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Enzymes

Kaleena's picture
Kaleena
Posts: 1913
Joined: Nov 2009

How long do you have to take enzymes before they begin to work?   My husband is several years out from his Whipple procedure.   He did well with the surgery and chemo.   However recently he has been getting stomach cramps and diarrhea.   He called the doctor and they started him on enzymes.  he no longer has cramping but the diarrhea is still affecting in after lunch and dinner.  He has been taking them for a little over a week

 

Kathy

Oneshot's picture
Oneshot
Posts: 149
Joined: Jul 2009

Kaleena, 

         You mentioned your husband is several years out from a whipple and just in the last week started taking enzymes.   I'm just trying to wrap my head around that!  Due to I have had to take them since right after my whipple.  Did his oncologist suggest (X) amount to start with?  Then adjust the dosage?   I ask this due to there are a few different doses of enzymes. Mine seemed to work immediately. I had lost so much wieght prior. I saw a noticable difference after starting mine.

   I have to take CREON DR 24,000 units capsules.  I take 2 with every meal and 1 if it's a small snack. I have talked to some ,who have to take up to 8 enzymes per meal.  I'm not sure how many your husband has to take but , you might ask the oncologist about adjusting his dose possibly.  My oncologist had me change my dosage.  Also I take mine just before I eat. I have heard of others having to take them 30 minutes or so before eating.  Some open the capsules and sprinkle it on thier food. It is sort of a hit-n-miss deal for a little while.   

   I pretty often have severe cramping . I was told this is due to scar tissue from the whipple proceedure ( I did have a lot of stuff removed and my insides were basically re-plummed) . My cramping doesn't seem to be caused or helped out by the emzymes.

  As far as loose bowels and enzymes possibly causing it.  I found out if, I take 2 for a meal. Then say 30 mins. to an hr. later I feel like having a snack. I'd take another enzyme before the snack. That seemed to cause me to have diarrhea. So I just learned if it's within an hr. or so after taking 2 with a meal.  I just didn't take one with the snack and seemed to have somewhat less issue with diarrhea.  But after 10 years I still have issues with loose bowels more than I care to.

I'm guessing enzymes is sort of like taking chemo. Side effects can be different for each one of us. Again I would make sure to check with his oncologist.

 I'm not sure if that helped you out much but, maybe give you a little insight.

 

Oneshot

 

Kaleena's picture
Kaleena
Posts: 1913
Joined: Nov 2009

Hello Oneshot

He was losing weight in the beginning and they were going to start him then (he wanted to lose a few pounds anyway) but the doctors indicated that he shouldn’t lose any more weight.  He then kept his weight steady so they waited in the enzymes.   He eats anything he wants.  He called his doctor‘s office again yesterday and told him to take one prior to his meels then take some during his meal and if needed after his meal.   Because the cramping and a lot of the gas subsided she wasn’t too concerned. She also told him to add fiber.  It seems to be working.  Although this morning he had oatmeal and it went right through him.  The nurse indicated that even though initially he didn’t have this problem she had known other patients that developed this later and was treated accordingly. 

 

Thanks for your input.  It’s good to know someone with similar everyday problems without worrying that its A recurrenc.  Because He was of course very concerned about recurring.  The nurse also indicated that he could have developed an intolerance to milk.  I guess he will have to work these things out. He has an appointment with his oncologist in November 

 

Kathy

Oneshot's picture
Oneshot
Posts: 149
Joined: Jul 2009

Kaleena,

            I was reading your reply. I noticed you mentioned "He eats anything he wants".  That's great to hear!  I'm pretty much the same way.

Although, over the years, I have found out I might be able to eat most anything I want. I figured out over time, there are some things that I love to eat that cause me some not so good side effects!  The side effects can range from severe cramping and pain as if Tarzan had a pair of vise grips and decided to swing all around in my abdomin.  To just feeling a small gas bubble go through my entire digestive tract and feeling like (what I explain as) a baseball going through a garden hose!  Not to mention not knowing for sure what your bowels are going to do afterwards.

After much trial and lots of error.  I started to figure out what foods and how much of this or that I could eat. Unfortunatly, bacon is one of those ( and most pork products) are ones I have to be very careful with.  Which REALLY SUCKED!   I can eat bacon and thin sliced ham,but I have to limit it to very small portions of maybe 2 pieces of bacon. In some cases the 2 pieces are pushing the limit.  I don't drink soda to often either. As long as I have some good ole' water handy.  I found out ,if by some chance, soda is all I can get my hands on for a drink. (some places have really bad water)  I limit myself to just one and I drink it spairingly.  Also on the subject of drinking like at restaurants. I found out that using straws can cause me to have gas. Same for gum.  My oncologist verified that for me I might add.

