If your experiences are mirroring my own when I went through treatment for the oral cancer that decided to pick on me, your entire world has just been reduced to an 8 inch by 8 inch by 8 inch cube. That’s become your focus. It’s what you think of first, what dominates what you feel and what you are absolutely convinced the rest of humanity only sees when they look at you.
It’s not going to change much in your foreseeable future.
If this conversation isn’t about you, but more about a friend, family member or loved one you need to change into your best ‘ caregiver’ duds and prepare to help out any way you can.
If this is about you and you’re moving into survival mode then it is time to ensure that your supportive survival gear is dusted off, basic components replenished and all the important stuff is ‘good to go’.
One of the most important weapons in my arsenal when it came to finding comfort during the post-surgical application of radiation/chemo combo therapy was the use of Akabutu’s mouthwash. This mouthwash or ‘oral rinse’ was developed by Dr. John Akabutu while working at the University of Alberta Hospital and the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
For those of you who don’t have easy access, there are two variations on the recipe floating around in cyberspace.
Here’s one of the breakdowns of the recipe I’ve discovered that seems to be closest to the concoction that gave me so much comfort:
From what I’ve been able to discover through my research of various channels Dr. Akabutu’s mouthwash is made up of;
- 60 cc of xylocaine viscous (2%),
- 50 ml of nystatin suspension (100,000 U/ml),
- 125 ml of normal saline, 60 mg of hydrocortisone (three tablets of 20 mg),
- and 3 to 5 ml of glycerine.
This should give you and a total volume of 240 ml. The instructions that normally go with the use of the mouthwash are to shake it well, then swish 30 ml of solution around the mouth and throat for one minute, and to spit out the excess. In my case, the ‘swishing’ wasn’t enough; I gargled with it to ensure that I got more coverage in the back of my throat. So the suggestion is to try this every four to six hours as needed. Most of the advice I have found around the use of the mouthwash says something like; whenever possible, patients should also avoid eating or drinking for approximately 30 minutes after its use.
I’m not sure why they recommend ‘spitting out the excess’ when you’re actually encouraged to swallow the nystatin suspension after using it as a swish-and-gargle to control thrush. It may have something to do with the xylocaine content.
Here is some information about preparing the solution.
I hope this is helpful!
I’ve included a photo of Dr. Akabutu just to remind everyone who developed this ‘magic mouthwash’.
Feel free to look through the other oral cancer-related entries on this site. I am starting to organize things a bit better to get rid of the feel of anarchy to it all.