Turkey Neck?

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thegirlfriend
thegirlfriend Member Posts: 142
edited March 2014 in Head and Neck Cancer #1
Hey everyone,
I have a new question. My boyfriend lost 60 lbs in all after his 6 weeks of chemo/rads last Oct, and no surgery needed. He is 21 weeks out of treatment now. My question is this. Obviously with fat and muscle loss, you get sagging skin, and sometimes a turkey neck. But when he asks about it, the dr tells him that its inflammation there. It got very very inflammed when his thrush got out of hand, although even though the thrush is still evident, the inflammation isnt as bad as it was a couple of months ago. There is no mass upon feeling the skin under his chin, everyone says that. Just say inflammation. He wishes along with the saliva, taste buds, and mucous, that this would fix itself sooner than later. Drs say it will go away, or get better, but as you can imagine, the effects are old as well as the drs reassurances with not much happening, or so slowly that its hard to detect the improvements.

Does anyone else have this little issue, and does the inflammation explaination sound familiar or normal to any of you? Does it really go away or get better?

thegirlfriend

Comments

  • Landranger25
    Landranger25 Member Posts: 210 Member
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    Though I didn't lose near
    Though I didn't lose near the weight your boyfriend did I still lost a bunch. (35 lbs. for me)I am 5 months post treatment and have gained back 20 lbs. The inflammation around my neck from the radiation is not horrible but is certainly there. The surgeon says it is fluid "looking for a new way home". Apparently the rads damage the tissue enough that this flow is disrupted and does not work as effieciently as before. Every morning since my treatment ended while I'm in the shower I take a few minutes under the warm stream of water and stretch my neck and jaw. Turning and rolling my head to it's extreme limits all through it's range of motion. I think that making these muscles work will increase blood flow in this area and can only improve things. This was especially important to opening my jaw/mouth back to pretreatment ability. As for saliva, improvement can't be measured by the day. it's more like I'm better this week than last. Very slow to improve. I just remind myself that the Doc's said I have a year to improve before I will not be able to expect anything better. That's still 7 months away! Get your boyfriend to be proactive. Can't wait to get better, you have to help make it happen. I know it's hard but he can do it. Good luck!

    Mike
  • MarineE5
    MarineE5 Member Posts: 1,032 Member
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    Physical Therapy
    Thegirlfriend,

    As Mike mentioned above, your boyfriend is going to get involved with his recovery in many ways. I lost weight as many do. My Turkey Neck didn't happen right away after surgery. It happened after the radiation. I had also a Radical Neck Disection on the right side, with over 30 lymphnodes removed. The Lymphnode system gets thrown out of whack. And as Mike stated, the fluids are looking for another way to move.

    Again, as Mike mentioned, doing some stretching exercises for his neck will help with some tightness. He can also go to a Cancer Physical Therapist. There, he can learn a gentle massage for the Lymphnode system and get the fluids from under his chin. It took me about 4 sessions to get it right and it is a easy massage to do daily. Once the fluids learn to move a different way. The Turkey neck isn't as bad and the massage can be used as needed when the fluids build back up.

    Some things that can cause the fluids to build up. Sleeping flat in bed. If his head is at the same level as his heart, the fluids will settle in his neck. Use a foam wedge to elevate his head,neck and even his shoulder blade area alittle or a couple of pillows. Try to make so he sleeps in a slight incline. Lifting heavy objects or heavy work. Using our shoulder muscles and bending down, etc. Cause the blood and lymphnode system to go to the area that is working, so there will be a build up. Gravity is a help here as the day passes, when we walk around the fluids tend to travel down. But, he can help it by doing the gentle massage that takes just a few minutes and the results should last several hours.

    My Best to Both of You and Evryone Here
  • Fire34
    Fire34 Member Posts: 365
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    MarineE5 said:

    Physical Therapy
    Thegirlfriend,

    As Mike mentioned above, your boyfriend is going to get involved with his recovery in many ways. I lost weight as many do. My Turkey Neck didn't happen right away after surgery. It happened after the radiation. I had also a Radical Neck Disection on the right side, with over 30 lymphnodes removed. The Lymphnode system gets thrown out of whack. And as Mike stated, the fluids are looking for another way to move.

