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Parotid Cancer Recovery

Posts: 18
Joined: Jan 2004

I have had neck surgery to remove my tumor of the parotid gland, along with six weeks of radiation to my neck. I finished two weeks ago, but can not seem to regain my strength. I have already lost 15 lbs. and can't afford to lose any more. My mouth is finally healing, but with the dryness and taste problems, nothing is appetizing. Please don't mention boost shakes -- they don't stay down. When can I begin to feel human again? Depression is setting in. Thanks, Karen

Posts: 5
Joined: Mar 2004

Karen, while my cancer was different( squamous Cell of 2 lymph nodes in the neck) my treatment sounds similar I recieved a radical neck disection, chemo,and a maximum dose of radiation due to my cancer being an unknown primary. I am 4 years out from end of treatment. For me tastes started coming back about 7 or 8 months but continued to improve until very recently. I truly enjoy food again (except for strawberry boost plus shakes) and there was a point I was convinced that would never happen. Hang in there my friend it truly does get better. The subtle flovers like avacadoes etc take the longest, but it does happen trust me. It's been kind of exciting really as the various flavors return, I even like red meat again, however not as much as before. New favorites will replace old favorites, I always suggest trying foods your unfamiliar with, I had no expectations of what they should taste like and they were taken at face value. The worst for me was old favorites that I've always loved, I knew while they were cooking what they would tase like and when they didn't it was depressing. It truly does improve however so be patient. God bless. Doug

garyr's picture
Posts: 27
Joined: Jan 2002

I had the same kind of cancer as Doug and I am 41/2 years out. I had 63 radiation treatments but no chemo just like you. I could not do the boost either. The taste does come back, but very slowly. You just have to be patient and know that it will keep improving. Some foods will never be the same as before but it gives you the opprotunity to try new ones. I have gained all my weight back and am in very good condition. Just know that it will get better.

Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2004

My brother had parotid cancer last year and it destroyed some nerves in eye and jaw and lip was drooped. He plays Principal trumpet for Columbus symphony and with friends' help developed a special mouthpiece to learn to play trumpet again. Its been a long haul for him, loosing jawline. eye nerve and saliva, but he has overcome all this to learn it has reaccured and will face surgery again this week. Is there anyway to find out how common reaccurences are for this menace. It plagued my father for 5 decades.

Posts: 11
Joined: Apr 2002

Karen-please hang in there. My partner had parotid cancer surgery, radiation and chemo. He had part of his jaw and mastoid removed. He drank lots of soy, glutamine (find in at health stores, aids in building and maintaining muscle during and after radiation) and icecream shakes. It took him about a year to feel normal again. Are there any cancer support groups in your area? A support group at Gilda's House really helped my partner. Please check it out. God Bless

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