If you are going through this treatment you WILL experience physical side effects, – it’s basically unavoidable.
What differs per person is the effect and the duration. Remember that not one person experiences the same side effects.
I have listed my experience of the side effects up, ranked from mildest to worst
- Limited hair loss
The radiation will in some degree remove the hair in the areas affected with radiation, for me it was the beard in the lower left parts of the chin and neck and a area in the back of the neck.
Especially in the back of the neck, it looks a little funny but will at some point grow again so it’s a very limited side effect.
Pain was surprisingly manageable, it was of course not pleasant, my neck burned and the gums swallowed especially after chemotherapy. But the worst pain I experienced was the 7 days after surgery, and there I did not take morphine.
The last weeks in the treatment I used morphine, but it had a limited effect on reducing pain, it somehow made it easier to swallow water and pills.
The worst was not the pain itself but the duration of the pain, very tiring.
- Dry mouth
Dry mouth occurred in my case after treatment and phlegm has subsided, it is annoying when you wake up with Sahara in your throat and it makes it hard to swallow dry food
You also need to take extra care of your teeth as the dry mouth increases risk of decaying teeth.
You will be much more tired and your sleep will be very infrequent,especially in the last weeks of the treatment.
- Lack of taste and loss of appetite
It should not be that bad, as your doctors are informing you about it, but when the full effects set in ,you suddenly realize that three meals a day is more than just eating food.
The huge social elements in cooking, eating and enjoying food with your family is gone, I could not drink my protein shakes side by side with their regular meals for weeks, due to it takes time to accept that a big part of the things I enjoy is good food and it was gone.
This was without doubt the worst part of the side effects and it was not even painful.
Contrary to most other side effects there is very little you can do about it.
I googled and tried everything from magical mouth wash to Xylimelts, none helped anything but on a very small scale.
When you wake up, have a bottle of soda, a glass of water mixed with baking soda and salt and flush your mouth multiple times.
Best practice was to lay your head high and have a bucket on each side you can spit in so you don’t need to change position in order to remove the phlegm.