+ Reply
Log in or Register to participate in these discussions
overcoming radiation fatigue and loss of taste
SUPERDAVE
3 Posts

ant tips on energy recovery and loss of taste recovery after neck and throat radiation

6 Replies
Runner Girl
3153 Posts

@SUPERDAVE
Perhaps @law1 might be able to assist. She has recovered from tongue cancer.

law1
759 Posts

@SUPERDAVE …..welcome to this amazingly supportive and informative website. I am glad to have been tagged by @Runner Girl as she is very familiar with fighting cancer, caregiving, and she is aware that I successfully kicked cancer of the tongue and right tonsil to the curb.

I had 6 weeks of radiation (36 rounds) to the head and neck areas and you and I are similar in age. I recovered my life, but had loss of taste, loss of smell, lacked saliva, and still feel fatigued after 4 years. I found that learning to eat and chew was challenging but the loss of the senses were very odd. There is a bit of sensation which may return yet my taste, smell of foods or any aromas, are negligible. The human brain contributes memory of taste so that is definitely an important thing to remember. Also, choosing foods with various textures and colours help mentally. For some of my tongue/tonsil cancer peers, they had no loss of either taste nor smell…nor saliva issues at all. Because each of us is unique with recovery issues, you may find it helpful to look for tips on this site…search Forums, in the above yellow bar, and then Types of Cancer, followed by Head and Neck. There are often stories by folks who relate to your type of cancer recovery issues. Many report taste and smell begin to return after 1 - 6 months. Additionally, you may consider contacting a Nutritionist and a Counsellor at your Cancer Centre as their support and guidance often assist one in navigating their way thru this ‘New Normal’. And fatigue may be an intermittent visitor as well…..I blame it on the after affects of radiation to the Head and Neck regions. Medical teams are not yet sure why fatigue is prevalent after radiation treatment of cancer survivors.

I found that citrus fruits, salt, sweet, and strong cheeses or garlic often heighten sensations of the taste buds.. This was learned in a support group I attended at my Cancer Centre in Victoria, BC.

I commend your search for answers and invite you to post your recovery issues and info you discover on reputable websites such as Mayo Clinic, Canadian Cancer Society, Princess Margaret Hospital Centre, and your individual Medical Team. Hang in there.

@SUPERDAVE

Hello - I didn't have head and neck radiation, but I did have almost 6 weeks of radiation for breast cancer and my only tips are rest when you are tired. I found it extremely fatiguing and the only thing I could do is listen to my body. Do things when I had the energy and rest when I didn't. I also found that the fatigue was cumulative and got worse for the first couple of weeks after finishing before I started to feel a little better. But all in, after surgery, chemo and radiation, for me it felt like a full year before my pre- cancer energy was back. But I definitely saw improvement all the time throughout that year.

When did you finish radiation?

Lianne

dayone
16 Posts

@SUPERDAVE
Hi. I had neck and throat radiation plus chemo a year and a half ago. The worst of the changes in taste lasted 6-8 months when everything tasted like s$&@. The taste slowly returned for me. I still don’t like the taste of certain overly sweet things like fruit Even now.

when everything tasted so bad I ate foods I normally didn’t like like kale. For some reason those things went down better. Mainly I didn’t have an expectation that the food would taste good.

just keep trying different food combos and keep eating. Things will get better. For some reason I liked the Costco onion and seed salad topping mix. I put it on everything including my oatmeal. I know it sound gross but I was able to eat the oatmeal

good luck.

dayone
16 Posts

@SUPERDAVE about the energy part. I am still struggling with this and nerve pain in my face and ear. I am seeing a cancer rehab physio and she did a functional assessment for me and discovered that I have vestibular damage and my balance has been effected and this is contributing to the fatigue.

it takes time to heal and I have heard that for some it can take a year and a half to two years to get back to pre cancer energy level Rest and let your body heal.

SUPERDAVE
3 Posts

@SUPERDAVE
Thank you so much for your input and advice. I am responding for my husband Dave. I realize that each person is different and hopefully things will turn around and progress favorably soon .

+ Reply