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swallow test today

Posts: 22
Joined: Nov 2010

Had my second swallow test today and was able to swallow
some water with very little aspiration. When i had my first
test a few weeks ago i wasn't able to swallow anything. Since
my first test i have been doing the Shaker exercise and maybe
it is helping. I wasn't able to swallow the pudding they gave
me today and told me that my throat appeared to be swollen 5
times the normal size. This is obviously causing blockage
to my airway and preventing me from being able to swallow solids.
I had stage IV throat cancer and a large tumor that required a
large dose of radiation. They also told me that they have seen
cases similar to mine that took a considerable amount of time
for the radition swelling to subside. They also told me that in some cases
the swelling does not go down. I am now 5 months post treatment and
sill have my trach and peg due to the swelling. I am wondering if any
of you survivors encountered this amount of swelling and the amount
of time it took for it to subside. It seems like i always think of the
negative outcome as far as being one of those that the swelling dose not
go away. At 66 yrs of age i need some type of normalcy back in my life.

Hondo's picture
Posts: 6643
Joined: Apr 2009

Time heals everything, I have to do a barium swallow test Wednesday so they can check the size of my throat so I can it stretched, not looking forward to it but I know it needs to be done. I am also most 5 years out of treatment now and looking forward to March 2011. Just to let you know things get better as you go along, take can and keep posting.

All the best to you

sweetblood22's picture
Posts: 3228
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi Larry. I too have had problems swallowing because of radiation damage. I had very bad swelling and I have a srticture that is up very high. I ended rads 5/15/09 and had two dialations. I had a peg tube for 18 months. One in october of '09 and one in january '10. The first time they took me from 2mm to 9mm. At this point I could only swallow pudding and yogurt. Then the second one they stretched me a little further. I was then able to eat some mushy foods like potatoes, pastina, bananas, avocado and that sort of thing. Although I have not been stretched again, my eating has gotten better and I have been able to swallow more foods, gain weight to my first goal of 100 lbs and get my tube removed. I think some of the swelling has gone down on it's own, I have learned to adapt and cook and prepare the food to make it easier to swallow, and I am stubborn. I have very little saliva, since they took my left salivary gland during my neck dissection and the right was fried with rads. I cant swallow meats usually, fruit still burns my mouth and tongue, my taste still is off, and I eat mostly, cooked veggies till soft, eggs, cheeses, grains, beans, and ice cream.

I have had a total of three stretchings and they do help. Hoping they will get you fixed up. I didn't eat any food at all like 6/8 months so I know how depressing and frustrating it can be. If you need anything please feel free to ask of me.



Posts: 22
Joined: Nov 2010

Thanks for your response, are you telling me that they can stretch
your throat to open it up. Is the problem with your throat a result
of the swelling from the radiation or is it strictures or sscar tissue.
Does the narrowing of your throat cause any breathing problems. I am
concerned because my swelling is causing a blockage to my airway and
preventing my ability to handle solid foods. Have you had your throat
streched before. It don't sound like something anyone would want to go
through but if you need it done, I wish you the best.
Thanks again,

Posts: 75
Joined: Nov 2010

I can totally agree with Sweets and Hondo and swallowing and time...I am almost seven years out( scc base of my tongue ) and still have swallowing issures..The swelling and healing will take time for sure...The dilating of your esphogus? or stretching is pretty common i think for all of us...I am told some have it done every six months..i am only at two times but like it when i get it done... If it was less time consuming it would be nice.. They have exercises for every thing at your swallowing clinic.. So they do not make it easy..but it is all livable and become part of our daily life.. But time will make it better...it has for me.. Happy Holidays to every one on this Board...Mel

sweetblood22's picture
Posts: 3228
Joined: Jan 2010

Larry, yes, they can sometimes stretch out your esophagus so that you may be able to swallow easier. If your stricture or swelling is in your esophagus, then that should not be blocking your airway or trachea. When my food gets stuck I can still breathe tho it is scary when it happens to you the first few times. I only get nervous when I can't get it up or down after about five minutes now. :) Where that used to happen to me about every other bite, it only happens about three or four times a day now.

Posts: 22
Joined: Nov 2010

Thanks for your response,it seems that my major problem is the swelling
in my throat and this is preventing me from swallowing. This was told to
me by the speech therapist. The swelling is so severe and has narrowed
my throat opening 5 times the normal. According to the therapist it is not
my esophagus. I had my esophagus dilated over a month ago and it appears to
alright at this time. Like i mentioned before i had a real serious dose of
horrible radiation and this is more like the culprit.Actually to hear some
of these post from our brother and sister survivors it is really scary to
think about eating especially with the problems they are encountering. As
you know and the many others in our situation it is not easy dealing with
the prospects that you may have to live with a trach and feeding tube forever.
The one thing positive about this ordeal is getting to meet the wonderful people
like yourself and who are members of this site.

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