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Foods to eat during chemo

Luckyluke
Posts: 55
Joined: Feb 2019

Staring chemo  soon and was wonderful  about others experience  with foods that can be tolerated.  I know we are all different but need some suggestions . 

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 815
Joined: Feb 2016

The only thing that really tasted good during chemo!

NoTimeForCancer's picture
NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 2597
Joined: Mar 2013

Thanks for the reminder CQ, I never thought I would NEVER want to eat, but chemo taught me!  

If possible, maybe you can see if there is a dietician in your cancer center that works with patients who are going through cancer treatment.  I didn't get it until I went through radiation (in the middle) and wished I had met earlier, as all I was told was, "Push the protien".  What does that mean?

The dietician told me to get 7 - 9 portions o f protein each day.  An egg counted - one, yogurt counted - one, an ounce of cheese - one, an ounce of nuts - one, you see how it goes.  It was hard to want to eat, but I knew it was to help me heal and get strong and had to force myself.  

I realize some people are vegetarians, but they know how to get protein in their diet.  

Finally, I would suggest if you don't currently take probiotics you might want to think about starting.  Especially when you get the radiation.  The dietician I was working with showed me a study with women who did and did not take probiotics during radiation for cervical cancer.  I will say it was dramatic (and graphic). 

MAbound
Posts: 875
Joined: Jun 2016

https://www.dana-farber.org/health-library/videos/eating-well-during-cancer/

The above link might be helpful for you. I was told to avoid spicy and acidic foods during chemo as well as to eat low-fiber foods. No problem because I really didn't want to eat much anyway....except for watermelon, like CQ said. There's just something about it. Chicken, yogurt, and eggs were the only protein I could stand, so at least I was getting some protein. It's also important to drink a crazy amount of fluids to flush out the chemo and keep the constipation controllable. Miralax and water will be your best friends for awhile.

Please read the threads on preventing neuropathy before you start, too. You won't regret it.

Luckyluke
Posts: 55
Joined: Feb 2019

Thank you No Time For Cancer a lot of great information I like all the foods you mentioned should go ok I'm  a healthy eater anyways with the exception  of  a few sweets and chocolate and I know I need to let go of all that will look into the probiotics .

Lulu7582's picture
Lulu7582
Posts: 112
Joined: Jun 2018

Yes eating can be a challenge when on chemo but just listen to your body and eat what sounds good. For me chicken and rice soup was my go to and I also drank some Kefir in the am to help the GI tract. Definitely drinking lots of water was a challenge for me also but I tried to mix it up with some lemon or green tea. Again we can have best intentions to eat healthy but the reality is our body sometimes doesn't cooperate and only wants certain things. All the best. Just remember the chemo is your friend helping to kill the little beasts!! xo

Luckyluke
Posts: 55
Joined: Feb 2019

Lulu thank you for your response as time gets closer I'm  feeling  more anxiety  I imagine  the first treatment  probably  is the worse not really knowing what to expect. I like lemon water so maybe that will help to drink more. Have a blessed  day 

Luckyluke
Posts: 55
Joined: Feb 2019

Thank you MAbound I see where spicy would not settle too good. I'm  thankful for all the great advice and I know I will get through. What about protein drinks? I know they have a lot of carbs and not sure of the dairy. Is coffee not good either?

Tamlen's picture
Tamlen
Posts: 203
Joined: Jan 2018

Watermelon was key for me, too. I got the recommendation from the ladies here and it was a godsend. I can't believe how much watermelon I ate everyday!

I'm vegetarian and did push the protein, largely through eggs, yogurt, goat cheese, cow cheese, feta, nuts.

I also want to second the point about water, both during and between infusions. The ladies here had advised me to hydrate well and so I drank water steadily during infusions, even when I didn't feel like it, and pushed fluids hard in the days right after. I didn't have terrible problems with constipation, as many do, and I think it's in part due to the amount of water I drank.

I did not suffer from nausea at all from chemo (carboplatin and paclitaxel), and my taste buds went very flat, so I found it helped to eat zestier and spicy foods. My husband went out for Mexican takeout a lot!

There are additional pointers at this thread, many of which helped me tremendously during chemo, which ended for me last September.

Chemo affects each of us a little differently, so you'll have to see how you feel and experiment.

Luckyluke
Posts: 55
Joined: Feb 2019

Tambien thank  you  for the information I know  I will get through all this. Glad I found all you ladies. God  bless 

janaes
Posts: 776
Joined: May 2016

Dont know what it is about watermelon but that worked for me too. On my good days i tried to eat better. I snacked on peanuts alot. I lost a lot of weight from surgery so didnt want to loose more. Im a thin person an couldnt afford to loose it. That wasmy motivation to keep eating. Chicken was okay for me. I drank carnation instant breakfasts on my worst days.  It think it help especially towards the end.

