How long after radiation did it take to get your voice back?
I finished 29 rounds of radiation to the larynx for HPV related papillary squamous cell cancer to the right false cord 3 weeks ago. My voice went away during the last week of treatment and has not returned. My Dr. Scoped me 2 weeks post treatment and said everything is extremely swollen. He’s hoping it will go away and my voice will return, but I’m concerned. Has anyone else experienced prolonged hoarseness after radiation but eventually had their voice return?
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@jen75, I have written extensively about my experiences undergoing radiation for cancer of the Pyriform Sinus. That type of cancer is located around the vocal cords. My voice and ability to eat/drink left me for about one year. I did two swallow studies six months apart. The second study was done after I did throat and tongue exercises daily, as directed by a speech therapist. Although I now have a tracheostomy due to vocal cord paralysis, my voice is back, and thank God, I can eat and drink. The exercises seemed useless but were very beneficial. Also, check into "red-light" therapy. A small wand runs about $20.00. Best of wishes to you.
Hello Jen75 and welcome to our group. I had radiation to the tonsil area rather than directly to the vocal cords so I’m not really someone to respond to your exact treatment although I would venture to say that someone who reads this feed will pop in soon.
I had voice issues for perhaps two years and visited a speech pathologist in the interim who said it takes time to fully heal.
You have had no other issues? Are you handling your recovery otherwise okay?
Hello William, thank you for the warm welcome and response.
I feel like my recovery has gone pretty well other than the voice issues. The burn in my neck is 99% gone and pain wise, I have very little. I’m able to eat most foods without issue. It’s just the voice. The main reason I chose radiation over surgery was for voice conservation. So it’s scary and disheartening. I’m not able to go back to work because I need my voice in my line of work, so it’s something I think about every day. I know it’s early and I need to be patient. Im sure speech pathology would be an option if it goes on much longer. My Dr is keeping a close eye on it. I’m grateful I found this support group. Reading other people’s stories makes me feel like I’m not alone.
Hello Thomason. Thank you for your response and advice. My biggest fear is vocal cord paralysis and a tracheostomy . I haven’t done too much research on it because it freaks me out and I don’t want to go down that road yet. But it sounds like it has worked well for you, so that helps ease my mind if that has to be a consideration in the future I will definitely look into the red light wand as well.
@jen75, do not worry about vocal cord (VC) paralysis. There are many, many people that underwent radiation and never had their VCs paralyze. I had covid during radiation, then again after being vaccinated. It was after the second bout with covid that the VCs paralyzed. So, whether it was radiation, covid, or a combination of both…is anyone's guess. Having a trach is not that bad, especially after having a huge amount of mucus trapped behind the VCs for over one year. It was the "year from hell." The doctors did not know why I kept losing my breath and would be up night after night trying to get the superglue consistency mucus out of my throat/lungs. The trapped mucus created unhealthy conditions requiring several hospitalizations with IV antibiotics. You can understand why having the trach is a blessing. All I do is pop it out, clean it out, pop it back in, and I'm good to go! Just have patience and you will barely remember the time you lost your voice. Maybe it is just me trying to forget, but I honestly have a hard time remembering having no voice! The mind can do miraculous things to protect us! If you want to be bored (!), just go to my profile and look at comments. I go on and on and on! Take care.
I second the opinion where it is good to have a forum where you don't feel alone.
@jen75, it's not easy being a patient patient. How is recovery going? Is your voice getting stronger? Did you consult a speech pathologist?
My voice is getting a little better. I did see the otolaryngology voice specialist. It appears I have developed a glottic web. They think it’s from scar tissue from previous laser surgeries for dysplasia. It is resolving a little on its own. We’ll give it some time to stabilize and if necessary release the left anterior cord as much as possible since it’s the least scarred. Hopefully will help with better voice quality and less strain. Still being patient, but it’s hard some days!!!