thick saliva and eating

cuzzy Member Posts: 15
edited March 2014 in Head and Neck Cancer #1
I am almost five months postop for a total neck resection that also cut my vocal cord and the nerves on the left side of my throat. I had two previous surgeries for tongue cancer and have only half a tongue. I am almost 8 weeks post radiation for a tumor that had grown around my carotid. I never had a feeding tube, get my extra calories from yogurt and Ensure, but have a terrible time dealing with the thick saliva and now a yeast infection in my mouth that does not respond to treatment. Any suggestions? I am able to eat solids, but it takes almost an hour/meal and although I do well in the a.m., by dinner I can barely swallow yogurt. I also cough a lot trying to bring up the mucous or swallow trying to get it down. Nothing seems to work. Will this get better? When? Anyone who's been there? HELP!!!


  • MLC53
    MLC53 Member Posts: 109
    It sounds like you've had a really rough ride in all of this. I had left tonsil cancer and am now 3 mos post radiation and chemo treatments. I do not know how you are able to eat solids! I admire your will, but I feel for you as well. I could not have made it through my treatments had it not been for my peg tube. It has been my life line! My doc had it put in on the day my biopsy surgery was done and I am so thankful that it was ready for me to use when I could no longer eat by mouth. If you have good insurance, they will pay for all nutritional supplies. They have the Jevity (the nutritional brand prescribed by my doc) shipped directly to my home via UPS along with all the supplies needed to do the feedings and maintain the peg tube as well. If I were you, I would consider asking my doc about having a peg tube installed if I were having that much difficulty eating by mouth. My insurance also paid for a home suction machine to rid my mouth of the excessive, thick saliva that I was having. I would highly recommend a suction machine. I could not have gotten along without it. The thick mucous is hard to deal with. My esophagus opening had shrunk very small from all the radiation treatments and was making it hard for me to swallow the mucous. It kept building up in the back of my throat and eventually would cause me to vomit. I went for days like that until I finally went to the ER and asked them to call my gastroenterologist. He said I would need dilations. I've had three dilations in two months and it helped quite a bit. Although the recovery period is slow, it gets better every day. I hope some of this information can help. God bless you and hang in there!