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metallic taste/can't eat

Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2003

I am hoping to find some information for my mother. Her oncologist says her problems are perfectly normal, but I have to wonder about that as I have yet to find anyone, anywhere mention them.

She is a 66-year-old female who first began noticing hoarseness in 5/02, which the doctor thought might be caused by sinus drainage. However, on 8/30, she developed what sounded like laryngitis. On 9/3, she called the doctor for an ENT referral, who diagnosed left recurrent laryngal nerve palsy on 9/6/02 after performing an endoscope. From that point, he ordered a thyroid biopsy, thyroid scan and ultrasound. He performed a total thyroidectomy on 10/18/02, where cancer was discovered. She was given a 7-mCi dose of radioactive iodine on 11/20 with total body scan on 11/22/02. She then had a 200-mCi dose of radioactive iodine on 11/25 with total body scan on 11/29/02, as ordered by her radiation oncologist. He stated that the vocal cord may still be bruised and/or swollen from surgery, as there had been some invasion into the nerve.

Her blood tests before the total thyroidectomy showed her calcium was low. Afterwards, she began taking calcium as she was experiencing much tingling of her nose, fingers and feet – so much so she thought she was having a stroke, as no one had bothered to mention that that might happen. At that same time, be developed a metal taste in her mouth and it has still not gone away.

Two weeks ago, she began a course of beam radiation, 5 times a week for six weeks. Since then, she has not been able to eat AT ALL. She states that food sounds good and smells good, but if she can get a spoonful of it by her nose and in her mouth, her throat closes off and she can not eat it. In the last two weeks, she has eaten a little bit of chicken noodle soup and some popsicles. I am worried about her needing extra nutrition right now to help her fight all this. She is mildly overweight but in the last two months since her surgery, she has lost 25 pounds. She is very hungry and has talked to her oncologist every day about it.

If anyone has gone through these symptoms, I would very much like to hear about it, even if just to be reassured that it in fact is normal.

Thank you.

Sheri L.

Posts: 20
Joined: Apr 2002

Hi Sheri L,
I am a 32 year-old woman. I was diagnosed with papillar about 18 months ago. I hope I can help you just a little...Reading your posting reminded me of the frustration I felt during the whole treatment ordeal. I lost my voice for three months. When you can't communicate it is so frustrating to hear your doctor say "hmm, a little hoarse". If you could you would scream! I remember the metal taste, and the difficulty I had eating due to this horrible swelling I felt in my throat. I gagged all the time, but I adjusted and managed to eat normally. There is something that happens to calciam levels when the thyroid is removed -I think it has something to do with the parathyroid. I do not understand this, but you may be able to find more info online. As for doctors not mentioning things, this is also familiar. It seemed like I was always hearing "oh ya, that is normal too". I always wished I had known sooner!
Good luck to you and your mom, and I hope this is a little helpful to you.

Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2003

I am a 47 year old woman- Ihad surgery May 2000, my right thyroid was removed and was papillary cancer, I went through no further treatments, except ever 6 months had ultrasound done, June of 2002 I was told two new nodules were on my left side, I waited till October for that surgery because my husband had just passed in July from cancer and I was not emotionally or physically able tohave surgery then, After my second surgery in October,it too came back cancerous, I had a full body scan done and it showed tyroid tissue still so they scheduled me for radiation treatment in January 2003, since I have had that done, I too cannot taste well, I have asked my endocrinologist, my ent, my PCM, no one can give me an answer, finally my ENT doctor said sometimes it can take up to 3-6 months and if it's been a year don't expect your tast to come back to normal. Its very frustrating and I sometimes just sit and cry, I have to be strong as I still hae a 10 year old son at home who is very active in sports and since his father has passed on I must be the strong one. So I'm hoping one day it will just clear up and I can lead a normal life again, other than having no taste/metallic I feel fine, I also have sinus problems, so it could be a combination of the treatment still and that. I just keep praying eveyday. God Bless and everything will turn out fine, We have to think POSITIVE, that's the key to survial and our sanity. But if you too find any new inforation on this please let me know. Thank you e-mail---Mo1206@comcast,net

Posts: 4
Joined: Mar 2003

i was diagnosed with follicular cancer in october and just finished my radiation in february and while i dont know about the metallic taste i know that i get hoarse very easily and tend to wake up with a really sore throat which my mother(shes a doctor of nursing)says is from salivary gland damage that can happen because of radiation. and as for the reason for low calcium...my parathyroids, which control our calcium levels were actually engulfed in my thyroid so that when they removed my thyroid they also had to remove 2 of my parathyroids(each person has 2 on each side of their neck)so i guess i'm wondering if during her surgeries they removed her parathyroids or they could have been damaged during radiation.this is just stuff i know from my personal experience but i hope it helps.god bless!

Posts: 27
Joined: Mar 2003

I experienced the Mettalic taste each time I had a treatment. Everything sounded good before the treatment. It took six weeks to return to normal for me. I understand what she is going through and mine was just the six weeks. Just keep getting her anything to try.

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