 Iceburge lettuce is ok in very small amounts.  Other lettuce doesn't bother me. Spices, I am very carefull with anything more than some salt and pepper.  Funny thing is. I can my own jalapenos. I can eat them with no problem. Other than the heat of them but, I can't eat anything that has Bell peppers in it,on it, or cooked with them. Go figure! They cause me any and all sorts of not so fun things to happen.  And resturants can't fool me and pick em out or say they were not in the food either.  At one place they cooked fajitas and I asked them before hand "NO BELL PEPPERS". They pulled them out after cooking . I told the waitress " I thought I tasted them in the meat!"  She said "No"  . So I trusted her on it. My mistake! 10 to 15 minutes later . I was out in the parking lot , in front of GOD and Country, bent over a domed trash can. To put pressure on my stomach to somewhat fight the severe pain . While my wife went and retrieved my pain medication. I can't tell you how many folks looked at me strangely untill some of the folks with us explained to them what I had been through.  30 to 45 mins. later. I was fine! I figured with all the camera phones now days.  I'd end up on the internet with a picture of me and some wild story explaining who knows what on how I ended up draped over a domed trash can!   I learned 2 things to live by that evening. Put pain medication in small container with my enzymes and if it smells, looks like , or tastes like bell peppers. I send it back or flat out don't eat it!  So if your husband finds some food that does him bad some way. I hope he doesn't have to go through that!  Also if he gets a bloated feeling alot right after he eats or any other such issues. Tell him to learn to stop eating well before he gets to the point  where we all say "Maybe a couple of more bites and I'll quit!".  In my case, if I reach that point....IT'S TO LATE!  Anything after that ...I better get ready for a really fun rodeo! <sarc> .  

For the most part tho, I can eat most anything that doesn't bite me first. Just in smaller amounts and as my wife says other folks "He eats everything all day long!"

  As far as milk. I have become somewhat lactose intolerant. Used to drink milk every day. Not now. I have to be careful with it. Yet I can eat icecream.  Don't ask me to explain that one! I have no clue !

 

As far as enzymes go.  Like I mentioned before. In my case If I took to many for whatever reason. I had better find and stay close to a bathroom.

 You husband might understand this folowing statement I give my oncologist . When asked about my bowel movements. ( I appologize to you or anyone else who might read this ahead of time.)  "Doc, It's just a crap shoot! I never really know what's going to happen!  But it's a small trade off in the scheme of things!"   Which his reply was " I see you kept your sense of humor!"  

I'm sure I probably have left something out.

Wishing you and yours the Best,

Oneshot

K-RHamby's picture
K-RHamby
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2019

Hi Oneshot!  

We just joined this forum and read your message. The information you provided is very helpful. My husband had Whipple surgery in September 2017 and has had constant  diarrhea, bloating and gas ever since.  He took the Creon enzymes 12,000 units for 16 months and was up to six pills per meal and three pills with snacks. While continuing to have constant diarrhea, bloating and horrible gas.

His nutritionist stopped the enzymes for a couple of months, “just to see”, but he still has constant diarrhea, bloating and horrible gas. His doctor and nutritionist are talking about trying a different enzyme.

He drinks a lot of flavored water, bottled or the packs you mix with water, unsweetened tea, he adds sweetener, and coffee. I’ve shared your info with him about foods that bother you as he has experienced the same issues! I will encourage him to not use a straw and to stop chewing gum :)

Again thanks for the info in you blog.

K-RHamby 

Oneshot's picture
Oneshot
Posts: 149
Joined: Jul 2009

K-RHamby,

          I'm glad to know sharing some of the experiences I have had in my battle was helpful for you and your husband.

 

Kaleena's picture
Kaleena
Posts: 1913
Joined: Nov 2009

Thank you, oneshot

Oh my, Oneshot!   What an ordeal with those bell peppers  That had to be a sight to see   My husband thank goodness hadn’t had to go through that   The worst was some cramping.   Me on the otherhand havenoticed that peppers are not agreeing with me   I have a tendency to get pancreatitis   (I’m from the uterine board)    I recently had surgery ( for recurrence) and ended up with an ileostomy.  I had it reversed in June  since then it seems peppers don’t agree with me 

My husband is not sure about the enzymes.  the emzymes started to work but now not too sure.  The gas is back.   I still think he has to see which food is causing him problems.  When he doesn’t eat he’s fine.  So it has to be something. He did eat salad today and I think that’s one of the items he should leave out.  With the diahrea he gets what he calls the “two minute warning” and needs to fine a restroom ASAP.  

I know it says to take it with meals but it seems to work better if he takes it a half hour before a meal   So confuding   I guess it’s all trial and error   

My best to you

Kathy

 

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