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Dwayne L Hubbard, Latifah, Pogi87, StephenS
Total Likes: 7
Original Post (Thread Starter)
#200780 04/18/2021 10:50 AM
by StephenS
Although I’m happy to be alive 17 years after my initial diagnosis of oral cancer, I have experienced a host of long term side effects from treatment. Throughout these years I’ve been able to “get over” many insecurities and have learnt to cope with the others. What I’m finding most embarrassing —I cannot speak without spewing saliva everywhere. I experienced this problem prior to having all my teeth extracted however it’s severity has greatly increased since then. People move away from me when I am trying to engage in conversation, even my doctors. I can clean my tablet and phone screens, yet after a very short time using the phone on speaker, I can see a filthy, spot covered screen; and even my tablet. I don’t usually speak at my tablet, so I’m figuring the spray comes out even when just exhaling. Has anyone else experienced this, and if so please tell me how you handle this. Thanks.
Liked Replies
by msweet2995
Hi Stephen, its been a long time since I have been on line here, but yes I have the same thing and I have only been out of radiation for the past 12 years, I am kind of happy that I always wear a mask now due to spitting and chipping teeth. I usually just carry a napkin or cloth one, not sure but I can ask the oncologist that I am seeing on Monday take care, Michele
2 members like this
by AnitaFrances
Hi, StephenS,

My husband is almost 14 years out from diagnosis and treatment. He has difficulty with drooling---late effects of radiation and surgeries. He has been working with a speech pathologist who has given him exercises to help improve his swallowing. We're hoping this will also help him control the flow of saliva. The SP said that within the last 5 to 6 years, there has been more emphasis on working with H&N cancer patients right after treatment. The only time we saw a SP was after my husband had his trach removed, kind of a "one and done".

Maybe a SP can help you, too. We're hopeful that he can get some relief, however it has been a long time since diagnosis. We'll have to see how this plays out. Best of luck to you!
1 member likes this
by steve l
steve l
Hi Steve, yes I get it. ..........I drool , especially when I sleep. Wet around me when I gee up. Also, when I fly and take a nap, It looks pretty bad! But so what, as you said...happy to be alive. My personal experience when I spit of blow food out is that most folks appreciate that I am still trying to live As the saying goes...the new normal

Good luck, Steve
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by Vicky1
My dad had Stage IV cancer twice, and had two mandiblectomies, chemo, radiation and a wide mouth resection. Right after his second surgery, he had a lot of drooling because his mouth was so swollen it wouldn't close. He has some nerve damage and they removed his gums on one side, so he has a hard time containing the spit. He said when he lays down, he has dry mouth, but when he's sitting up, he has more than enough drool.

We met with a speech therapist shortly after the second surgery. She said sometimes people will get injections into their lips to help with some rigidity, or to make the sides even, or to help the lips seal. She said they also make little tablets you put in your mouth to dry up the saliva that's in there. She taught him some exercises to do several times a day to help with making certain sounds and closing his mouth. In the end, three years later, dad didn't do anything about it, but I know it bothers him. He wears a mask out in public (thanks to the pandemic) and that has helped a lot with his embarrassment. He also cleans his computer screen all the time, and doesn't eat in public if he can help it. Sorry I don't have much helpful information. I wish you luck! You're not alone. For what it's worth, no one else in my family is embarrassed that my dad spits. We're so glad he's still here.
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by StephenS
Hello and thanks for sharing your experiences. I would also like to apologize for not replying to your post earlier.I have no excuse. Sometimes I become so enveloped by the day to day responsibilities of my life; sometimes I become so exhausted from caring for my Mom who’s an octogenarian; sometimes I succumb to depression and my way of coping is withdrawing.

I truly appreciate you taking the time to post some encouraging words. It is reassuring to know that I’m not the only person who has been suffering through this issue.

I hope you are well and wish only the best for you. Thanks again.
1 member likes this
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