so very sore throat :-(

Robyn64
Robyn64 Member Posts: 124
edited September 2014 in Head and Neck Cancer #1

Hi there,

I know I'm in early stages of recovery, it's been 5 weeks since treatment. But could somebody please tell me , how long before there is any sign of the throat healing ?

Especially at night, seems to hurt more. Feels like I have something stuck in base of throat and I gag an awful lot especially after brushing teeth and trying to gargle. I seem to gag for the next 5 minutes.

I have started eating but so oops very slowly and tiny amounts, I know In not getting enough protein, have spoken to dietitian and will do again in a few days in regards to this.

Is my throat going to heal ? I'm worried. I am still getting the odd small blister in the roof of my mouth.

My tongue at back is still a little sore and still swollen after 5 weeks so my speech is not 100%. Is this normal after 5 weeks ? I see my Dr's next week,  just soo sick of it, missing normal food and really crave a burger, will I ever get to eat one ? Appetite still not quite back but working on it.

Very worried,

Robyn

Comments

  • KB56
    KB56 Member Posts: 318 Member
    Sore throat

    Robyn, what you're experiencing is totally normal, or at least it was for me.   I don't want to discourage you but my throat (and the right side of my tongue where I received the radiation) was very, very sore for about 5 months.   The progress was slow but definitely improved but slow, gradual improvement.

    My appetite took a couple of months and I just forced myself to eat because I knew I needed to do so.  I focused on trying to get as much protein as possible and it was all pretty soft foods (like yogurt, lots of fish, potatoes, steamed veggies, protein shakes, etc).  

    You've made it through the absolute toughest part and you're body/throat/mouth was beat up pretty bad by the radiation, and chemo.  It takes time to heal but the body is truly an amazing thing and now that you're finished with treatments you can finally start to heal.   I know it's hard to be patient but like a wise man one said "focus on the end point, not the in between".   

    Good luck and keep pushing forward,

    Keith

     

  • CivilMatt
    CivilMatt Member Posts: 4,722 Member
    I enjoy hamburgers

    Robyn,

    I used magic mouth wash (Oregon vintage) for the mouth throat & tongue discomfort, with very good results.  I went through 6 bottles.  You should soon turn the corner on the direction of healing.  If not, keep your team informed.

    Most foods disgusted me soooooooooooo much I switched to (protein & calories laden) smoothies for 7 months.  I was constantly trying foods, but my aversion was sooooooooo great I was much happier with the liquid diet.  Don’t get me wrong, I   was eating or more appropriately “sampling” foods constantly, with occasional success.

    Very important side note, I started drinking lots of water  and swallowing often before treatment began and continue to today at 2y 6m post.  I credit the H&N forum for that good advice.

    Today, I eat normally, but slower with multiple drinks for help.  Once you get through the discomfort you will find your own way to your  ”new normal”.

    Matt

  • donka
    donka Member Posts: 15
    Pain meds?

    Robyn, are you still on pain meds?  I had to take pain meds for 6 weeks post-radiation so I could continue to eat.  I never needed a PEG, but I was so doped up on hydromorphone it was crazy.  However, it let me continue to eat through treatment, even if that meant soft foods and insane amounts of chewing with very very small bites.  But...I wouldn't have made it without those painkillers.  I couldn't even swallow my own spit without them.

    So, I full-dosed my prescription for 6 weeks post-radiation then dropped down to a tapering schedule for a couple weeks after that.  Obviously everyone is different, but if you need 'em, take 'em.

  • donka
    donka Member Posts: 15
    Also

    Oh, also wanted to say, my throat got progressively worse for about 3 weeks after radiation.  For a while I was coughing up what I can only presume was chunks of flesh that were flaking off inside, much like what the outside of my throat had looked like a couple weeks before that.  Then it started to get better...and pretty fast, too.  I was feeling pretty good around the 6 week mark, which is when I started tapering off the meds to try and figure out what my 'new-normal' was going to be.  Hard to tell what it's going to be like when you're taking strong painkillers.  I've been off them now for 2.5 weeks and things are going good.  But don't rush it...you won't do yourself any favours by putting yourself through agony and eating is important.

  • Roar
    Roar Member Posts: 269 Member
    Everyone is different

    It will be 2 years since my last treatment this December- seems like yesterday. I know the days must seem to take forever to end right now but believe me before you know it you will be back at it. I remember when I finished treatment I thought I would be back to normal in a few weeks- what I learned the recovery process is measured in terms of months and sometimes years. I constantly tested myself weekly and like someone mentioned the manic mouthwash and ensure to keep the calories up was what I did for almost. 5 months- there is still things I can't eat- some call it the new normal because if your a blessed like a lot of us here that is what it is. Alcohol still burns- sweet tastes salty and other thing I still can't really taste the way I used to. You will find tricks to get food down. I like fried onions with my steak and it now has to be very rare as well done just don't go down. Keep up the fight - your doing great

