Eating

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rmitchell
rmitchell Member Posts: 94
edited March 2014 in Esophageal Cancer #1
Don had surgery 3 weeks ago. He did not have a feeding tube, due to a lot of scar tissue from previous surgeries. He is able to drink and eat liquids, but does not want to eat the amount of calories he needs. I am so frustrated and tired of fussing at him. It's almost like he does not care. Saturday he is to advance to a soft diet. Maybe he will do better on that. Has anyone else had this problem after surgery?

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  • paul61
    paul61 Member Posts: 1,391 Member
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    Frequent meals are the answer
    Reba,

    I had Ivor Lewis surgery followed by adjuvant chemotherapy. It has been about a year since my surgery. For the first six months after my surgery I had no appetite at all. I had to establish an eating schedule that provided six small meals each day and eat when the clock said it was time to eat. I weighed about 150 lbs prior to surgery after surgery and chemotherapy I was down to about 118 lbs. Over the last few months I have gained about 10 pounds and seem to have settled out at 128 lbs (I am about 5’ 5” tall)

    I always carry small snack items with me so I can eat even if I am in the car traveling somewhere. Items like small packages of crackers with peanut butter are easy to carry and eat anytime. Pushing your husband to eat larger amounts will just frustrate him because he only has so much room to store food and eating too much at one time causes it’s own set of problems.

    High calorie shakes and drinks like Ensure and Carnation Instant Breakfast can be helpful if consumed in small amounts over time. Trying to drink them all in one sitting can cause dumping.

    Also things like macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes that are easy to chew and swallow are good things use to used to transition to normal foods from a liquid diet.

    I assume you have a dietary guide but just in case you don’t :

    http://www.upmc.com/HealthAtoZ/patienteducation/Documents/Esophagectomy.pdf


    A typical menu for me might be:

    8 AM Breakfast
    Whole Grain English Muffin with Peanut Butter and Two hard boiled eggs

    12 PM Lunch
    Half a ham and cheese sandwich with potato chips

    2 PM Afternoon Snack
    Banana and cheese and crackers

    6 PM Dinner
    Salmon (about 4 ounces) and macaroni and cheese with small salad

    8 PM Snack
    Peeled apple cut into wedges and 2/3 ounces of mixed nuts

    9:30 PM 2 hours before bedtime
    8 ounces of vanilla yogurt


    I find it easier to eat later in the day than first thing in the morning. I may just be a personal thing your husband really needs to experiment to find a pattern that works for him. The important thing is to get the six small meals in he requires.

    Your husband has to look at food as fuel or medication that his body requires. Waiting to become hungry will not provide enough calories.

    I hope this helps. It takes patience and a change in attitude but now I can eat whatever I want except foods that are high in sugar content. I am still not hungry like I used to be before surgery but I think it is because I eat so often.

    Best Regards,

    Paul Adams
    McCormick, South Carolina

    DX 10/22/2009 T2N1M0 Stage IIB
    12/03/2009 Ivor Lewis
    2/8 through 6/14/2010 Adjuvant Chemo Cisplatin, Epirubicin, 5 FU
    6/21/2010 CT Scan NED

    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance!
  • sandy1943
    sandy1943 Member Posts: 824
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    Hi, I had problems with food
    Hi, I had problems with food to begin with, I would put small amounts on my plate. I had no appetite and a bite would grow in my mouth, I did good to swallow three bites at a meal. My husband would give me an ounce of ensure several times a day. It took everything I had to swallow it. This only lasted around two months and my apetite came back. I love to eat now, and even though I eat smaller meals, I eat more often.