I would use the miralax as MA bound suggested. My first chemo was a bugger because i got contapation. When i started taking miralax before i even had the fallowing treatments ( i think it wasthe day before treatment) i never had the problem again.

 

BluebirdOne's picture
BluebirdOne
Posts: 198
Joined: Jul 2018

Welcome to the board. My nausea was similar to my pregnancy nausea. Meat smells,  cooking oils, perfumes, certain food odors made me worse. I did eat meat, just couldn't be around it when it was cooking. This gradually went away. I found I could tolerate oatmeal, as everything tasted so metallic the non-flavor gave me calories. I was told to drink 64 oz of water a day to flush the chemo from the body, protect the kidneys, which did not include any other liquids like tea or juice, so I was floating away. My first chemo was full strength and everything tasted bad, including the water so I would gag it down a glass an hour until I fulfilled my quota. The last chemos were 80% strength so the nausea and metallic taste were much less. I had constipation in the first few days after chemo no matter how much water I drank, followed by diarrhea for a few days. I took the stool softeners everyday, except during diarrhea. Drinking all of the water daily until a month after chemo was a huge challenge but I did it anyway. In some ways it was the hardest to deal with as an inordinate amount of my time was spent drinking, then peeing. I still continue to drink a lot of water everyday. 

Luckyluke
Posts: 55
Joined: Feb 2019

Yes I can see where certain  smells would  get to you. I do drink quite a bit of water normally  so I can get the water down unless  nausea prevents  it.well I'm  sure it will  be a challenge and I will  be praying. Did you have a port put in? Oncologist said that is best, my veins  don't  always cooperate for bold draws so I  know  that is a positive. Thanks again  have a blessed  day

BluebirdOne's picture
BluebirdOne
Posts: 198
Joined: Jul 2018

I did not have a port put in as I only had 4 chemo treatments, but if I recur and I have to have more chemo I will most likely have to get one. I have two knobby things on my hand veins from so many IV's. 

Luckyluke
Posts: 55
Joined: Feb 2019

Thank you Janea for the watmelon idea as others have commented  it works plus I  will  get  extra fluids.yes I can see where you need something  to  prevent constipation. Did you have a port put in for treatment my oncologist  said it's the way to go, my veins  don't  always  cooperate  for  blood  draws so I'm  glad I had that done. Thank you again have a blessed day

janaes
Posts: 776
Joined: May 2016

Yep the port was a great thing. I dont have the greatest veins either so the port gave me one less thing to worry about. I had a different cancer over 20 years ago and didnt have a port put in at first. I had one chemo appointment where the nurse poked me five times before it worked. Thats when the port was born for me. This last time i new i had to have the port.

Luckyluke
Posts: 55
Joined: Feb 2019

Just been two days ago for having the port still somewhat  sore but sure it will be good to go by the time they start the chemo. Oncologist  said I would probably  feel really tired first week after first round and I guess the remaining  two weeks hopefully  should be ok.Time will tell. Have a good  day 

LisaPizza's picture
LisaPizza
Posts: 232
Joined: Feb 2018

Yep, he/she's probably right. I really did feel pretty good preceding each cycle.

TeddyandBears_Mom's picture
TeddyandBears_Mom
Posts: 1555
Joined: Jun 2015

Luckyluke,  Welcome to the board and I'm glad you found us! There is a long thread from 2015 that you may want to read. It is called 'Ladies going through chemo' and it documented the chemo journies of several ladies on this board. Lots of discussion on foods and other impacts/solultions that I believe will help you. Good luck as you start this and know that you are stronger than you think. You will get through it and surprise yourself.  Feel free to come back and ask us anything! We are an open group and will provide information on just about anything.

Love and Hugs,

Cindi

 

ps - I had a port. Glad I did even though I have great veins.

zsazsa1
Posts: 346
Joined: Oct 2018

Lucky, my first round was the worst.  After that they got easier.  Other women have reported the same.  One mistake I made was not pushing fluids, and waiting to take anti-nausea medication until I was about to vomit.  Since then, I start drinking furiously the morning of chemo, before it starts, and continue right through it, and for the next 48 hrs at least, to flush the chemo out of my system.  The first round I was dehydrated and  I had a lot of bladder and kidney pain, as if the chemo had burned them.  Didn't have that with subsequent rounds because of the furious drinking, to the point where I was urinating every 20 minutes.

Unfortunately, I developed an aversion to the taste of water after round three!  I switched to seltzer, flavored with a little bit of cider or grape juice.

One problem I had with chilling my hands and feet is that I would fall asleep and my feet would rest on the bottom of the container of ice water, thus impeding the circulation of ice water under the balls of the feet.  This last (I hope) round, we will nest the container into another container, with a big freezer pack between the two containers.  Maybe that will help.

