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Nutritional / Daily Supplements

slapshot_81's picture
Posts: 20
Joined: Nov 2009

As I prepare to start chemo, for stage II t/c, I am wondering if there are any recommended daily supplements I could start to take before the treatment to help keep the body, the immune and mind strong.

I am 42, very athletic, I play hockey 3 nights a week (year round) and take good care of my self.

Daily, I take a multi-vitaman, ginsing, I have 1 or 2 cups of green tea in the morning and usually a cup of black tea in the afternoon or at night.

During the chemo, should I continue to take vitamans? Possibly drink Boost or Ensure for additional nutrition?

***I plan on asking these questions to my oncologist. Just looking for some advice.

Posts: 10
Joined: Jun 2009

Unfortunately I have no official data or resources to back this up. I got through chemo just fine. Actually, I breezed through it. I had side effects but they were few and well controlled. However, hind sight is 20/20 and there are things I wish I had done differently.

First, I didn't get nearly the exercise that I should have. I've never been really good at getting exercise. I really wish I would have during chemo.

Second, I heard that fasting during or for a couple days before chemo treatments can really help. Please ask your doctor and do your own research on this, but it sounded like a neat idea to try.

I did try juicing for a while afterward to build my energy back up. I think it worked pretty well and wish I would have started during chemo. I'm not really a cook so I basically just chose a bunch of random vegetables and made some great tasting juice drinks in the morning. Well, I liked the taste, many don't.

This isn't much but I hope you find something helpful.

slapshot_81's picture
Posts: 20
Joined: Nov 2009

Thanks for the info. I did ask my oncologist. She suggested to continue to take the daily multi-vitamin, the ginko biloba and echinacha (w/goldenrod) this helps to build up the immune system.

She said not to worry about the boost or the ensure. She has set me up with a nutritionist to help me to continue to eat healthy during my treatment (which I start tomorrow) just in case I loose my taste for food.

Can you give me some pointers of how you "breezed" through chemo? Did you continue to work? I probably won't work on the treatment days, she said they may be long. I plan to try and work as much as I can on the off days. I am a civil/construction engineer, I spend most of my time on the job sites. There are certain things I can do on the treatment days, review drawing and check e-mails. I guess I will have to see how I react to the chemo. If all goes well I should be done by the end of January.

Posts: 10
Joined: Jun 2009

A little history:
I went through through 10 weeks of chemo. I was on a 3 week cycle for 3 weeks. The last cycle was bumped 1 week because my immune system was really weak. One cycle started with 5 days of chemo for about 5 to 7 hours each day. In the next two weeks I had one treatment each week for only an hour.

-- 1 Cycle --
Week 1: Thursday - Monday: 5-7 hour treatments
Week 2: Friday: 1 hour treatment
Week 3: Friday: 1 hour treatment

Now that you know what I went through, let's see how I breezed through it. First and foremost I give all of the credit to my family. My 3 older sisters and my parents were so extremely helpful and kind. They really really took good care of me. They fed me good home cooking, got me nice soft clothing, a soft toothbrush, good feeling skin stuff, got me water bottles, and did all the worrying for me.

The doctors also put me on other drugs to help control side effects. This helped a LOT with nausea. I rarely felt nauseated or sick. The biggest issue with chemo that I had was fatigue. I was just really tired all the time after the first week of treatment.

I did continue to work. Since I had my treatments over the weekend I only missed 3 days of work per cycle. I lived and worked close to the hospital (within a couple miles). I also had a desk job as a web developer. My hospital had free wifi which allowed me to work a little while having treatment. That was really nice.

I hope that helps. That's only a bit of my experience and when I think of more I'll post it.

slapshot_81's picture
Posts: 20
Joined: Nov 2009

Thanks a lot for the pointers. it sounds like I'm on the same treatment schedule as you. Today was my first day of cylce 1 and it went very well. I go tomorrow, sat, sun, mon, back in on fri 11/27 for blio, in again on 12/3 for blio. Off for a couple of weeks then start again on cycle 2.

My kids have been unbelievabley supportive and thank goodness I'm married to an oncoogy nurse, so she knows what I'm up against. Luckily the Dana Farber Cancer Inst is 9 miles from my house and I work about 5 miles from there. I live near the medical "hot bed" in the country.

Please stay in touch and I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Posts: 2
Joined: Nov 2009

I just finished 3 cycles of BEP treatment for Stage 1-B Testicular cancer last week. My doctor repeatedly mentioned that he was very surprised at how well I handled treatment. The 3rd cycle was by far the worst for me, other than that it was just little things. I did not work and was lucky enough to have my family take care of me, as I am only 21 years old. It was recommended that I didn't work or really go out in public because of the whole H1N1 scare although there are vaccines now so that may not be a problem. I can tell you what I used as far as supplements and diet goes.

I met with a natropathic doctor that came by the hospital a few times. She recommended that I take Glutamine powder( 5 tsp.) once a day as well as a pill called CoQ10(200 MG). Both help immune system function. I also took multivitamins every day as well as EmergenC. Staying hydrated is incredibly important. I tried to drink 3 or 4 Nalgenes a day. Getting enough protein can help you out a lot. I am a vegetarian so I had to take Whey protein powder to get enough. I will tell you that although I never felt too bad, my appetite is what suffered the most. All you can really do is eat what sounds good at the time. It is better than eating nothing. Getting adequate caloric intake is important. Try to eat healthy if you can, but it does such weird things to your stomach that I found it hard to do and ended up eating a lot of junk. it was easier to eat. I tried to get exercise every day. At the very least walk my dog.

The important thing to remember is that cure rates for testicular cancer are very good and keeping a positive attitude can do wonders.

I did a lot of research and am here to help if you need anything else.

Dave Jenkins
Posts: 3
Joined: Dec 2009

Chemo will obviously get your stomach upset. I started with chemo 20 years ago and underwent chemo 3 times, (not 3 cycles, but 11 cycles). When I started with chemo, I always tried to take vitamins, eat salads, etc. The thing I found was that I was getting more and more sick. The first time I went through chemo, I ended up surviving off of 2 cheese burgers and a sprite each day from McDonalds. The third time I went through it, I survived on fried chicken and chocolate bars. (The chicken gave me protein and the chocolate bars helped settle my stomach). The thing that I am trying to get across is... listen to your body. It will tell you what it wants. The thing to remember is (1) you might eat strange foods, but your body is asking for certain things, (2)don't overdo it. Once you find something that you want, eat it in small portions. You will have a tendancy to want more of it because it tasts good, however, too mu will make you sick. Please just be careful and eat small portions. Just like you eating what makes you feel better, you have to know when to stop and let things settle down.
I hope this helps.


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