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Can you help me on what I can do

stephenie126
Posts: 7
Joined: Nov 2008

Finally after almost 9 weeks my husband has been diagnosed with stage 4 adenocarcinoma that has spread to his bones. We will see an oncologist next week. We were told tonight that he will have radiation. Can anyone tell me what is involved? What the side effects will be? Also what can I give to him be keep his weight up and give him nutrition? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Stephenie

cabbott
Posts: 1046
Joined: Aug 2006

I am sure that the oncologist will be able to answer your questions the best, although a lot of the survivors on the various boards have been through radiation and can tell you about that. I have not had either chemo or radiation yet, but my dad had 10 weeks of radiation treatments two years ago for prostrate cancer. He is a white blonde with very light skin. He said the radiology technicians took bets on how soon he would develop sunburn-like blisters you know where! Well, after 10 weeks of radiation treatment he "graduated" without as much as one blister. Everyone lost their bets. Dad never missed one of his twice a week golf games-18 holes. He did concede to fatigue a bit and get a golf cart for the last two or three weeks of treatment. He said that other than being a wee bit more tired and taking a few more naps than usual he really did okay. Side note: it worked on the tumor! Another friend of mine had aggressive breast cancer. She did develop blisters and said the radiologists had no mercy. They gave her some special lotions to put on it and zapped away. 24 years later she is still cancer free. Radiology has changed a lot in the last 24 years. Now they can target exactly where they want to hit and use multiple beams to hit the cancer with a large dose of xrays while giving the surrounding tissue only a low dose. That really reduces any sunburn effects. Effects vary depending on where you need the radiation. It usually produces pain relief quickly when aimed at tumors in the bone. It can cause major sore throats if it is aimed at tumors in the throat. So it just depends. Ask your doctor on what to expect, but expect things to be way better than anything anyone tells you about something that happened to them or a relative of theirs 8 or more years ago. That's because the technology (as my dad found out) is so much more developed. The doctors still have some of the same do's and don'ts. They will want your husband to baby his skin in the area he is getting radiation. No rough rubbing or scrubbing. No harsh soaps or deodorants in that area, though I doubt that deodorant is a concern where he is getting radiated. He will want to use only the lotions or ointments they prescribe. NOTHING ELSE WITHOUT CHECKING! They usually give you a number to call if you have questions or concerns. Get a ringbinder notebook for all the reports, lab tests and orders you are collecting and put that number in the front. Call everytime you need to and don't worry about waiting till you think the doctor's office is open. They should have weekend and 24 hour call answering for all those things that come up. Nurses and med techs are great help.

As for food, whatever your husband likes is probably okay but it depends on where they are putting the radiation. Also, it depends on where his cancer is causing problems too. Again, your oncologist can tell you more. Lots of small meals and snacks are usually tolerated better than big meals when you aren't really hungry. High protein is important, but chewing through a T-Bone isn't exactly easy when you aren't feeling all that good. (Chemo will cause more problems than radiation). Rule number one: Don't fight over food. Life is too short to spend it fighting. If he absolutely can't eat, call the doctor. Cancer can take away your appetite and shoving food in doesn't work well and makes for miserable memories. Egg custards, milk shakes with protein powders, and shakes made with ice cream and Ensure or Boost work when you need calories and protein in but nothing solid sounds good. French toast with maple syrup is yummy anytime of day for a high calorie pick-me. Eggs are highly nutritious and go down quick. Don't worry about the cholesterol for once. Folks on chemo tell me that sometimes the only thing they could eat was mashed potatoes, cheese macoroni, jello, and milk shakes. If that's all, that's okay. If he has to do chemo, drinking lots and lots of water helps to prevent dehydration and side effects. There are cookbooks out there for folks on chemo, even one by Betty Crocker. But you can read one at the library (get it on interlibrary loan if it isn't readily available) and then find your husband's favorite recipes to work from. Good luck!

C. Abbott

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