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I'm back! But.......

Posts: 69
Joined: Nov 2012

Well, it's been since nov 30th that i've finished rads (30). I have some taste back (maybe 50-60%) and some saliva (maybe 25%). But i wake up every morning with this build up of "flem or mucous" i guess it is, at the back of my throat that is extremely difficult to clear. My voicebox is affected by it, i sound like Darth Vader with out the air suction sound and can sing "swing LOW, sweet chariot...". By the end of the day my throat is a little better but then starts all over again the next day.

Anyone else experience this symptom? It seems that only carbonated beverages (sugar free) help a little to clear some of it. I also have some aspiration when eating or drinking. It's minor but could it get worse? I did not use the peg tube during treatment and i continue to use my swallow muscles as much as possible, drinking water or other beverage every 10-15 minutes through out the day.

Any advice or thoughts?


hawk711's picture
Posts: 566
Joined: Jan 2010


I have same phlem in the morning, cough it up, spit it out. Spay stoppers 4 and then drink 2 cups of coffee.  By then, I am pretty good on the saliva side of things.  

hawk711's picture
Posts: 566
Joined: Jan 2010


I have same phlem in the morning, cough it up, spit it out. Spay stoppers 4 and then drink 2 cups of coffee.  By then, I am pretty good on the saliva side of things.  Some drink colas and others use just water, but coffee really helps clear it all up for me. Hotter the better! 

All the best

PS I am now 3 years out of treatment

CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 4303
Joined: May 2012



Glad to hear you are recovering nicely, with phlegm and mucus to remind you what you went through. Isn’t this a grand club we belong to?


While I like to think it is getting somewhat better, the more honest answer is I am learning to live with it.  I drink water all the time have my morning pot of coffee, clear my throat often (discretely when in public hack and spit in private).


I am not a big soda drinker, but imagine the carbonation helping out.  I do rinse and spit, but the relief is temporary.


My brain is still in charge, but the guys who use to make oodles of saliva got their wires crossed during radiation treatments (sorry guys) and now make gobs of phlegm and mucus.  I’ve been looking for my reset button without much luck.


Phlegm on,



D Lewis's picture
D Lewis
Posts: 1576
Joined: Jan 2010

Except; Phlegm on!  Love my morning pot of coffee.  Before that, I mostly make those really high pitched bat-squeaking noises.  I try to thin it with water as best I can, but that doesn't much help.


donfoo's picture
Posts: 1644
Joined: Dec 2012

Just how far down and where does this crap accumulate? Is it near base of tongue, in the sides behind molars, way down there?

My bus not at your stop yet but will be soon enough. I read all the stuff and then to me it just seems like the suction machine should just vacuum it up. Of course, the relief would be temporary but does it not work that way? Am I missing something really basic here?

My engineering mind wanders and I'm thinking that if the suction machine is effective of scooping that crap out then why not have a portable version to "suck on the go".

Then again I just hear the incessant - hawking up haiballs and such and I'm thinking WTF - why not use the suction machine. Maybe it does not do its job nearly as well as I envision.


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Grandmax4's picture
Posts: 709
Joined: Dec 2011

reading your posts, you are a quietly, funny man~~~

donfoo's picture
Posts: 1644
Joined: Dec 2012

Now we have confirmed suction machine does indeed work, my patent pending "suck on the go" device drawing looks like this. Imagine a turkey baster with a 10" piece of clear soft tubing stuck on the end. You just slide it on down there, but first squeeze that puppy, then let it go. Out comes all that yuck unless it is so thick it just gets stuck on the end and you extract one honking hairball intact. Sure seems better than vomitting it up. LOL

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

You go Don !!

You may be onto something here....at least it will give you something to keep your mind occupied while you go thru your treatments and recovery.


Eddie J
Posts: 23
Joined: Sep 2012

Hey Don the suction pumps work well but try transderm scop patches behind the ear they are for motion sickness and the side effect is a dry mouth


yensid683's picture
Posts: 318
Joined: Apr 2012

I dealt with the same thing, every morning I'd be drowning in the build up of crap in my throat.  At it's worst, I'd keep an empty water bottle beside the bed and spit out the wads that would wake me up when I'd choke on it through the night, and just after my last rad (July 2012) I'd have so much that it would gag me to the point that I'd vomit.  My wife called it my morning sickness and said (in a light hearted manner) that payback is a bit**. 

I had read about the carbonated soda and pre cancer I enjoyed Coke, but when I tried it my sense of taste would not allow the bitter/sour notes from the phosphoric acid that gives Coke its tang.  Warm water worked better, and as taste re-awakened, a very weak cup of tea helped.

The best thing was that, over time, it improved and keeps improving to this day.  I had my 6 month re-visit in January and my only two complaints were saliva and the crap that my throat kept generating.  My RO said that these would continue to improve and the phlem has.  It is still not back to normal but at the same time it is no where near what it had been, much thinner, much less of it, and now any liquid will help. 

Taste has improved, it took a couple of months for it to come back, salt was the first thing I was able to detect, sweet followed but sour and bitter have been slower to show.  Saliva went from zero and is now about 30%, I still need to take sips of water whenever I chew something, but not as much as I did and surprisingly, I'm back to a lot of normal foods, and even some that I thought I'd never do again.  I had popcorn the other day!

So, try the warm water or warm of whatever liquid is your favorite, keep drinking and keep clearing, it will get better.


Posts: 213
Joined: Feb 2013

I had that exact problem for about 30 to 40 days after radiation stopped.  Then things went to "normail" then to dry mouth.  Still working with dry mouth about two months and two weeks out.  The excess phlem just went away.  Now slowly and I mean very very slowly it seems taste is coming back. 

Posts: 69
Joined: Nov 2012

Thank you all for the feedback. Sounds like coffee or tea might be an alternative. Love the suction machine invention from Don. For me, the phlem is too far back and it would hit the gag and i'd barf. I'm hoping patience will be my friend.




donfoo's picture
Posts: 1644
Joined: Dec 2012

That is where you get a prescripion of that spray nummy the dentist and various specialists use th nummy up your nose or back of throat before they jam a cam rope down the chute. Tongue Out

In fact, I don't hear much about ppl getting their hands on that spray stuff, any one try and get denied??


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