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what i can do to prepare?

victor53's picture
Posts: 97
Joined: Apr 2008

i have read about putting on weight i am about 20 pounds over wieght since moving back to the states 10 months ago. But have lost apitite and not sleeping.
I have read about glutamine would that help to start taking before?
I am taking a vitamin drink called Reliv.
Could i start doing something with my neck skin ahead of time?

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Stay calm! Stay cool! Cancer is not a death sentence, particularly in your case, particularly if it has not metastisized (moved to other areas).

The timing of the PET scan, in my humble opinion -- based on having had at least a half dozen of them in the past two and a half years -- is not so critical if it is just a matter of a week here or there. Usually, they can't schedule a time to get you on a table for surgery in such a short period of time anyway, so I wouldn't sweat the timing of the PET scan. A week is hopefully not going to be too critical.

Bearing in mind that I am a cancer survivor just like you -- and NOT a professional medical person -- in my opinion while it is a good idea to put on a little weight, because you are almost certainly going to lose some, I really don't think that is such a big deal either if it is the wrong kind of weight. Fat is fat, in other words. If you are going to try to put on some weight, do it in conjunction with some sort of exercise program, even if it is just a daily walk around the block. Just my observation: if you put on 'bad' weight you will still want to take it off later :).

The main thing right now, victor, is to remain calm and to be a show of force for your wife. Cancer is, or can be, a very scary thing, not just for us, but for those who love us. In your case, there are some added complications, as I read in your previous post.
Assure your wife -- honestly -- that this is not the end of the world, but maybe the beginning of a new one. There are a number of survivors on here who will give you better advice about what to expect from this particular type of cancer (I had a tongue resection and a radical neck dissection initially). To whatever they advise, I add to maintain a sense of humor and a lot of hope.

Hope and humor will carry you a long way!

Take care and best wishes.


BugHunter's picture
Posts: 152
Joined: Oct 2007

I have to agree with Joe, relax! The fight against Cancer is as much mind over matter as it is anything else. I too had tonsil cancer. SCC is the best cancer to have if you have it. I will not BS you, the treatments will not be easy, but worth the best fight of your life! Aa few things I will tell you I found out:
1) There is no stupid questions you can ask your Doctors.
2) Stay positive, you can and WILL beat this.
3) I can understand your wife's concern, have her go on here to the caregiver section, some great people there as well.
4) Remeber this: Cancer doesn't know who it's dealing with! Get ready to kick it's ***!
5) There are many great people in here that you can lean on, we have all been there, done that and are here for you and others walking through this corner of hell!
Best of luck!


jkinobay's picture
Posts: 255
Joined: May 2007

To your question of neck skin preparation, my Rad Oncol suggested Emu Oil twice a day before, during and after treatments start. It really made a difference in my case as the worst I ever had was a mild sun-burn type effect which went away within a few weeks post-treatments. If Emu Oil is not readily available look for 100% Aloe. But remember.....VERY IMPORTANT......once treatments begin make sure your skin is clean and dry/oil free for the treatment because that can complicate the possibility of burn. I kept the oil in my car so I could put it on immediately after treatment. Other thoughts for preparation:

**If you are at all claustraphobic or just plain anxious as most of us are ask your Doc for a prescription to relax you during the radiation treatment (Xanax, Ativan, Valium, etc.). In my case I used Ativan, 1mg. about 45 minutes before treatments and it really helped. As my Docs said, you are in a fight for your life and do whatever it takes to get through the treatments exactly as prescribed.

**go to see a Dentist and get evaluated beforehand. Tell them you are about to start radiation to the head and neck area. Hopefully you can find a Dentist that has HNC experience. Also get Biotene mouthwash. It will really make a difference.

**In previous months I have posted here my experience and advice with oral hygiene and PEG tube use and care. Please referr back a few months and if you can't find them let me know and I will resend for you.

**Remember that no two patient treat the same but there are many similarities that can be used as a guideline.
**Bug Hunter's comments are also right-on. Read them again and again.........daily, weekly or whatever it takes to stay positive.

You can and will beat this.

If your wife is not fully bilingual have her email me. I live and work in Mexico and am 70-80% bilingual and would be glad to help her in Spanish.

One final thought for you. Allow yourself 15 minutes in the morning and afternoon to have a pity party. Nobody expects you to go through this without worry and anxiety. But you have to control IT not have IT control you. But, immediately after your 15 minutes, move on. Watch a movie or sit-com, read a book, go for a walk, hug your wife, call a friend, write a letter, etc. As Soccerfreaks and others have said attitude and a sense of humor are a critical part of the battle.

Again................YOU CAN DO IT...........JK

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Excellent response! It nudged a couple of ancient memories that I'd like to add:

If you can't find emu oil (and I have to admit, that WILL be in my next country song :)) I used something called biafene. My wife is a wound care nurse and she was aware of it because of its successful use in Europe before being approved here. It proved quite successful for me in burn avoidance.

You mention the biotene mouthwash, but they also make a toothpaste that is another important ally.

Take care,


BugHunter's picture
Posts: 152
Joined: Oct 2007

I used a product that I am sure I will spell wrong, but it was silversulfadine I think. I have had prescriptions for it before for severe sunburns in the past. It works great!


Posts: 3
Joined: Dec 2007

I've just finished radiation and the thing that helped me get through it was high protien body builder shakes. when I couldn't taste anything else, I could taste the vanilla. That's the biggest problem with eating, not tasting anything. You have to keep your weight up. I was able to reduce a lot of the side effects with the protien shakes.

Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006

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