Re: after treatment for neck and throat cancer what side effects will I have
I, too have been experiencing what all of you have been saying in this particular line of postings. stage 4 Squamous cell carcinoma at the base of the throat, also HPV related...however, I am a recovering alchoholic (21 years sober) & 1 pack a day smoker (now still can't let go of the 5 or so I still smoke) & I smoke pot. It's CRAZY that I can't let go of the ciggs after all I've been through!!! I'm working on finding the right way to do it that works for me & smoking cessation programs/resources in my area. I had 36 radiations & 7 chemo treatments (Erbitux)...GOD IT WAS S-O-O BAD AT TIMES! I was having trouble with the pain, diarrhea & nauseousness & finding the right medications for any of it that didn't make any of the other side effects worse. It's now been 3 months after treatments & my 1st MRI looked good. PET Scan coming up next week & another endoscopy in Oct. I have experienced all of the above mentioned side effects with an addition of a swollen saliva gland that is bothering my ear. I do not have a G-tube...lost 20+ pounds during treatments & am still hovering right around 137-140 lbs. I force myself to eat & still can't taste much...also have 1 ot two Ensures a day. I was wishing they had a pamphlet, publication or something that had a line-up of what side effects to expect & when. I'm one of those kind of guys that will try to have it all planned & figured out...whatever it is. Right after treatments I had a HORRIBLE radiation burn come out on my neck, thoat, running part way down to almost my chest & the tips of my shoulders. The left side was the worst & developed cellulitis (severe infection)...I had to be put in the hospital for a couple days while the ran several IV antibiotics through me. I couldn't find any available/recommended creams or salves that didn't burn/sting or make it ooz even more. My wife finally got some raw, fresh Aloe Leaf from the produce dept. at the grocery store. She cut & peeled some pieces & would keep them in some filtered clean water with some pieces of gauze in a covered bowl. I would keep applying the gauze to the burns & when I could finally apply it without it burning too much, used the anibiotic cream I was given. It took awhile, but finally cleared up. I was getting pretty tired of having to be peeled off the pillow & sheets in the morning...I would stick to them. I've been full of questions the whole time. I have great doctors at Stanford Universities Cancer center in Palo Alto, CA (where I did my treatments) who try answer the best they can...but it doesn't seem to be enough. I finally started going to the available support group meetings, councellors & now this blog site. I have trouble fighting with depression, but the more I reach out & search for different answers & ways to share experiences, it seems to help. Thank you for this chance to do so.