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Mom in trouble?

Posts: 105
Joined: Nov 2000

Four years ago, my mother had a cancer removed from her tongue. It seemed early, so she didn't have all the neck dissection stuff, and there was no further treatment. Then, two years ago, it metastisized but was found in only one lymph node in her neck. After that, she had radiation for six or eight weeks, after which she was fine (if you don't count the after-effects of surgery and radiation).
Now, she has been losing weight, having trouble swallowing, and suffering from heartburn. She says she is convinced that the trouble swallowing is because of her stomach. Then again, denial is how she deals with trouble--always has been, poor dear--and I know just enough to be very worried. She won't go to the doctor until her next scheduled check-up, which I think is only a few weeks away. (So I haven't pressed her too much to make it sooner.)
Since I've had trouble swallowing because of esophagitis, gastritis and duodenitis, I know this isn't necessarily the worst. Yet, her trouble sounds radically different from mine.
Can anyone help me get a perspective? Her denial makes it harder to deal with, if only because of the added worry of knowing that I don't have the full story.

Posts: 16
Joined: Nov 2000

I wish I could help but I had (have) the same problem as your mother-denial. My boyfriend finally forced the issue with my doctor and got me an appointment sooner than scheduled (I would have waited). Maybe you should do the same for your Mom. Make the appointment then drag her kicking and screaming, or use guile, and get her to the doctor. Oral cancers have the annoying habit of returning even if all the right measures are taken. But there are also so many ways to halt or slow them down, but time is of the essence! Good luck.

Posts: 105
Joined: Nov 2000

Thanks. I'll work on it (though I don't live nearby, so I would have to work on my father to do the dragging). I guess I could also work on my brother to apply pressure--he lives near them--but he has a lot of (unrelated) troubles on his plate just now too. It's just so frustrating.
She has also said that if she had really known with the radiation therapy would be like--that includes aftereffects, I think--she would not have gone ahead with it. I understand her denial, it's just getting dangerous at this point.
Thanks so much for the encouragement.


Posts: 7
Joined: Dec 2000

I had radiation last fall of the head and neck. One of the side effects is damage to the inside of the throat and no saliva production (dry throat). These leave me unable to digest things like steak, burgers or other meats. I can take meats ground into moist salads. Good luck.

Posts: 105
Joined: Nov 2000

You have my sympathy. They had told my mother at first that the effects of radiation would wear off in six months, then nine, then a year and a half...now they admit that any that haven't passed are permanent.
It's been almost two years since her radiation, and like you, she's been having difficulty eating a lot of things. It's just that recently, she has been having even more trouble than usual. (And she's lost ten pounds in the last three weeks.)
Anyway, she's seeing a doctor next week. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

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