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violently sick with feeding tube

Posts: 1
Joined: May 2004

My son was diag.with Sqamous cell carcinoma in the left tonsil in 4/1998. He had chemo and radiation trt. In 1/2001, cancer returned and he had radical neck disection performed. He is unable to swallow, and requires feeding tube permanently. In 3/2001 to present he becomes violently sick at times from the feeding. He is currently on two-cal food, but so far nothing has stopped the vomiting. The doctors have taken many tests, and cannot seem to find the cause of this vomiting. They think it maybe gastroperithisis?, when the stomach muscle freezes up. But they are not sure. His vomiting usually lasts for days sometimes weeks, and he kept on IV's during the sick spells. This has been going on for 3 years. The doctors are at a loss, and the local hospital will no longer admit him, because "There is nothing we can do." He is starving to death. So far he has been sick for about 6 weeks now,with maybe a 1/2 day rest between vomiting spells. Has anyone else had this problem? We are running out of time.

Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006

Sorry you and your son are going through this. I never had a problem with the liquid nutrition that I was prescribed to go through my feeding tube. The one time I felt like I would be sick was the first time the nurse gave me my first feeding without the pump. She thought it would be best to give me 3 cans at one time. She couldn't figure out that taking smaller doses more often was better than more less often.

Maybe there is another liquid nutrition that can be substitutded that wont upset his stomach. Maybe talk to a nutritionist either at the hospital or go to a cancer center that might have some other ideas.

laurena's picture
Posts: 16
Joined: Apr 2004

Timsmom, I'm so sorry to hear about your son. I'm on a permanent feeding tube and can perhaps offer some help. Email me at my regular email and I'll try to help you. Laurena


Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2004

My brother-in-law has had similar problems, although not for the length of time that your son has. Have you been in touch with the Oley Foundation (http://c4isr.com/oley)? They provide information and support on enteral feeding. Also make sure that your son is on a low osmolality formula. It has begun to make a significant difference for my sister's husband. Best of luck to you and your son.

Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2003

I had squamous cell carcinoma of the base of tongue and had a feeding tube for 10 months, i was so sick that finally the pump was the answer, i would prop on 2 pillows and eat while i slept at night at a very slow rate from 10pm til 6 or so, this was the best time for me. i could drink so during the day i tried to get in a lot of water. Also, i live in Chattanooga tn and there is a new invention called vitastem, this shocked my throat muscles and i do believe is the reason i can eat today (its hard) but i was able to get the tube out. type in vita stem chattanooga tn and you can find info. He may not have the same problem i had but its worth a try. Hope i helped and God Bless
jeanna Richelson

Posts: 5
Joined: Jun 2004

Hello Timsmom. I hope Tim is doing better. I had e-mailed your a few weeks ago about a medication that helped my husband get through a similar problem. However, we have since learned that the gastrophereis (I'm never sure how that is spelled) was caused by a colon infection called C-difficile colitis. I had suspected my husband had it for weeks but none of his doctor's would listen to us. Apparently, it's an infection that perplexes a lot of medical professionals and is hard to kick. It's usually caused by general purpose antibiotic use. Basically, antibiotics kill the good bacteria in a person along with the bad. C. difficile happens to be an antibiotic resistant "super germ" that is hard to kick. But once diagnosed, the symptons are easy to control. If your son hasn't been checked, please insist that they check him right away. It took at least five doctors at three different hospitals to find someone to take us seriously and test my husband. Guess what? He has C. difficile and is finally able to enjoy living again now that he is being treated for it. I hope your son gets well soon.

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