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Oncology Nutrition


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Hello All

I have been a stay at home mom for years. Since Karen was diagnosed I have been wondering what I was gonna do for work so that I could be the breadwinner for the family. Now that she is gone . . . I will eventually have to go back to work. I was thinking about becoming a Registered Diatician with a specialty in Oncology. I am just unsure about whether or not the need exists.

I watched Karen waste away for the last 6 months of her life. I kept telling the doctor - she is losing weight, what can I be doing - and the doctor kept saying - oh, it is within normal parameters, stop worrying. 6 weeks and 25 pounds later they were saying - oh my, you've lost a lot of weight and lean muscle tissue! When Karen was in the hospital in March, a nutritionist came to see us and told us about all sorts of supplements that we should have been taking all along to combat this problem.

My question is - how many people are losing weight so rapidly and losing lean muscle mass that they are in wheelchairs and walkers long before they need to be? I know that chemo wrecked Karen's appetite and that a lot of food tasted horrible even when she had an appetite. But there is more available for folks with cancer than ensure and boost. A lot more, and a lot better.

My other question then is - is there a need for Registered Diaticians with a specialty in Oncology? Who wouldn't cost an arm and a leg? In my experience, the nutritionists want a lot of $$ for telling folks to eat more green leafys.

What do ya'll think?

Anne

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I would say, just from your post, that there is most certainly a need. I do think the person should be compassionate to the cancer patient...and who could be more compassionate than someone who has lost a great love?

I think it is a wonderful and most generous idea that you want to help others through this and I wish you good luck!!

Love,

Bobby

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There is a need and I know My Hospital had this position available to patients of Oncology.

What happened was Cachexia the wasting disease.

This really has very little to do with nutrition though sadly enough. Not that the nutrition factor is not important because it is. Scientists are starting to study Cachexia more now and there are clinical trials going on as part of research. This is something I discovereds while helping Lori, Mamasbabygirl doing research about it for her Mom. The nutritional factor is a major one and is available, I am sure. Best of Luck to you in your decision to go forth and help others in this battle. Patients and care givers need all the help and support they can get always. Thanks and Sending Prayers for a Sunny Day tomorrow. RandyW

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Can I hire you?!

Yes, there is a drastic need. I have been in tears daily over the rapid weight loss my mom has experienced over the past few months. She is in hospice - but she does not want to die and hates feeling weak. No one has offered any nutritional advice and when I asked the doctor and nurses none of them had any recommendations. None of them even knew what cachexia was. If it weren't for LCSC I don't know where we would be now!

Mom has regained some energy (she can scoot herself around in a wheelchair now) and even looks to be putting on some weight. I have been adding Flaxseed Oil and Vit A to her food and mixing in Polycose and EmergenC in her drinks, etc. I know there are some more hardcore medical nutritional supplements for counteracting cachexia but we have not gone that route yet.

Did you find any nutritional supplement or foods particularly helpful for Karen that you wish you would have tried sooner?

Thanks for your post - I think you are on to something that is much needed as many people out there wasting away who may not need to.

Warmest regards,

Kate

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What happened was Cachexia the wasting disease.

I'm not so sure that this is what happened to my Karen. If I understand cachexia correctly - it is when the body is unable to properly absorb nutrients. Karen wasn't ingesting nutrients. She simply stopped eating. And when she did eat, it was tiny meals or simply ensure. She was eating fine until her 6th chemo. This chemo treatment took away her appetite and her taste buds went all wonky. Everything tasted bad to her. When she was in the hospital in March for pneumonia, the RD suggested many things for Karen to be ingesting to combat the weight loss and muscle loss. Juven and Resource Support to name two. But by the time we got this information, Karen's lean muscle mass was so far gone that she coudn't sufficiently recover. Perhaps if she had had these supplements before she lost so much muscle mass coupled with a physical therapist - she may not have had to be chair bound as early as she was. I don't have guilt over this, just concerns for others going thru the same thing. Maybe they don't have too.

Thanks for the support.

Anne

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I am glad you do not have any guilt over this. All i meant was every person and body is different. I think that it is a good thing to pursue this line if work and I now there is a need. we did have that position available for us at our hospital.

Saying Prayers for you and Family tonite. i just think that it is so sad to see a person sufer from this disease with so many untreatable side effects like these. It is a noble and great thing to do something for others that are experiencing these problems adn I do wish you the best in this pursuit.

Prayers and Peace tonite for everyone.

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I know that my oncology group has a registered dietitian on staff and it is normal routine for the dietition to spend time with you during your first chemo treatment.

She had all kinds of advice on foods to eat, etc. I never had any kind of food issues (gaining too much weight was my problem), but I was told to contact her any time if I had any type of dietary problems during my treatment.

I think it's normal for dietitions to get involved with people undergoing cancer treatments.

Cindy

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