  • hwt
    hwt Member Posts: 2,328 Member
    Roar said:

    Everyone is different

    It will be 2 years since my last treatment this December- seems like yesterday. I know the days must seem to take forever to end right now but believe me before you know it you will be back at it. I remember when I finished treatment I thought I would be back to normal in a few weeks- what I learned the recovery process is measured in terms of months and sometimes years. I constantly tested myself weekly and like someone mentioned the manic mouthwash and ensure to keep the calories up was what I did for almost. 5 months- there is still things I can't eat- some call it the new normal because if your a blessed like a lot of us here that is what it is. Alcohol still burns- sweet tastes salty and other thing I still can't really taste the way I used to. You will find tricks to get food down. I like fried onions with my steak and it now has to be very rare as well done just don't go down. Keep up the fight - your doing great

    Eggs

    Eggs are a good source of protein until you can tolerate more. 

  • Guzzle
    Guzzle Member Posts: 710
    hwt said:

    Eggs

    Eggs are a good source of protein until you can tolerate more. 

    Well done!

    You will slowly get better. I found prawns went down easy!

  • goshen mama
    goshen mama Member Posts: 1
    sore throat

    I'm new here, dont know the ropes.  Anyway I finished throat/tongue  radiation {35 treatments}Sept 11,  did very well during process, no peg, little side effects.  which made me feel confident I would continue to do well.  But now, 2 months later, I still have to eat very soft foods.  I am so tired of potatoes, poached eggs, puddings, milk...but when I try to branch out, I suffer. Sore throat for maybe half hour, maybe 6 hours.  Cant do smoothies or yogurt....everything burns my throat, except for the above.  I dont see my Doc for another month for results of the treatment, he isnt a lot of help with questions anyway.....you know the rap....."everybody's different" spiel.  So my question here....is...how long will my throat be sore like this?  is it normal for this after 2 months?

  • Sonja.K
    Sonja.K Member Posts: 79 Member
    A cheeseburger

    I  have two of thirty rad treatments left and also would love to eat a cheeseburger.   Are you able to enjoy one yet? 

    Sonja

  • Sailor123
    Sailor123 Member Posts: 97
    Hi Robyn:
    Don't worry.  It

    Hi Robyn:

    Don't worry.  It will get better.

    I remember being fixated on eating my first burger at the stage your in.  Its been six months and I still haven't had that burger but i'm able to eat lots of other things in the meantime.  

    My tongue felt like a foreign object in my mouth for a few months following treatment.  It has gotten much better and continues to.  Its a long healing process for some of us. (me) I'm thankful to be making progress but still have a ways to go.

    My speech was not normal until very recently.  It seemed to come and go and in my case was all related to the tongue feeling so different in my mouth.

    You will get there.

    Shirley

  • yensid683
    yensid683 Member Posts: 349
    Been there, done that!

    I was stage IVa base of tongue with nodes on the left, induction chemo (oh joy), PEG tube installed before 33 rads with weekly Erbitux and at 5 weeks post treatment I too had the sore throat, the thick sticky mucos, heavy gagging, issues when I'd brush my teeth, soft food like chicken soup, scrambled eggs, doctored whole milk and can really relate to the desire for real food.  I'd watch episodes of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and ache for the day when I could actually eat real food.

    It was closer to 9 weeks when I was finally able to shake the heavy gagging, the mucus finally started to thin, but the dry mouth stayed.  It wasn't until nigh on 12 weeks before I felt I could actually attempt real food, selecting a $1 cheeseburger from Burger King, and I was able to get it down.  I went through almost a full glass of water and had to re-heat it in the micorwave oven twice, but I got it down!  things progressed well after that, I was up to 2400 calories a day -some solid, some liquid) in a week and was able to stop using the PEG. 

    I finally had it pulled some 12 weeks after rads finished, and the remants of the sore throat faded gradually away over the next 6 months.

     

    Hang in there, it will get better.  Take your prescibed pain meds, talk with your medical team.  They've seen what you're experiencing with other patients, they should be able to help!

     

  • Robyn64
    Robyn64 Member Posts: 124

    sore throat

    I'm new here, dont know the ropes.  Anyway I finished throat/tongue  radiation {35 treatments}Sept 11,  did very well during process, no peg, little side effects.  which made me feel confident I would continue to do well.  But now, 2 months later, I still have to eat very soft foods.  I am so tired of potatoes, poached eggs, puddings, milk...but when I try to branch out, I suffer. Sore throat for maybe half hour, maybe 6 hours.  Cant do smoothies or yogurt....everything burns my throat, except for the above.  I dont see my Doc for another month for results of the treatment, he isnt a lot of help with questions anyway.....you know the rap....."everybody's different" spiel.  So my question here....is...how long will my throat be sore like this?  is it normal for this after 2 months?

