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Post treatment, how long does it take to feel good?

Posts: 29
Joined: May 2009

My husband finished 8 weeks of chemo, and 8 weeks of radiation with chemo about 2 weeks ago (diagnosed with stage IV tonsil cancer). I believe the doctors said he will still be suffering the effects of treatment for 2 months after stopping. He is still suffering from fatigue, loss of taste, mouth issues.

When did you really start feeling "better" post treatment?

Thanks friends.

ratface's picture
Posts: 1319
Joined: Aug 2009

I'm fifty and finished 39 rads and 8 weeks of chemo about two weeks ago. I was in reasonably good shape prior. Went jogging several times a week and did aerobics at home. The first week post I was without any energy and took midday naps. Still very anemic and low energy. My second week I was able to start the 30 min of aerobic activity at home. Took a three hour nap the first time. Now I can make it throught the day without napping. Energy is much better and I'm feeling stronger every day. I still get my 2000 calories a day with jevity but try and eat something normal once a day, like soup or just a taste of what the family is having although most of it has little taste.

It will depend at what level of activity you were at prior to starting as well as any other physical ailments you may have as well as age as well as just wanting to do something. Best of luck to him. Taking walks is a good start.

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009


Two weeks is pretty short. At two weeks I was still taking the pain solution just to drink water and Ensure.

I'm 55 just recovering from Tonsil Cancer as well, stage III SCC HPV related. I finished 9 weeks of chemo and the 7 weeks of concurrent chemo and radiation (35 exposures)....finsihed those the 18th of June 2009.

I never had a feeding tube and only had about 4 weeks where the treatment really was bad, the last two weeks of the radiation and the following two weeks after that.

During the last 3 months I have had just "normal" fatigue, no taste, no saliva, and various aches, pains and discomforts in my mouth and throat.

This last few weeks I am getting taste back. I can taste most everything other than sweet is lagging. Most of the taste deminishes rather quickly though once I start eating.

This week I have actually started feeling good, which has been missing since early January when first diagnosed and treatment started.

I do have swelling under my chin and neck that I guess is a form of lymphedema. At this point I'm not sure if it's something that's going to be long term or temporary.

I'm sure he'll be getting stronger and feeling better in the weeks to come.

Good Luck and God Bless,

CajunEagle's picture
Posts: 398
Joined: Oct 2009

I completed my Chemo (12 weeks) and Radiation (35 straight days) on June 6th, 09....D Day. I was diagnosed with left tonsil cancer. I'm 62, and was in pretty good shape prior to the "Thing". I still have my peg tube that I use at least 3 times a day, but have begun eating soft foods. For some reason, within the last week, I have most of my taste buds back and am nuts about eating anything now. I realize that may not be possible due to my Epiglottis not closing but only 95%. Must be careful not to have too much go down the ole windpipe. Two days ago, I woke up and felt great. Yesterday....so-so. Today I woke....had a Two Cal in the tube...and then commenced to throw up. Go figure. So feeling good to me, is a day to day thing. I've got a personal trainer that comes to the house 3 times a week just to help me rebuild my strength. She has really helped. I've began to tolerate most spices in foods now, and thank goodness, being from South Louisiana, the only thing I could eat would be dirt. Everything here is loaded with spices.

Good luck to you.

Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2009

Two months seems about right. I had 8 weeks of chemo and 8 weeks of radiation last summer. The dr. told me my body would continue to "cook" for a week or two after radiation ended, and he was right. Radiation ended, but I didn't improve for awhile,and the improvement I had was slow. Every day I tried to exercise a bit more than the day before, and tried to improve my eating.

Needhope, hope and help is right around the corner, and it's called TIME. I never thought last summer would ever end, and yet, here it is already a year after. The same thing will happen for you and your husband. The joy you will feel when your husband starts to feel better is indescribable. The improvement is slow at first, then will speed up, and at some point you'll marvel that it's behind you. I'm sorry you have to go thru this, but it will make you stronger. I just ran my first marathon and mentally I had no problem finishing because over the last 5 miles, when my body was breaking down, when everything hurt, I could tell myself, "I've been thru worse".

Please let me know if you have any other questions, keep up the hope!!!

pk's picture
Posts: 192
Joined: Aug 2009

What a great reply. My husband finished his rads a week and a half ago - still on some pain meds - trying to do more each day - napping in the afternoon - food is still painful to swallow, BUT as each day goes on a little corner is turned. And as you say, once you've been thru this - what else is there?!!!!!

Posts: 26
Joined: May 2009

I just wanted to let you know that for some people it can be quicker than others. For me, I felt better right after the radiation but then as someone else put it on here, after I "cooked for a while" and the radiation continued to work it's magic on the cancer and fried me more, I was in much more pain weeks after radiation than while I was in treatment. It was 6 months post-treatment before the pain even slightly started to subside for me. Doctors said this was much slower than should be expected. But it can take a varying amount of time, depending on the individual. Slowly but surely my pain subsided and getting off pain meds happened slowly but surely and I hope it will be quicker for your husband. I hope he's doing better already!

Scambuster's picture
Posts: 973
Joined: Nov 2009

HI Needhope1,

Was curious about yr husbands progress and how he is doing now. He should be about ~10 weeks out from treatment now.

Any feedback would be appreciated.

Best regds

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