    I know he needs more calories, but I also know how hard it is to force yourself to eat. Praying his apetite will return soon, Sandra
  • rmitchell
    rmitchell Member Posts: 94
    Options
    paul61 said:

    Frequent meals are the answer
    Reba,

    I had Ivor Lewis surgery followed by adjuvant chemotherapy. It has been about a year since my surgery. For the first six months after my surgery I had no appetite at all. I had to establish an eating schedule that provided six small meals each day and eat when the clock said it was time to eat. I weighed about 150 lbs prior to surgery after surgery and chemotherapy I was down to about 118 lbs. Over the last few months I have gained about 10 pounds and seem to have settled out at 128 lbs (I am about 5’ 5” tall)

    I always carry small snack items with me so I can eat even if I am in the car traveling somewhere. Items like small packages of crackers with peanut butter are easy to carry and eat anytime. Pushing your husband to eat larger amounts will just frustrate him because he only has so much room to store food and eating too much at one time causes it’s own set of problems.

    High calorie shakes and drinks like Ensure and Carnation Instant Breakfast can be helpful if consumed in small amounts over time. Trying to drink them all in one sitting can cause dumping.

    Also things like macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes that are easy to chew and swallow are good things use to used to transition to normal foods from a liquid diet.

    I assume you have a dietary guide but just in case you don’t :

    http://www.upmc.com/HealthAtoZ/patienteducation/Documents/Esophagectomy.pdf


    A typical menu for me might be:

    8 AM Breakfast
    Whole Grain English Muffin with Peanut Butter and Two hard boiled eggs

    12 PM Lunch
    Half a ham and cheese sandwich with potato chips

    2 PM Afternoon Snack
    Banana and cheese and crackers

    6 PM Dinner
    Salmon (about 4 ounces) and macaroni and cheese with small salad

    8 PM Snack
    Peeled apple cut into wedges and 2/3 ounces of mixed nuts

    9:30 PM 2 hours before bedtime
    8 ounces of vanilla yogurt


    I find it easier to eat later in the day than first thing in the morning. I may just be a personal thing your husband really needs to experiment to find a pattern that works for him. The important thing is to get the six small meals in he requires.

    Your husband has to look at food as fuel or medication that his body requires. Waiting to become hungry will not provide enough calories.

    I hope this helps. It takes patience and a change in attitude but now I can eat whatever I want except foods that are high in sugar content. I am still not hungry like I used to be before surgery but I think it is because I eat so often.

    Best Regards,

    Paul Adams
    McCormick, South Carolina

    DX 10/22/2009 T2N1M0 Stage IIB
    12/03/2009 Ivor Lewis
    2/8 through 6/14/2010 Adjuvant Chemo Cisplatin, Epirubicin, 5 FU
    6/21/2010 CT Scan NED

    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance!

    Don
    Thanks for your comments Paul. Went to Dr today to check Cumiden levels. They are fine now but now Don has Bells Palsy in the left side of his face. It is just slight and Dr put him on medicines for it. Don't know why this has happened but guess we will deal with it.
    He started a soft diet this morning. He ate a pancake with no problems. I know he is tired of soup so tomorrow we will have mashed potatoes , carrots and applesauce.
    Reba
  • rmitchell
    rmitchell Member Posts: 94
    Options
    sandy1943 said:

    Hi, I had problems with food
    Hi, I had problems with food to begin with, I would put small amounts on my plate. I had no appetite and a bite would grow in my mouth, I did good to swallow three bites at a meal. My husband would give me an ounce of ensure several times a day. It took everything I had to swallow it. This only lasted around two months and my apetite came back. I love to eat now, and even though I eat smaller meals, I eat more often.

    I know he needs more calories, but I also know how hard it is to force yourself to eat. Praying his apetite will return soon, Sandra

    Food
    Thanks Sandy. Guess we just have to take it day by day. Today he started on a soft diet so maybe that will be more appealing to him.
    Reba
  • Boston67
    Boston67 Member Posts: 61
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    I had problems with eating
    Hi,

    I had problems with eating and found two things helped a lot. The first was pain management because fear of discomfort stopped me from eating solid food. Pain medication relieved both the fear and most of the discomfort. I also learned that anti-nausea medicine give one and me an appetite. I also have a stool softener which relieves constipation another barrier to eating.

    Good Luck
    Keith Rodney
    Age 67 Boston
    Stage IV and about to begin treatment.