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nourishment ??

Guest robd1

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Hello All... does anyone have any suggestions on how to provide nourishment to patients receiving treatment. My dear dad, can not tolerate any type of food. He is very fatigued and seems to be getting weaker and i dont see how his condition can improve without food. He's going to have blood transfusion today.., but i would imagine the effects w/be temporary. Any food types, shakes, vitamins, organic,, any suggestions w/be appreciated.

Once again,, thank you all for running this site...My prayers to everyone out there..

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I dont know how much help I'll be, but I thought I'd share my experiences just in case

When my mom 1st started her chemo in July we wondered if she would make it thru. 3 days after her 1st Taxol treatment she became too weak and light headed to eat or move around. We were so concerned.

We found out soon after that it was not from the chemo per say...but from dehydration!!! We brought my mom in for a saline IV and she was worlds better by the end of the day

It remained a challenge though. SInce she wasnt eating, she needed to force even more fluids than usual, since much of our fluid comes from the food we eat. My isnt much of a drinker by nature

Shakes sustained her! She found ensure and drink suppliments of the like to be gross. Breakfast shake mixes though....she found those to be tastey. We'd mix them with ice cream and sometimes fruit to add extra calories

Jello was another thing we'd always keep around. Jello with fruit added. It was easy to eat, readily available for her and kept up her fluids

I am no dr, but I am wondering if your dad is suffering from dehydration as well. The effects of it can be so drastic!!

Good luck, I know it can be difficult to stand by not knowing how to help. Please let us know how he is doing


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Try to give him Ensure or Boost drinks. Carnation Instant Breakfast will also give him the nourishment and calories he needs. Whatever you can get in him will help, whether its soups, egg nog, ice cream, etc. There are lots of powders you can get at the health food store to mix into shakes and keep his weight on. The most important thing is that he drinks lots of fluids--dehydration will decrease his appetite. Hope he feels better soon.

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Ry made a very important point. The dehydration creates a lack of appetite. When my mom started getting her fluids up, she started eating more. Of course she didnt exactly enjoy the food or the taste of it, but thats par for the course I guess

I looked up the symptoms of dehydration just cause I thought they might be important to know for those of us here. Here are a few:

Dry mouth and tongue


Confusion and memory loss

Dark colored urine or infrequent urination

Dry skin, wrinkled skin or loose skin. Skin that doesnt 'bounce' back

Rapid pulse

Rapid breathing

Muscle cramps and pain

Light headedness

Low blood pressure

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I found this to be a great thread as my FIL just doesn't seem to feel like eating either. I have suggested some of the Ensure/Boost type shakes, but I don't know whether they have tried them or not.

We are constantly on them about the fluids though...he is also not a drinker, and really needs to force himself to drink.

My son became dehydrated once when he had the flu (at 2 years of age)...he was drinking a lot and eating, but it just wasn't staying in him long enough due to the virus. It was downright scary how it progressed - on Friday the ped told us we were doing great keeping him hydrated...by Monday he had lost 4 pounds (18% of his body weight) was listless and uncoordinated. He started refusing his bottle, then when we got him to take it he threw it up. Ended up in the ER with a fluid IV.

So be careful..it is nothing to mess with!

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Definitely keep the liquids and soft foods going. Feed a small snack every two or three hours instead of normal meals. He may well be dehydrated now, and needs saline IV. As others have said, Ensure, Boost, ice cream, Smoothies, Frosties, blender food. You are right, he needs to have nourishment in some form or fashion -- lots of liquid and lots of calories. Don

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Boost and Ensure are great ways to get nourishment when someone just doesn't feel like eating. Also, if you talk to your doctor, he should be able to prescribe something that should stimulate the appetite. My husband did fairly well, for a while, taking Marinol.

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Hi -

A lot of the same advice that everyone has offered... yet Ensure (the 350 calorie kind) has made so much difference for my mom. It comes in vanilla/strawberry/chocolate. To make it more palatable we do it in really small amounts -- and often blend it with the most fattening ice cream I can find. She seems to be able to handle it in 4 oz cups many times a day (of the 25lbs she dropped -- down to under 100lbs, we have gotten about 10-12 back on her)

Other things at our house: mac and cheese made with real butter, fat milk and added sour cream -- once again even a few bites can give you 200-300 quick calories. I make a batch and keep it in zip lock bags in the fridge. Mashed potatoes (real butter/fatty milk fortified with some dry milk) and store bought gravy. This time of year, egg nog isn't bad either.

I agree with everyone in small doses of food multiple times a day...especially liquids, creamy and rather bland --- when my mom isn't thrilled on eating she thinks of a few bites almost as medication she needs to take.

Good luck...it is strange for me to go to the store looking at labels for calorie laden foods... when I usually look for low carbs!


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thanks to all of you for your recommendations.. im sitting here w/my dad.. sharing your thoughts...

it has helped his spirits.. hydration is key.. and he needs to work on that.. thanks again

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Joel can only open his mouth 1/2" because of neck tumor so he has been on a liquid only diet for about a month and was losing weight. We use those 350 calorie Ensures as an in between meal snack. I went to GNC and asked for the most calorie laden weight gainer they have. After giving me the once over, I told him it was obviously not for me. That stuff is expensive but well worth it. I add whole milk, rice milk, soy milk, ice cream, cream, yogurt, flaxseed oil, wheatgerm oil, (not all at once!) anything to add calories. We have a juicer and I make carrot juice and calorie laden fruit juices, pineapple, blueberries, cantaloupe. I also add vitamin supplements to his shakes, liquid multivitamin, Vit C, etc. since he has trouble swallowing pills. Oh, and his radiologist recommended Scandishakes, 600 calories a piece. We ordered by internet, free shipping for 2 cases. He said it tastes much better than some of the protein shakes. It is my mission to keep his weight steady. I drive him a little crazy

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