Sunday, May 20, 2012


It's been almost a week since I talked to the doctor and my food intake is progressing slowly. Monday night after talking to the doctor, I tried three tablespoons of applesauce because I could crush my prescription medications in it, and kill two birds with one stone. It didn't work out too good - the applesauce irritated my throat to the point where I didn't try to eat anything on Tuesday. But on Wednesday, I tried a scrambled egg and that went down nicely. I upped it to two eggs on Thursday, with melted cheese on top, but could only eat a little more than half of what I cooked. Friday, I decided to try some cold cereal (Rice Chex) earlier in the day and a little fettuccine alfredo in the evening. Both worked well. Saturday, I ate cereal in the morning again AND had some pot roast, potato and gravy in the evening. All of this in small amounts, of course.

Some taste has returned, although I still have no appetite. The dietician called me on the 15th to recommend zinc lozenges to bring back taste buds. It seems to work a little bit; she said it would speed the regeneration. So far, so good. I feel the best I've felt since before my first surgery on January 16th.


  1. Hi Jim. My name is Jimmy and I am going thru a very similar process as you. I had major surgery to excise a squamous cell carcinoma on my tongue (including grafting a skin flap from my wrist onto my tongue) and am now just past the halfway point of radiation. I would love to hear that you have made more progress in the last four weeks! My only complaint is eating...everything tastes horrible and I have a constant bad taste in my mouth. I am drinking protein shakes and Glucerna every day to keep my weight up, and using gum to deal with the bad taste, but I am expecting things to get worse. I am contemplating the tube but would rather not go some people have told me it may be too late anyway. Just wondered if you had any advice about how or what to eat other than by tube. Thanks and keep fighting!

  2. Thank you for your email, and I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. I just read your comment. I've been feeling so normal lately that I haven't blogged or checked for comments. Believe it or not, yours is the only one I've gotten so far. Hopefully you are finished with radiation, or close to it. This is the toughest part, but it will gradually get better. I hope you decided to put the feeding tube in. I had it installed before radiation treatment, and still lost 40 pounds. The thing I liked about it was, I didn't have to eat things that tasted horrible - I just poured more cans into the tube. Swallowing was painful; I could avoid it completely with the tube. I haven't blogged about it yet, but I had the tube removed last week. I'm now two months past the last radiation treatment, and I am able to eat and taste food again. I do supplement my calories with Boost. Can't drink coffee or anything hot yet, and no alcohol either - both burn my esophagus. With my salivary glands dried up, it's difficult to eat a lot at a single meal. It's best to eat more frequently and in smaller quantities. The biggest annoyance for me has been the thick saliva in my esophagus. The quantity gradually decreases over time but day to day you can't see much difference. Once you're a week or 2 out of radiation, you can look back and determine you've improved. Now rather than try to swallow this thick mucous, I would spit it out in the bathroom sink, using handfuls of water to try and loosen it. At first, your throat is so sore you can't spit much, but after a few weeks that was the first thing I noticed was changing - I could spit better and get more of it out. (PS - try not to breathe it into your lungs). The other thing the feeding tube allowed me to do was put liquid hydrocodone directly into my stomach. Taking it orally burnt my throat, and it was impossible to swallow pills. The hydrocodone seemes to reduce the tightness in the esophagus and make things easier to swallow. It also seemed to relieve some of the phlegm by relieving the irritation in the throat.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. This is the toughest time for you right now, but it will get better. I promise you.

    Let's keep in touch.