Diary of Radiation Symptoms

I had IMRT radiation to the head and neck (mainly the right side) for 30 sessions, a total of 66Gy of radiation.  I found that the radiation symptoms changed quickly, so I hope by documenting them here, it will help others who may be going through something similar.


Day 1 - Radiation #1

  • muscle tightness

Day 2 - Radiation #2:

  • muscle tightness
  • eyes very tired (like after being in sun)

Day 3 -

  • no soreness in jaw muscles
  • no more fatigue like Day 2

Day 4 -

  • no soreness or fatigue
  • blister on left lower jaw behind molar, appear during dinner

Day 5 - Radiation #3:

  • blister on left cheek during lunch, grew larger during dinner (put aloe patch on blister)

Day 6 - Radiation #4:

  • blister popped overnight
  • roof of mouth itchy, then blister formed on roof of mouth on the right side (swished salt water, then put aloe patch on blister) 
  • **Note: started salt and baking soda mouth rinse

Day 7 - Radiation #5:

  • blister on roof of mouth gone in morning/ mouth feels drier and stickier
  • **Note: started prescription mouthwash - Nystatin and Diphenhydramine, alternate with salt and baking soda mouth rinse

Day 8 - Radiation #6:

  • no mouth sore problems
  • breakfast and lunch hard to eat (mouth sticky), after radiation took 2 cups of water, 1 teaspoon aloe, dinner was easier to eat
  • **Note: started taking 1 teaspoon aloe after radiation from now onwards

Day 9 - Radiation #7:

  • no mouthsores or fatigue

Day 10- 

  • no mouthsores or fatigue
  • bleeding right upper gums when dental floss

Day 11-

  • blister on left lower back of mouth (feel better after prescription mouthwash and 2 doses of Lysine)

Day 12- Radiation #8:

  • right tongue feels raw after breakfast, got worse during dinner and at night - right tongue and gums feel inflammed even with constant mouth rinsing
  • **Note: used straw for liquid diet

Day 13- Radiation #9:

  • right tongue, cheek and gums feel inflammed
  • white spot on right lower back of gums and cheek
  • hard to eat without pain
  • **Note: resident recommend painkiller, I didn't take.

Day 14- Radiation #10:

  • mouthsores on right cheek, right lower back gums and right tongue
  • **Note: Radiation oncologist recommends painkiller and numbing rinse/gel
  • **Note: started to put dental rolls between cheek and teeth during radiation

Day 15- Radiation #11:

  • mouthsores on right cheek, right lower back gums and right tongue
  • **Note: hard to eat even pureed food

Day 16- Radiation #12:

  • mouthsores on right cheek, right lower back gums and right tongue
  • some ache pain inside ear
  • nose bleed a bit, right nostril more inflammed than left
  • **Note: hard to eat pureed food, soy milk+almond butter+coconut oil liquid OK.

Day 17-

  • mouthsores some skin peeling away
  • no ache or pain in ears/ no nose bleed (nose wash 3x)
  • **Note: liquid diet OK, drank coconut juice and flesh very fast!

Day 18-

  • mouthsores on right tongue, cheek and gums
  • no bruised feeling behind ear
  • no nose bleed

Day 19- Radiation #13:

  • mouthsores on right tongue, cheek and gums
  • gums feel sore
  • clump of hair fell off after radiation on the right
  • **Note: did nose wash 4x

Day 20- Radiation #14:

  • mouthsores on right tongue, cheek and gums
  • **Note: radiation oncologist said can add more dental rolls

Day 21-Radiation #15:

  • **Note: 2 rolls between tongue and teeth, 1 roll between teeth and cheek (this is on both sides)
  • mouthsores almost all gone and the area doesn't hurt!
  • tongue less swollen after radiation
  • tip of tongue feels a bit numb
Day 22-Radiation #16
  • nose bled in morning
  • when yawn, the left jaw doesn't creak but the roof of mouth and throat are sore
  • right side of tongue doesn't hurt with fluoride treatment even though a big mouthsore is still there
  • tongue is not swollen
  • saliva less thick
  • tip of tongue still a bit numb
  • **cannot taste salty or sweet
Day 23-Radiation #17
  • could eat some soft solids
  • right side skin very red even with the proper creams
  • when yawn, roof of mouth and throat is sore but left jaw doesn't crack
  • tongue does not sting with fluoride treatment
  • some blood from nose wash 

