13 radiology treatments completed and now the dreaded mucous

I've completed 13 of the 35 radiologic treatments and 2 of 7 chemo. My throat is so sore that swallowing is extremely painful. Doctor prescribed Vis lidocaine/diphen/Maalox and this helps to some degree for a quick meal but it lasts about 15 minutes at the most. I have just about given up trying to eat by mouth and use the feeding tube for nourishment and hydration.
I have a mucous problem-can't cough it up or swallow it down. Just seems to hang there. Is there anything that I can use to break it up or get it out? I've tried Mucinex DM liquid but not much help.


  • fisrpotpe
    fisrpotpe Member Posts: 1,349 Member
    Talk to your doctors and or nurses and they can get you a portable suction pump. they are small and very easy to use.

    Please, please the best thing you could do for self now would be to continue to at least sip water or ensure(or equal) and swallow no matter how hard. do it often and does not need to be much. i say this as you do not need to loose the swallow function. you can get all your fluids IV or the tube.

    hope this helps.

  • shoemandan1
    shoemandan1 Member Posts: 19
    Hang in there friend
    It will get better eventuly. I started my radiation about the middle of May last year and after I completed about 10 of the 35 treatments I also had a bad mucous problem. could'nt swallow and ended up on a feeding tube.
    What I did, we got a hospital bed that we sat up in a second living room and I slep at a 45 degree angle. This helps you to keep from choking on the mucous and I found that I could sleep well that way.
    To break up the mucous I would mix 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of baking soda in a water bottle of luke warm water,than gargle and spit out.Also I kept a cheap dollar store plastic bowe next to my bed for coughing up mucous in the night.
    Well I hope this is helpful and I know my spelling is terible, but like I said hang in there it will get better in time. I just wish I knew about this sight when I was going through treatment last year.

    may God bless
  • RonJ552002
    RonJ552002 Member Posts: 12
    Thanks Dan & John

    Thanks Dan & John
    I'll check on the pump. I do understand about maintaining the swallow and I intend to keep at it.
    I've been sleeping with a couple of extra pillows to elevate my shoulders and head. I sleep with a CPAP with moisturizer and haven't had any trouble sleeping.
  • Skiffin16
    Skiffin16 Member Posts: 8,305 Member
    Ron the Man..
    Hang in there.... I went through a similar treatment during the concurrent phase of my treatment.

    Weekly Carboplatn, and daily Amifostine Injections just before the 35 daily rads sessions.

    I didn't have the PEG so I went through a routine similar to what you describe for several weeks.

    Liquid fast acting pain meds to numb up the throat, water and Ensures and I added a few DelMonty sliced peaches to keep the throa working. The peaches were cold and would slide down without a lot of effort.

    I'd chase that with a ground up Percocet in a little water...

    I didn't suffer much from the thck mucous, just thick saliva fr awhile, then no slaiva...LOL.

    But that was a few years ago now, and I have healed, ecvoered and have nearly all saliva and taste back.

    It's a process we all go through one way or another...

    A lot of us have paved that road before you, you'll do it.

    BTW, my swich and spit was a table spoon of hydrogen peroxide, a teaspoon of baking soda, and about a 1/3 glass of water.

  • longtermsurvivor
    longtermsurvivor Member Posts: 1,842 Member
    hanag in there
    This is the start of ground hog day. Just put one foot in front of the other and time will pass. I'm now two weeks out from my last rads. Beginning to improve. My mouth is still sore, but much less than even a week ago. You can do it. You may need to use the tube a lot, but keep trying on the swallowing thing. When you use your magic mouthwash, try to power something down. As much as you possibly can.

    The mucus thing isa real pain. I never found anything better than just rinsing and gargling and rinsing and spitting the salt/soda solution. It got me through, whether it does for you or not remains to be seen. The suction device is a good idea. I hate the mucus, but it is also improving now.

    Best to you.

  • patricke
    patricke Member Posts: 570
    Industrial Strength Mucus
    Hey Ron, welcome to the club, as they say. Now, even though this is a stickey subject, I'm going to wade in. If your mucus is anything like mine, then we are talking mutant 500 weight industrial strength mucus, not just your every day,run of the mill, garden variety. Yeah, you definitely want to keep the swallow reflex going; I believe that it takes about 35 muscles to swallow, so you want to keep those babies pumped up and in good shape. To manage my mucus for the past many years, I use tissues to wipe it out of my mouth, and I find that Puffs are the strongest and hold together the best. I do this because I can't swallow, and I have so little tongue left that spitting is not even an option. Even after I swirl mucus busting liquids around in my mouth, I still have to finish by swabbing with a tissue or three, as the mucus is not so easily evicted. So, I never go anywhere without an ample supply of tissues, I think that I single handedly keep Puffs and Kleenex in the black. I'm sure that with some experimentation utilizing some of the various remedies utilized by the H&N crew, you'll come up with the solution that works best for you.