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Holding off on chemo due to weakness


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I am back from visiting my dad for the past week and learned today that his doctor is skipping his chemo because dad has lost 25lbs the past 2 weeks, already could not afford to lose. He is down to 141, normal weight is around 195.

He can't eat, tough time swallowing and taste is gone.

I will drive back up (I'm in Atlanta, he's in St. Louis) on Sun. to help get him to his radiation appts. next week. Any advice on eating and also on how skipping a treatment impacts his overall treatment plan. This was his 3rd wk in a 6 wk schedule. I feel like I am watching him slip away from me and not able to do anything for him.

Shannon

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She had to delay her first-line chemo (Cisplatin/Etoposide) a couple of times -- once after she developed a fever and once for dehydration/weakness. My understanding is that it's not uncommon for this to happen, and in her case, the chemo kept working just fine (though she did relapse after treatment was finished). Because chemo is so toxic, it can do more harm than good if the body is too battered to deal with it.

As for radiation, my mom is just about to finish two weeks worth and she's also lost her appetite -- for the first time since she was diagnosed. Don't laugh, but I found that nagging her to eat is helpful. She'll choke down some toast or a banana just to shut me up. She's also starting Ensure at doc's suggestion. Hopefully your dad's loss of appetite is just temporary.

Good luck.

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My dad took Megace too. Liquid form, one capful every morning and he gained back 20 of the 30 pounds he lost.

It's nasty tasting but it works.

*There is also a caution for anyone considering taking this who have a history of blood clots.

Also, fatigue and nausea can make an appetite disappear too! Make sure he isn't dehydrated, see if his blood counts are ok, iron, potassium levels- and pain if any. Then start coming up with clever ways to get him to eat!

My dad would graze. If I asked him if he was hungry he always said no- and he didn't FEEL hungry- he just felt bad.

It got to the point that I never asked him anymore- I'd just make food and get snacks and finger foods and leave them on the coffee table without a word. Low and behold he would reach over and grab something every once in a while and ended up eating a little bit all day long! Every little bit helps!

Keep us posted. Hoping and praying he begins to feel better soon.

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Dad is not hungry and basically refuses to eat, more like he puts it off, "just let me rest right now". He was put on Megesperol, the pill form yesterday.

I have shared your stories with my stepmom since I am not there right now and told her she will just have to stay on him.

She is not real comfortable with that I can tell where I am more like my dad, more blunt and straight to the point and my husband would say quite assertive. I am trying to convince her that we just don't have a choice.

His radiation oncologist commented on his rapid deterioration the past two weeks and I don't believe dad is thinking clearly at all or able to make sound decisions.

Other than just staying on him is there anything else we can do?

Thanks again, Shannon

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Shannon I am praying that the Megesperol will do the trick with regaining your father's appetite.

I know that during treatment Keith wouldn't eat because he felt like crap, and most foods made him nauseous just by the smell. He was also too tired to eat, just wanted to rest.

I agree with all that was said before me about making sure your father remains hydrated, and eats something no matter what it is. A little something is better than nothing, fattening junk food is much better than no calories and losing weight. I've heard from many people and I know it was very true with Keith that ice cream was very soothing to his stomach and easy for him to get down. There was a time when he was eating 2-4 chocolate and strawberry shakes a day.

Don't worry about missing a treatment. The chemo he had previously is still in his system working, and he will be back on the next treatment before its effects are out of his body. My husband has missed about 4 scheduled treatments at different cycles and stages generally due to low blood counts. It doesn't help to take chemo when the body is too weak to support it.

I will be praying for your dad, and hope he puts on some much needed pudge as quickly as he lost it previously. I know in my case I gain weight ten times as fast as I can lose it. :cry:

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