Advice and suggestions to help with eating and swallowing

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I'm a week after surgery to HPV tonsil cancer, done through TORS and lymph node dissection to neck.

Do any of you more familiar with this journey than me have any advice on ways to improve eating, drinking and swallowing?



  • Hiiii…

    I had the same as you, but as the cancer was in my lymph node also I had Radiotherapy which made eating even harder.

    im now 12 months since I finished my treatment and still struggle a bit with food, but it does get better I can assure you.

    if you can drink the meal supplement drinks take those I didn’t like them and lost over 5 stone, the nurses or doctors can give you pain relief and mouth washes to help don’t be afraid to ask for help, I was on lots of morphine.

    the best things are soups make your own with vegetables and blend them, soft eggs scrambled it’s very important you get your calories in I had a lot of Mac Donald’s milk shakes and ice creams just to get calories in me. Just keep going it will get better your doing well Thumbsup

  • Hi A

    Two weeks ago today I had the same surgery as yourself and have spent every day since on this feed harassing everyone that has been on this journey before us.

    For over a week I really struggled with food, fluids and trying to swallow medication was impossible. (I’d had Tors surgery the month before and it wasn’t as bad)

    i had great input from the guys on here and when reading other threads I suspected I may have thrush.  Long story short I do have and after a few days of medication it’s getting better. 

    Today I managed a fresh cream Chocolate Eclair.. it was not an attractive look as I still can’t open my jaw wide so most of it was up my nose and over my face but I managed it.

    so yeah, make sure there is no other infection, buy some ‘thin’ ice poles and know that every day is a wee bit better.

    keep in touch 


  • Thanks Allana...I'm laughing in a totally understanding way at the image of the fresh cream éclair entering your digestive system in s variety of ways...

    Thanks for your reply...and the laugh.


  • Hi, it is mainly down to time.  I assume they removed the tonsils??  If so then probably around day 10 you will start to feel much more comfortable.  I started on really soft things and was probably on shepherd's pie by around day 12.  Strangely buttered toast I found quite acceptable, mainly because the bread (being toasted) did not clag up in my mouth into balls too painful to swallow.

    I found taking paracetamol around 30 minutes before food helped with the pain of swallowing.

    Hopefully in a few days you will be wondering what all the fuss was about.

    See my profile for more details of my convoluted journey
  • Hi One tonsil removed...and some lymph nodes. Good advice re paracetamol. Thanks