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My aunt has cancer and is rapidly losing weight

vinnyfiore
Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2017

My aunt was recently diagnosed with stage 3A lung cancer. She has just started radiation and chemo. She recently moved in with me and my family because the hospital she is recieving treatment at is right up the street from my house. She is constantly sick (as to be expected) but she won't eat anything at all. I think she fears that if she eats something, she may throw it up immediately after.

 

What can I do? It makes me feel absolutely terrible that she feels this way and has no desire to eat. She is rapidly losing weight and the doctor stressed that she needs to gain weight any way possible. Is there any tips to get her to eat or to sooth her nausia in ways that the prescribed medicine can't?

 

I was thinking about making her extremely high calorie shakes that will give her enough calories for the full day. Is there any recipes that any one has tried? Please, I'm looking for any advice available because all I want to do is help her.

jorola's picture
jorola
Posts: 237
Joined: Mar 2016

there are  many medications that can assist with the nausea anf help her appetite. Small more frequent meals may be easier too.

kfs52
Posts: 31
Joined: Jul 2017

Dear Vinneyfore

You have to get her to eat. I have been through treatment, chemo and increased radiation for lung cancer. I went from normal weight of 105 to 82 pounds. It is scary. My throat hurt and made eating very hard. So I had to give up all meats and poultry, anything sctatchy. Anything hard. Bacon.

So whats left, not much, but you can work with it. Quik Strawberry drinks, chocoloate have a bite to the throat that is unplesant (so stay mosty away from choclocates), other vanilla and shakes - just let them get melty before she tries to drink.

Then mashed potatoes! Yes, lots of them. Everyone here will tell you they are the easiest to eat, get them with gravy, lots of extra calory points! A person can eat a lot of mashed potatoes, trust me.! I was partial to stopping by KFC, they also reheat really well. Grits, another good staple. Eggs, lots of eggs everyday, made every way! You can only use bread if you cut the crusts off. 

I also ate sweet kids cereal, I just let it sit in milk for a few minutes to soften, but by that same token, you could do this with oatmeal - if she is partial.

If your aunt is queasy, then she needs to take the 3 step drugs from the ocolgist to get past that - she has to eat.

I hope this helps, but from this you should be able to come up with a small qoeking diet to get her through treatment, then her world can slowey open back up to more food choices.

Good Luck.

DanieJo76's picture
DanieJo76
Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2018

VinnyFlora,

I have been where you are. My father would not eat for months, said everything tasted like crap, litteraly crap in his mouth. So what I did was make him some shake for his "solid" food. I would put ice cream, ensure and protein powder in the blender. And I could get him to drink an ensure as well. One thing is that you must not force them to eat or to eat more, just offer snacks throughout the day/night. We went to GNC and Kroger and got Protein bars as snacks and sat them by his chair so that he could eat whenever he wanted. He went from 180 to 132 quickly, every week he went for chemo and he would loose 5 to 7 lbs. No one said anything until I was very blunt with the Dr as he was not looking over his whole chart like that, he just knew he was losing weight. I also was very blunt with my father about the fact that he would die if he did not eat and he did not want to do that to my mom so he agreed to go on a liquid diet, but he did not want to have my mom fusing at him about his diet, that was the hardest part. After about a week on a clear liquid diet he went back to eating soft foods in very very small quanities. Example: the individual microwaveable soups would last 3 meals. The reason he would not eat is two fold the cancer tricks your body into thinking you don't need nurtion and he had a mass that was pressing on him in ways that made him feel full. 

I hate to tell you this, but I feel everyone should know when dealing with cancer patients, she may go through moments when she will not remember you or anyone around her, times when she does not know where she is. My father would be remembering something from 20 years ago one minute, then think he was on vacation in FL the next, he would wake up sit up with his eyes wide open and tell me to get off the roof, he needed my help. One day he "woke up" sat up in bed and said a women's name and asked her why she was there, he thought she had been dead many years, then fell right back in bed asleep. This scared me more than anything, a day or two later I asked him about the woman by name. He stated she died when he was in high school, and asked why would I have brought up her name. I not knowing any better told him and he started to cry. My dad is very brave and was very strong for me at many times in my life, and he approached death as a matter of fact with logic, until he became close and then he was like a scared child.

She may go through times where she is very anxious and agitated. Thankful we were in the hospital when this started for my dad. He woke up pulling at all the cords, saying he was choking and he was going to get out of there, we were in ICU so the nurses were close and knew exactly what to do. He was put on anxitey meds and he could tell us when he needed them. But he would still go through "battles" where he was arguementative and he had never been that way before. Just be understanding and ask her what will help her, reassurance is the biggest thing you can give her at any point.

 

Sincerely,

Danie Jo

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