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Living with a total laryngectomy

There is no doubt that your cancer diagnosis, the treatment you have gone through and the total laryngectomy has had a significant impact on your life. Now it is time to look ahead and get back to living life. Thousands of people with a laryngectomy are living witnesses that a fulfilling life is waiting for you if you embrace it.

 

While a laryngectomy does spell changes in your day-to-day life, it is still possible to be active by going for walks and exercising, or meeting friends and doing most other things you enjoyed before the procedure.

Before total laryngectomy

Before surgery, you would breathe through your nose, mouth and throat – or what’s known as the ‘upper airways’. These upper airways (in particular the nose) condition the air you breathe by warming up, humidifying and filtering it because your windpipe and lungs (lower airways) need conditioned air to work properly.

Heat & Moisture Exchangers

 

After a total laryngectomy, you breathe through the stoma in your neck. This means the air that reaches your lungs is cooler and less humid than it should be. Your lungs react by producing more mucus, and your windpipe can feel irritated, and may potentially lead to more mucus, coughing and a higher risk of airway infections. You may start to cough a lot and have to clean your stoma more regularly, which can be uncomfortable to do in public.

Heat and Moisture Exchangers (HMEs) have been designed to help your lungs by warming up and humidifying the air you breathe in and in this way mimic what the upper airways used to do.

Adhesives

 

An adhesive is the most com­mon and comfortable way to attach the HME in front of your stoma. Simply stick the adhesive over the stoma, following the instructions carefully, and attach the HME to it. There are differ­ent types of adhesive depending on what you’re doing and how sensitive your skin is.

Just like the HME, you’ll find that adhesives can take some getting used to, so don’t worry if it takes you a bit longer to apply your adhesive as you start to use them.

Your clinician may have recom­mended that you use a Provox LaryTube or LaryButton.

Care products

 

It’s very important to get into good habits when it comes to looking after the skin around your stoma. If you do, you’ll be less likely to get irritated or damaged skin –and the adhe­sives will stick for longer.

Provox Cleaning Tow­els can be used to clean your skin before putting on your adhesive.

Provox Skin Barrier is a special wipe that leaves a protective layer on your skin. Use it after cleaning your skin and before putting on the daytime adhe­sive.

Provox Adhe­sive Remover wipes can help you to carefully and slowly remove your daytime adhesive, to make sure you don’t damage your skin.