Head & neck cancer

A group for anyone affected by head and neck cancers, including in the mouth (oral cancer), throat , larynx (voice box), salivary glands, and middle ear, as well as sinus and nasopharyngeal cancer. Ask questions, share experiences and support each other.

First day of treatment tomorrow

Carol54
Posted by

Hello All

My partner is about to begin 6 weeks of radiotherapy and weekly chemotherapy with Cisplatin for base of tongue and tonsil cancer. Can anybody pass on any advice or tips about what to take to our first session tomorrow, and what to expect? He's already had teeth removed and a PEG feeding tube inserted. Many thanks

Margaret853
Posted by

Hi Carol54.

I had RT & Cisplatin in 2013 for base of tongue cancer.  I found there was a lot of hanging around on the first day as there were a few extra medical checks and paperwork.  So your partner may need plenty to keep him occupied.  If the chemo is going through a cannula that can restrict what can be done with that hand, so I used to find holding a paperback book or filling in crosswords awkward.  I used to listen to music, read on a kindle, or flick through magazines.

I used to take everything but the kitchen sink with me but perhaps best to check first what space is available!  I wore comfy clothes like track suit bottoms and I took my slippers.  I used to like my own cushion and blanket too, and my teddy bear.  I also had some framed family photos I used to put on the table beside me.  I find that helped cheer me up and reminded me of home.

Best wishes to you and your partner.  Let us all know how the first day goes.  xx

Carol54
Posted by

Many thanks Margaret. Some very helpful advice there. I'll keep you posted as we go along this unwanted journey!

Carol

chris2012
Posted by

Sound advice from Margaret , i never thougt about taking slippers:) Wishing you and your partner all the best for tomorrow and the following sessions , stay strong and focused . Take care

                                                                                                            Chris x

Carol54
Posted by

First day of chemotherapy and radiotherapy done and dusted. Joe's feeling a bit nauseous today and still constipated from the PEG insertion five days ago, but at least the treatment has started, and we're one day closer to it finishing! Many thanks for your helpful advice.

Carol 54

JosieFromGlastonbury

Hi Carol,

From here on in, tell the team about every single thing, including the constipation.  I found that it was caused by two things - co-codamol painkillers and Ondansetron, one of the anti-sickness drugs that I received with the chemo.  I waited for a week to see if the constipation would clear on its own, but it didn't and became more and more uncomfortable.  In the end, I basically filled up, and had no more room for food!

The H&N team can give laxatives for Joe to take immediately, and I thoroughly recommend doing this.  My team gave me some called Laxido, which didn't work at the normal starting dose of one or two sachets a day, nor at four a day, nor (for the first few days of it) at eight a day.  Eventually eight a day did the trick, but I could have made my life so much easier if I'd have known about it and dealt with it earlier.

Best wishes to you both,

Josie

Carol54
Posted by

Many thanks Josie

Great advice and much appreciated.

Carol

lreyn330
Posted by

I just want to wish you good luck in your treatment. Your brave. Prayers for you.

Carol54
Posted by

Many thanks for your kind thoughts. Sadly things didn't go well. Joe was hospitalised for 6 days following the Cisplatin chemotherapy with severe nausea, constipation and urine retention. He was discharged yesterday and continues to have daily radiotherapy although he's decided not to have any more chemotherapy at the moment. 

Carol

lesmac
Posted by

I'm really sorry to hear that. I had reconstructive surgery followed by chemoradiation and spent much of the seven weeks in hospital with nausea and sickness. It is an awful thing to go through in addition to the claustrophobia of the mask and just the rollercoaster of emotions. The hospital gave me a patch and also a pump to manage the nausea and it did help. I also had constipation caused by my RIG . I took a laxotol  I think...and the hospital also recommended stout! It's hard to find the strength to keep going and I completely understand  why your husband has stopped chemo for now. I will pray he begins to feel better and would encourage him to speak to his nursing team who I'm sure are fantastic. I wish you and your family every blessin. X

Carol54
Posted by

Many thanks for your kind words. I'm sorry to hear of your awful experience and I hope you are well on the way with your recovery.

Kind regards

Carol