Nutrition for cancer patients

March 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Archives, News

One of the hardest things for me as a caregiver was trying to make sure my aunt ate and drank. They thought that the cancer in her abdomen was metastasized breast cancer. Hence she was always feeling bloated, full, and extremely uncomfortable. It was not conducive to getting her to eat and add to the discomfort. She also had the usual problems such as loss of taste, reactions to the chemo leading to occasional vomiting and diarrhea. At first she was on a special diet because of her reaction to chemo. That eliminated most of her favorite foods. I would do everything I could to find something that was on the list and that she would eat. I would let her cheat if she would eat most of what she was supposed to. I felt like a drill Sargent getting her to drink enough water.

I am somewhat knowledgeable about nutrition so I had a pretty good idea what she should eat. One day she told me that she wished she had eaten better over the years. But her tastes were not necessarily associated what was good for her with her disease. I would have to say I felt guilty about being a nag about food and drink. It was one of the most difficult parts of the role as caregiver. On one hand, you see her in pain and discomfort and want to just let her eat what she wants. On the other hand, you hope you can help her to develop a meal plan that helps maintain her strength so she can fight the disease. I would go to the grocery store and go down Every aisle to find things that she normally liked or we had not tried. I remember toward the end when she was drinking protein based drinks, I bought 5 or 6 kinds and we had taste tests. I still have a Boost sitting on my counter that I accidentally brought home.

For those of you that are dealing with a similar situation, here is a good article on nutrition for cancer patients on Caregiver.com; Today’s Caregiver Magazine. Not only do we have to educate ourselves about how to maintain the health of our family members through nutrition, we also have to understand the relationship between food and emotions; ours and theirs. That will be another discussion:)

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