My 75 year old husband's esophagus is "fried" , due to radiation. It is so bad, he has been on a stomach tube for two months. His tastebuds are just beginning to return. He can swallow puried foods but at this time they tend not to digest easily. Do you have experience with this? Please share how you started eating again and what that was like. Is there hope that he will eat normally again.
My husband was dianosed with stage 1 lung cancer in March. They would have operated and this would all have been overwith but he also has COPD.
My daughter suggested that we seek a "Comprehensive Cancer Center" where there is suppose to be a team approach. There was not one close by but I wish we had, Joe. The doctors didn't always agree.
Do know this....you need to be an advocate for your wife. Sometimes the doctors don't listen. One thing they can handle is pain so she should never have pain. If she does, you make a fuss until they do something. My husband finally was put on a pain patch. That worked.
Radiation is a cumelative thing. As the weeks go by, her symptons may get stonger. My husband had Radiation & Chemo at the same time and after a few weeks, he slept pretty much most of the day. That certainly is not like him.
So get ready my dear. Keep your friends close. I will pray for you both.
I had a rare form of cancer that required intensive radiation and chemotherapy for 4 months. It left me with the "fried" tongue and throat. I couldn't swallow anything - including water for 6 months. I had a feeding tube from December to August. Unfortunately, the result was several muscles in my throat and epiglottis ceased to function - basically, they atrophied.
It took a swallow "study" to determine that was the cause of my continued inability to swallow. It could have also been a narrowing of the esophagus or built-up scar tissue. The study showed neither and I went to a speech therapist who taught me to learn how to eat all over again! She gave me exercises to do at home and used an electrode apparatus (I think it's called vitastim) to "shock" the muscles back into action. It took about 2 months of therapy (3 days a week) to be able to swallow liquids and soft foods.
There are still things I cannot eat and may never eat again - breads, steak, chips, rice, kernel corn - all continue to stick in my throat. I've just now started learning how to live a new "normal."
Eating small meals several times a day is highly recommended. You may want to contact a nutritionist to see how many calories and how much protein he needs.
My taste on several foods did not come back. I was severely disappointed, but my radiologist and oncologist both tell me to give it as much as a year after the last treatment to decide if that's permanent.
He will also probably experience "dry mouth." I can't go anywhere without a bottle of water or sugar-free gum. It can be truly painful.
I hope some of this info helps. I'm still adjusting - there is no "quick" fix, but you need to find something (Ensure, Carnation Instant Breakfast, etc.) he likes. Believe me, I know what it's like to think it's too much of an effort for so many disappointments, but it does get better week-to-week.
My husband was diagnosed with stage 4 base of the tongue cancer, and chose not to have his tongue removed, therefore he had radiation 2X a day for eight weeks and chemo at the same time, of course he had a feeding tube for six months. He has a lot of damage to his siliva glands-(water all the time) with every bite (coffee worked too). His taste buds were damaged especially for meat yuk, but they have almost all have came back, it just takes time, seems like forever. The radiation cause tooth loss, so he has had to deal with that. BUT IS ALIVE 6+ YEARS AFTER A TERMINAL DIAGNOSIS.
Good Luck, and prayers
Thank you so much. It is so helpful to have hope. I'm happy to report that my husband's tastebuds are just starting to come back. I hear that it can take up to a year. Our biggest worry now is just how much he will be able to eat as I think there is a lot of scar tissue. But at least he is beginning to eat. He still relys on the feeding tube. I am convinced that the prayers of so many have gotten him this far. Best of luck to you both and thank you again for writing.
Hi Kathy, and everyone else, (she had the operation and they removed the part of the upper pallet and sinus that was affected) my wife will be starting radition on 11/19 any advice on blender type foods?