Meal ideas for cancer patient? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 02-24-2010, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My mom was just diagnosed with lung cancer last week.... wow, I think typing it out finally made it real. yikes

I am trying to think of some meal ideas for the next couple of weeks before she starts treatment. She wants to attack it from all sides, so the healthier the better, but we have also been told she needs to put on some weight before chemo.

I have been looking at cancer diets online, and man, you can't eat anything! So I have no clue what to make her. I will have to make it and take it to her house, and it would be nice it it froze well. She has also gotten pickier as she gets older, so that makes it hard. She doesn't eat well at ALL now.

Spam me anything that I can load her up on! Thanks!

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#2 of 19 Old 02-24-2010, 03:48 PM
 
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The only thing my dad could handle consistently when he was going through treatment was Boost chocolate shakes. My mom would add egg and full-fat chocolate ice cream to them to increase calories.

Other than that, your best bet is bland food that, most importantly, doesn't have a strong smell. My mom set up a mini-kitchen in the garage because my dad just could not handle smelling things like eggs or onions, or even things he could eat.

I'm sorry about your mom's diagnosis. I hope she is in remission soon!

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#3 of 19 Old 02-24-2010, 04:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for answering! I read about boost online, but I also read that sugar is bad? I was trying to keep all the bad stuff out, but looking at the recommendations online, she will just lose weight, not gain some! Urgh. How do you know what to do? I can't just feed her wheatgrass, lol!
I am starting to think she can just eat what we are having, even if it has black pepper(?), white flour, meat...

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#4 of 19 Old 02-24-2010, 04:45 PM
 
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Hi there, sorry to hear about your mum's diagnosis - my DH was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in October and we are going through chemo at the moment.

I'll tell you what we have experienced: right now she needs to maintain weight - as you said, a diet of sprouts and wheat grass is not going to allow this to happen So yes healthy foods are good but it has to be something she'll eat: could you make healthier versions of stuff she already likes e.g. organic chicken and extra veggies instead of normal beef in meatloaf (or whatever)?

While she's going through chemo (depending on the type), it's generally agreed that patients need to eat whatever they can keep down... smoothies are usually well tolerated - and you don't have to use Boost etc, you can make them yourself and therefore control what goes into them. But this is probably not the time for wheat grass! We use whey protein, kefir, frozen fruit, bananas etc. and do juices most days (except when DH is feeling nauseous - he hates the taste of green veggies when he's on chemo). Day to day he's eating an omnivorous diet - not vegan/raw food or any of the extreme anti-cancer programs you see online. I think they are more suited for after treatment IMO.

After treatment has finished in a few months, we will probably be more aggressive in terms of juicing/high nutrient diet but right now it's all about keeping energy and weight up, and if that means he gets pizza and the occasional bowl of ice cream (organic of course!!) sometimes, then that's OK

we already ate well before the diagnosis (95% organic, mostly home cooked, few processed foods, no trans fats etc) which makes his type of cancer all the more puzzling.

Has she had any surgery? That makes a difference too in terms of nutrient requirement.

Hope that helps.

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#5 of 19 Old 02-24-2010, 05:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She hasn't had any surgery yet. One dr said it was inoperable, but another wants to run a bunch more tests before he makes any decisions. We have to wait another week for any of the tests though, urgh. I was hoping to start feeding her well by now, but I just confused myself by reading all that online. She has what I consider a pretty bad diet. Maybe some cake or lemon loaf for breakfast, pizza or corndogs for lunch, no dinner, then ice cream in bed at night. So getting her to eat anything healthy will probably be a challenge. She also had a stroke a few years ago that affects her understanding of any of this. And she's not even 51 yet!

Thanks for the reply, it really helped! And I am SO sorry you and yours are going thru this also, its awful!

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#6 of 19 Old 02-24-2010, 06:16 PM
 
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I'd bring her whatever it is she wants to eat.

When I had cancer and was undergoing chemo the LAST thing I wanted to eat was bland food. Bland food is even more of a poor food choice when you consider that many chemo drugs mute the taste buds.
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#7 of 19 Old 02-24-2010, 06:33 PM
 
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I'd bring her whatever it is she wants to eat.

When I had cancer and was undergoing chemo the LAST thing I wanted to eat was bland food. Bland food is even more of a poor food choice when you consider that many chemo drugs mute the taste buds.
Sorry, I was just going by what my dad ate the 2 years he was in treatment.

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#8 of 19 Old 02-24-2010, 07:05 PM
 
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Everyone is different, just like each cancer is a different disease as is each chemo regime. Which is why it's so important for the person that is sick to be the one deciding what they eat.
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#9 of 19 Old 02-24-2010, 07:11 PM
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Have you read about a ketogenic diet for cancer treatment? I read some interesting things here recently: http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/ do a search at that site for 'cancer ketogenic' to see some fascinating studies.

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#10 of 19 Old 02-24-2010, 07:13 PM
 
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Fruits and veggies are awesome, and asparagus can be very healing. But, when my husband was going through chemo, he was a very picky eater, because his taste buds changed. Good Luck!

