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Weakness - Uterine Cancer Chemo Treatment - Blood Transfusion

ediegram
Posts: 27
Joined: May 2011

HI All,
My Mom has Type II Uterine cancer - clear cell carcinoma with serous cells. She was diagnosed at stage 1B. Her treatment regiment is 6 treatments of carboplatin/taxol. She has finished 2 of 6. The 2nd one has taken it's toll on her. She has been really, really weak. She went in last week for fluids, and we went in yesterday for more. Her lab results show high white blood cell count, so she is having a blood transfusion today- 2 pints. When she was weak, I bought some B6 supplements for her to try which didn't help much.

Her diet mainly consists of cheese, lunchmeat, crackers, soup and lots of milk. A lot of these are high protein. I don't know if I can get her to drink ensure. Do you have suggestions on protein/iron rich foods that we need to focus on to try and prevent this from happening?

Thank you in advance!
Edie

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 497
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi,

I am sorry that your mother is having a hard time with her chemo. The foods that you say she is eating are, in my humble opinion, probably not helping her. There are a number of threads on this board that discuss nutrition, and I would highly recommend that you read them. There are modifications that can be made to your mom's diet that would not be too drastic but that would add in some protein- and iron-rich foods.

Lots of vegetables, fruit, and legumes would be a good start. Since she is on chemo, iron- and protein-rich meat and fish should probably be part of her diet. I would choose chicken, turkey, and wild caught fish. If her hemoglobin is low, you might consider adding occasional red and organ meat.

If your mom likes soup, how about making lentil soup, which is high in protein and iron (add some spinach to the soup, which will give it an extra punch of iron) or minestrone with lots of vegetables and legumes. Perhaps you can buy fresh roasted turkey instead of lunch meat, flax seed or whole wheat crackers, and vegetable juices (low sodium V8 is good)to alternate with milk.

Dairy is a food group that has generated some questions in the anti-cancer community. You can read discussions on this board, but the thinking is that it's best to not have too much of it.

I'll let someone else chime in here. Best of luck to you and your mom.

Jill

lindaprocopio's picture
lindaprocopio
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

The diet you describe sounds too high in sodium, too low in protein, to promote healing. Is your mother drinking 64 ounces of non-caffeine fluids daily? That is KEY to feeling good during cancer treatment, as it flushes the drugs from the body and safeguards the kidneys and liver from drug-related damage. I've been drinking TONS of water and green tea daily for the past 2 1/2 years that I've been in cancer treatment, and even with the constant cheno I've had to take, I remain symptom-free and have no real lasting side affects from all the drugs. I attribute that to all the flushing fluids and my attention to my digestion.

I met with a nutritionist early in my cancer journey who encouraged me to eat at least a tablespoon of active organic yogurt daily to help keep the bacteria in my digestive system in balance. If she doesn't like plain yogurt, you can mix a container of yogurt with a packet of Carnation Instant Breakfast and it tastes a lot like cheesecake and gets a lot of protein and calories into her in concentrated form. If your mother doesn't have loose bowels, I'd suggest a fresh spinach salad daily (something as simple as fresh spinach, a cut-up apple, a handful of almonds and dried cranberries....delicious & easy). If she doesn't have cholesterol issues, a hard-boiled egg chopped in adds protein. Most of us feel better when we control our diet, not just because a healthy diet makes anyone FEEL better in general, but because it gives us some aspect of this damn disease that we CAN control! ((((Hugs)))).

deanna14
Posts: 743
Joined: Oct 2008

If she is currently receiving chemo and her white blood cell count is high, she probably has an infection. Having to get blood transfusions during chemo is pretty common. I had to receive blood twice.
If she likes milk, you could get some protein powder, just make sure it is not soy. Lean red meats would also help with red blood cells and hemoglobin.
Good luck!

deanna14
Posts: 743
Joined: Oct 2008

An infection, it could very well be contributing to her fatigue and difficulty tolerating the treatments.

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 497
Joined: Dec 2009

blood transfusion. Can someone explain this to me? I know that a transfusion is in order if hemoglobin is very LOW, but I have never heard of the need being prompted by a HIGH white blood cell count.

I agree that your mom probably has an infection.

ediegram
Posts: 27
Joined: May 2011

I wonder about that... She has had a cough for several days that is not improving. I called her nurse about it and that is why they did lab test to check blood count. No further action on the cough? I left a message with the nurse.

She had the transfusion last night and doesn't notice much difference today. Is this something that takes time?

Thank you for all of the info on nutrition. I will try to find the thread!

ediegram
Posts: 27
Joined: May 2011

Well... my never improved last week after the transfusion and she was extremely weak and still running the low grade fever. I took her to the after hours clinic and they were concerned that she might have pneumonia. We went to the emergency room. She does have pneumonia in both lungs. :( I was a little irritated because I called the oncology nurse several times last week about the concern with her temperature. When I took her in last Tue for fluids she said she would mention to dr and they may want to do a chest xray - they never did. Now I'm wondering if he got that message? I called back later in the week and still no real concern about the fever or cough. We have an appt Tue for Chemo which I would imagine they won't do with her in a weakened state. I am going to have a discussion with the Dr.

Songflower's picture
Songflower
Posts: 631
Joined: Apr 2009

As soon as you told them your mother had a cough and low grade fever she should have had a chest xray. I would ask them why they did not get this message through. Be sure the nurse knows and the Doctor. You have a right to be angry; and I am not sure where the ball was dropped. But make certain they understand that your mother is important to you and good care is important to you. Then give them another chance. When they know family is involved they perk up like they should have been in the first place.

Your friend,
Diane

ediegram
Posts: 27
Joined: May 2011

Hi Diane,
I completely agree! She is extremely weak and her electrolytes are way out of whack. She has low magnesium, potassium and sodium. Her fever just spiked to 102! They are trying to get her comfortable right now and get the fever down. They are also checking to make sure that she doesn't have a blood infection, but the fever started before the transfusion.. :( This is all really frustrating...

ediegram
Posts: 27
Joined: May 2011

One other thing.. she has developed blisters on her behind. They aren't like bed sores they are in different areas. Anyone know what this is??

lkchapman's picture
lkchapman
Posts: 106
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi,
They could be shingles, or a skin infection. Are they very painful?

Laura

ediegram
Posts: 27
Joined: May 2011

She hasn't complained about them hurting. I was wondering the same thing, and have asked if the oncologist will stop by today. She seems to be stronger today, but last night her temp got up to 102! :( I don't think she is getting out today until she is much stronger.

ediegram
Posts: 27
Joined: May 2011

Well wound nurse just confirmed they are shingles :( I hope the Oncologist makes it by today!

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