Eating after radiation

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Eating after radiation

by Bkwrm on Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:22 PM

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It has been three weeks since my last chemo and radiation treatment. My mouth sores are pretty much gone except for a small spot under my tongue. My taste buds are gone, cannot taste salt or sweet and everything tastes like tofu (which I hate). My husband keeps telling me to just eat anyways. It is not fun to eat when you can't taste plus less saliva makes it harder to swallow. What did you guys do? Did you eat anyways or was there something you where able to eat easier? I have been living on Boost and once in awhile Cream of Wheat.

Clare

RE: Eating after radiation

by TIG2016 on Mon Mar 19, 2018 03:32 AM

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It is gonna be a while until you start tasting again.  Yes keep eating and swallowing so when your taste starts to return you can start to enjoy it more and more.  This is a long long haul so continue to load up on what you need to heal and keep your weight up.

God Bless

TIG

RE: Eating after radiation

by Sdurnell on Mon Mar 19, 2018 04:23 AM

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Clare,

I suggest that you experiment with different foods to see which are more tolerable.  Try varying temperatures and textures as well, because some may be easier to stand than others.  I found that applesauce and ginger ale tasted OK even when my taste buds didn't care for anything much else.

Along with no taste, the lack of saliva is a big problem.  Once you get to the point where foods don't taste terrible, only have no taste at all, it's better.  In order to maintain your weight, or to gain some if you are like I was, try to add calories wherever you can.  And as much protein as you can get down will help with healing.  Puddings and jello with fruit in it can be easily swallowed too.

Soft scrambled eggs are good, and I highly recommend smoothies. You can pack them with both calories and protein.  I made mine out of plain Greek yogurt (highest protein), fruit, berries, spinach, and nuts that i ground up in my blender (or use peanut butter).  After my taste buds started to get better it was a great-tasting breakfast that stuck with me.  

You can also add sour cream, cheese, and cottage cheese to lots of foods to boost their calories and protein.  Add them to soups and eggs and other easy-to-eat foods.  If chunky soups are too difficult to eat, puree them.  You can also puree other foods by adding liquid--like broth, or milk, or tomato sauce.  I really liked potato salad from the blender, and I could eat that as fast as everyone else!

One last thing that many recommend is to visit a buffet that offers many differnt foods periodically.  (We have Golden Corral.)  You can take small samples of lots of things, finding out what you can tolerate at each step of your recovery, without having to fix entire meals and then reject them.

You should just about now be on the road to feeling better.  Best of luck to you as you recover from this brutal treatment.  

Susan

RE: Eating after radiation

by jmcdevit on Wed Mar 21, 2018 03:38 PM

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Hi Clare,

Continue to experiment.  Protein will help your healing process.  I survived on soups, creamy pasta and McDonalds milkshakes.  Continue to do your swallowing exercises religiously.  Get the Gatorade powder and mix it to your consistency.  This lubricates your throat and helps the saliva issue.  You can search my username to see my other posts.  One year away from my surgeries and treatments.  NED! Lingering side effect but I am feeling better each month. 

RE: Eating after radiation

by hisprincesstoo on Wed Apr 04, 2018 03:56 AM

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I also found a high fat diet helped.  the extra lubrication helped it to go down.  

I had 4 different problems actually, low saliva, a tender throat (very sensitive to most foods), trouble chewing (sore teeth, jaw and cramping), and a throat as it turns out too big so stuff would get stuck on the side of my throat.   It took a while to get all of these things balanced out.  My first post treatment 'meals' was my feeding tube formula mixed with ensure to sweeten it.  I was surprised what worked for me, but not others, and visa versa.  bacon was one of my first solid food (chewed but not swallowed, except for the pure fatty part).  

I'm now 3 years out n it still hurts to eat and if difficult.  If I don't concentrate on my swallowing still, I choke on it.  I rarely eat out, and then only in the presence of ppl what know what is going on.  lol  they don't even break their eating anymore for me, cause they know I'll eventually work it out.  causing much curiosity for the neighboring tables, of course.  ;)

RE: Eating after radiation

by Sdurnell on Wed Apr 04, 2018 05:15 AM

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Princess,

The high fat can also help with extra calories, which a lot of us need to regain weight we lost during treatment and from being on feeding tubes. 

I don't know if it would help, but a lot of restaurants have blenders and I sometimes asked them to puree soups and such for me to make them go down easier and quicker.  The one thing I didn't like about eating out, after I started eating by mouth again, was that I was so slow.  I would usually not order very much because it just took me too long to eat.  

Ice cream and pie were good things to get down fairly quickly too.  And then I could eat something when I got home.

Have you explored the possibility of having a throat dilation?

Susan

RE: Eating after radiation

by hisprincesstoo on Wed Apr 04, 2018 06:43 AM

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yeah, that was  when they discovered how big my throat is now. . . ;)  Most soups are tomato bassed, or is too spicey neither of which I can eat.  it irritates my throat still.  One other thing on this is if I'm choking the hymlec thingy would kill me.  I can also relate to taking so long to eat also.  I just put a bit on my plate and that usually takes me the same time to eat as the rest.

My main diet is still bland tacos with loads of iceberg lettuce.  lol plus ice cream, no fat spared.  I'm slowly gaining weight, so I do need to do a bit of adjusting again. . . :(  lol  less ice cream!!!  plus, kinda getting tired of ice cream anyway.  My dr is still happy I'm gaining.

Just had my 6 month throat scope and all still looks good.  Hope all is going well with you also susan, I haven't been on much lately. . . time flies when you havin fun, right?

RE: Eating after radiation

by augustus on Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:16 AM

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You've come a long way, Princess. I was in a similar spot where you are at 6 months. It gets a little better with each passing month. I am 3.5 years out and last night I had one of my best meals post treatment. Semi-spicy Mexican food that I would not have had a chance of eating 3 years ago.  My wife still cooks a lot of casseroles, but it is getting better. I have found that a little spicy foods seems to stimulate what salivary glands that are still lurking back there. I used to avoid restaraunts due to how slow I would eat and the worry about choking. I found I could still breathe through my nose and to slow down with smaller bites. Today, I seldom have food get "stuck" where I almost panic. It has gotten a whole lot better. 

RE: Eating after radiation

by Sdurnell on Fri Apr 06, 2018 03:26 AM

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Princess,

Look for cream soups, and those based on chicken broth.  Potato soup and clam chowder are wonderful, and all of them can be beefed up fat and calorie and protein wise with the addition of sour cream, or grated cheese (my favorite).  Any of them that have chunks that are too big can be pureed.

I have found some grated cheese that has garlic in it;  can you stand that?  It's wonderful, made by a company called Crystal Farms.

I guess I was lucky in a way because I could only eat by tube during most of the time my taste buds were extremely messed up.  By the time I was eating by mouth again I couldn't taste anything, but that is miles better than the horrid tastes at first.

I'm doing just fine.  Just had another dilation, but the one before lasted a record 13 months.  I will always have to be careful about what and how I eat, but that's OK.  Small bites, nothing hard to chew (dentures) or spicy.

Milk shakes are good!

Take care--you are coming along pretty well I think.

Susan

RE: Eating after radiation

by Shirleyperez on Tue Apr 10, 2018 06:58 PM

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I’m just 3 wks out of treatment too. I have lived on boost and egg drop soup. I can taste chicken soup. Taste is slowly coming back, but having difficulty swallowing. This is my second time around and was having trouble eating before but if I could go back to where I was I won’t complain. I had BOT 33 years ago and now in the pharynx. So I’m pretty sure it will be worse than last time. I’m from fla.
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