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My Husband will not eat

Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2010

My husband of 29 years has small cell lung cancer and it has spread to his spine (not bones)He has been in pain for several months that was really what lead us to find the cancer. His back hurt so bad back in Sept. that he ask me to take him to the ER. They found a "mass" and that stated the whirlwind. He has gone through 4 rounds of chemo and things looked good even though the pain was still there... They finally did an MRI just before starting radiation of the brain. The radiation of the brain is to keep it from coming back there. Anyway less than 2 weeks after starting the brain radiation they finally found that the cancer is in his spine and they have now started radiation for that. It has been 4 weeks since he was out of the house for anything other than doctor apointments. He will not eat - have to get him mad at me before he will put anything in his mouth. He is loosing weight, sleeps 20 to 22 hours a day, lost his energy, and gets confused very easly. Would anyone have any suggestions on how I might get him to eat. Please understand he does not normally get mad, this is new and I'm not sure where that is coming from either. Thank you!

cnm7789's picture
Posts: 4
Joined: Mar 2010

One suggestion a nurse told us when my mom had cancer was that you can take any kind of Carnation Instant Breakfast and make it as directed and mix in some icecream. My mom's issue was that radiation had burned her esophagus so bad that it was painful to eat and she'd rather just not eat than be in that much pain. Plus the chemo makes you lose your appetite anyway. So if he likes icecream you might could try that! The Carnation drink has lots of nutrients that can be beneficial and it doesn't taste bad either! Good luck! I hope he gets to feeling better.

Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2010

Thank you for the tip. He does normally like Icecream and carnation instant breakfast is easy to find. Really do apprecate your help will give it a try.

SueC21's picture
Posts: 11
Joined: Jan 2010

My husband was dx in Dec 09 with Stage 4 NSCLC. He did 10 rounds of rads to his brain and did his 4th chemo today. But he has been dehydrated twice including today. They could barely find his veins for chemo. So they gave him fluids again today.

So you may want to contact his doctor and ask about dehydration. It is very important to drink plenty of fluids while on chemo. When my husband gets dehydrated he will not eat, gets very fatigued and sleeps alot.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

cobra1122's picture
Posts: 244
Joined: Jul 2009

I am 49yrs old and was diagnosis with stage 4 lung cancer in '08, if you read my bio you will see I have a complicated health status.Remember that pain has alot to do with his appetitie to, so hopefully they can get that under control....
After I started chemo my appetite disappeared, but my wife used Boost with Ice Cream ( made a shake) to get me to eat. Boost and other like Ensure contain many suppliments that the body needs , it is used alot as a suppliment where my wife works, a Rehab Hospital, to help increase the nutrients that many people many not be getting with their diet or lack of.
I missed many meals, but she made the shakes in their place. Although at first I could only drink a little at a time, it helped me maintain some strength and then I started drinking more of it adn regain more strength adn endurance.
There are alot of suppliments out there and you can check with your pharmacist to see what else may be good to try. I was fortunate that my system could take the suppliments and my wife made me try the shakes that I actually gained weight thro chemo and weighed more when I was done with chemo than when I started. Everyone is different and it is trail and error sometimes, but nothing gained if you dont try. Big meals were out for me through out chemo, but I snacked alot and she always had a shake ready for me, so give it a try.
Our Prayers and Best Wishes to Your Husband, You, Your Family, and Everyone....,
Dan (cobra1122) and Margi Harmon

Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2010

Thank you for the suggestions. Best Wishes to you also.

rocket baby's picture
rocket baby
Posts: 22
Joined: Sep 2010

My husband was dx in Sept. 07. He went through a very long period of not wanting to eat and was turned off by the smell of food. I gave him lots of whole milk and carnation breakfast. He seemed to do well on cream of wheat and anything that was very bland, like rice or mashed potatoes. If your huband does try to eat something give him plastic utensils. There is something about the metal that makes the food taste foul to a cancer patient. Keep him hydrated because if he is dehydrated they will have to give him fluids by IV before he can have treatments. The dehydration will also make him sleepy. He is not himself right now and he is probably having lots of different emotions. Don't take his anger personally. He's not mad at you he's mad at the cancer. Make sure you take time for yourself, you need to take care of you so you can care for him. :) Stay Well.

Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2010

Thank you so much for your story. My Dad is stage 4 cancer and has been constantly saying nothing tastes right. I'm taking some plastic utensils down to him right aways, hopefully it will help him.

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