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Chemo/Radiation Side Effects-Can't Eat, Severe Nausea

looliegirl
Posts: 5
Joined: Sep 2008

Hello. My name is Cheryl and my mother (76 and was in very good health) was diagnosed with Stage 2 EC in May 2008. She was treated with Chemo and Radiation (Chemo weeks 1 and 5, Radiation for 6 weeks). She stopped her radiation the last week because the pain and burning was so awful. She has not been able to eat for 2 months (she was forcing Ensure, pureed soups and milk down).

The nausea is so awful she cannot tolerate being around food. She has been on a feeding tube for three weeks (nasally) and now they are going to put the Peg in her stomach. Tomorrow we are going in to have a Pneumal Vacuum System put in her chest to drain the fluid from the lower lobe of her lung.

I am wondering if anyone else has had these awful side effects and when we can expect her to recover from them. I feel like they have cured the cancer (no sign of it...Praise God) but may had killed the patient.

We are trying to get her home in the next couple of weeks...she is stronger now and would like to be home. She has been in the hospital for the past 6 weeks or so. I would appreciate anyone else who has experienced this nausea and any ideas what to do for it.

Thank you!

jagged
Posts: 55
Joined: Apr 2008

I also had the chemotherapy (every week) at the same time as having the radiation (6-weeks). The radiation affects are worse when there is chemotherapy during radiation.

I was told that when the radiation pain started, lets say week 4 into treatment, that it would take that long after treatment (4 weeks) to get over the affects. For me, this was about right.

One of the symptoms that made it so difficult to eat was acid reflex. The muscles that controlled the stomach acids, keeping the acids in the stomach, were burned during the radiation. The affect was that stomach acids would rise and burn my throat. This just added insult to injury. I could not eat yogurts, ice cream, etc., etc. Perlocat OTC helped a lot. It says take one pill a day for one week only. Noooooo. Four times a day for the whole time. (This was recommended by my doctor.)

Two bright notes:
- I have since had other doctors look at the treatment and the results and have commented very very positively.
- I lost 22 lbs. Luckily, I was 20 lbs overweight. Tough way to lose it!

I would NEVER wish this treatment on another person and am sorry your mother had to go through this. It does get better!

--jag

looliegirl
Posts: 5
Joined: Sep 2008

Jag,

Thanks for the info and I am so happy you are cancer free! Praise God!!! Fortunately, my mom is cancer free but has not been able to eat since the end of June. They replaced her nasal feeding tube with a PEG last week and during the procedure looked at her esophagus and did some biopsies. She is cancer free but there is still a lot of ulceration altho there are signs of healing.

We took her home yesterday and dealing with all the feeding stuff is very scary for her. She is 76 and this is all new to her. She is still very nauseous...just talking about food can make her ill right now. She doesn't have any pain...just the nausea and gagging. I wonder how long this will go on for her. I have not heard of anyone else dealing with this. You have been the closest and it sounds like you got through it so I know she will too.

Thanks for your kind words and I pray you stay cancer free and healthy for many many years!

Cheryl

jagged
Posts: 55
Joined: Apr 2008

Ergh! Sorry my answer was not on target. Three months is a long time for this to be going on. And, it would scare me too. Sounds like permanent damage.? I hate cancer and what it can do.

My cancer was not EC. It is CUPs (carcanoma of unknown primary) and the tumor was wraped around my esophogus. It came back a year later and landed in my lungs, so, I am still dealling with it.

Thank you for your well wishes. Back at you and your mother x 10.

--jag

looliegirl
Posts: 5
Joined: Sep 2008

That's fine. Any info is better than none. Sorry to hear about your reoccurance. Cancer is tough. Have you looked into alternative therapies? My cousin has been doing a lot of research and actually visited some cancer treatment centers in Arizona and Mexico. They use nutrition and traditional methods focusing on the whole person. I wish we would have taken my mother to them.

Actually the doctors can see the severe ulceration in her esophagus caused by the radiation. It is starting to heal but it is such a long process. I have been trying to do some research into steroid therapy but the doctors just blow me off when I try to talk to them about it. Now I have emailed the doctors at the Cancer Treatment Center in Tulsa, OK to see if they can help her. She is home now but still struggling.

Thank you for all your kind words and I said a prayer for you.

Cheryl

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