Luckyluke
Posts: 55
Joined: Feb 2019

Thank you ZsaZsa1 for all the tips and advice it will for sure help me to get through.icing hands and feet and drinking a lot to flush myself. I guess you were continually  getting up for the bathroom taking your meds with you

zsazsa1
Posts: 346
Joined: Oct 2018

On the food front, the first round, the only thing I wanted to eat was Fettucine Alfredo. But a single serving from the Cheesecake Factory lasted me for two days - and that was ALL I ate.  Another round I craved rare red meat.  Scrambled eggs with cheese were the only thing I could stomach in the mornings.  This latest round it was flounder Francese style (drenched in egg and flour, sauteed in butter, with a lemon butter sauce).  I acquired a taste for salt on foods (usually I don't, due to high blood pressure).  Most rounds I really couldn't eat much the first week, lost over 5 lbs the first week each time, then gained it back as soon as I started eating again. Overall I lost weight during the first few rounds, now I'm gaining it back with the last rounds.  After this is all over, I'm going to have to go on a diet.  But it's really hard to diet when you are so nauseated as I was (just like pregnancy, when I had horrible nausea the entire 9 months each time), and you're trying to calm your stomach with starchy foods.

Luckyluke
Posts: 55
Joined: Feb 2019

Made me hungry reading all the foods you were craving lol. I wasn't  bothered with nausea  during my pregnancy and hopefully  it  won't  be too bad. Thank you for all the information  

Ribbons's picture
Ribbons
Posts: 73
Joined: Jan 2019

I know different places have differing methods, here was what mine did. First I was given both a short acting anti nausea thing (IV through the port) then a long lasting one and also a Benadryl. Then the chemo, Carbo for 3 hours and Taxol for 30 minutes. They want you to eat lunch while you are there, I was fine with that. At home I had Lorazapam, which I only tried once, and Prochlorper which I used a bit for the first couple of days. Then the ondansetron after that. The iv stuff they gave me interferes with ondansetron for the first 2 days and basically cancel each other out. I felt really icky but never threw up. I could not stand water for about 3 days, it tasted like rusty nails. I could drink V 8 and apple cider and ginger ale. I could eat soup, beef veg or chicken veg. After the first 2 or 3 days I liked things like lasagna, sphagetti and meat. I found that It made no difference to my stomach if I ate, it didn’t make me feel worse. I did like watermelon, and my life saver is a brand of yogurt called Zoi, honey flavor, best yogurt ever! If you get a sore mouth, mix 1/4 tsp baking soda and 1/8 tsp salt in a glass of warm water and rinse your mouth, luckily I only had to do this once after the first round, after that my mouth was fine

Luckyluke
Posts: 55
Joined: Feb 2019

Thank you Ribbons for the advice not sure how they will  do it with  the  chemo  kind of hoping they will  do  whatever  needs to be done to lesson the side effects to the chemo planning on getting a variety of things to eat. Watermelon,  yogurt, juices. If you had a port how long for it to heal before they start using it? Maybe  a week. Have a blessed  day 

Ribbons's picture
Ribbons
Posts: 73
Joined: Jan 2019

My port was put in 3 days before chemo

Luckyluke
Posts: 55
Joined: Feb 2019

Did your port heal up pretty quick. I guess mine is sore because there is thin skin and muscle area

Tamlen's picture
Tamlen
Posts: 203
Joined: Jan 2018

My port was put in a week before chemo started. The incision healed quickly but the port ached and/or burned a bit here and there for a few weeks. After that I stopped even thinking about it being there. Hope that happens for you too!

Luckyluke
Posts: 55
Joined: Feb 2019

Hi Tamlen yes I hope my port stops burning too. It's  just 5 days so by next week  I should feel ok. Have a blessed  day 

janaes
Posts: 776
Joined: May 2016

My port was put in the same day of my first chemo.

Luckyluke
Posts: 55
Joined: Feb 2019

Oh my wasn't it a bit sore? Mine is a little sore I told my husband this port is bothering  me  more than my hysterectomy lol. It's right in line where my bra strap will go, don't  know how that will work out. The surgeon  told me a lot of people have their port in and then get chemo same day

Luckyluke
Posts: 55
Joined: Feb 2019

Wow I'm  sure  it  was sore having the chemo right away. I think  it's  just the whole idea of having it in there but I know it is necessary for  the best outcome. It's  an adjustment  and sometimes adjusting to something new is tuff

janaes
Posts: 776
Joined: May 2016

It was sore for a little while so ya i was dealing with that and chemo side effects at the same time, but it worked out for me. I needed the time to decide if i was going to even do chemo. The nurses were willing to get me in that quickly after my desision and i went for it.  I dont remember how long the port took to heal but it wasnt to long and after that it didnt bother me at all. I hope your heals soon. Best of luck as ypu go forward. Take care of yourself.

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