    Again, as Mike mentioned, doing some stretching exercises for his neck will help with some tightness. He can also go to a Cancer Physical Therapist. There, he can learn a gentle massage for the Lymphnode system and get the fluids from under his chin. It took me about 4 sessions to get it right and it is a easy massage to do daily. Once the fluids learn to move a different way. The Turkey neck isn't as bad and the massage can be used as needed when the fluids build back up.

    Some things that can cause the fluids to build up. Sleeping flat in bed. If his head is at the same level as his heart, the fluids will settle in his neck. Use a foam wedge to elevate his head,neck and even his shoulder blade area alittle or a couple of pillows. Try to make so he sleeps in a slight incline. Lifting heavy objects or heavy work. Using our shoulder muscles and bending down, etc. Cause the blood and lymphnode system to go to the area that is working, so there will be a build up. Gravity is a help here as the day passes, when we walk around the fluids tend to travel down. But, he can help it by doing the gentle massage that takes just a few minutes and the results should last several hours.

    My Best to Both of You and Evryone Here

    Exercises
    I lost 30 lbs due to my treatment and 3 months out still have my turkey neck. Doctors advised a little exercise program like Marine has. It is to stretch and get your neck back in shape. Due to my treatment the muscles, what was left of them, became very tight. The exercises prescribed are helping a great deal. Best
    Dave
  • Skiffin16
    Skiffin16 Member Posts: 8,305 Member
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    Turkey Neck too...
    I am now nine plus months out from treatments, also chemo and concurrent chemo/rads(35) to the neck and throat.

    I didn't have a Turkey Neck until a few weeks after treatment completed, then it formed. A big puffy area under my throat and chin area. I would try massage and stretching pretty much several times a day, but it didn't seem to help much.

    I still continue this and I'll have to honestly say that over the last few weeks the puffyness has decreased greatly. I think it 's just a matter of time like the MD's told me. Eventually the lymph glands will re-establish new paths for draining. Mine is usually worse in the mornings after lying all night. Once I'm up and about for awhile, between gravity and gently massage and stretching the small amount of puffyness I'm having now reduces significantly over the course of the day.

    It's not cmpletely gone, but it a lot less noticeable than before.

    Take Care and God Bless,
    John
  • thegirlfriend
    thegirlfriend Member Posts: 142
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    Skiffin16 said:

    Turkey Neck too...
    I am now nine plus months out from treatments, also chemo and concurrent chemo/rads(35) to the neck and throat.

    I didn't have a Turkey Neck until a few weeks after treatment completed, then it formed. A big puffy area under my throat and chin area. I would try massage and stretching pretty much several times a day, but it didn't seem to help much.

    I still continue this and I'll have to honestly say that over the last few weeks the puffyness has decreased greatly. I think it 's just a matter of time like the MD's told me. Eventually the lymph glands will re-establish new paths for draining. Mine is usually worse in the mornings after lying all night. Once I'm up and about for awhile, between gravity and gently massage and stretching the small amount of puffyness I'm having now reduces significantly over the course of the day.

    It's not cmpletely gone, but it a lot less noticeable than before.

    Take Care and God Bless,
    John

    turkey neck suggestions
    thanks so much everyone! I have passed your suggestions to him to see what may work for him. I had made this lymphnode suggestion to him only because of knowing there are lympnodes there, as well as knowing that same concept occurs with women after breast removal, when their arm or arms sometimes fill with fluid and unable to make it travel thru the body more efficiently. He loses patience with so many suggestions or causes or just what something is, it becomes overwhelming.
    I so appreciate you all answering. I have learned a great deal from this site.
    You are all heroes to me, taking on this evil entity that has been thrown into your bodies, by evil itself, but by the grace of God, literally the grace of God, Im sure you have astounded yourselves at your perseverance and strength in this massive fight for life.
    I bet some of you would have never thought you had it in you till this.
    I read all of the time because i cant be with my boyfriend for all doctor appts or treatments or of the like since we live so far apart. Now if we could just get rid of that thrush!!

