eating

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eating

by sewkenmore on Thu Jan 11, 2018 05:54 PM

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Hi. This is my first post. I am 10 weeks out from radiation and chemo for cancer of the tongue and tonsil area (both sides). I had throat cancer 18 ears ago which was treated succefully and don't recall having so much trouble starting to eat again. I'm trying to figure out why. Have I just turned off to eating. Cooked food doesn't always smell good to me. Mouth is still sore, but not even close to what I went through. So soreness is really no excuse at this point. Most foods do tear my tounge up because my PH balance is off. I do rely on liquid to swollow meat still. Also unable to eat processed foods due to burning in my mouth. Any feed back on this problem would be greatly appreciated. Every day is a new adventure in this journey.

RE: eating

by Mark06074 on Thu Jan 11, 2018 09:24 PM

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From what I gather - I was also slow to get back to eating "real" food after my feeding tube was removed.

I think it comes down to "learning" tp swallow again after not doing so for so long.  Physically I felt great - but stayed on the liquid / feeding tube for a couple months.  FINALLY, I was able to eat some scrambled eggs - VERY little...but it gave me the confidence to try more, and new foods.  Eventually I was able to eat again - but it was a good 2 months after treatment ended so perhaps not quite as long as you - but longer than most.

Again, I think it's aboput learning to chew and swallow after traumatically not doing so for a while.

RE: eating

by Sdurnell on Fri Jan 12, 2018 07:51 AM

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Sew,

There are a number of problems that can stand in the way of our returning to eating after treatment.  One that you mention is pain--mucositis (mouth/throat sores), burning tongue, etc.  Magic Mouthwash and rinsing and gargling with baking soda and salt in warm or lukewarm water is another.

Another is a very skewed sense of taste, and sometimes smell as well, that puts us off the very idea of eating. Some people find it helpful to go to a buffet and try small amounts of a lot of foods to see what might appeal.  Sometimes it's something that we might not have cared for in the past.  If foods are tasteless, try experimenting with different textures and temperatures.  

And yet another is that we have had an interruption in our eating patterns and it's hard to adjust to eating differently. Eating small amounts oftener throughout the day might help with this.

As for me, I was on a tube long enough that I lost my appetite, and now, 7 years later, I still don't feel that it's "normal."  So I try to eat regularly whether I'm hungry or not.

Avoid acidic foods if you find they cause burning.  Try bland things like bananas, potatoes, and dairy products--cottage cheese, yogurt, milk and cream, pudding, cheese, and ice cream are all good choices, as are avocados and eggs.  They slide down easily, and many of them are good sources of protein and calories that you need for healing.

Are you experiencing any trouble actually swallowing food?  If so a swallow study may be helpful, and/or you might need some help from a speech therapist.

And remember that 10 weeks out is still very early in the healing process.  Many of us take much longer to get back to regular eating and longer still to actually start to regain weight.

Best of luck to you.

Susan

RE: eating

by NJM01 on Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:05 AM

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It took me a good 3 months after treatment to eat again. Honestly, I think in retrospect that it was a psychological issue - after not eating for some 4 months in total, it was hard to put food in my mouth and trust the swallowing process. The only way I could resume eating was to tape up my feeding tube and tell myself that I had no choice but to eat... I started with porridge and moist, soft foods and took it slowly from there. Shakes and smoothies played a big role in helping me get calories and nutrition too. Speak to your speech pathologist too for confirmation that the swallowing reflex is working but otherwise, I think it is about trusting that reflex to operate. I still have to "set up" each swallow and use liquid to get foods down, however every week gets a little easier. Good luck!

RE: eating

by augustus on Sat Jan 13, 2018 02:50 PM

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I developed a food aversion. Mine was purely psychological. It is called The Garcia effect. I read up on it and eventually got over it.  The smell of food and thought of eating made me nauseous like the chemo and radiation treatments did. I knew it was in my mind which made it a little frustrating. But like the claustraphobia with the mask, it's just another bump to get over.  The sensitivity to things that burn has greatly improved. In fact I am eating spicy foods more now just for the effect it has on my few working salivary glands. 

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