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Fatigue, months after radiation

Posts: 3
Joined: Feb 2004

My mother is in her late 70's and was diagnosed with SCC of the tongue. She had removal of the tumor and margins on her tongue along with a neck dissection in Dec. 2003. In late January, she began 33 radiation treatments of the tongue, neck and lymph nodes. She has dry mouth which wakes her up frequently during the night. She eats pureed foods and alot of milk products. She is constantly drinking water. From March through mid-June, I saw her begin to get energy and an interest in her hobbies. Then in June, she began complaining of feeling very tired and lethargic. It is now an effort for her to get up and eat her meal. She has thick phelgm in her throat again. Upon a scoping exam, the doctor says that there is no evidence of cancer and that she is healing. The doctor has also run blood tests for thyroid, anemia, and electrolytes. He is also treating her for depression. She has started complaining of feeling "sick to her stomach". Has anyone experienced this months after radiation? What else should I be looking for or doing with mom?
Thank you, Cathy

Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2004

I had a radical neck dissection in 12/02 followed by 7 weeks of radiation for SCCA. I'm not a doctor, nor am I a nutritionist, but it sounds like your mom isn't getting enough to eat. Been there, done that. It's hard to eat when food tasts like nothing, or worse. My doctor recommended Nutren. It's like Ensure, but it tastes better and offers different formulations for different conditions. My pharmacist special ordered for me, and I bought it by the case (24 cans/case). I'm turning 55 this weekend. My Nutren days are long gone. Food tastes great, but I can't eat the spicy stuff. The water bottle is a constant companion, and I use Biotene tooth gel and mouth rince to help with the dry mouth. Good luck to your mom.

Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2005

My grandmother had part of her gums removed and had two rounds of radiation treatment of more than 30 sessions each. She lost a lot of weight. I ve been doing some research about what I can get her that it is easy to swallow and help her gain some weight or stop the loss and I found ProSure, made by the makers of Ensure and formulated specially for cancer patients. Also try Noni juice and lots and lots of attention. God bless you.
P.S Sorry for any spelling or grammar mistakes. English is not my first language.

Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2003


Your mother isn't eating enough. I know when things don't taste good or it feels like a waste of time eating when you aren't hungry..But, you must.
I was diagnosed the first part of 03 and started my round of radiation and chemo the middle of March and didn't finish until the first of May with those treatments..than in August I had 27 lymph-nodes removed and spent the rest of the year drinking Boost ( I found the Ensure was to sweet for me and had to learn to like the vanilla Boost.. I didn't care for the flavors.....but from the middle of April during the radiation my favorite cancer support group at the cancer center got me understanding that if I didn't eat (or drink) I was going to get very sick and the will to go along with them got better.
I had developed a negative attitude and if I didn't drink the protein drink than I was not dealing with the cancer.

It was almost the first of the following year 2004 that I started to pick my self up and feeling better.

My family worried about me when I finished the treatments cause it does take the stuffing out of you and within a month or so after treatment....and eating I did start to act and look better. See I went from 205 pounds to 118 in less than 9 months and yes, I lacked energy and didn't care if I did anything but sit around.

I must say after I found the energy that now I am feeling great..but I had to face each day with a good attitude and make my self eat.

I am still learning what I can eat and there are times when I forget to eat.. If it doesn't taste good and (I must drink all the time.. carry a water jug with me)I figured why eat.

I would bet that is what your mother is doing.

If your mom will let her tell you what sounds good and get it as smooth as you can....or pop a can of Ensure, Boost or whatever kind of energy drink that she will drink.. She may have to hold her nose and just swig away..but it will be up to her if and how she wants to survive.

Have you and the doctor treated her depression? That too is part of the problem..

Hang in there the caretakers do have it the hardest but they are our angels.

Hugs and God bless..

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