I normally post on the Lung Cancer forum, but because my friend is undergoing radiation near his esophagus, I wanted to reach out and see if someone had any insight. Below is the post I just posted on the Lung Cancer board as well as the Cancer Pain board. Any insight is really and truly appreciated.
As some of you know my dear friend is undergoing radiation right now (as well as chemo) and he hasn't been able to eat for about a week or so at this point. The blandest/softest of foods hurt going down because of the radiation side effects and sometimes can't even stay down in his stomach.
Is there anything that you have tried that might work for him? We've done chicken soup (only works sometimes), rice (hurts going down), ice cream/shakes/protein drinks (all hurt), and pasta (hurts). Liquids can't be too hot, too cold; must be lukewarm and even water hurts going down.
He has lost around 25 lbs because he is unable to eat. Next step is a feeding tube which he doesn't want. Between the awful pain from the radiation and the horrendous acid reflux it's also causing, nothing (not even liquid morphine) is taking away his pain or allowing him to eat. He has also tried the super mouthwash to no avail. His radiation has been stopped because of what the side effects are doing to his skin (it's raw and coming off).
Any insight from those of you who have been there before is incredibly appreciated. It's so hard for me to watch him like this and not be able to do anything.
Isabella, wow, what a terrible time your friend is having. From you description, it sounds like a feeding tube may be the best short term solution as he has to have nutrients in order to continue to fight his cancer. My brother in law had big time mount issues when he was fighting melanoma of the tongue, especially after surgery while radiation was ongoing. For a while, he could only tolerate room temp liquids and so he subsisted on a diet of cream soups (low sodium), protein drinks and the like. The key for him was to have them as near body temp as he could so there was no temperature differential when he was eating. Another thing he tried, with some success, was eating baby food.
According to the National Cancer Institute's web site the strategies for eating while undergoing throat radiation include:
* Choose foods that are easy to swallow.
* Cut, blend, or shred foods to make them easier to eat.
* Eat moist, soft foods such as cooked cereals, mashed potatoes, and scrambled eggs.
* Wet and soften food with gravy, sauce, broth, yogurt, or other liquids.
* Drink cool drinks.
* Sip drinks through a straw.
* Eat foods that are cool or at room temperature.
I hope some of this is of some small help. Good luck to your friend, he is fortunate to have someone like you on his team.
When the world says, "Give up," Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."
Follicular lymphoma diagnosed August 08, Stage 1
2 cycles (20 treatments each) localized radiation to tumor sites. Remission confirmed July 09
Restaged to Stage 3 May 2010
Recurrence confirmed May 2010 - Watch and Wait commenced - multiple scans with minimal progression.
Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma diagnosed September 2012. Mohs surgical excision 09/2012. Successful, clean edges all around.
Significant progression detected in PET scan - December 2012
Biopsy to check for transformation 1/18/2013 - negative for that but full of lymphoma, of course.
July 2013 - Rescan due to progression shows one tumor (among many) very suspect for transformation, another biopsy 8/12/13.
August 2013 - No evidence of transformation, 6 courses of B+R commence 8/29 due to "extensive, systemic disease".
February 2014 - Diagnostic PET scan states: Negative PET scan. Previous noted hypermetabolic cervical, axillary, iliac and inguinal lymphadenopathy has resolved. Doctor confirms full remission.
June 2014 - started 2 year maintenance Rituxin, 1 infusion every 3 months. Doctor confirms lump under right arm are "suspicious" for recurrent disease, deferring scans for now.
February 2015 - Doc and I agreed to stop R maintenance as it is depressing my immune system too much.
June 2015 - Confirm that the beast is back by physical exam, will scan in August after esophageal issues settle down so we can get a clear view.