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Chemo starts Monday.


Robert  A.

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I haven't posted  in a while, been jumping through all the hoops to get treatment started for my wife. We finally got the call yesterday that The 25th is the day. When we went to the classes last week as to the plan and what to expect the main thing that concerned my wife is throwing up. They explained that they would be giving her medication to prevent it but you know how that goes. The question I have is what foods helped you get through this and tips those who had gone through chemo. Thanks again Robert.

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Hi Robert,

Our experience with chemo from others usually seems to land with concerns of throwing up and uncontrolled nausea. With today’s medications, constipation is actually a bigger program.  Everyone is different, I didn’t need any of the nausea meds but went through plenty of Miralax     

You might want to check out The Cancer Fighting Kitchen by Rebecca Katz there are very helpful chemo tips.  I guess the bottom line is the diet will evolve over time so the real goal is to stay ahead of weight loss.  
 

Fatigue kicks in after chemo, I found it hard to eat when all I wanted to do is sleep. Having high calorie easy snacks such as trail mix might help. 
 

My chemo was short (only one) and I was dropping weight like a rock. I had lots of good foods like organic mac & cheese for the sole purpose of gaining weight.  Today mac & cheese is off the table for me on targeted therapy. Different foods for different treatment. 
 

It might be too stressful to make major changes to a nutrition plan so you may want to experiment.  
 

Any news on the biomarker test yet?

Michelle

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Hi Robert.  Ina is a personal nutrition assistant that you can text 24/7 to ask questions.  This could be helpful in day to day life asking about certain foods or food groups.  Here is the information to get started: https://lungevity.org/for-patients-caregivers/support-services/meet-ina-your-personal-intelligent-nutrition-assistant

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Robert,

My nausea experience was largely tamped down after my first infusion.  My chemo nurse told me to note the time, in hours after infusion, for side effects I experienced. The anti-nausea medication prescribed made nausea after my first infusion tolerable. Noting the time of occurrence allowed me to start taking the medication about 2 hours before onset of symptoms after my second infusion. That eliminated my nausea side effect. It was my experience that side effects were cyclical and predictable occurring at about the same time after each infusion I had.  That held true for my first 12 infusions.  My last six were a combination conventional chemo with a targeted therapy drug called Tarceva.  Tarceva was taken daily in pill form and it caused me to completely loose my appetite and unpredictable and severe diarrhea.  I don't think your wife is having combination chemotherapy so she shouldn't experience this problem.  

I did not alter my diet during chemo so I can't suggest a food based recommendation.

Stay the course.

Tom

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Hi Robert,  When I had chemo, it wasn't for my lung cancer but for a gynecologic cancer. I was having concurrent radiation to my whole  lower abdominal/perlvic area at the same time as the chemo, so it's hard to know how many of my digestive issues were from the chemo rather than radiation. I had nausea and occasional vomiting, but diarrhea was worse. I found that bland, fat free foods worked well for me. I ate a lot of white bread (no butter), white rice and cornflakes with almond milk. Also poached or baked white meat chicken, no skin, and an occasional egg. It was really boring, but it helped a lot.  I also found that having acupuncture on the 3rd day after chemo (I recall this is when the steroids stopped) was helpful. It was all a matter of trial and error.   

If your wife is having digestive issues with her chemo, encourage her to try small amounts of different foods to see what works for her. A well-balanced diet is ideal, but getting calories in is most important. 

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Robert A - Chemo seems to affect everyone somewhat differently. I had 7 weeks of concurrent chemo and radiation, follow by a short break, and then 5 weeks more of chemo alone. I was prescribed some meds for nausea, however I never needed to take a single one. The day of the chemo I was tired, mostly from sitting in the chemo chair for 4 to 5 hours, but actually felt good. The next day I also felt good, and then late on the third day, things rapidly started going downhill and by the forth day, all I could do is lay in bed. But by the afternoon of fifth day, I could feel thing improving, and by the 6th day, I was fine again except knowing the whole cycle would start all over again in another day or two. I didn't have a lot of appetite, and nothing really tasted good, but I actually managed to gain weight! I blamed it on eating anything and everything just hoping to find something that tasted good.

Best wishes to you and your wife. I know that some find it an extremely bad experience, and while I wouldn't wish it on anyone, in reality it was not that bad for me. I managed to work a full time 40hour a week job (office work) the entire time.

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Hi, Robert. During my first round of chemo, I had Cisplatin and Alimta. Nausea was one of my side effects. Super Doc prescribed two different anti-nausea meds (Zofran and Compazine). I took a dose of zofran between doses of compazine - at the direction of Super Doc - to keep my nausea at bay. I had treatment on Fridays and the nausea usually showed up on Sundays after the steroids (taken during treatment) had worn off. Sunday evenings and Mondays were the worst and by Wednesday, I felt better. I ate a lot of bananas - so many that I didn't touch them for months after chemo! I was previously treated for an ulcer so I followed the BRAT (bananas, applesauce, rice, toast) diet during my nausea days. My other go-to was mashed potatoes. 

I don't know about others, but chemo changed my sense of smell. Odors that were previously minor or undetectable are now strong to me. Keep that in mind. Also, some have experienced a metallic taste in their mouth with the platinum-based chemos (Cisplatin, Carboplatin). Plastic cutlery will help in that situation.

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Robert,

I wanted to share my mom's experience with Chemo since she had a bit different side effect than others.  Luckily my mom never vomited (she cannot think of anything worse in life than vomiting), but she had severe acid reflux, which caused her to feel nauseous.  It took a bit for docs to find out the proper cocktail of meds that would ease the reflux, but once they did, she felt much better.  As everyone else has said, there are meds available for nauseousness, urge your wife to use them if she needs them.  If nauseousness persists, tell her docs so they can get something that works for her.  It is such a common side effect that they likely have something that will help, they just have to find it. And don't rule out acid reflux as a possible cause.

I tried to prepare my mom's pantry with foods she loved and thought she would want to eat during her treatment.  This was very unsuccessful because her tastes changed with every round of chemo.  Things she loved tasted horrible to her.  Your best option might be to wait and see what sounds good to her and go from there.  One thing that my mom did drink a lot of were Instant Breakfasts and Kern's juice.  Both were suggested by my mom's oncology nutritionist.  Neither are overly healthy, but it provided the calories that my mom needed to stay relatively healthy.  

Take Care,

Steff

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