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radiation is killing him

Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2001

Hi. My husband is lying on the couch, miserable after 14 IMRT treatments. He can't swallow, and won't eat. He's had a few teaspoons of yogurt yesterday and a few teaspoons of soup today. He says his throat hurts too much. he is also getting chemo once a week and that just about kills him. So, sore throat and barfing...I'm desparately worried and am threatning a feeding tube again (he had one for a week after they cut out the tumor on his tongue and of course he hated it.) I'm losing my mind. I'm thinking of telling hime to quit and take his chances before his mouth is totally ruined permanently. And the messages on this site make me feel worse...recurrance after 13 years, taste and saliva still diminished after two months...

Any miracles out there??

Posts: 24
Joined: Mar 2001

I'm afraid my experience with radiation was terrible. To be honest I don't know if I'd do it if I had it to do over again but the doctors say they got all of the cancer so I suppose I should be grateful for that. I had a recurrence of tongue cancer after 13 years so this time I had to have radiation which I avoided the first time. This time the cancer had spread to two lymph nodes. I stopped eating solid foods two weeks into treatment and stopped eating anything two weeks later. I was told I had the worst case of radiation burn they had ever seen. I spent over 2 months in the hospital on IVs till I consented to a stomach tube. Its not fun but the gastrostomy tube that goes directly in the stomach is less uncomfortable after a while than the NG tube going through the nose. I've had both. I still have the stomach tube three months after insertion but now I am not using it. Eating is still difficult but I can get enough calories through boost/ensure to get by. Radiation was a horrible experience for me but it does eventually improve - there were many days I was close to giving up but now I am able to lead a somewhat normal life again. Everyone tells me the dry mouth must just be endured. I drink LOTS of water. My radiation oncologist offered a break from treatment but if I had stopped I never would have gone back so I elected to go through till the end. I'm sorry to hear about what your husband is going through and I wish I could offer more positive info. All I can reiterate is it does eventually improve after treatment stops but its a LONG process.

Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 2001

During my last two weeks of radiation and a month following radiation my mouth felt as if it were on fire. Extreme temperatures hot and cold made it worse. Everyone is able to tolerate different things; anything I put in my mouth was followed by room temperature water --- LOTS of WATER! When I could no longer stand the fire I asked my doctors for help. The tried different "rinses" (their own creations) that temporarily soothed my mouth enough so that I could drink some boost.

Everyone is different-----
I never lost my sense of taste. It has been almost two years since radiation and my mouth is still very sensitive to temperatures and spices.

Don't give up - talk to your husband's doctors/nurses/radiation tech until you find someone willing to help.

Posts: 4
Joined: Mar 2002

I would definatly recommend a feeding tube. If he does not get the proper nutritution, he'll end up in the hospital. Additionally, when the treatments end, he will experience a lenghtly healing process and will probably not be able to take much orally. Good luck.

Posts: 17
Joined: Jan 2003

HI Well I will never have radio orchemo even more so after what I have read I think the cure is sometimes worse than the cancer and thats bad enough I amof the age 62 when i have now said to family no more treatment of any sort I will accept whatever comes

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