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#148279 - 04/14/12 09:50 PM Football Tongue  
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 596
Kerri Offline
"Above & Beyond" Member (500+ posts)
Kerri  Offline
"Above & Beyond" Member (500+ posts)

Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 596
I know these are small things, but I am in the midst of an annoying case of "football tongue"...where your tongue, although smaller than its original size, feels like it's the size of a football...and about the same leathery texture, too. I wouldn't exactly call it painful, but damn uncomfortable and annoying.

I just can't identify what causes it with me. My speech turns into mush, or as I describe it, I feel like I sound like a deaf person speaking. The thing is that I only work part time and if my tongue is this bad over the past 2 days without work, I can't imagine what it will be like at the end of my work shift tomorrow. I am constantly talking and having to raise my voice for all of the patients that are very hard of hearing. I have found that they are the ones who have a lot of difficultly understanding me. They'll often say, "I can hear you, but I can't understand you.". It must be something about pitch or tone, because I am speaking as loudly as I can.

I guess I am just wondering if anyone has any remedies for football tongue and/or can you identify anything in particular that causes it. For me, I know that too much talking does it, but that's not always the case. I have had a particularly stressful week with family death, FIL's illness, kids' illness...but again, that's not always the case and I still get it. I'm wondering if it's hormonal, food/drink triggers, etc.

Any insight or idea would be very welcome. If I just have to suck it up and deal with it, that's fine. I'm just a bit grumpy and I'm letting it bother me more than I should!


37 y/o fem at Dx (23 wks preg @ dx on 3/16/11)
SCC L oral tongue (no risk factors)
L partial gloss/MND 3/28/11 @ 25 wks preg
T1-2N0M0; no rads/chemo
Tonsillectomy on 8/6/12 +SCC L tonsil T2-3N1M0 (HPV-)
Treated with 35 rads/7 carbo & taxol (Rx ended 10/31/12), but many hospitalizations d/t complications from rx.
Various scans since rx ended are NED!
Part of genetic study for rare cancers @ MGH.
44 years old now...I wasn't sure I would make it! Hoping for 40 more!
#148293 - 04/15/12 01:31 AM Re: Football Tongue [Re: Kerri]  
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 5,260
Cheryld Offline
"OCF Canuck"
Cheryld  Offline
"OCF Canuck"
Patient Advocate (old timer, 2000 posts)

Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 5,260
Toronto canada
Someone says dairy causes it?! I have a case of it too - I find the lymphatic massage helps, and activity.l. I know that sounds strange, maybe walking etc.. Gets your circulation moving so the swelling goes down, mine was swollen til around 2 today, I'd walked my dog In the morning then i visited my dad, and came home cooked and cleaned all afternoon (we're renovating this is the story of my life, but by dinner it had it had deflated to Nomal. Temperature also seems to affect it... Warmth helps, cold causes it to stiffen. smile

Cheryl : Irritation - 2004 BX: 6/2008 : Inflam. BX: 12/10, DX: 12/10 : SCC - LS tongue well dif. T2N1M0. 2/11 hemigloss + recon. : PND - 40 nodes - 39 clear. 3/11 - 5/11 IMRT 33 + cis x2, PEG 3/28/11 - 5/19/11 3 head, 2 chest scans - clear(fingers crossed) HPV-, No smoke, drink, or drugs, Vegan
#148423 - 04/17/12 06:10 PM Re: Football Tongue [Re: Cheryld]  
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 493
zengalib Offline
Platinum Member (300+ posts)
zengalib  Offline
Platinum Member (300+ posts)

Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 493
NW Ohio
Oh, wow, I get that, too. I have mentioned it to every one of my doctors, and they basically have no clue as to why this happens. Sometimes it happens when I am eating, but other times there is no rhyme or reason to it. My ENT and my MO both thought it sounded almost like an allergy, but we couldn't pinpoint anything. Mine doesn't last more than a couple of minutes, but when it does, I can barely talk. The cold air seems to make it happen, as does more talking than usual, but other times those things don't bother it at all. Like you said, it is more annoying than painful, and often embarrassing.

Female, nonsmoker, 70, diag. 5/09 after tongue biopsy: stage IV. Left hemi-gloss. and left selec. neck disec. 30 lymph nodes removed May 20. Over 7 weeks daily rads. with three chemo. PEG removed 12/4/09 Am eating mostly soft foods. Back to work 11/09 Retired 4/1/11. 7 clear scans! Port out 9/11. 2/13. It's back: base of tongue, very invasive
surgery involving lifestyle changes. 2/14: Now speaking w/Passey-Muir valve. Considering a swallow study. Grateful to be alive.
#148430 - 04/17/12 08:21 PM Re: Football Tongue [Re: zengalib]  
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 290
AnneO Offline
Gold Member (200+ posts)
AnneO  Offline
Gold Member (200+ posts)

Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 290
Oh, how interesting. Yes, I have that. I thought I would eat some ice cream this afternoon, trying to bulk up a little and I don't seem to be able to do that easily. Anyway, I noticed that my tongue reacted like before but maybe not quite as bad.

I guess I thought it was the cold rather than the dairy. I remember last summer eating some ice cream and thinking that my tongue was now dead as it was frozen and immobile afterwards. I have not eaten much ice cream since. Today it was definitely not quite as deadened.

Football tongue, yes that could describe it!

SCC tongue 9/2010, excised w/clear margins:8 X 4 mm, 1 mm deep
Neck Met, 10/2010, 1 cm lymph node; 12/21/'10: Neck Diss 30 nodes, 29 clear, micro ECE node, part tongue gloss, no residual scc
IMRT & 6 cisplatin 1/20/11-2/28/11 at MDA
GIST tumor sarcoma, removed 9/2011, no chemo needed
Clear on both counts as of February, 2018

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