questions about cachexia and introducing myself

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kenkel
kenkel Member Posts: 5

Hello....my husband was diagnosed 2 mths ago with colon cancer metastasized to his liver, lungs, lymph nodes, and bone. He is 52 and we have a 14 yr old daughter. I filled out my profile with all that we've been through so far.

My question is about cachexia. I just read about it a couple of days ago and am thinking my husband is showing signs. He is in between the 2nd and 3rd chemo and fairly stable right now after getting a biliary drain and getting infections under control, but his weight has gone from 180 to 154, he has the hollow look in his cheeks, and is losing muscle mass. He has hardly any appetite, even when the nausea is gone. I'm going to talk to our oncologist about some things i've read that we could try at the next appt. My question is: How insistent should i be that he eat? I feel like he still has a chance to buy some time with the chemo, and if he doesn't eat more now, the cachexia will set in, and there will be no turning back. He wants to fight, but gives in to his lack of appetite and fear of vomiting. Tonight, he didn't want to eat because of nausea. I talked him into 3 spoonfuls of noodles and all the soup broth. He didn't vomit. Should I keep this up? Or let him be.

Thanks, Kelley

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  • Trubrit
    Trubrit Member Posts: 5,800 Member
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    Hard

    Welcome to the forum, Kelley. I am so sorry for your husbands diagnosis. 

    Sometimes the web is not our friend. It can fill us with fears and misinformation. 

    I understand that your hubby's diagnosis is at the extreme side, and sometimes its progression can be fast, but two months is still early in the treatment.  I'm not saying you are wrong, but his weight loss and apperance could also be due to the chemo and its side effects. Those first few months are hard on the body, and weight can drop off, as our eating habits change dramatically. I lost 25 lbs quite quickly after diagnosis. I don't think I ever looked gaunt, but then I started off quite chubby. 

    As for 'making' him eat. There is a saying in England, 'You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink'.  I think you should definitely encourage your husband to eat, but at the end of the day, it is his choice.  I am happy that he didn't throw up his noodles and soup broth, because now he knows that he won't always vomit after eating. Thats a great mental step for him. 

    It sounds like you are doing the right things for him. Gently encouraging him without being forceful. 

    The body is a wonderous thing. He may get past these first few chemos and bounce right back. 

    Try not to read too much on the web. It is good to be prepared, but not to the point of scaring yourself.  It is early days, and hopefully the chemo will give him time.  But again, there's that balance between wanting him to have quality time and being sick with chemo. That is such a personal decision. 

    We are here for you as you take this journey with your beloved. 

    TRU

     

     

  • Woodytele
    Woodytele Member Posts: 163
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    Appetite

    one thing that helps if you can get it is, medical marijuana.  Not sure where you live, but if you can get it, they have all kinds to help your appetite.  it helps me a lot. 

  • coloCan
    coloCan Member Posts: 1,944 Member
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    Woodytele said:

    Appetite

    one thing that helps if you can get it is, medical marijuana.  Not sure where you live, but if you can get it, they have all kinds to help your appetite.  it helps me a lot. 

    Try using nutrition drinks like boost or ensure or

    Drug store brand to addcalories/ nutrients....

  • Bellen
    Bellen Member Posts: 281 Member
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    Weight loss

    I was quite thin prior to treatment - also lost 5 lbs just prior to treatment start due to having colonoscopy and port surgery inserted in same week.  I have tried to maintain my weight and also regain the 5 lbs.  My dietician has mentioned a new product by Ensure called Enlive.  It has added protein (believe 20 gms) and a supplement that helps to add muscle mass.  I also buy Ensure that has added calories.  There is a lot of sugar unfortunately, but I still feel I need to supplement my diet.  My home nurse has suggested 2 Ensures a day if I am not eating well - I like the Vanilla.  I had fairly bad nausea for my first 8 chemos, and now it has subsided - not nearly as bad.  I have an anti-nausea pill to take as needed and started taking a heartburn med called pantoloc.  I believe both the nausea and heartburn affected my desire to eat, and since taking the heartburn med, my eating has improved.  I also have ginger chews - ginger is supposed to help with nausea.  If your husband does not have a dietician at the cancer center, I strongly encourage you to set him up with one.  My dietician has been excellent in helping me to maintain my weight - I have added issues because I have a small intestinal stricture and follow a low residue diet.  I do think that bad nausea can definitely be affecting his desire to eat.  Good luck in the future.  Hope things improve.

  • kenkel
    kenkel Member Posts: 5
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    My husband is improving!

    Thank y'all for the advice. After 4 rounds of chemo, we are seeing some good results. Even though he is not eating more, he is holding at 140 lbs. I think the tumor burden has shrunk and is using less calories. His abdomen is less swollen...bilirubin is normal again. He will have an internal stent placed next Tues in his bile duct and he will be rid of the drain and bag! He had a CT scan done yesterday...if the liver tumors have shrunk some, he will have the y90 procedure done. He is much more himself now that his liver is in better shape. He had 10 days of radiation for his arm tumors. The pain is gone and he will not have to have reconstruction of the bone. His WBC did get low, but they reduced some of the chemo and it is rising now.

    I feel hopeful that we will be given some more time now, to at least get me set up to work again (I've been a stay at home Mom), and give us time for a long as possible goodbye. We are slowly coming to terms with his illness and learning to cope.

  • Trubrit
    Trubrit Member Posts: 5,800 Member
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    kenkel said:

    My husband is improving!

    Thank y'all for the advice. After 4 rounds of chemo, we are seeing some good results. Even though he is not eating more, he is holding at 140 lbs. I think the tumor burden has shrunk and is using less calories. His abdomen is less swollen...bilirubin is normal again. He will have an internal stent placed next Tues in his bile duct and he will be rid of the drain and bag! He had a CT scan done yesterday...if the liver tumors have shrunk some, he will have the y90 procedure done. He is much more himself now that his liver is in better shape. He had 10 days of radiation for his arm tumors. The pain is gone and he will not have to have reconstruction of the bone. His WBC did get low, but they reduced some of the chemo and it is rising now.

    I feel hopeful that we will be given some more time now, to at least get me set up to work again (I've been a stay at home Mom), and give us time for a long as possible goodbye. We are slowly coming to terms with his illness and learning to cope.

    Good news

    I am so happy that there has been an improvement.  I wish him all the best, and that your long goodbye stretches out for many years.

    Tru

  • JanJan63
    JanJan63 Member Posts: 2,478 Member
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    That's wonderful news! Good

    That's wonderful news! Good for him! Sorry I missed this post to start with, somehow I just didn't see it. I hope for the best for your husband.

    Jan

  • cprw
    cprw Member Posts: 3
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    improving

    Wonderful news!  Sounds like you are on the right track! Praying for continued tumor response.  There are many options for diet and complementary therapies to help the chemo efficacy.