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A Couple Of Questions About Appetite and Colostomy.

sharynann
Posts: 28
Joined: Sep 2003

Hi Everyone! I'm happy to say that my Father in law is finally home after colostomy surgery. As a reminder, he is stage IV with mets to liver and stomach. He has no appetite due to not being able to taste food. He says that everything tastes like saw dust. His stomach is feeling more able to handle solids but he doesn't have much interest in anything because he can't taste it. Is this due to the radiation he had back in July? Or do you think it is due to the cancer. We though maybe it was the radiation but then looking back on it, he had more of a taste for things before his colostomy surgery. In fact, he was craving a spicy chicken sandwich from Wendys but he said he doesn't dare try it. Instead, he opted for a cheeseburger. But now he has no taste for anything. Maybe he just can't stand all the chicken soup everyone is bringing him! LOL! Also, I'm wondering about the smell of when his bag is changed. It is so strong right now. Does this go away as his stoma is more healed? Thanks for all the advice and input. Sharyn

Chrisswife
Posts: 50
Joined: May 2003

You can purchase an OTC odor eliminating liquid called M9 for you FIL's pouch. Just put in a few drops when you change it out, it does work. I've also heard that you can use mouthwash for the same effect.

I would be in touch with your FIL's Oncologist about his disinterest in food, particularly if he's losing weight.

good luck.

sharynann
Posts: 28
Joined: Sep 2003

O.k. Thanks. I didn't know if the odor was just due to his stoma healing or if it was from the inside of the bag itself. Where do you find M9? Thanks for the information. Sharyn

Chrisswife
Posts: 50
Joined: May 2003

Most medical supply stores should carry it, ask for it wherever you are picking up his ostomy supplies: pouches, paste, etc.

It isn't expensive in the Seattle area where we live, but it could vary regionally. If it's cost prohibitive, I'd just put a few drops of mouthwash in the pouch.

Best wishes
Misha

Karlen1
Posts: 24
Joined: Apr 2003

Hi Sharyn, I'm sorry to read of you FIL's problems with appetite. Keep tempting him with different foods. I had this problem after my cancer-ileostomy surgery. Food tasted like sawdust and smelled terrible, even those things that I normally love to eat. Chicken soup was one of the few things that I could get down and some Chinese food. Kept forcing myself to eat and that's really difficult to do when you find food offensive so I understand what your FIL is going through. This anorexia (a prolonged disorder of eating due to loss of appetite) lasted 7 weeks for me and it turned around really fast when it did start turning around. A few months later, after continuous chemo and daily radiation, I had another bout of it. This time it lasted 9 weeks, six of which I was fed through a tube in my nose. They waited too long really before putting me in the hospital to deal with the anorexia and I had lost a lot of weight. A friend of ours made some seafood chowder for my partner while I was in hosp and I asked him to bring me in some to try. I knew as soon as I tasted it that I would be able to eat it. So for six weeks I had the feeding tube and a bowl of sf chowder and a few cashews to eat each day, and I actually gained weight. I would never have dreamt that I could eat the sf chowder, just lucky someone happened to make it and I ventured a try. I found the loss of appetite harder to deal with than the chemo and/or radiation. Doctors kept saying they had never heard of it and didn't know what caused it, possibly just an overly-sensitive system. So just keep trying different food for your FIL. Maybe he'll hit upon something that he can tolerate until his appetite comes back again.

As for odour, M9 drops work really well for me, but I have an ileostomy. I think it works better in an ileostomy bag than a colostomy one, but it should help some. It's expensive but well worth it for me. As long as I use it every time I empty my bag, I really never notice any odour. Hope things work out well for your FIL. I will post a second message to give you a site that is simply wonderful if your FIL has any questions concerning his colostomy. It's a great site to post your question about odour.

All the best, Karlen

Karlen1
Posts: 24
Joined: Apr 2003

Hi again Sharyn, here's the site I mentioned. You will really find a wealth of ostomy info there.

http://www.uoa.org/discussion/genboard0310/

Karlen

sharynann
Posts: 28
Joined: Sep 2003

Thanks so much for all the information. We will keep trying different meals and hopefully we'll find something that he actually enjoys. So far he hasn't lost any additional weight (lost alot from the whole cancer thing anyway) because he was fed through IV's in the hosp. and he just got home the other day. He does force himself to eat but he just doesn't enjoy it. I'm forever dieting to lose weight and I used to say "I wish I didn't like the taste of food so much". I will never say that again! The things we take for granted. Thanks for your input. Sharyn

vcavanagh
Posts: 86
Joined: Dec 2002

Hello S.,
"No taste, no appetite, too much chicken soup." For centuries, a small amount of alcohol has been used as an "aperatif" or appetiser before eating. It works very well and has the advantage of helping the mood as well. Try a little sherry or a glass of wine about 30 minutes before food. I personally feel that there is nothing to touch a small whisky, preferably Irish. Your FIL may rain blessings on my head and yours, Seriously, although it is not politically correct, it really works and is well worth a try. It certainly helped me! Let me know how you get on. Blessings, Vincent.

sharynann
Posts: 28
Joined: Sep 2003

Thanks for the ideas. Don't know if he will try them though. He's never been a drinker but I guess at this point he'd probably try anything. I worry however that it may interfere with the meds he is on. Thanks, Sharyn

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2600
Joined: Apr 2003

Leave it to the Irish!

