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Debilitating Nausea


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Hi Everyone,

My mom was recently diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. Like many others, she never smoked a day in her life. Her doctor thinks that she may have gotten the cancer from pneumonia when she was 10. Apparently, cancer is attracted to scar tissue.

The two of us took a wonderful trip to Europe in August. At the time we didn't know she was "loaded" with cancer. We were on the go from early morning to late at night. It is still hard to fathom that someone so sick could keep up with that pace.

She was "officially" diagnosed with cancer on September 30, 2005 by accident. She went to a chiropractor after pulling her back. The xrays showed she had lung cancer and a biopsy a few weeks later confirmed it. Several weeks after that, she had a seizure and that is when we found out she had 13 or so lesions on her brain. More testing confirmed cancer in other parts of her body.

She finished radiation about one and a half months ago and started Tarceva about one month ago.

I have so many questions after reading up on this incurable disease.

My mother CONSTANTLY complains of nausea. Nothing seems to help! She has absolutely no appetite which makes me concerned because in order to fight this, I know she needs to eat.

Has anyone else experienced this? She refuses to take any more pills, hence her not taking the appetite supplement the doctor recommended. She lost 15 lbs since her diagnosis.

I love my mother very much and hate to see her going through this.

I want her to be around for a l-o-n-g time but I am afraid if she doesn't take care of herself, she won't be. She told me because of her nausea and loss of appetite, her quality of life has greatly suffered.

She does have a lot of will power and a lot of support. She is a mighty strong lady.

I am getting married at the end of May and more than anything want my mother to be there.

A lot of the stories I read on this site are quite inspiring.

I am hoping to hear from those who are experiencing a similar situation regarding nausea and loss of appetite. What else can be done? How can someone force themselves to eat when they are so nauseous all of the time?


- Lynda

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Try to get your mom to eat several small meals a day,what does she really like to eat,with my hubby it was milkshakes so I would make his shakes with Ensure plus which has 350 calories per can,I gave those to him at least four to five times a day!!

He went from 165 to 118 in a matter of weeks,then with all the shakes and small meals he would eat throughout the day he now weights 153!!

I know it's an up hill battle but with encouragement your mom can gain back some of the weight she's lost.

God Bless


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I am sorry to hear your mother is having such a hard time. I know there is a liquid appetite stimulator. My husbands doctor gave us a bunch of sample bottles, but he has not needed it. Can't remember the name but I am sure someone can tell you. Of course there are all kinds of anti-nauseau medicines, she really needs to try something, cause as you said it is very important that she eats. Good luck.

Karen H

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Lynda, I am so sorry your mother is having such a rough time. I know how difficult it must be for you to deal with, also. If your mom is refusing to take any pills, this may be tough. I know there are some appetite stimulizers in pill form that we tried for my husband. The nausea meds he took were also in pill form but I know there are suppositories available from the doctor that are very effective for nausea. I know it's hard to eat when you are feeling nauseated so I would think that would be the first thing you need to correct. Boost and Ensure are both good supplements that should help. Hope things get better soon.

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Hi Lynda,

Sorry to hear about your mother. My mother suffered from the exact same nausea that you describe. Compazine and Phenergan did nothing to give her relief. We finally tried a drug called Zofran that took away all the nausea, it was unbelievable. Zofran is extremely expensive. At the time, mother was on Medicare and there was no prescription drug coverage so we ended up ordering it from Canada for about 65% less. It was still very expensive, but when you are talking about life and death you do what you have to do. My mother was literally to the point of starving because she could not bear to think of eating. All she could do was lay on the couch. Once she started taking Zofran she was able to start eating.

Hope this helps.


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You'll get lots of good advice based on personal experiences here - I find that 10 times more helpful than just reading pamphlets and brochures from the doctors' offfices. Saves a whole lot of time messing around, figuring out what works and what doesn't.

I can relate to your mom's story. I was Stage IV right out of the blue, walking 3 miles a day. Shock hardly describes it. But, I'm so glad your mom enjoyed her trip to Europe!

BTW, this is technically an incurable disease, but that won't always be the case. And current research is working very hard (and pretty effectively) in the right direction to try to make it a "chronic" disease, like diabitis, that will have to be manage but won't cause much harm as long as it's managed well. There are many reasons to have hope.

Most of the old research and statistics you find on the net refer to studies and numbers BEFORE any of the newer treatments were available. There are many Stage IV folks here who are racking up anniversaries! Your mom's previous good health is a point in her favor!


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Welcome, Lynda. Sorry about your mom. Tell your mom, if she does not eat regularly and take in fluids, she will get weaker and weaker and the cancer will get stronger and stronger. If she is truly a fighter, she will do the right thing to keep her body strong.

As others have mentioned, she should take a medication for nausea. She may have to try several things before she finds one that works well enough for her. Also, we have found that eating snacks every two to three hours works better than three meals a day. This will give the proper nourishment and actually keep the nausea down because an empty stomach is more prone to nausea.

We used Ensure, Breeze, Smoothies, ice cream, Frosties, blender shakes, that sort of thing to build calories and go down easier.

My wife is Stage IV NSCLC and is now over three years since diagnosis. So, take heart and hold onto the hope. If your mom wants to be around for your wedding, she needs to start fighting this disease TODAY. Best to you. Don

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Hi Lynda,

First I want to welcome you here.

Sorry to hear the news about your mom. Once she gets that neausuea under control she will feel like a new person. Neausea is horrible and I feel so bad that she is constantly going through that when there is medication out there that can help her.

You are getting good advice here from many people who have been there.

I hope your mom comes around and tries the medication they now have for that. It is so important for her to eat and gain her strength and also not to become dehydrated.

She needs her strength to fight. Try and talk some sense into her. Talk talk to her doctor and see what he recommends.

Good luck


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Ask about Promethazine. This pill works for nausea butwill make you very sleepy. Eat when you want and what you want. Also Deb uses Immodium sometimes. Always Praying

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Welcome, Lynda~

My mom had severe nausea as well and was quite stubborn about taking *anymore pills*..we tried everything we could think of, including small, frequent meals, shakes and just about anything you could think of! One of my brothers found *an anti nausea* bracelet and implored her to at least wear it and give it a chance...I truly don't know if it helped or not but somehow, she began to get some relief. Just a suggestion :)

God Bless,


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