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#11 of 19 Old 02-24-2010, 07:18 PM
 
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Read this book:http://www.google.com/products/catal...wAg#ps-sellers

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#12 of 19 Old 02-24-2010, 08:01 PM
 
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So getting her to eat anything healthy will probably be a challenge. She also had a stroke a few years ago that affects her understanding of any of this.
It might be a challenge, but you may be able to get some help/support from the oncology dietitians at your mum's hospital - they may have some good ideas. Good luck.

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#13 of 19 Old 02-24-2010, 08:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My mom wants me to help her figure out healthier eating, I'm not forcing it on her or anything. And I am mostly concerned with the next two weeks before all her tests, they made it seem like it was growing quickly and a some of what I've read says that cancer likes sugars, so I thought cutting out the desserts might help. But with her needing to gain, its hard.

And some diets online make it seem like you can cure it with food, not that she is just giving up on chemo or anything. She wants to do it all. But she wants me to figure it all out, because she can't read the stuff online and understand it.

Thanks, I will look into all that!

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#14 of 19 Old 02-25-2010, 02:14 AM
 
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A good friend of mine nursed her mum through Cancer treatments last year. She was tearing her hair out because there was almost nothing her mum could/would eat. Finally, she started making brown rice congee. It worked! Her mum loved it and would eat good sized portions and keep it down. The good thing about congee is it can be as bland or as spicy as you like. Around here, we like it with lots of ginger and shredded chicken. Others make it with seafood or mushrooms or kimchee or.....
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#15 of 19 Old 02-25-2010, 02:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmmm, I've never had that, I'll look it up!
Thanks!

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#16 of 19 Old 02-25-2010, 09:37 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MPsSweetie View Post
My mom wants me to help her figure out healthier eating, I'm not forcing it on her or anything. And I am mostly concerned with the next two weeks before all her tests, they made it seem like it was growing quickly and a some of what I've read says that cancer likes sugars, so I thought cutting out the desserts might help. But with her needing to gain, its hard.
My husband is an oncology nurse practioner, and he says that is a myth. What he basically recommends is: eat whatever you can. Chemo can really change taste buds and appetite, and the most important thing is to keep the weight on. If it means ice cream shakes, so be it. The sugar in your diet won't affect the cancer...in a petri dish, sure, but in 'real life', the data isn't there. Granted there are correlational studies with healthy diets (fruit and veggies) and cancer, but that is different from TREATING cancer with diet. When you are losing weight due to chemo, its more important to keep the weight on.

When his dad had pancreatic cancer, he ate a lot of ice cream, high fat foods (nuts, etc), and still had a heck of a time keeping the weight on.

Obviously a healthier diet will be better for health reasons, but again, if all she can stomach is ice cream, its better than nothing.

Quote:

And some diets online make it seem like you can cure it with food, not that she is just giving up on chemo or anything. She wants to do it all. But she wants me to figure it all out, because she can't read the stuff online and understand it.

Thanks, I will look into all that!
Yeah, that also isn't true, unfortunately. There are a lot of people out there looking to make money on other people's fear and selling books that just don't have the data behind them. Again, the most important thing is to just do your best to keep the weight on, and follow the doc recommendations.

There IS data about the importance of family support and even personal positivity. She is lucky to have you there to be so supportive.
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#17 of 19 Old 02-25-2010, 11:12 AM
 
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You have gotten some good advice - here are a couple of additional points:

Keep the portions small. Her appetite will be decreased, so just give her little bits at a time that are not overwhelming. If you cook a big pot/dish of something, get a lot of little plastic containers & put some in the fridge and some in the freezer for later.

Make whatever you provide attractive and appetizing. If it is nice to look at, she might eat a few more bites.

Provide variety, if possible.

If all she can eat is soup, try to make super-healthy soups (lots of veggies and garlic) rather than the canned variety.
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#18 of 19 Old 02-25-2010, 01:25 PM
 
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bone broth.... lots and lots of bone broth- it is very healing

femented cod liver oil and butter oil

smoothies with coconut milk, eggs, raw dairy (if she can handle it), bee pollen

coconut oil (anyway she can get it in)

liver (liver "pills"- frozen liver chopped into pill form if she cant stomach liver)

High nutrient/calorie dense food. I would stay faaar away from any sugar. Stevia in small amounts
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#19 of 19 Old 02-25-2010, 01:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks. I do have a bunch of liver, which she loves, so I was planning on making some of that.
And I thought soups would be the easiest thing for me to make and freeze, so I'll do that.
I am taking everything else into consideration also, thanks!

She has been picky about food for a long time, so the ice cream and cake all day isn't a new thing. If thats all she would eat I would find her some healthy stuff, but she asked me to find the best foods for cancer, so I'm starting there. Once the chemo starts I'm sure it will be a different story, and actually one I won't have to worry about. She will be staying in another city, far away, with some friends who have dealt with cancer. They are actually the people who told her the basics of what NOT to eat, she wanted me to make a plan for her.

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