others. For me, it takes the spicy to really register, still, as being tasty, and is not really unpleasant at all. Yes, it takes awhile to down my daily Roadhouse Chili at work, but I do enjoy every spoonful.

    The food that opened the door for me to try aggressive experimenting with different foods? None other than a brat with mustard and relish at a golf outing some 4-5 months after my last rad! So, some of us can recover well enough to re-partake in the eating of the spicy food, and after only a few months. For all who are in, or about to start, treatment- it is possible that eating most anything will return in a short while, though the taste experience will be changed for a lot longer time.

    kcass

    Being Different.....
    I always knew we shared something in common (other than the PEG, LOL...).

    Though I prefer my different to be called Abi-Normal....or might that just be something entriely "different", LOL...

    Love ya brother...
    JG
  • Mikemetz
    Mikemetz Member Posts: 465 Member
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    I can relate, and it gets almost back to normal
    When my treatments were over, my feeding tube was out, and I could start to eat solid foods again I was shocked to learn that ketchup was too spicey for me! Forget mustard! I got past that, but my tolerance for spicey food is about half of what it used to be--not a good thing for a competitive chili cook and salsa maker. I can now eat my own chili, but can't even come close to eating my salsa recipe--I make it for my wife and friends who can't get enough of it. That brings me a lot of satisfaction.

    Beyond the heat of some foods, I struggle with anything that has a high acid level to it--vinegar-based salad dressings are a definite no-no. Even high-tannic wines like Cabernet Sauvignon are off limits. The only thing I can say is to figure out your tolerance level and don't go beyond what you can eat comfortably--just get used to the "new normal" and enjoy what you can without worrying about what your taste buds and body can no longer accept. Use trial and error, but don't push your limits.
  • squawkaloud
    squawkaloud Member Posts: 3
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    spicy foods
    hello tracylc31, i had my jaw bone cancer surgery april 12 of 2011 and i still find it very frustrating that i cannot eat spicy food. i miss them so bad. i had 38 rounds of radiation as well as chemo , just recently i can drink orange soda and root beer.really i just avoid spicy food for now. when i go out to eat i ask if it is the least bit spicy and if they say yes then i order something else. i hope that this helps
  • Klynten
    Klynten Member Posts: 29
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    spicy foods
    hello tracylc31, i had my jaw bone cancer surgery april 12 of 2011 and i still find it very frustrating that i cannot eat spicy food. i miss them so bad. i had 38 rounds of radiation as well as chemo , just recently i can drink orange soda and root beer.really i just avoid spicy food for now. when i go out to eat i ask if it is the least bit spicy and if they say yes then i order something else. i hope that this helps

    spicy foods
    I finished treatment in March of this year, and finally started eating and drinking a few weeks ago ( i was scared but that is a topic for another post, I got over it lol). And I am having issues with spicy stuff but not to the extent you are. I can eat almost anything, but pepper is strong and shocking, ketchup and mustard... when did these get spicy, but wow they pack a bite. I enjoy the fact I can taste them though, cause some things just don't taste right. Most meats taste not so good, plus I require a whole bottle of water to just wash down a little bit of it. I usually eat until I get 2 bottles of water down me, and then I am so water logged that I have to place my food in the fridge and wait till later. I am leaning towards cutting most meat out of my diet, beans, lentils and veggies are very appetizing and enjoyable to eat.
    Anyways, I rinse my mouth with sparkling water, and have for awhile. At first it was almost painful to place in my mouth, but I stuck with it cause I liked the clean feeling I got in my mouth. I think this has helped me a lot. So now if something new to my "palate" it is often perceived spicy or overwhelming, but the more I eat it the more it is palatable and the easier I tolerate it. My problem now is getting enough calories, still using peg tube at night but atleast I am getting all my fluids by mouth now.
    Take care, it gets better.
    Klynten