CSN Login
Members Online: 9

Food After Treatment Ends

BBdogs's picture
BBdogs
Posts: 36
Joined: Jan 2013

Can you ever eat like the good old days?  By that I mean, I didn't have a bad diet before but if I was going to have a "bad diet day" it included heat and lots of it.  Mexican, Italian, Greek, Indian, on and on. 

My treatment sustinance has been primarily yogurt, ice cream, soup.  I once tried a very mild and soft version (for me) of mexican, huge mistake.  I tried very mild spag sauce about a week ago because it sounded so good and I don't have much of an appetite so thought I would take advantage of a craving.  Again, big mistake (special kind of stupid to try again I guess).

If I have to wrap my head around a forever bland diet, I will but just wondered what post-treatment survivors experiences have been.

Thanks in advance!

Kris 

eihtak
Posts: 887
Joined: Oct 2011

For me its been a lot of trial and error. I started with very small portions of some of my favorite pre-treatment foods, adding variety and larger portions a little at a time.

I have a colostomy, so deal with slightly different digestive issues than those without, but....still what goes in has to come out. I also love spicey hot foods, but do have to practice moderation. Its been almost 2yrs for me and I am able to tolerate more than before but will probably always take it easy to avoid problems.

Just try small amounts of something you've really been missing.......wishing you luck!

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

I am almost 2 years out, though it seems like yesterday sometimes. I cannot eat any fats, like ice cream, or I pay the price. I can now eat tomato sauce, organic only! As far as super hot spicey food....no way jose! Maybe others are different. I have changed my diet to a plant based diet and I feel all the better for it! I recommend Dr. Fuhrman's book, Super Immunity. Cancer, for me, is a wake up call. I feel like I eat more interesting foods than ever now.

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 3116
Joined: Jan 2010

I don't recall how far out from treatment you are, so forgive me if some things I post here don't apply to your situation.  My own experience was that in the very beginning after treatment, I could not eat anything but bland foods and no fresh fruits or veggies.  After a few months, I could eat small amounts of whatever I wanted to, with the exception of salad.  I had no problems after my body adjusted until this past January when I had the bowel obstruction.  Now I must be more cautious.  However, I still eat spicy foods about once a week, Mexican primarily.  My biggest issue now lies with fruits and veggies because of the increased fiber.  Your situation sounds more like a problem with acidic foods perhaps.  I don't know what would happen if you follow an alkaline diet most of the time, then once a week or so eat a small amount of something spicy/acidic and see what happens.  Just a thought.  I'm sorry you are missing some of the foods you love.  Hopefully with time it will get better.

BBdogs's picture
BBdogs
Posts: 36
Joined: Jan 2013

Thanks for the responses. 

I am not even done with treatment yet but oh so ready to move forward.  I have my last radiation treatment on Monday.  Guess I will treat myself to.....some yogurt!

Thanks again

eihtak
Posts: 887
Joined: Oct 2011

Its a great sign that you have an appetite and not quite done with treatment! I was eating almost nothing near the end!! Let your body gradually catch up to your mind on moving forward. What a wonderful way to celebrate spring.....done with treatment!! Yah for you!!!!!

pamela_preib's picture
pamela_preib
Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2012

I'm two months out and doing pretty well with food.  If I eat something that doesn't agree, it just means a few extra trips to the bathroom.  Kale and spinach even cooked seems to go right thru me undigested.  And greasy food is not really my friend anymore which is probably a good thing.  I eat smaller portions as indegestion is a new problem for me if I overstuff myself.  All in all things are improving on a daily basis.  I hope you can look foward to some normalcy again here soon.  :)

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 3116
Joined: Jan 2010

BBdogs--Thanks for reminding me that you are still in treatment.  I think you'll find that once you are done and your bowels settle down, you will be able to eat some of those foods you love, perhaps in small amounts in the beginning.  Don't worry about that now--just get through treatment.  You can do it!

Pam--If you look at a food list of do's and don't's for a low fiber, low residue diet, spinach and kale are definitely on the don't list!  I avoid both of those now.  Way too much fiber!  At some point you may be able to eat those without problems, but it might be just a tad early yet.

