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Surgery and neck dissection complete, 36 rads to start in 3 wks

Posts: 186
Joined: Mar 2013

Hi all, its me "first IDC now SCC.  Well I had my surgery on my lower lip and chin with neck dissection on Wed for the oral SCC.  I will have 36 rad treatments when I am healed, the rad onc said in about three wks.  When he was explaining the head and neck mold and mask fitting I thought my husband was going to pass out....  I can't talk or eat but have managed the art of putting the straw far enough back in my mouth that I can use the back of my tongue to take in liquids:) The surgeon did a pretty good job from what I can tell in giving me a normal looking lower lip, not to sure about my chin yet.  Any adivise on the rads?  The rad onc said I would start to feel systems about two weeks in and then the worst of it would be three weeks after my last one.  I'm scared that's for sure.  I have alreads been through the chemo ordeal with the IDC. 

I am also getting a lung biopsy next week, they found two noduels and the CT scan doesn't look good.  They are thinking that if that is positive, its most likely my breat cancer  has metastasized.  I just can't believe I have had two seperate cancer diagnosis in 8 months and now maybe my lungs.  Geez...it's a bit much to handle.



Posts: 213
Joined: Sep 2012

Can't offer much advice, but can offer lots of encouragement, sounds like you have had a tough go. Radiation treatments in themselves aren't too bad, but the side effects vary, fatigue being most common.  If you feel clastrophobic, while being secured in the mask, you can ask for a Xanax to help with relaxing. I know it helped a lot of people on here.  Do you have a PEG tube to help with getting the nutrition you need? Wishing you the best, and I am sure you will get lots of response, this site is the best....


Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

Patti, just wanted to offer my support, thoughts and prayers for the battles you have in the future, as well as praise for those already endured... Stay positive, keep fighting, and BELIEVE...


Posts: 1104
Joined: Jan 2011

I wasn't quite up to posting very soon after my neck dissection.  Had my sister post for me!  Check the Superthread for information about radiation and other info that you will need.  I didn't have a problem with the mask (I've been through it 3 times now!).  Don't be surprised if you start rads before you heal.  They placed a rubbery thing on my lip, they called it a bolus, I healed very well. You will also need to ask about protecting your teeth.  If you have a lot of fillings, radiation will scatter and make mouth issues worse.  My first surgery was on my upper lip.  It will be tight and you will have trouble eating for a while.  Soft food, small bites.  Feel free to contact me.   

phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4674
Joined: Mar 2012

I can barely imagine how hard all this has been for you....no kidding it's a bit much to handle...and my heart goes out to you.  I happy to hear that you feel the surgery wasn't too disfiguring....and I'm sure there are things they can do later if you need them....they're pretty darn good at fixing us HNC people up. 

As for the rads...the most common side effects are fatigue, dry mouth, loss of taste, and a nasty sunburn where the rads pour most of their beams.  There are products to help with most of these things that you can buy over the counter....and prescription stuff if the OTC products aren't working.  The mask is TIGHT.....and they snap it to the table so you can't move.  If you're claustraphobic, or nervous about how you'll handle it, lots of us used drugs for that hump.  I had Ativan (Lorazapam) every day....some used Valuim, and others used other anti-anxiety meds....but you can get thru it.  It just becomes a small part of your day...

Sending positive thoughts and prayers that you don't have mets to the lungs....that they're just nodes from breathing crappy air for many years.  It ain't cancer till somebody in the know says it is!!!  Stick close to this board for support...we're all rooting for you.


CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 4336
Joined: May 2012


You will do fine, just a little bit at a time.

Many of your questions can be answered and developed by a visit to the Superthread.  Ask away.

Peaceful journey for Patti,


debbiejeanne's picture
Posts: 3095
Joined: Jan 2010

patti, i'm so sorry u r going thru so much right now.  anyone would be overwhelmed.  just wanted u 2 know i'm praying 4 u and wish u the very best.  praying that the lung spots are just spots and nothing else.  hang in there and please let us know when u find out.

God bless,


Posts: 186
Joined: Mar 2013

Just wanted to say a quick thanks to you all for your support, it makes me feel stronger and I so appreciate it:)  The meds keep me pretty sleepy.  Hope to have to take less tomorrow.  Thanks again:)


Posts: 1104
Joined: Jan 2011

It is easier to stay on top of any pain than to get it under control if it gets bad.  You will have plenty of time to get online.  We are here with you and for you.

Posts: 5
Joined: Apr 2013

Hello Patti,

I finished 30 treatments of Rad in October 2012.  Don't be scared I was but it turned out not bad and and I had a powerful dose I was told! I had heand and neck cancer surgery in July of this year on Friday the 13th! It was a lucky day for me though!  The mask is no big deal, they just lay you down and put a pice of this plastic that is full of hundreds of holes on you face that is warmed first and it molds to you face contour!  It is only warm not hot you won't be hurt!  Each time you get rad they put that mask on you!  The eyes and nose and mouth are cut out for you so you are fine!  I had some mouth sores and soreness but with the meds and something call Magic Mouthwash ( a mixture of pain killers and other things that make your mouth with out any pain kind of like drinking Ambesol for your teeth. You can swish and spit or you can swallow it!  I had a feeding tube put in before surgery  and that was so wonderful!  After awhile  I started to eat and drink a little at a time!  Now i am eating most everything with no tube it was talen out yesterday at Sloan Kettering in New York City,  i have only One molar on top and nine bottom  front teeth because of the cancer but Still can eat and drink! Contact me if you have any questions about your ucoming radiation i am sure I can make you,feel better!


hwt's picture
Posts: 2330
Joined: Jun 2012

I was told the making of the mask would feel like a facial and it did. They lay a warm open weave material on your face, it just takes a short time to firm up. I had horrible sores on my lips, that was the worst thing I recall from tx.I was also told 3 weeks post tx would be bad but that wasn't the case for me. I saw steady improvement when tx stopped. It wasn't a walk in the park but we all get through it. I hope your journey is easier than you expect.

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