    thanks again everyone!! xoxo
  • dennis318
    dennis318 Member Posts: 349 Member
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    turkey neck suggestions
    thanks so much everyone! I have passed your suggestions to him to see what may work for him. I had made this lymphnode suggestion to him only because of knowing there are lympnodes there, as well as knowing that same concept occurs with women after breast removal, when their arm or arms sometimes fill with fluid and unable to make it travel thru the body more efficiently. He loses patience with so many suggestions or causes or just what something is, it becomes overwhelming.
    I so appreciate you all answering. I have learned a great deal from this site.
    You are all heroes to me, taking on this evil entity that has been thrown into your bodies, by evil itself, but by the grace of God, literally the grace of God, Im sure you have astounded yourselves at your perseverance and strength in this massive fight for life.
    I bet some of you would have never thought you had it in you till this.
    I read all of the time because i cant be with my boyfriend for all doctor appts or treatments or of the like since we live so far apart. Now if we could just get rid of that thrush!!

    thanks again everyone!! xoxo

    definetly radiation
    I was told by my doc, it was radiation, my neck looked like john derrick...THE ELEPHANT MAN..I Know Hot, anyways it happened a month or so down the road after i finished everything, everyone is quite correct, fluids have settled on your lower jaw etc, it will get better, you think not, had as a rock swelling, massage gentle, sleep on baack if you can, i had some holes, trachs and some botched up surgery, thought my beauty contetant days are over with, cosmetitc is not a option, it ran threw my head, the radiation virtually has killed all good cells in your neck, and skin grafts will not work properly, so they tell me it looks great..sure, can I have my Bag and Scarf Back, "I am Not An Animal"..Hope this helps. Dennis
  • rozaroo
    rozaroo Member Posts: 665
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    dennis318 said:

    definetly radiation
    I was told by my doc, it was radiation, my neck looked like john derrick...THE ELEPHANT MAN..I Know Hot, anyways it happened a month or so down the road after i finished everything, everyone is quite correct, fluids have settled on your lower jaw etc, it will get better, you think not, had as a rock swelling, massage gentle, sleep on baack if you can, i had some holes, trachs and some botched up surgery, thought my beauty contetant days are over with, cosmetitc is not a option, it ran threw my head, the radiation virtually has killed all good cells in your neck, and skin grafts will not work properly, so they tell me it looks great..sure, can I have my Bag and Scarf Back, "I am Not An Animal"..Hope this helps. Dennis

    I have turkey neck!
    I am trying massage, elevated position while resting etc. Winter is on it's way, so turtlenck's & scarves work for me.
  • Skiffin16
    Skiffin16 Member Posts: 8,305 Member
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    dennis318 said:

    definetly radiation
    I was told by my doc, it was radiation, my neck looked like john derrick...THE ELEPHANT MAN..I Know Hot, anyways it happened a month or so down the road after i finished everything, everyone is quite correct, fluids have settled on your lower jaw etc, it will get better, you think not, had as a rock swelling, massage gentle, sleep on baack if you can, i had some holes, trachs and some botched up surgery, thought my beauty contetant days are over with, cosmetitc is not a option, it ran threw my head, the radiation virtually has killed all good cells in your neck, and skin grafts will not work properly, so they tell me it looks great..sure, can I have my Bag and Scarf Back, "I am Not An Animal"..Hope this helps. Dennis

    Time of year for Turkey Neck...
    It's that time of year....LOL.

    Actually this thread popped back up after several months because of a spammer, that posted a bunch of messages last evening.

    But on the subject, I also was a member of the Turkey Neck Club. After a year or so it eventually has all but gone. I don't think I really have any residual of the Turkey Neck any longer. Any that I have now is more than likely from the extra pounds I've put back on....

    Best,
    John
  • Ed_PortOrange
    Ed_PortOrange Member Posts: 110
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    Gobble Gobble
    I've been doing the neck stretching exercises and they have helped with range of motion. I went for an assessment of the swelling and rope like swelling on my lower neck with a physical therapist trained in lymphedema. She did the gentle massage and it seemed to make a difference after about 20 minutes. I'm scheduled to go for 10 follow-up sessions in December. Does anyone know the negative impact if the fluids don't start moving and just stay in your neck/chin area. My buildup is an extremely solid mass under the chin. Best wishes to all and Happy Thanksgiving.

    Ed