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Incredible Shrinkage?


Irisheyes

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Wanted to get some thoughts on some news my Dad heard this week. He had a CAT scan and it showed "incredible shrinkage". This sounds encouraging to me, but I try not to get too excited, afraid the roller coaster will dip again!

Dad is in his 4 week of radiation/chemo. Just changed his chemo drug, don't know the name and is tkaing a few days off of radiation.

Another one...radiation makes it very painful to eat and so basically he doesn't. Won't do drinks, won't do the mouthwash, just refuses. Docs say he is still in denial. Was up there with him last week and was so frustrated because he wouldn't do anything the docs told him to. Any suggestions or do we just have to wait for him to come around?

I'm going to be very honest, I was angry with dad (didn't tell him though). He says he can't eat, hurts too bad, won't use the meds to help but he smokes all day long...I just wanted him to try to help himself. I am hoping this bit of good news will maybe help him feel like fighting this further. Anyone else deal with someone being in denial about their situation? Thanks everyone.

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That's absolutely wonderful news on the "incredible shrinkage".

As far as not eating goes, try ice cream or shakes. Right now any calorie intake is better than none, and the coolness might be soothing. If you want to add nutritional value, try making shakes from ice cream mixed with ensure or boost or you can add protein and vitamin powders. They still taste yummy and are nice and slippery going down.

Unfortunately I can't offer much advice on the denial, as I haven't experienced it. My husband, although a very picky eater and very stubborn about taking supliments and doing what people want, has had the attitude since the start of this that he will at least try most things once.

I pray that this recent good news will ignite a drive to fight fight fight.

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Thanks Carleen. I tried to mix his shakes with anything and everything. Boost, Ensure, powder suppliments. He would just pour it out and get a regular one. He would even fib to the nurses about what he was eating, of course they knew what was going on, he wasn't gaining any wait so it was obvious. I hoping this news does light a fire under him! :)

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I certainly dont want to sound too negative here, but the last thing he should do is give any false information to the nurses about eating. It is in his own best interests that his healthcare team knows exactly what is going on with him.

For one, I believe the amount of chemo you get is in relation to your weight...so the less you weigh or the more weight you lose, the lower your dose of chemo (at least thats how it was for my mom)

Also, weight loss and gain could be signs of other things factoring in, so again it is important for the healthcare team to know exactly why his weight is where it is so that they can attribute it to his not eating and not to something else more serious

The shrinkage is really encouraging and is something to be happy about!!!! I hope it continues!!!!!!!!

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Hi Irisheyes, Congratualtions on the shrinkage. Mc-e-D shakes immediately after each radiation treatment and iced green tea helped keep my throat in great shape, but depends on how close to throat they have to shoot. Anything with acid, such as tomatoes and cranberries or soda hurts throat. I hope your dad feels better soon. Barb

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Hi Irisheyes,

Glad to hear about your Dad's tumor shrinking. :)

Now for the other issues. my husband had a tough time eating with radaition, but he was a least willing to try. He could handle nothing cold, only room tempature or warm (not hot) Cream of wheat, scrambled eggs, anything soft. Again your dad has to be willing to eat.

Now for the smoking. trust me I know what you're going through. Alan continues to smoke almost 2 packs a day. As hard as it is you can not let it get to you. You are only making yourself miserable and to be very honest, if your Dad does not want to quit, nothing you say or do is going to change his mind. I have never smoked in my life so I do not understand the addiction, but I am a recovering alcoholic and until I was ready to quit, nothing anyone said to me made a difference.

As for the denial issue, I sometimes think it is a "man" thing. They honestly believe that they are "fine". Alan can be coughing his fool head off, throwing up in the trash can and he will say he is "fine". I stopped asking he how he's doing. Answer is always the same "fine" :roll:

I pray you can find peace with your Dad's smoking and I also pray the treatment continues to go well.

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That's the kind of shrinkage I like to hear about!! I'm hoping your dad comes around soon. Many of us tend to hide from reality in the beginning. Hang on tight. Have you tried the med MARINOL?? It worked for me...But esophageal radiation is tough to get through.

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Hi -

On the smoking thing... I have no advice. :) On eating, perhaps he can approach food like chemo or medication -- it is a necessary evil for him right now. The tough thing about not eating or drinking is that it starts a downward spiral... the less you eat/drink, the less you want to, the weaker you get, the less appetitie you have, etc. Perhaps they could give him some medication to increases his appetite?

I know that this sounds harsh....But let him know that it is a shame that he is getting results that many people would kill for, I would have done ANYTHING to hear "incredible shrinkage" for my mom ...but he won't do the simple things to even further increase his chances of beating the crap out of this monster!

Holly

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My mother would not eat anything or drink. I went to see her and she was in awful shape. She had 1 yogurt in a week. She lost 16lbs. I was very concerned and I hounded the doctors to hopsitalize her and give her nutrition. They did hospitalize her. We found out that she had pnomunia (sp?) and she is getting the care she needs now. I also advised them to prescribe marinol (pot pill), small amount of dexadron (steroid) and megase (appetite increaser). She is finally getting an appetite and started to eat again. I swear if my sister and weren't such a pain to the healthcare team we would have buried her this week.

Julie

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Hello Irisheyes,

The news of the shrinkage is very good, but I understand the concern about your Dad's not eating is worrisome for you.

We have found over the many months of going to chemo/radiation and the like, that having a voice in the regimens, health issues, speaking to doctors and/or nutritionist within the healthcare team is vital.

Hydration was so very important during the treatments. Of course, eating was especially difficult when the radiation affected the swallowing, and softer foods had to be ingested. Eating smaller but more frequent meals seemed to do the trick.

As has been suggested by others, the "power drinks" were a great help in keeping Bill from losing too much weight, especially at the beginning of his chemo regimen last year. He had initially lost over 30 lbs.

It was scary for us to see him so thin, but he has gained much of the weight back, and looks very well now.

Barbara

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My mother has also been resisting food/drink and has wound up in the hospital twice with dehydration in the last three weeks. She's only lost a few pounds, though, because at every turn I've been pushing something called Scandishake on her. It's a powder weight-gain supplement that has 600 calories when mixed with just one cup of whole milk. It's not super thick so it doesn't make her gag or overly full. It comes in vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. I get the vanilla and mix in a little flavored ice cream -- like coffee -- with the milk.

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I know how he feels. I lost 60 pounds after my radiation was finished, throat was a mess. The hardest part about trying to eat is that there is no taste or things taste bad. I ended up in the hospital due to inability to eat. I tried to but then I would get sick so i figured why bother. The one thing that helped me to start eating again was chicken broth, it was salty so i could taste it. As far as the smoking, that was the only thing that didn't make me sick to my stomach. It's not denial, it's trying to get through this.

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Thanks everyone for the wonderful advice. Dad does have marinol but he says the problem is not his appetite that it is his not being able to eat so he refuses to take it. As I said before he also refuses the mouthwash. Actually said, I'd rather go into the hospital than take it. And he HATES the hospital.

I don't know if he has actually convinced himself that he is eating as much as he tells people. His wife started writing down his calorie intake and he still refuses to do anything but what he has been doing.

We've had way too many arguments and really just have to leave it up to him, like many of you have said, we can't force feed him. Either he makes the decision or the doctors will put him in the hospital soon. I think now he is down to 133 (that's a lose of 70lbs) and he has been off radiation for over a week.

Thanks again everyone, this is so frustrating and difficult to accept and I appreciate the support.

Shannon

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