Any advice for transition immediatley after surgery?

  • 4 replies
  • 8 subscribers
  • 886 views

Hi There,

My father-in-law underwent a full laryngectomy surgery 2 weeks ago.

He returned home a few days ago however happiness to be home quickly turned to frustration.

He and his wife are both in their 70's and learning how to comunicate again is really difficult for them.

Apart from constant remindings to write things down - Can anyone share any tips/their experiance of re-learning communication post-surgery.

Thanks

  • Good evening Mini-of-The-Ranch, sorry to hear there is a bit of frustration creeping in, this operation is difficult to recover from physically, mentally and emotionally, patience is of key importance and he should be help from his speech and language therapist very soon, if not then it's worth chasing them up, Unfortunately for me I could not use a voice valve (TEP)  which fits in the windpipe and in most cases gives a voice. I use pen and paper or an APP on my phone or tablet called Text to Speech, there are several to choose from, Lost Voice Guy from Britains Got Talent uses similar, As you say age can be an issue with technology etc and just learning to adapt to being a laryngectomee. If you click on my name it will take you to my profile where i have written a brief story of my journey with cancer. Also if you post in the Head and Neck group on here you should get more answers. Please feel free to ask any more questions or concerns and I will try to assist, as I know what it was like when I had mine done in 2010. Wishing your father-in-law all the best along with his family, take care.

                                                                           Chris x

    Its sometimes not easy but its worth it ! 

    Community Champion Badge

  • Hi,as Chris says the early days are difficult to get used to the changes, what you don’t mention is has it been confirmed that he won’t have a valve fitted or he can’t have a speech valve fitted later, as if they fitted a prothesis valve when operated you do have to wait before they allow you to speak so that everything has settled down and then a miraculous thing happens with the Speech Therapists-you speak and your astonished that everyone can understand you!

    As said if that isn’t possible there are many other ways of communicating and your relatives should speak with the therapists who will be his guardian angels for the rest of his life and will help with what ever problem or advice they need.

    Hope everything gets better for them

    Tony

    Community Champion Badge

    We will move mountains to help people with cancer live life as fully as they can.
    We'll do whatever it takes. For information, support or just someone to talk to,

    call 0808 808 00 00 or visit www.macmillan.org.uk

    Onwards and UpwardsWink Laryngectomy and OC survivor 

    Lead Volunteer for Hampshire MacMillan Buddy Service

  • Hi Chris and Tony,

    Thank you for your kind words and advice.

    A few more days in and things have settled a little as they've started to find a new rhythm.

    Frank has valves and a mic however isn't able to use them yet. The first speech therapy is 29th July.

    Although he's discovered he can still make audible sounds and can even say "No"..

    ..but the 29th really can't come soon enough as despite tensions easing..he's said he regrets having the op.

    Radiotherapy was offered but due to the positioning of the tumor they couldn't guarantee it would be successful and would mean full surgery anyway.

    I'm really hoping that the 1st session replaces the regret with hope x 

    Whilst he's not tech savvy - hasn't ever had a mobile - they have an ipad which is used for video calls.

    So I'm going to try out a text to speech app with them. Thanks Chris for that as I'd never have thought of it!

    I'll let you know how we fare

  • Glad to hear things are getting better little confused by valve and mic as when you have the valve fitted a mic isn’t needed, for the valve to work he will be taught how to use it in conjunction with the HME and baseplate 

    i rejected RT after the op and was advised prior not to have it due to the damage it does and if you do need the Laryngectomy after RT the damage can be hard to repair 

    keep in touch and hope all goes well, if he has a prosthetic valve he will speak like normal and usually with the same sounding voice except the sound will be via his food pipe and out of the mouth as if normal 

    There are YouTube videos of the way it works just Google Laryngectomy only so you can see don’t read other information! another good source is the larygectomee club

    Tony

    Community Champion Badge

    We will move mountains to help people with cancer live life as fully as they can.
    We'll do whatever it takes. For information, support or just someone to talk to,

    call 0808 808 00 00 or visit www.macmillan.org.uk

    Onwards and UpwardsWink Laryngectomy and OC survivor 

    Lead Volunteer for Hampshire MacMillan Buddy Service