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Dietary issues after pelvic area radiation.

kellygr's picture
kellygr
Posts: 8
Joined: Nov 2009

It has been 6 months now since I have had surgery - chemo - external & internal radiation therapy, and my energy is returning, my strength and muscles growing, basically had and am having very few ’side effects’ at this point with the exception of my stomach. I am down to one small solid meal a day, since it is far more comfortable and less painful for me to digest a liquid meal.

Since radiation I have not experienced hunger pains as I did before, it feels now like a hunger burn. I have discussed this with my both my regular Oncologist and my Radiation Oncologist and all they have been able to do for me is to prescribe that I take a daily anti-acid which make no difference at all. It is not the food that I am eating causing this burn. . . It seems to be the food that I am not eating. If and when I eat solids the burning is exchanged for an intense pain. It is either one or the other. Does anyone, or has anyone dealt with this issue.

beckyracn's picture
beckyracn
Posts: 323
Joined: May 2009

Kelly,
I started having similar symptoms approx. 3 months after treatments ended...and still till this day. It comes on suddenly and without warning, but mine feels like I got punched a good one in the epigastric area. Along with the pain comes nausea; worse than during treatments. And I vomit alot. Antacids they prescribed are worthless. They've done every test imaginable and have made an "educated guess" that I am experiencing intermittent-partial small bowel obstructions due to scar tissue and adhesions. And my GI tract from the stomach down completely shuts down; like an illeus. So...when one of these episodes hit, I immediately switch to a liquid diet until the GI tract wakes back up or the obstruction clears, which last on average 3-10 days. And I find that if I stick to small meals I feel much better.
I think the most frustrating part of this whole this is the doctors attitudes. They blatently told me, "I've done my part, your free of disease at this time. Be grateful your alive." Well...thank you very much! We don't plan vacations or anything else due to the previous mentioned side effects plus numerous others. I guess I just gotta try harder at accepting my "new normal"...like it or not. Don't know if I'll every get used to cooking a big family holiday dinner and be able to honestly say "I'm grateful to be alive" while everyone is eating and all I can manage to do is not physically throw up my liquid diet in front of them.
I hope your syptoms are short lived...after all you've been through, you deserve better!

kellygr's picture
kellygr
Posts: 8
Joined: Nov 2009

Thank you. We all deserve better.
I watched my mother die over 8 years from breast cancer, and she never once complained. So I took that as my path and don't share these issues with my family. I sneak away to the bathroom when the nausea hits. I turn away from the meat cooler at the store and pretend to study the 'specialty breads' to hide the tears that comes to my eyes when I choke back the sudden rush of nausea at the sight and smells of raw meats. The stomach pain, so intense at times that I close out my surroundings completely. . . . and all 'they' tell me is that hopefully this is only temp.
I am pretty much on a liquid diet at all times. I can do one really small meal a day. (My husband has a real need to see me 'eat'.) Most I pretend and push the food around making it at least appear that I eat, when I would prefer a cold glass of lemon water.

beckyracn's picture
beckyracn
Posts: 323
Joined: May 2009

I can relate to what your saying Kelly. Much like you, I try to hide what's going on from my family. I learned long ago to cut any food into tiny bite size pieces, thus looking like I'm eating more. And I've always put more on my plate so my dog has a treat when I'm done...now she just gets a bit more. I've never cried openly, only when I'm alone or in the shower. Not a big fan of pain meds, but if we're having dinner out with friends I take a pain and nausea pill first, then order something simple...always a doggy bag. Keep your chin up girl! I'm rooting that this is only temp. for you.

kellygr's picture
kellygr
Posts: 8
Joined: Nov 2009

Great advice Becky. I will definitely try the pain and nausea pills before going out and about with friends, since the holiday season is here. . . .and the social calendar is quickly filling up. I use that same trick with my dinner plate, my mini beagle, Jazz is no longer so 'mini'. my husband can't figure out why she is having this sudden weight gain, it didn't help the situation while on Thanksgiving my entire family had to point out how she is getting 'bigger'.

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