Not eating post round 2 of TPF

buzz99 Member Posts: 404
edited March 2014 in Head and Neck Cancer #1
Buzz had two rounds of TPF induction chemotherapy for Stage IV BOT cancer. Both rounds put him in the hospital for a week each time. He had severe electrolyte imbalances and neutropenia with infection. So, we are not doing round 3 and are waiting to go to the chemoradiation phase soon. For now he is not eating! His throat is healed but he has no desire to take more than a small amount of liquids. We do have the tube feeding but his reliance on the tube feeding has me worried that he will be totally dependant on it after all the radiation is finished. I did anticipate his being tube fed while being radiated but not before. Anyone have total loss of appetite during the induction phase?


  • Kent Cass
    Kent Cass Member Posts: 1,898 Member
    Sorry to hear Buzz is having the problems. You used the term "neutropenia," which is the general description of why I was put in the hospital for 4-days at the start of week #6 of my treatment. My delivery was such that my mouth became a train wreck at the end of week #1, and got all my Nutrition via the PEG for some 7 consecutive weeks, out of necessity, and then in supplementary for a month longer. I got the C&R together, right from the get-go.

    The chemo is whole-body, and does a number on the appetite. The rads are focused, and do the most damage to tissue, such as in the throat and mouth, but the chemo might be more of a factor in actual appetite. Worst of times for me was post-Chemo, and there were many days that I didn't get as much of the Jevity formula as the Drs. said was necessary. And that was due to the Chemo- Cisplatin/FU5. Just felt full, and seemed more than I could handle to eat any more than I was thru the PEG.

    Be aware, going forward, that it is critical that Buzz keeps his swallowing active, even if only water and ice. And, post-treatment, that his appetite will still be an issue on account of his tastes being greatly changed. I'm 19-months, post-treatment, and still drink two Ensure for breakfast each morning, even though my being able to taste food for the positive has been with me over a year. You're gonna have to convince him to keep eating, because we all know of critical Nutrition is to the battle and recovery.

  • sweetblood22
    sweetblood22 Member Posts: 3,228
    Sorry he is having so much trouble.
    I only had radiation, no chemo, but I can say that I went through total loss of appetite. From hanging around here, and reading posts, I think it is an all to common problem. Not only are their physical barriers and side effects that reduce appetite, but also depression can cause loss of appetite. Again, also a common issue in treatment.

    If he has no throat pain, and can swallow, he really should try to keep swallowing and exercising those muscles. It's not easy to explain to someone who hasn't gone thru treatment the level of fatigue, the sickness, and pain you can feel during treatment. What are easy things to normal people, like eating, bathing, getting up to use the restroom, can feel so draining, and can take and sap what little energy you have. Doesn't seem like difficult stuff for a healthy person, but trust me when you are at that peak, it's hard.

    Just make sure he is getting enough nutrition, calories, and fluids through the tube. Coconut water is good to boost electolytes and potassium. Because he only uses the tube may or may not mean he may become dependant on it.

    Try and talk to him to figure out why he isn't eating. If it's just lack of appetite the doctors can give him something to help that. Maybe check for depression, again, meds can help greatly!

    Hang in there. I wish him the best.