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getting ready for my father's chemo

colsie
Posts: 24
Joined: Dec 2004

Hello all,
It has been fantastic reading all the posts this last week or so. What an amazing group you are.
We ( my father and I ) have finally figured out the plan for his chemo. It was a surprise to see how stressful it is just figureing what to do. So the plan is that he will start chemo in his home town and I will go there for the first few treatments. Home support has been set up so that if I can't be there he will have some help. We will decide after we see how he reacts whether he will transfer to where I live for the rest of the treatments. All his questions have been answered. I am a little concerned because he has developped swelling along his side. The docs say the chemo should take care of it, but his mets and the fact that he became so ill before diagnosis was due to neglect on their part, so I don't have much faith. He was diagnosed in Aug, but no treatment til now. The number of lesions has almost tripled. It is hard to know what to question, and what is normal.
Anyway, my question today is, Did you find certain foods to be easier to tolerate while on chemo? Or is it much like the flu, a BRAT diet til you feel stronger? Just wondering if anything is helpful beyond meds for nausea and diarhea.
Thanks for the support
Colsie

alihamilton's picture
alihamilton
Posts: 344
Joined: Jan 2004

I am glad you and your father are getting things sorted...it is amazing how practical we can be in the midst of our anxieties and fears!

I think your dad will find that he will be able to tolerate some foods better than others but that his taste buds may well be affected. My husband had diarrhoea a few days after treatment but Immodium stopped that quickly. In fact, he was able to maintain his weight during his chemo treatments as he just made up his mind to eat even though he could hardly taste the food! Keeping hydrated is very important and often feeling yucky can be associated with dehydration.

I would keep behind the doctors if there are concerns ....after all, you have a right to know what is going on, so never feel you should not ask too much. Some doctors think we do not really need to know too much, I feel. But knowledge is empowering. Good luck to you and your father.

taraHK
Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Hi Colsie,
Glad you have the plan all sorted out. You are wise to start thinking about diet during chemo now. In terms of nausea, it will probably be quite individual - he will quickly learn what foods he can tolerate and which he cannot. For me, I leaned towards what the Brits call "nursery food' and what Americans may call 'comfort food'. If he gets diarrhea, he may need lean towards a low fibre diet for a while. As alihamilton has said, keeping hydrated is important -- I was encouraged to drink a lot of water. Finally, he may receive some diet advise aimed to maintain/improve his white or red blood cell count, and general immune system. For example, lots of 'antioxidant' foods (e.g. high in vitamins A, C, E). My oncologist had me take a vitamin high in C during chemo. I am sure there is a lot of variation in advice -- but that is my 2-bits worth!
Wishing you both all the best. Please take care of yourself, as well as your dad.
Tara
ps final piece of advice I can't resist giving. I was given this advice before I started chemo and it was so valuable. If he experiences nausea and the first antinausea drug he is given doesn't seem to do the trick, ask for another. There are lots available. It took me 3 tries.

colsie
Posts: 24
Joined: Dec 2004

thanks Tara,
I did not know about the vitamin C and hadn't thought about trying other anti-nauseants expecting that they would all work the same way.
One thing we do know is that immodium does not work for him, any other suggestions?
Colsie

alihamilton's picture
alihamilton
Posts: 344
Joined: Jan 2004

Can't help with an alternative to immodium...it worked so well for my husband but there are other meds out there. As to antioxidant supplements, our oncologist said to stay away from them while on chemo, so check with your doctor...there may be varying opinions on this.

jsabol's picture
jsabol
Posts: 1156
Joined: Dec 2003

Hi Colsie,
Sounds like you are working hard to get things set for your dad...he's lucky to have you. My dad had 1 year of chemo at age 82 for advanced stage III, and tolerated it extremely well.
If immodium does not work for your dad, I would suggest making sure the onc knows this and has an alternative ready. Usually the first treatments go smoothly, but side effects may build up as the treament goes on. I had a little pack of meds at the ready, for diarrhea, nausea, mouth sores....did not need much of them most fo the time. My primary side effects during chemo were fatigue, part. towards the end of the second of 4 courses, and low red blood count, treated with pro crit.
As others have said, comfort, bland foods may help, and the BRAT diet is good for diarrhea. I loved my bananas, and ended up losing lots of potassium despite that. I would also just cruise the aisle's of the grocery store, picking up things that sounded good. Ginger is good for nausea, and flat ginger ale was great for a time, as were ginger snaps! I later developed quite a craving for large amounts of diluted vanilla cream soda. Getting a good amount of fluids in is important to help metabolize the chemo.
When my dad was having chemo, I cooked up little packets and made frozen dinners of baked chicken and rice that he could just zap in the micro. The little packages of puddings, jello and peaches and pears were also great snacks. Cream of Wheat was one of my dad's good breakfast foods, too...seemed easier than oatmeal.
So...good luck to you both; keep us posted and keep up the good work.
Regards, Judy

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