    Hi Goshen Mama,

     

    Just found this post of yours, but already replied to your eamil asking if you have peg, I see you didnt get that. Yes, throat can still hurt unfortunately, I think mainly due to dryness not 100 % sure. But seems to help with difflam and Caphosol especially during these times.

    Upon reading your post , you also mentioned some foods sting, same as me. I cant eat yoghurts, egg yolk seems to leave a fatty coating in my mouth, some puddings and custards and definitely not a single soft drink either. Because you have mentioned that they sting, wondering if you have oral thrush ? Have you checked on this at all ? My problem is oral thrush which is why some foods sting. You can stick your tongue out and check for any white spots or white marks ? Get your drs to check your mouth to see if you have thrush. This can also be a problem with certain foods and eating.  My tongue is still sore and swollen at back. If I move my tongue from side to side to touch the sides of my mouth , the tongue still hurts as if swollen. Drs took another look last week while doing a check up and they reckon they have seen a marked improvement in the swelling, my epiglottis is still swollen and I believe this can take a while and also plays a major part in your swallowing too. Keep up swallowing liquids and water though , good practice for swallowing foods.

     

    Robyn

  • Robyn64
    Robyn64 Member Posts: 124
    Sonja.K said:

    A cheeseburger

    I  have two of thirty rad treatments left and also would love to eat a cheeseburger.   Are you able to enjoy one yet? 

    Sonja

    I did manage a cheeseburger

    Hi Sonja.K,

     

    I did finally manage a cheeseburger from McDonalds because they are small but couldnt eat a whole one, which is weird to say as I had a bigger appetite than that before treatment. But havent had one since because bread is a bit hard to swallow. Still have no appetite and its been about 13 weeks since treatment now.  Maybe getting peg out in less than 2 weeks but drs want me to try and maintain my weight in the meantime as it keeps dropping, lost now appox 64 lbs.

    I do hope to have a proper burger when I get my appetite, have to eat small cant manage too big a portion. I have eaten small wraps but they take me a long time to finish now. Trying to not eat breads because I have thrush in my mouth.

    Robyn

     

     

  • Robyn64
    Robyn64 Member Posts: 124
    yensid683 said:

    Been there, done that!

    I was stage IVa base of tongue with nodes on the left, induction chemo (oh joy), PEG tube installed before 33 rads with weekly Erbitux and at 5 weeks post treatment I too had the sore throat, the thick sticky mucos, heavy gagging, issues when I'd brush my teeth, soft food like chicken soup, scrambled eggs, doctored whole milk and can really relate to the desire for real food.  I'd watch episodes of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and ache for the day when I could actually eat real food.

    It was closer to 9 weeks when I was finally able to shake the heavy gagging, the mucus finally started to thin, but the dry mouth stayed.  It wasn't until nigh on 12 weeks before I felt I could actually attempt real food, selecting a $1 cheeseburger from Burger King, and I was able to get it down.  I went through almost a full glass of water and had to re-heat it in the micorwave oven twice, but I got it down!  things progressed well after that, I was up to 2400 calories a day -some solid, some liquid) in a week and was able to stop using the PEG. 

    I finally had it pulled some 12 weeks after rads finished, and the remants of the sore throat faded gradually away over the next 6 months.

     

    Hang in there, it will get better.  Take your prescibed pain meds, talk with your medical team.  They've seen what you're experiencing with other patients, they should be able to help!

     

    thank you

    Thank you Yensid683,

     

    I have managed a cheeseburger, well most of it anyway lol. I have been able to eat wraps , depending on whats in it with lots of sauce. Did eat a chicken & mayo sandwich once with no problem but no more sandwiches since due to thrush in my mouth.  I eat a lot of asian meals because they have a lot of sauce. I am limited in some foods because of the thrush , makes my mouth sting unfortunately. Peg maybe coming out in less than 2 weeks am very nervous as this was my life line and I know my throat is still not 100 %.

     

    Robyn

  • debbiejeanne
    debbiejeanne Member Posts: 3,102 Member
    Robyn64 said:

    I did manage a cheeseburger

    Hi Sonja.K,

     

    I did finally manage a cheeseburger from McDonalds because they are small but couldnt eat a whole one, which is weird to say as I had a bigger appetite than that before treatment. But havent had one since because bread is a bit hard to swallow. Still have no appetite and its been about 13 weeks since treatment now.  Maybe getting peg out in less than 2 weeks but drs want me to try and maintain my weight in the meantime as it keeps dropping, lost now appox 64 lbs.

    I do hope to have a proper burger when I get my appetite, have to eat small cant manage too big a portion. I have eaten small wraps but they take me a long time to finish now. Trying to not eat breads because I have thrush in my mouth.

    Robyn

     

     

    that's great that you had a

    that's great that you had a chsburgr!  I didn't have my first one until 2 yrs after tx!!  it was extremely delicious too!  i will always remember that burger.....lol.  glad you are doing well.

    God bless you,

    dj