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How do I get my dad to ingest food and liquids?

jrbauer
Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2004

Hello,My dad was just recently diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. The doctors have told us that the cancer is not in any of his organs or bone marrow, but is a tumor mass pressing on his stomach. He is 81 and was not eating very much for about a month before this was detected 3 weeks ago. As a result he is weak and unable to receive the heavy duty chemotherapy that the Sloan-Kettering doctors at the Denville, N.J. unit would normally recommend for him. Instead for the past two weeks they have given him two treatments of Rotuxin, in the hope that the aggressive tumor may be halted or perhaps slightly diminished in size, thus allowing my dad to eat and drink more so that he can build up his strength for the more demanding chemotherapy (which he has told the doctors he wants to receive). He has two more weeks of his Rotuxin treatment remaining. Throughout the last two weeks we have tried a variety of approaches to get my dad to eat and drink, but our efforts have produced only minimal results. My dad claims that he has a hard time swallowing (even though all examinations by the encologists and other physicians have indicated that there should be no problems in doing so). He also says that he feels he is going to vomit when he trys to eat anything, even though he has not done so when he does eat a little. Can anyone give us some suggestions as to how we can help our dad eat and drink more, so he can build up his strength and get him over what we know is just the first hurdle?

shintoway
Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2004

This is a tough one! Im assuming youve tried things like Ensure etc. Given that he has those vomitis feelings its going to be hard for him to eat anything. You might try meds from the Doctor to calm the nausa.

dickl
Posts: 39
Joined: Jan 2002

My son had a bone marrow transplant and had no appetite for a long time. He was anorexic in his attitude towards food.The docs wanted to insert a feeding tube but my son said he had enough and would not agree to that. The docs had no alternative plan even though this is a common problem with people that have had intense treatments. His health went downhill and he got pneumonia common to people that are malnourished and nearly died. Nausea was not a factor at this point, but the suggestion of anti-nausea drugs for your dad sounds like a place to start. Zofran is an excellent nausea drug although its
effectiveness is short termed. We also used Boost or Ensure and mixed it with a generous portion of heavy whipping cream to get as many calories in every little bite he would take.What ever he would eat we pushed it bite by bite. His weight stabilized but his appetite was still poor. By chance we found about an antihistamine that had a side effect of stimulating appetite but its been so long I can't remember the name. There is also synthetic marijuana called marinol that may stimulate hunger. I don't know if any of this info is beneficial in your father's situation but good luck.If you need to talk, contact me by my site name of dickl.

dickl
Posts: 39
Joined: Jan 2002

This dickl again I remembered the name of the antihistimine that can stimulate appetite,Periactin. It is used to treat HIV patients that have eating problems. It is a rather benign drug that was developed for allergies many years ago.

CHM
Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2004

I HOPE THIS WILL HELP YOU. MY OTHER HALF HAS LUNG CANCER AND AFTER RADIATION ON THE LUNG AND A
TUMOR AT THE TOP OF HIS SPINE, HE DEVELOPED THE SAME FEELING THAT HE WOULD THROW UP IF HE ATE ANY-THING, EVEN A MILKSHAKE. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH HIS THROAT!! HIS RADIOLOGIST/ONCOLOGIST SUGGESTED A GREAT MED FOR JACK. IT IS TO NUMB THE THROAT ENOUGH THAT JACK DOES NOT FEEL THAT NON-EXISTING LUMP. THE MED IS LIDOCAINE 2% VISC.
I GIVE HIM ONE TEASPOON OF IT BEFORE A MEAL, TO SWISH AND SWALLOW, AND THEN HE CAN EAT VERY WELL AND DOES NOT GET SICK AT ALL. THIS HAS BEEN A BLESSING FOR US AS JACK HAS LOST SO MUCH WEIGHT AND ENDED UP IN THE HOSPITAL FOR 2 PINTS OF BLOOD AS HE HAD BECOME TOO WEAK TO WALK. YOU CAN ASK YOUR FATHER'S DOCTOR TO LET YOUR DAD TRY IT, AND SEE IF IT WORKS. ANTI-NAUSEA MEDS ALSO HELP THE
STOMACH STAY SETTLED. GOD BLESS AND GOOD LUCK. CHM

lotusflower
Posts: 5
Joined: Mar 2004

I had throat cancer and had to have a feeding tube. Although I lost alot of weight anyway it helped tremendously. At first when the nurse show me how to use it I freaked, eventually I got very comfortable with it and was so grateful with it. I couln't eat for 8 months this is one of the things that saved my life.

needclay
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2007

PERSISTANCE. Although your father has an xtra challenge or difficulty by having a lesion press on his abdomen,(god bless him) I'd like to give you this message. My boyfriend of forever years had diffuse b cell n.h.l. in the tonsillar fossa, basically had a tonsillectomy immediately, chemo, and radiation after. I am a Dental Hygienist which helped - knowing of residual effects, etc.(glad he didnt). He IS A PUCKER, bigtime, and if I can get him to eat angelhair pasta ( with olive oil to SLIDE down the gullet!)on the 7th day after his surgery, you can get your dad to eat too!... Having Chemo was tough for him - even smelling certain foods till this day turn his stomach. The radiation then made the oral cavity very tender, and can be like a burn (soreness in the mouth and throat when swallowing). Point blank.. you know nothing works in your body without nutrition. If he wants to get better, stronger, and be able to handle all this, he will have to eat. I "sold" it to him, I tried everything... and spent ALLOT of $ at the grocery store grasping at straws, trying ANYTHING more pallatible for him. Has your dad been given Zophran for nausea? They should have samples($$$), they even have "orally disintegrating tablets". By the way Butch also received Retuxin, along with CDP, an old reliable standard, (no adriomycin- the "red devil") He is a very proud man, stubborn and rarely gives props where they are due, but he does attribute his recovery ( I hope) and weight GAIN to my persistance. I dont give up very easily, please dont you. God I know how exasperating it is... Especially a father. Idea: Butch ate scrambled eggs almost everyday. He said he could swallow them whole, just to get something down- to fill the belly up. Put very cold water in when whisking, and they will FLUFF up nicely. Toast was hard for Butch cause of the dryness, roughness, but maybe plain foods like that, you can find fortified bread "whitewheat" has xtra calcium, etc. Get a good blender and make him smoothies, find some protein powder to sneak in.
By the way he also lost his saliva and taste buds, he said his mouth tasted like sucking on a roll of nickels, and he ate. DONT give up. It takes allot of energy and patience, but I am sure you have what it takes... your on here arent you?! My bother was just diagnosed with cancer in the neck region, also had a tonsillectomy. Hopefully he wont need a feeding tube as they tell him. But thats another story for another time. Have faith in yourself and your dad, you CAN do it!!

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