Saturday, January 17, 2015

How I Feel

Many people ask how I feel.  I think I felt a little better at the Machine Shed back in 2011!  I need to call my doctor this morning and tell Gretchen or one of the nurses how I feel.  I feel so bloated I have little appetite.  I feel like the meds are all fighting each other.  I don't feel terrible but the belching, bloating and full feeling is very uncomfortable.

This is all new to me and I know each individual takes it differently.  I am able to get around the house OK but I have to push myself to eat or even take a shower.  I am sure my lethargic feeling is not uncommon.

If I can manage these symptoms, I think I can do this much easier but right now I don't see anything easy about it.

Nausea

Medications called antiemetics or anti-nausea drugs are used to prevent and treat nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy. Not all chemotherapy drugs cause nausea. Many anti-nausea drugs are available, and your doctor or nurse will recommend what is expected to work best for you.
If possible, have your prescriptions filled before your treatment day. Please call your doctor or nurse if your medications do not give you adequate relief or if you experience side effects with the anti-nausea medication.

Practical Hints for Nausea

  • Before your chemotherapy appointment, eat a small, light meal. Most people do better if they have something in their stomach.
  • Eat what sounds good to you. Generally starches such as rice, bread, potatoes, hot cereals and puddings are well tolerated.
  • Try not to skip meals. An empty stomach will worsen all symptoms. If you don't feel like sitting down to a meal, try nibbling on something that appeals to you.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Herbal teas, water, sports drinks and diluted juices are recommended more than soda.
  • Avoid smells that are unappealing.
  • Freeze meals so that you don't have to cook. Ask your family and friends to help with meals, especially following chemotherapy when you are most likely to feel nauseous.
  • Schedule a free appointment with the dietitian by calling (415) 885-3693 for more practical tips on dealing with nausea.

Fatigue

Chemotherapy can make you feel tired. This fatigue may or may not worsen as you are treated with more cycles of chemotherapy.
Most people have to make some adjustment in work and family responsibilities; the degree of change is very individual. Try to balance activity and rest. As much as possible, try to maintain your everyday activities. It can be very beneficial to both your physical and emotional recovery. The fatigue will go away after you recover from chemotherapy.
The Cancer Resource Center also hosts monthly Fatigue Management workshops to address these concerns. For more information, call (415) 885-3693.

Practical Hints for Fatigue

  • Plan your activities, such as grocery shopping, for a time when you feel the best.
  • If you have children, rest when they are napping. When you feel most tired, consider hiring a babysitter for a few hours so that you can relax or take a nap.
  • Take naps early in the day so you do not disturb your sleep pattern at night.
  • Consider exercising every day or several times a week. Good forms of exercise include swimming, walking and yoga. Call the Cancer Resource Center for information on free exercise classes at (415) 885-3693.

Appetite and Taste Changes

During chemotherapy, you may experience taste and appetite changes and a heightened sensitivity to odors. Don't worry if you don't have an appetite the first few days or a week following chemotherapy; it is not unusual. As you feel better, your appetite will improve.
Reflux — when food backs up into your esophagus — burping, or a burning sensation may worsen nausea. Please report these symptoms to your physician or nurse so that they can be treated. You may find that you can tolerate only certain foods. We encourage you to eat what appeals to you during this time, and to drink enough fluids: eight to 10 eight-ounce glasses per day, more if you have a fever or diarrhea.
Recommendations for healthy nutrition include a diet low in fat (less than 20 percent fat) and high in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and plant-based proteins. Some people want to begin dietary changes during active therapy; others prefer to wait until chemotherapy is completed. Some people prefer small, slow changes, while others benefit from a "major overhaul." We encourage you to become informed and make healthy dietary and lifestyle changes.
Many people gain weight while on chemotherapy for reasons that are not well understood. Again, if you have concerns about nutrition, please consult our staff dietitian at (415) 885-3693.

Practical Hints for Taste and Appetite Changes

  • Eat what appeals to you during this time.
  • Eat foods that are warm rather than hot.
  • Avoid places where food is being cooked, such as the kitchen at dinnertime.
  • Avoid smells that are unappealing.
  • To try drink eight to 10 glasses of fluid a day
My stomach feels warm enough I just want cold things right now.  Grapefruit really tastes good but I can't live on that alone.  I don't like the protein shakes but I try to keep sipping at them.

It's day 5 and I hope I feel a little better each day but this morning is not so great.

Ed

7 comments:

  1. Just said another prayer for you. I hope that things smooth out for you and that your energy soon returns.

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  2. Thanks Gorges, you can't know how much that means to me. I watched my dad go through this but doing it yourself can't be done without a lot of help. I thank God for LuAnn and all the help I have right now.

    I figured out the one nausea med makes me drowsy so I can take one and get a rest. I slept pretty good last night and the pink grapefruit tastes so good right now.

    Then its coat my stomach and get my morning medicine down.

    One minute at a time, one step at a time, one day at a time.

    Ed

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    Replies
    1. I'm sure that you have a LOT of folks praying for you, Ed, and I'm equally sure that those prayers will continue for months to come.

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    2. Good luck with your treatments, Ed. I will keep you in my prayers for strength and energy. You are blessed to have a good support system around you.

      Just had a discussion last week with a farmer who follows you closely. He was trying to reconcile all the info he had received from you, me, and a third party and put it into an action plan for his farm. He's well on his way to success. Great discussion for sure.

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    3. Thanks Gorges and Darren, that is great news for sure. Darren, thanks so much for the comment.

      Ed

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  3. It's a very helpful article, in fact when it comes to health; there is nothing more important than managing to eat healthy food and doing exercise regularly.

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