LaCh
Posts: 533
Joined: Dec 2012

Just to show how different we all are, practically ALL I eat are fruits and vegetables and have been since the 2nd week post treatment. Kale, spinach, broccoli, collard greens, all of that, I throw it all into a pot with carrots, potatoes, garlic, onions, leeks and whatever else I have and when it's done I puree the whole thing. It's the consistancy of soup, thick or thin depending on how much water I've used.  I also puree together frozen strawberries, rasberries and occasionally blueberries and drink that. I also have digestion problems which seem related to portion size but as for frequency, I'd be happy to have increased frequency as my digestive process seems to have slowed way, way down, not from the intestines but from stomach emptying. Why? Who knows.  As for a plant based diet being cancer-protective, this is why I said in another posting that it sure can't hurt, but that one ought not to feel too confident in knowing the whys of cancer-cause. I've eaten the "Mediterranean Diet" for the last 40 years, in addition to about 23 of those during which the only animal protein I ate was fish.  And yet here I am, a person who had cancer. (I'm also a non smoker, non drinker and have never had HPV). So who knows. You can do what you can do and then you just have to let it go.  Sometimes things just happen. The whys aren't important, how you respond, I think, is.  Anyway, I digress.  I'm 8 weeks post treatment and eat fish very occasionally now--it's very expensive--but 95% of my diet is plant based. (I also drink plain goat-milk kefir and occasionally, eat goat-milk yogurt.  And eggs).  I miss the days when I went to the bathroon 4 times in a day. Now I'm lucky to go once, twice is a gift and three times, rare as it is, is like hitting the lotto.  Anyway, the bottom line is experimentation. Every body responds differently and there isn't a one-diet-fits-all. 

jcruz
Posts: 279
Joined: Jan 2013

Wow it is amazing how different we all respond to treatment and recovery.  Just reading your list of foods and what you do with them I got a little jealous, although I have made a little progress in expanding my food list.  I find now that I can eat a little sauteed chard (and not pulverize it) with rice or pasta as a base.  It felt like a small triumph that I can eat my beloved greens.  I haven't tried berries yet - I have a feeling that would be a big mistake right now.

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 3116
Joined: Jan 2010

I just found the following recipe in Prevention Magazine for a smoothie which contains digestive aids to help with excessive gas and bloating, which can be a problem for some of us post-treatment.  I thought I'd just pass it along FYI.

1/2 c. chamomile or dandelion root tea, cooled

1 c. strawberries

1 c. pineapple chunks

1/2 c. vanilla yogurt with live and active cultures

1 tsp. honey or maple syrup

1/2 c. ice cubes

Place all ingredients in a blender and process on high to the desired consistency.

LaCh
Posts: 533
Joined: Dec 2012

bloating and feeling way way too full are problems for me too but true to form, I once again fall outside the bell curve if the anti bloat combo works for others. I make an almost identical drink (minus the ice and honey/syrup). It inflates me like the goodyear blimp, just like most foods these days. 

eihtak
Posts: 887
Joined: Oct 2011

I have found that just a couple cups of chamomile tea alone does wonders for me.......I can tell you that picking for 3 days out of grandchildrens Easter baskets does NO good at all!!!

LaCh
Posts: 533
Joined: Dec 2012

well, i can give it a try but i'm not optimistic.

Lorikat's picture
Lorikat
Posts: 566
Joined: Jul 2011

Gkids Easter baskets!  OMG, I bet I'm up 3 pounds and my gut is KILLING me!

 

LaCh
Posts: 533
Joined: Dec 2012

 

That's the rub for me; I eat a plant based diet, no red meat, fish now and then, no sugar, no added salt, no packaged, canned or processed foods, no junk, no nothing... and it doesn't seem to matter, I still have digestion probs. It makes me think that if I'm going to have these issues, regardless of what I eat, I might as WELL eat all the crap that I want.

