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Pain after Surgery for Tongue Cancer

Posts: 25
Joined: Oct 2012

I have been diagnosed with tongue cancer three times. The first time was a stage 4 and I chose to have chemo and radiation rather than lose 3/4 of my tongue. That was in 2008. I wonder if I made a mistake. However, it is too late to have regrets.

In the summer of 2011 I was diagnosed again with cancer under my tongue. I had surgery and the right side of my tongue was attached to the floor of my mouth. Two weeks later I went on vacation with my family and was fine.

My daughter was due to have her first child - my first grandchild - this past September. In late July I had symptoms on the left side of my tongue that made me realize the beast was back. I held off treatment because I wanted my daughter to have the baby with no stress. At the end of August I couldn't hold off any longer and saw my ENT oncologist. He agreed to let me wait until the baby was born but scheduled surgery for September 17. My beautiful grandson was born September 4. My surgery went well - they got clear margins. They removed a thumb nail size portion of my tongue. Almost 5 weeks post surgery I am in a good deal of pain - tongue, mouth and ear. My ENT says it is normal but I wonder if anyone has been through this and how long I will be on medication and not able to eat. I would appreciate any input as to how to deal with this situation.

Thanks so much.

CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 4373
Joined: May 2012

Hi Theresa,

I had the tongue (and neck) surgery along with rads and chemo, but never had any uncontrolled pain. I was always able to control what pain I had with pills or liquid hydrocodone . I never tried to tough it out. I know it made me sleepy and maybe you can not afford that (you are busy). It does get better fast and you should be able to swallow (small portions) of food soon. Are you drinking protein drinks for nourishment?



longtermsurvivor's picture
Posts: 1845
Joined: Mar 2010

with this type of surgery was fairly well controlledon percocet. I just suspended it in water and drank it. Everyones pain experience is different, but I wiuld expect you to be quite ambit better pretty soon if you are five weeks out.


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