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what and how do you eat after colon cancer?

pamness
Posts: 526
Joined: Nov 2007

I was stage 3A-surgery, folfox, radiation w/ chemo.
I finished treatment late August of 2007.
Here are my questions and would love some input. What do you eat and how do you eat it to try to avoid very unpleasant consequences?
I have found that I can eat pretty much what I want in very small amounts. However, I am trying to add more vegetables and fruit to my diet, without dire consequences. Anything that is greasy is definitely a no go for me. I can eat red meat in very small amounts (low fat) but I get blind sided from time to time by green vegetables (even cooked) and fruit in more than small amounts. I was lactose intolerant for awhile but that has gone away. I like spicy food and that is OK in small amounts. Immodium works well for me, but I swing from constipation to diarrhea. If I have been constipated for a few days I delay taking the immodium - but am not sure this is a good idea, actually it hasn't worked well at all. I lost 35 lbs during treatment and have gained back 17 which is great. Don't need the rest. I also like to have glass of wine with dinner, which my Dr's say is fine, but sometimes I wonder. What are you all doing and how do you manage this. I had a colon resection - no colostomy.

Pam

funnyguy
Posts: 90
Joined: Jan 2007

A couple of ideas.
The American Cancer Society publishes a book on eating well during and after cancer treatment - they also have a book -- something like "the complete guide to colorectal cancer". Both books helped me to understand diet and what to try.

Like you I had the swings from constipation to the other end of the spectrum. Greasy food doesn't go well either for me.

I avoid red meat all together now based upon studies showing it's not good for us.

Consequently I do eat a lot of fruit and vegetables; but to avoid the issues I take one teaspoon of benefiber once a day in morning coffee or OJ and it seems to be working. It's been about 2 months and all is well after a short transition to get used to it. Now immodium only comes into play when I splurge on something deep fried...

cheers,

pamness
Posts: 526
Joined: Nov 2007

thanks, I am going to ask about the benefiber when I go to the Dr. in May

KathiM's picture
KathiM
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Pam,
You hit on my favorite word...small. In May, it will be 3 years since my resection that removed my rectum and sig colon. I eat 4-5 small meals, instead of 3 big ones. Always start with breakfast. I make sure to drink plenty of fluids, otherwise I get constipated. With a few exceptions, I have no troubles with normal shape and regularity. I eat red meat no more than 2 times a month, and then only 6 ounces.
That said, life is about living. I do 'sin' on occasion, eating something high sweet or high fat or so. I enjoy EVERY bite! I don't feel guilty. I realize that there is a chance I'll end up in the toilet, but I accept that, and keep immodium handy (I don't use this regularly). I have a weakness for pizza, for instance. I allow myself 2 slices. I used to eat half a large pie. You get my drift.
I added fruits/vegies slowly, sort of like you do with a baby. Watched for reaction. If it was bad, I tried again in 6 months. As you said, for awhile you were lactose intollerant, now you're not. Time is a BIG factor...and attitude (of course..lol!).

I also got a book on eating with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). It was helpful.

Hugs, Kathi

pamness
Posts: 526
Joined: Nov 2007

thanks for taking the time to reply, I too share a love of pizza and have found that 2 slices is definitely my limit. Thanks for the advice.

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pamness
Posts: 526
Joined: Nov 2007

Thanks for the response, I will try to stop being so impatient I am only six months out of treatment. You said scallops caused you trouble for some reason I can eat regular cabbage (in a small amount) but three bites of bok choy (cooked) landed me back in the bathroom. Go figure.

Pam

rmap59
Posts: 266
Joined: Jun 2007

Hi,
thanks for bringing this up again. I have whined so much about this but I always love to hear what people say on the subject because you cant talk to just anybody about it. I have tried everything, metimucil makes me go sometimes too much and lymotil is wierd it makes me go frequently but no diarreah, ammodium makes me constipated. Anyway I am going to try the little meals and see what happens. I was also stage 3 and had surgery that removed one half of my rectum so I was warned by the doctors that this would take time and patience, sometimes more than I have, makes me crazy.
Good Luck to you,
Robin

pamness
Posts: 526
Joined: Nov 2007

do you mind if I e-mail you privately, it is driving me nuts and I could use someone else to exchange information with. I'll try it now, sometimes I have trouble with the website.

rmap59
Posts: 266
Joined: Jun 2007

Please do email me. If you have trouble you can use my private email address. Let me know by posting back on this message and I will give it to you.
Robin

renee2u's picture
renee2u
Posts: 27
Joined: Feb 2008

What a great topic.... I didn't have colon cancer but had SCC in the rectal area... I spend so much time on the toilet it's not funny... I have to be so careful with what I eat... and how much!

Thank you for bringing this up and for all the responses...

Immodium and Metamucil are my close close friends... LOL!!

shaver81's picture
shaver81
Posts: 6
Joined: Apr 2008

I am currently recovering from an ileostomy takedown (survived chemo, surgery, radiation, etc) so I can relate to the search for the perfect diet. I have found that I am tending to eat more rice with meals. Veggies are the tough one to get over but cooking them is the only way to go (and like you said "in small amounts"). Another thing to keep an eye on is the lack of natural bacteria that you may have lost due to treatment. You may want to try yogurt to provide you with the bacteria you need to feel more "regular"-something I am trying new this week.
It is really nice to see that there are other individuals going through this as I have been somewhat isolated from any survivor group (due to my own ignorance I guess). Thank you all for your comments and advice.

2bhealed's picture
2bhealed
Posts: 2085
Joined: Dec 2001

Hi Pam,

This is my favorite subject!

I was Stage 3 in my sigmoid colon but didn't do any chemo or rad so I can't help you there. I opted to heal from cancer using diet (among a host of other things....) so I read and researched a whole lot.

Important things to consider are using digestive enzymes when you eat (vitamin shops or health food stores) and probiotics (acidophilis - sp?- and such) to get your gut bacteria back into balance. Chemo (along with antibiotics etc) throws your gut flora out of whack. It's important to get it back to help in digestion--and you're obviously having digestive issues (we all did or we wouldn't have gotten colon cancer-duh). :-)

After my dx I only ate veggies, fruits and whole grains (mostly brown rice). I juiced my veggies and added flax seed to the juice which added beneficial fiber as well as cancer fighting compounds. Flax rocks!

After 6 months of being a complete vegan (to detox and give my body a digestive vacation), I reintroduced other foods as well...some salmon, turkey on Thanksgiving, eggs.....making sure to take the digestive enzymes. Juicing gives you plenty of live enzymes which aid in digestion, but if one is eating cooked food (dead-no live enzymes) then the body could use some digestive help.

If any meat is eaten it's a good idea to look for grass-fed and organic.

I also did not eat any refined white or brown sugar, no alcohol (turns into sugar), nor any dairy at all (mucus forming and can plug up the pipes).

I stay pretty darn regular on this diet which is a huge improvement from my constipated days. I go upwards of three times a day on a good day (which is healthy--anything less is considered constipated--"normal" but not healthy).

The other important aspect that I found in my research was to keep my body alkaline pH. Cancer has been found to not be able to survive in an alkaline state but likes an acid pH. Meat, dairy, eggs, alcohol, sugar, refined foods are all acid producing. You can get pH strips and test your urine if you don't believe me. It's kinda cool.

Anyway, I hope this helps.

peace, emily

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