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

About a month ago, my PCP suggested I be tested for food allergies to rule out other causes for the issues I was having with food. My diet is plant based, no processed foods, no junk, low fat. As it turned out, I had a pretty severe allergy to wheat and eggs. After treatment I was eating eggs pretty frequently to add protein to my diet. Also, I was eating more wheat than I ever had, because I was eating peanut butter on whole wheat for breakfast some mornings. I have eliminated those foods and my digestion issues have really improved. It is pretty well accepted now that inflammation in the body can cause cancers. Food allergies cause inflammation. I really advise that anyone with digestion issues be tested for food allergies. It is well worth it! An ounce of prevention......

LaCh
Posts: 533
Joined: Dec 2012

not a bad idea. I have no food allergies, never have had any food allergies but I'm beginning to wonder now if this might be the problem. Eating is becoming a sure guarantee to inflating like a balloon and it's getting a little 'old.'

That said, my issues seem related to food volume, not food type. I can eat small amounts of anything without problems (including eggs and wheat) but large amounts of anything and I'm as inflated as the Hindenburg. Nevertheless, I'm going to discuss my digestion issues with my gastroenterologist later today after she gives her best shot at convincing me to have a PET scan, fails to do so and we then move on to other things (I actually love her and don't mind that she's going to lobby for a PET scan--which won't change my mind, but that's ok). 

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

I never thought I had food allergies either! I never even suspected it.

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 3116
Joined: Jan 2010

Thanks for sharing that with us.  I'm so glad you got tested and found out that some of what you were eating may have been the cause of your distress.  I'm happy to hear that you are feeling much better!

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

Thanks, Martha. I do feel better.

SisterPretty
Posts: 32
Joined: Jan 2013

Hi LaCh,
I was so happy to read your post because I have the exact same problem as you! My digestive system has slowed right down, I can eat almost everything but if I eat large portions I am uncomfortable and experience abdominal pains. My bowels also are sluggish, I am also lucky to go once a day and only small hard bowel movements! I am like you and miss the days of going 3 good times a day!!

LaCh
Posts: 533
Joined: Dec 2012

I should clarify, albeit just a little. My bowel movements aren't hard, but that's because I take huge amounts of stool softeners, a big help.  And my normal precancer schedule was once a day and only increased (a lot) during treatment.  Now, I'm down to once or if I'm lucky, twice but that's from drinking a lot of water, like 3 liters a day (no easy task) and the stool softeners. The rest is true, slow, slow gut, big, big stomach, much, much discomfort.  I read somewhere--I no longer remember where-- that some people develop a lactose intolerance after radiation, and although I'm not at all sure that that's what this is, I've eliminated dairy with the exception of goat's milk kefir and plain, goat's milk yogurt. It still seems like a problem with volume more than anything else, and a stomach that doesn't want to empty and a gut that doesn't want to wake up and move so I'm trying to eat small portions.  The entire thing is a real pain in the butt.  Fatigue and digestion problems are what I'm dealing with these days, neither one a life-or-death thing but both very annoying.  Very frustrating.  And no one can offer a remedy to either. Try the stool softeners; it might not help with frequency but it'll eliminate the hard consistancy.

Barb5454's picture
Barb5454
Posts: 90
Joined: Feb 2013

I'm so glad you posted this. I have horrible acid reflux issues now and I didn't before cancer treatment. I'm on a plant based diet, but I still can't eat broccoli or cauliflower unless it's pureed. I'm on acid reflux medicine too. I am 3 months post treatment. One fruit that helps me is bananas and I eat a lot of them. Sometimes I get really frustrated because I felt better before treatment. They had to poison and burn me in order to make me better. It's better than the alternative. You would think they could find a better way to treat anal cancer.

LaCh
Posts: 533
Joined: Dec 2012

western medicine is high-tech barbarism. I know that I'll get a lot of criticism for saying so but that's my opinion.  A cure at any price isn't and never was my attitude and for me, quality of life trumps quantity. I think that I made the right decision but I can't yet say with 100% certainty that I did. Time will tell.

1linde's picture
1linde
Posts: 10
Joined: Apr 2013

BB I have noticed my digestive system cannot handle the same level of spicy foods I had pre cancer. I also used a lot of hot spices in my cooking and now my family complains it is bland and I use a small amount of the same seasonings but not the quantity. I notice what I think is spicy, my family thinks not so much.