Day 24-


  • right side skin a bit red/ blood from left nostril


Day 25-


  • right tongue, roof of mouth and gums sting with fluoride treatment
  • not much blood from left nostril
  • blood from right upper molar gums when dental floss


Day 26-Radiation #18


  • some bleeding from left nostril
  • tongue felt swollen after radiation


Day 27-Radiation #19


  • right tongue mouthsore hurts a bit
  • gagged when took supplement (Dr. said may be due to thicker saliva)


Day 28-Radiation #20


  • yawning still hurts (feel sore throat)


Day 29-Radiation #21


  • gagged in middle of drink


Day 30-Radiation #22


Day 31-


  • jaw hard to open
  • talking with minimal jaw opening


Day 32-


  • jaw hard to open
  • throat dry
  • large white patch at roof of mouth


Day 33-Radiation #23


  • hurt when swallow
  • feel a lump in throat on the right side
  • throat gets irritated more easily, leads to hard coughing
  • hard to take meals through straw (better with spoon)


Day 34-Radiation #24


  • more raw skin on neck where radiation is hitting the original surgical wound, doesn't hurt though (**Dr. said better to have let her know the day it happened)
  • eating better, can swallow better (did more mouth stretching exercises)


Day 35-Radiation #25


  • jaw more tight
  • raw area on neck increased, but is dry
  • **Note: started glutamine rinse and swallow


Day 36-Radiation #26


  • face feels hot after radiation
  • hard to swallow and tongue sensitive to particles and slightly to raw banana
  • feel more tired
  • **Note: Dr. said dry wound is good, continue with Domboro


Day 37-Radiation #27


  • very tired after radiation
  • tongue and cheek pain and headache (napped 2hrs)
  • cheek feels very warm/ thick liquids hard to swallow (took all clear liquids for dinner: beef broth, miso, whey powder)


Day 38-


  • right inner gums (upper and lower) hurt even with very neutral foods
  • **Note: took 7mL Tylenol+Codeine at night


Day 39-


  • top of tongue hurts, also on the right side
  • **Note: took Tylenol+Codeine before meals, twice today


Day 40-Radiation #28


  • notice white dots on tongue (took 1 Clotrim tablet - anti-fungal)
  • some blood in saliva (from throat?)
  • back of mouth and throat sting with drink
  • **Note: took 5mL Lortab twice today before meals


Day 41-Radiation #29


  • blood in saliva from back of throat (Dr. said mucus lining there is very thin)
  • still have white dots on tongue (took fungicide tablet)
  • felt "water sounds" in ear (Dr. said keep ear dry, see some irritation in ear but no water in middle or inner ear)
  • **Note: took Lortab once before lunch


Day 42-Radiation #30 - END of RADIATION!!!!


  • still have white dots on tongue, but smaller (took fungicide once)


Day 43-


  • still have blood from throat
  • less white dots on tongue (took fungicide once)
  • tongue looks scalloped (ie-swollen)


Day 44-


  • some coughing from trachea
  • tongue is scalloped
  • 2-3 white dots on right side, under tongue in the front


Day 45-


  • tongue hurts
  • throat feeling more moist


Day 46-


  • have to take single gulps
  • tongue hurts (took 1 dose Lortab)
  • ate more


Day 47-


  • much of radiation burn dead skin came off
  • thin liquids easier to drink than thick ones
  • **Note: no Lortab needed


Day 48-


  • felt very tired throughout day
  • not much pain on tongue or throat, but find it hard to swallow - needed to be intentional


Day 49-


  • not as tired
  • skin ok
  • **Note: Dr. said today that will be more tired at the end of radiation, need to keep up mouthwash and exercise jaw


Day 50-


  • could eat soft solid food (select dim sum)
  • almost all dead skin shed off


Day 51-


  • could eat soft solid food (wonton)


Day 52-


  • could eat solid food (lamb stew, yam, bread, salmon, cake, watermelon)


Day 53-


  • ate solid food
  • nose stuffed in middle of night (may be due to humidifier pointed away)


Day 54-


  • solid food (wonton, ice cream bar)


Day 55-


  • solid food (but couldn't chew beef too well)


Day 56-


  • could do 25 mins of exercise but very tired afterwards
  • blister and red patch at the right back of mouth


Day 57-


  • solid food (lasagna - but **could not taste the salt)/ blister and red patch at the right back of mouth


Day 58-


  • blister and red patch at the right back of mouth


Day 59-


  • blister and red patch at the right back of mouth got larger


Day 60-


  • blister and red patch at the right back of mouth smaller


Day 61-


  • no more blister