Post-surgey cancer of the tongue. Will I ever be able to eat?

Hello everyone. I'm 33 years old and was diagnosed with oral cancer of the tongue 2 months ago. After scans it became apparent that the tumour had spread across the midline of my tongue, meaning that to remove it with clear margins they would have to remove both halves. So in august I had surgery to remove all of the tongue from my mouth. They constructed a flap with muscle and skin from my thigh and I have to undergo radio and chemo therapy stating in October.

Despite having no real tongue to speak of my speech isn't too bad (people can understand what I'm saying- apart from certain sounds like D, G, L, N, T, th etc) but surprisingly I get by fairly well.

The issue that's really getting me down is eating. I have a stomach tube, but I can manage (and taste!) liquids. Although I struggle with anything a bit thicker (mash potato for example) as I just can't move food from the front of my mouth to the back.

I suppose my question is- will this ever get better? Is there anyone else who has had as much of their tongue removed as me that can manage more than just liquid? If I have to rely on the feeding tube for life as a "top-up" then I can live with that, but it gets me down to think I might never eat again.

Any in-put much appreciated.

Original Post

Hi Heather,

I have only just joined this group so only just read your story.

I had cancer of the tongue and was diagnosed in 2014 and I was 43.

Cut a long story short and in 2016 I had surgery to completely remove my tongue and voice box.

I also had the reconstructive surgery in my mouth and had the peg tube.

I hope this helps you,

I can swallow very soft food,it needs to be mashed or blended to around the consistency of baby food.

I use plenty of liquid to help get food down,it can be tricky and stuff does get lodged from time to time.

I found a summer plastic picnic spoon in the pound shop (came in a pack of 6 spoons forks and knives for picnics) 

The spoon itself is quite long and not as wide as a regular spoon,I use this to get food to the back of my mouth and with a bit of persistence I can move food around to help it on its way.

I had the peg removed around 8 to 12 months after surgery.

I would like to say that yes it is tricky,yes some days a much worse than others but it does get better.

I hope this helps you?



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