I prefer to consume what I am comfortable with.  The only food I really have problems with today is beef. I can eat a 3 - 5 oz serving fine but if I have more my system seems not to be able to process it. That is not the worst thing.  I stick to chicken or fish mainly and eat a lot more vegan meals as I am also on Weight Watchers now.

At first I could not eat salad, veggies or any high fiber foods. Had unbearable stomach pains just doubling over, felt like my intestines were twisted and felt relief when the food finally passed through me. When I began WW I tried eating the salad and veggies and had that reaction the first day, decided to persevere for a week and the next day my body did not react the same way and now eat 5 - 9 servings a day of veggies and fruits and blend and also juice.

I think it is just trial and error for everyone as my doctors will sometimes affirm that other patients have my same symptoms post treatment. I have bathroom issues in the morning and my oncologist's PA mentioned they had another patient with my same side effects but hers are after lunch so she works only until midday. I started worknig later to accomodate my morning issues so same issues but differnt timing for our bodies.

lizdeli's picture
lizdeli
Posts: 522
Joined: Jul 2009

As those that have been  on the board awhile already know, I had a terrible diet during treatment and shortly thereafter.  I had very little appetite and was losing too much weight. I had a healthy diet prior to being diagnosed.  The nutriionist sat me down one day and really got on my case about not eating enough during treatment. She told me to forget about what may or may not be good for me and just eat whatever I could. Okay, so I did.  McDonald's cheesburgers, fries, vanilla ice cream, greek cookies (specially baked for me by loved ones) and gingerale.  That was my diet for two months.  After treatment, I eased off of the cheeseburgers and fries, but eased into macaroni and cheese.  It was something my insides tolerated. I went back to work about 3 weeks post treatment and was really nervous about accidents. The mac and cheese worked so I ate it.  I could not tolerate lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.  It took about a year before I could slowly eat salads again. 

Fast forward 3 1/2 years. I don't eat junk food anymore!  I eat pretty normal, no processed meats, fresh veggies, etc, etc.  I'm married to a greek so we do follow the mediterran diet  pretty much.  Tomato sauce is still a no no. 

Liz

shirlann54
Posts: 161
Joined: Aug 2011

I understand ,I don't think we will ever eat like the good old days .I miss it too .It's been 2 year's and 3 mo out of treatments for me .It is getting better i can eat more kinds of food then i did last 2 years . i'am better then i was last year.So you will get better and better as time gos on.....Shirley

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 3116
Joined: Jan 2010

I just have to post this, as I know some of you will be able to appreciate it.  Since treatment ended, I have eaten salad just occasionally, as it would often give me problems.  And since my hospitalization in late January for an intestinal obstruction, I have avoided raw fruits and veggies.  However, this past Saturday I was SO hungry for a salad I could no longer stand it.  So, I had a salad from Wendy's and here I am, two days later, alive and well with no repercussions!  My husband was even excited for me!  LOL! 

jcruz
Posts: 279
Joined: Jan 2013

I can totally relate to the excitement!  I've recently be able to back to eating well-cooked greens (my favorite Bloomsdale spinach was a part of dinner last night) and I've been thrilled to be able to eat small amounts at dinner.  I'm a big farmers' market shopper and right now I don't buy much except fresh eggs and potatoes.  Now I can add the greens and am thinking about trying asparagus.  I know that I probably won't spend my summer eating fresh tomatoes but I hope that maybe next year I can try them and all the stone fruit I used to consume.

Friday night I had some pizza and that came back to haunt me on Saturday.  I gave in to a temptation I knew might backfire but I had such a craving!  I have a brother with Crohn's disease and he and I have talked about foods you just have to have knowing that they'll make you sick and eating them anyway.  Well, I probably won't be trying pizza again for a while - nothing like a morning in the bathroom as a reminder to take better care of myself.

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 3116
Joined: Jan 2010

I'm sorry the pizza came back to haunt you!  I think in small amounts, most of us can tolerate the foods we love and crave.  My only suggestion is to enjoy them when you don't have to be anywhere in particular the next day and can stay at home--just in case!

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2014 © Cancer Survivors Network