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Radiation Ending Soon

Posts: 12
Joined: Dec 2012

How long will I feel bad after radiation ends (finishing 35 treatments). Can only get down a few cans of Ensure a day and some milk and a little pudding. Was wondering how soon after treatment ends before things start improving. And how fast?

CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 4373
Joined: May 2012


Well your mind starts to recover immediately with your body not far behind. I still had one week of bad neck burns to put up with before I really got started. I wasn’t eating pudding for months so in that respect you are ahead of me. If you can be happy with steady little improvements, you’ve won half the battle. It is if you can not get better fast enough, but your body has just had the heck kicked out of it and is saying whoa, slow down. I once was a doubter on ever eating (normal) again, but I am back in the game.

9 months post and feeling pretty good if not great



Tonsil Dad's picture
Tonsil Dad
Posts: 489
Joined: Dec 2011

Hi cic2,
remember we still "cook" for up to 4 weeks after we
finish rads and then you will start to see progress. It is
a slow process but you WILL get better. I'm 8 months
out f treatment oand doing pretty good. My taste and saliva
are still out of whack but I'm eating normal again and
I'm back to doing normal things again.

God bless
Tonsil dad,


Kent Cass
Posts: 1898
Joined: Nov 2009

A couple weeks after the last rad I started experimenting, and pancakes was the first success I had. Not sure when I could have, but did learn some 4-months after that I could eat most anything I wanted- mustard and onions and relish on a brat worked quite well. Would not suggest you try such as that in the first couple months, though, as your mouth is still trying to recover from the rads. Does take a little while, but it does come back.


phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4678
Joined: Mar 2012

you continue to cook for a few weeks after rads...(they had me on 3 more Cisplatin/5FU chemos for 3 months after rads, so I moved into recovery from rads straight to 3 months of trying to live with 5FU)...this part is a bit blurry to me. Just remember "baby steps"...when you feel you want to start experimenting, don't rush to mustard and ketchep...I found the blander I ate, the more I could taste...sounds weird, but it was true. Like Matt said...you're eating pudding...I couldn't do that when I was looking for my first things to eat.

I finished rads in June...and chemo in August....still have saliva problems, but I can lick my lips...:). I can taste the first 4 or 5 bites of whatever I'm eating (that is up from the first 2 to 3 bites)....it is a slow recovery, but one that we seem to get used to...

Congrats on almost being at the end of rads...that was a most wonderful day for me!!


Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8292
Joined: Sep 2009

I C2...

Like mentioned above, for lack of better words, you're still cooking for 3-4 weeks after rads physically end.

It's a slow recovery, two steps forward, one back at times.

Eventually the good days will come more often than the bad days.

It's going to be awhile more than likely for the saliva and taste to completely, or near completely return.

Most of us have been on the bottle, LOL...water bottle that is 24/7 for several months. Each bite of food, a swig of water, every few words, a swig of water.

I'm going into my 4th year and have complete taste, and nearly all of my saliva return.

I was STGIII SCC Tonsils, HPV+..., also sixteen weeks of chemo, seven of which were concurrent with chemo/rads.

Hang in there, a month or two will make a world of difference for you.


Laralyn's picture
Posts: 530
Joined: Apr 2012

Some people feel like the healing starts quickly after the end of radiation and for others it takes longer. For me, I was most sick for the last couple weeks of treatment and about two weeks after. A bad reaction to narcotics really made it worse. Just take it easy, and give yourself space to rest and heal.

My ENT doctor had a great suggestion for that period of time: write down each day how you felt. It can be just a couple lines. Then every week, check back on how you felt the weeks before. Sometimes the improvement feels so slow that you actually don't notice it unless you're reminded. It sounds funny, but it's true!

I had my last radiation on June 1 so I'm a little over 6 months out. I can eat bread, chicken and other things that seemed impossible as recently as October. Yes, each bite is chased down with some water, but I can eat again! I can drink in steady gulps now instead of one careful swallow at a time. You'll get there too, at your own pace.

Posts: 69
Joined: Nov 2012

For me, i'm 17 days post rad (30 Tx) and can very slightly pick up certain flavors with the end of my tongue. I can tolerate scrambled eggs with ketchup or over easy eggs, tomato soup, chicken soup without the chicken (too dry and gets stuck in my throat) and few other things like Ensure, Boost, Muscle Milk and protein shakes.
Still dealing with dry mouth and throat but i just keep drinking water.

So to answer your question.......who really knows? We all react and heal differently to rads and/or chemo. So many factors come into play like age, health, diet, genetics, rad/chemo dose, rad target area and so forth that it's hard to pin point when we will recover.

I look at everyone's recovery time, find an average and then pray for that.

Take care, God Bless!


yensid683's picture
Posts: 320
Joined: Apr 2012

How many times have we said that one? It is true though, we all progress at a different pace, I envy those who were quicker than I, but feel fortunate that I got back what I've gotten so far.

My last rad was July 5th and I was on 6 cans of jevity a day, but worked my swallower as much as I could. My wife set up mini jello cups, each that were just a couple of swallows of jello, but they worked, and I kept up with water, but soreness and some dysfunction made it something I had to do carefully.

My Onc said that it would be about two weeks before I would start to feel a little better and he was right. It was just about exactly two weeks and I was feeling better. Swallowing improved (grade progress week over week, not daily, the pace is glacial) and by August I could do soups and eggs. Warm worked so much better than cold. It was not until September 13th that I tried a burger and while it was work to get it all down, it marked the radical change to a more normal life that we all look for. Progress after that was much more rapid, though really cold (ice cream) is still not the joy it had been, but someday it will be there.

Best of luck to you, sorry that you have to be on this train, but you couldn't be with a better group of people!

Ingrid K's picture
Ingrid K
Posts: 813
Joined: Mar 2011

One thing this disease teaches us is patience....if you didn't have a lot before, you will find you will have more after your treatment is over. You can't rush the healing; it takes time....like Matt said "baby steps". You will find the things that work best for you. Keep experimenting with new foods -- don't give up. Wait a few weeks then try the same food again. What doesn't work at first, will work 10 days later. No ryhyme or reason to that.

Keep working the swallowing muscles. That was probably the most important advice I got...and I got it from Skiff (John). He ate Del Monte peaches in lite syrup, which didn't work for me, but I did really well with crushed ice. Hubby even went to Bed, Bath and Beyond and bought me a Sno Cone maker (best $25.00 ever spent)....the ice was soothing and the small amounts of melted ice gave me just enough water to force myself to swallow that it keep the muscles going.

It also forced the fluids....which is also very important.

Wish you much luck in your journey. You will get through it.

blackswampboy's picture
Posts: 341
Joined: Jul 2012

my rads cooked for a long time--the neck burn didn't heal until two months after tx ended.
I'm 5+ months out, and just started feeling hungry and slooowly eating a few things this week.
weird, probably hadn't actually felt hungry in close to a year.

but then, we're all different. just don't feel like you have to feel better by 4 weeks or 6 weeks, and you're abnormal if you don't. there is no normal.

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