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nutrition

lucielyn
Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2004

My husband is currently taking radiation for tonsilar cancer. He is so nauseous and his taste is so affected that he can't eat at all. He gags on everything. He has lost 17lbs and is less than half-way through. Does anyone know what we can do to help him eat? He is currently taking phenergan for nausea but it has not helped.

nckaren
Posts: 18
Joined: Jan 2004

I certainly feel his pain and discomfort. Last year at this time I received 30 treatments on my head and neck for cancer. My mouth was so ulcerated and I was so nauseated I couldn't eat. Everything made me throw up and gag. My doctor finally prescribed Zofran for the nausea, which helped me keep down soup and oatmeal (which was my diet for quite a few weeks). The doctors recommend drinking Boost and the like, but I couldn't hold them down. He also prescribed Hydrocodone which helped take the edge off of the pain. Hang in there and keep the faith -- what we go through is a necessary evil.

TereB
Posts: 288
Joined: May 2003

Hi lucielyn, I'm sorry about your husband. I know what he must be going through as I have also had radiation on neck/head area at least twice. Zofran is very good for nausea, it helped me a lot. There is nothing for the change in taste, food tasted like paper to me, but it is important to try to eat to keep your strength. Boost is something that I could drink, even though it took me a long time to go through one bottle. It comes in three flavors and you can find it in supermarkets and drugstores. It tastes better when it is cold. You could use the vanilla one, add some banana and put it in the blender for more nutrition. Canada Dry ginger ale also helps with nausea. Taking small sips helps keep it down. Hydrocodone is good for pain. Have you told his doctor about your husband not being able to eat? I will send you more info tomorrow because I have it at home. Hope everything gets better for your husband real soon. God Bless, TereB

TereB
Posts: 288
Joined: May 2003

Hi lucielyn, I'm back with more information. For nausea there is Prochlorperaz but Zofran worked better for me. For pain, besides Hydrocodone, there is Neurontin which works great for most people. I've known other people who couldn't swallow and Neurontin helped them. If your husband is still in radiation, it is better to eat 1-2 hours before or after treatment to avoid nausea. Eat small meals several times aa day. Drink slowly. Eat foods low in fat. Clear cool beverages are good like clear soups, gelatin, ginger ale, popsicles, ice cubes made of any kind of liquid (apple juice). Sip liquids slowly through a straw. Try to eat soft foods such as mashed potatoes, yogurt, scrambled eggs, milk shakes. Avoid overly sweet foods.
Hope this can help.
God Bless,
TereB

rogerbfi
Posts: 16
Joined: Dec 2003

My husband had huge radiation/chemo 2002-2003, front,back,both sides. The best is Anzamet for nausea/vomiting. He had this in last chemo. Phenergan is basically a cough med found to help with nausea. Is it pain stopping eating, or the nausea? My husband had a duragesic patch for long term pain,in addition to liquid morphine, but he still uses lidocain viscous as an instant mouth numbing when he needs. Carnation instant blended with a banana and vanilla ice cream was where we started, but Roger did end up with a feeding tube because of dehydration several times. You are so right to look for nutritional advice! I can offer our experience with nutrition, pain etc. I documented every med. every moment, and still am doing that. I am still on the search for information, especially nutrition, during and after treatment. We are rogerbfi on the board.

flowersrmylife
Posts: 1
Joined: May 2004

Hi,
I am a Registered Dietitian and work with a lot of head and neck cancer patients at our cancer center.
I am sorry to hear of your problems. However,I think they are very common due to the radiation.
Your nutrition is very very important. While the medications that those other have mentioned may help, I am concerned about your weight loss and your body's ability to heal and repair itself from the treatments.
Has your doctor or anyone else discussed the short term use of a feeding tube? I know they are felt to be a bad thing, but they really aren't. The main thing is you need to build up your nutrition so your body can regenerate it's tissues that the radiation is damaging etc and you need to help fight off infectins, keep your blood counts up and iron levels etc etc.
I would definately talk this over with your MD. Just because you have a feeding tube-it goes into your stomach, you can still try to eat what you feel like eating, but you can build up your nutrition with the tube feeding. Your recovery time and healing time may be delayed with inadequate nutrition intake. You may end up needing to be admitted to the hospital for iv fluids, blood etc. So your nutrtion can really help avoid these problems and help you feel better along the way.
If you don't do a feeding tube, consider getting recipes etc like smoothies and other pureed foods down along with high calorie high protein supplements daily. check out books/online on dyspagia or check out the website of dianedyer cancer story on line. she is a dietitian who has recovered from cancer 3 times and has a lot of good info on her website.
Ask your doctor to send you to see a dietitian.
Best of luck and hang in there! You aren't alone and there is help... stay strong, be postive and proactive!!
Best of luck,
Penny

lanzeracdeb
Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2005

my aunt has linitis plastica, has had her stomach and spleen removed 20 months ago. Has had 12 weeks of chemo then because of bowel difficulties, has had a colostomy about 4 weeks ago and since has had great difficulty in eating. Any help with diet and nutrition would be appreciated. Is very thin, has lots of pain, wind, heartburn and is truly miserable.

rocgirl
Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2005

my husband is going throught the same thing i make him eat even when he doesnt want too....we give him ensure and boost also carnation instant breakfast also works but make it with whole milk and some ice cream this is easier for him to eat we are just starting too we are 2 weeks in my husband had a tumor on his tongue he lost 1/3 of his tongue and then they had to cut open his neck for the lypth nodes......hes always thirsty and very tired he hasnt hit the nausea yet email me if you want to talk

rocgirl
Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2005

my husband is going throught the same thing i make him eat even when he doesnt want too....we give him ensure and boost also carnation instant breakfast also works but make it with whole milk and some ice cream this is easier for him to eat we are just starting too we are 2 weeks in my husband had a tumor on his tongue he lost 1/3 of his tongue and then they had to cut open his neck for the lypth nodes......hes always thirsty and very tired he hasnt hit the nausea yet email me if you want to talk

talia
Posts: 6
Joined: Jan 2005

my husband has just finished treatment for nasopharyngeal cancer stage 4. all throughout his treatment he has felt nauseous and has been unable to keep anything down. Prior to treatment the doctors inserted a feeding tube into his stomach in the hope of maintaining his weight. however he has now lost 20 kilos and still has 3 more cycles of chemo to go. he has tried all the anti-nausea tablets but have all failed to work.

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