Vincent - is that a Jameson's aperatif? I prefer Smithwick's (although Guiness "is good for you")

Cheers!

vcavanagh
Posts: 86
Joined: Dec 2002

Ho SB.,
Powers Gold Irish Whiskey = best of them all.If not available, try Bushmills.
Actually, a small sherry or Dubonnet is probably the most effective of all.
For vomiting and /or nausea, try Champagne. There's a lovely story from the last century of a doctor who used visit his friend with intractable vomiting and they both drank the champagne and found it of benefit to the illness and their friendship. Nil illigitimi carborundum.
Vincent.

StacyGleaso's picture
StacyGleaso
Posts: 1246
Joined: Mar 2003

"99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer...c'mon, you all know the words!" Oh sorry, wrong web site!

I can see both sides of the argument regarding alcohol...a little could trigger the "munchies" but also interfere with meds...then again, life is too short to drink bad wine.

A toast to all, regardless of what you're drinking! (smile!)

Stacy

pattieb
Posts: 176
Joined: Mar 2003

Sharynann,
Glad to hear your FIL is home and doing well. I had the same taste problem except mine was dirt. lol I found out that it was my antibiotic that was causing it and when i was done my taste buds came back took a while but they did. When they did all I wanted to ear was Wendys baked potatoes LOL. My drs told me no drinking whatsoever as it can interfer with my meds so if I were you I wouldn't let him drink any alchol.
Tell him to keep up the good work. And tell him we all think he has a really great DIL.
Hugs
Pattie

2bhealed's picture
2bhealed
Posts: 2084
Joined: Dec 2001

Hi Sharyn,

Glad your FIL is home and recovering. I say ditto on the alcohol (sorry old buddy boy vincent) but cancer feeds on sugar and alcohol turns into sugar in your system. Obviously to kill cancer one must starve it. Don't give it any ammo.

My sister used to watch cooking shows to whet her appetite....

Tell him hello from his friends here!

peace, emily

vcavanagh
Posts: 86
Joined: Dec 2002

Hello Emily,
I knew it was not politically correct - I rarely am. But for the record, I think it is the other way around. Sugar is fermented into alcohol. In the body alcohol is oxidised to acetate via acetaldehyde and eventually to carbon dioxide. In small amounts it should not interfere with the usual medications. It is not known to have much if any effect on cancer in small doses and it is a great comfort in your old age. ( are you listening SpongeBob - careful of the navy rum ) Be glad of small mercies!!
Vincent.

2bhealed's picture
2bhealed
Posts: 2084
Joined: Dec 2001

Hey Vincent,

I never care about being politcally correct. You are right about sugar fermenting. But alcohol acts as a sugar which is why 20 years ago as a hypoglycemic I had to quit drinking. I am not against drinking (in moderation) but when one has cancer and the goal is to live (it is right?) then it is prudent to abstain as much as possible. An occasional drink? A toast? No harm perhaps for the long run. But as a habit I would beg off. When he is well on his way to health and recovery then why not.....

I was known to enjoy a Beaujolais fresh from the wall of the caveau in France...but as I said that was 20 years ago.

peace my friend,

emily

vcavanagh
Posts: 86
Joined: Dec 2002

Hello again Emily,
Prudence is of course the best thing. However alcohol, especially if you take more than you should, actually causes a drop in the blood sugar level i.e. hypoglycemia. This is why diabetic alcoholics keep being brought to emergency rooms unconscious with hypoglycaemic comas. It might feed a tumour with something or other, but it can't be sugar. I do not mean to start someone off on a life of booze but as a starter, to increase appetite for a week or two, it may assist recovery and I don't think it could do much harm. We travel hopefully and without maps.
Many Blessings,
Vincent.

vcavanagh
Posts: 86
Joined: Dec 2002

Emily,
Where are you? I was enjoying the argument! Let me know you're O.K.
Blessings,
Vincent.

2bhealed's picture
2bhealed
Posts: 2084
Joined: Dec 2001

Hi vincent buddy ol pal,

I'm fine ...thanks for asking. No argument really. I've just been busy with family, life....

cheers, emily

hoosier_kitten
Posts: 39
Joined: Aug 2003

Hi Sharyann.
Glad to know your FIL is home. I, too, am stage IV, and have a temporary colostomy. When I first came home from the hospital, I had no appetite either, and food didn't taste well. I assumed it was from the medications. It passed. Mostly I tried to eat small portions more times a day instead of trying to face big meals. As for the ordor from the bag, I use DevKo deodorant tablets. I get them at the pharmacy where I buy the ostomy supplies. They are about $16 for 100 tablets. I believe these help a bunch, the smell was most overwhelming to me. Also, a vent in the room where the bag is changed is a must. I live in an older house and have none, but a fan turned around in the window is just as good, but with winter coming...brrrrrr. LOL I was goind to have a vent installed, but people around here want too much to do it. Almost as much as surgery! Tell your FIL good luck and please feel free to email me here. I'm new to this myself, so maybe we can exchange ideas. You take care of yourself too.
Rita

KrisS
Posts: 232
Joined: Apr 2003

Hi Sharyann, I did not have an appetite for at least a week to two weeks after I got home. My sister cooked all sorts of good, tasty things for me, but it took me all day to feel like eating even a modest amount.

In my opinion, although being able to taste is nice, it is not as important as an appetite. Even though I am on chemo now and can't taste much, the sensation of having a full stomach is still pleasant, and I have maintained my weight. I like different things than I used to. Ice cream and sweet stuff is no longer as attractive as fruit, veggies and healthy stuff!

I would let his doctor know about his appetite problems, however, especially if he is dropping weight. They or a nutritionist may have some suggestions.

I have had abdominal radiation. That would not affect taste.

Kris

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