Chemo and food

chad-n-meSecond round done. Had my father-in-law over to keep me company, thanks Chad!

If you listen to the hospital, there’s not a lot of control with what you feel you can do to alter your treatments – they give you chemo, you try to eat what you can and that’s it. But I’ve seen some articles (thanks Dave) that address the other logical half of this treatment: nutrition. And that’s a significant part that is definitely under our control and is not really addressed when I go in to get the medicine part of this treatment.

I mean, look at what they gave me: a puny sandwich, no lettuce or tomatoes, a bag of chips and any soft drink i wanted (Chad brought in the pickle spear, the only vegetable seen in the place). Where’s the whole fruits or vegetables? I feel like they’re sending the wrong message to patients when they say they just want you to eat what you like in the name of sufficient nourishment. Perhaps they have to because they haven’t done enough studies, or they don’t want to recommend a diet that would be incompatible with more sensitive patients (e.g., lactose-intolerant, gluten-free, etc) in the fear that they’ll get slapped with lawsuits. It’s just a shame more attention isn’t paid to this half of the treatment equation.

I read an article about how denying nourishment worked on reducing cancer in mice, so I did the same — I fasted for about 34 hours before I had breakfast this morning. I had a dull headache all day yesterday and generally felt crappy, as you do when you don’t eat for a day and a half. I fasted partly because that article makes sense to me, but also because it gives me some sort of perceived control over the cancer. And that gives me the most strength of anything, to feel like I can participate in actively determining how my body will react to treatment. Whether it will make a difference remains to be seen. I will say that my CBC / CMP numbers are holding steady (with the exception of my white blood cell count which is expected), and my CEA is on a downward trend.

While I didn’t see any cookies out, this article also gave me pause, as I like a bit of coffee with my sugar. Maybe this is only about breast cancer specifically, but it seems like I should definitely consider cutting sugar out of my diet for now. Another self-imposed restriction is cutting back on drinking homebrew to maybe 3-4 pints a week, and I’ve dropped 10 lbs in the last 2 weeks. So there’s a silver lining in all of this, where I can work on keeping some of these habits when I’m done with surgery and chemo, which should be somewhere in February. Thanks, all of you, for your sustained thoughts, prayers and energy.

14 thoughts on “Chemo and food”

  1. Thanks for being a supportive part of Eric’s morning, Dad! I was glad to know you were there hanging out with Eric (and thanks for bringing in that healthy pickle!) The support we have had from our friends and family has been beyond incredible. A call, a text just to check in, a card in the mail, a tasty slice of German cake — all of it. We are not going through this alone by any means. And the continued thoughts and prayers from you all mean the world to us. We love ya!

  2. Eric, Hospital food is the absolute worst. You are so right it sends the wrong message. I remember many chemo sessions with my Mom and the garbage they served, and what the doctors and staff ate in the cafeteria was shocking. I am so glad to hear about your diet changes. And I’m especially glad to see you smiling there with Chad by your side. Two cool dudes chilling and probably talking about guy stuff like how bad our Hokies are this year, or did you see that nurse that just walked by ( sorry Christine). Haha. Big hugs from your bro in law in Richmond. Brad

  3. Definitely not good to hear about the meal offered to you in hospital, but it sounds pretty typical. You would think, of all places, more thought would go into what is served to patients. :/

  4. I couldn’t possibly agree more on hospital food. They need to consult with the dietitians they employ! You are so fortunate to have so many loving people at your side. I wish we could be there too. It is good to see you are taking control where you can. Love you man!

  5. Hi, sweetie!
    So glad to see that smile. I would make you some nice Apple salad!! Equal parts apples and celery, the secret is black walnuts. Don’t tell anybody. Hay, wait!!

  6. I know every time there is someone I care about in the hospital, my first thought is I need to take them something to eat! Bad for you and downright gross sometimes. Ugh… I usually say “Chic fil A, on the way”. 🙂 Love the smile and you are so blessed with such an amazing family… hope you are feeling good today Eric!

  7. You are so right to think about the systemic benefits to controlling your intakes as well as gaining a confident hold over aspects to your treatment. Go, you!

  8. Eric, we just finished reading your comments on nutrition in hospitals. If you talk to anyone who has been hospitalized the major complaint is the food. You would think the hospitals would wise up and hire a real chef to provide decent food to their patients. Possibly take your own food with you for your chemo sessions. Hang in there! Glad to see Chad keeping you company.

    Thinking of you!
    Love, Millie and Bob

  9. Unfortunately, as i remember from working in a hosp, the food is only some calories to keep you from fainting on the way home.

  10. Just letting you no you are in my thoughts and prayers. God will give you the strength to get through this storm.
    I’ve been checking out your updates. We love you. Jill

    1. Uncle Tommy – we wish you the best in your battle. It’s so crazy that this is going on with you as well. We know it will be a tough battle but you and Eric are surrounded with love, support and prayers. Big hug and please keep us updated on how you are doing. We love you!

  11. Eric, so glad u are being proactive with the food situation! Not only are you getting healthier choices, but the mental boast to know that you are taking charge is priceless. My thoughts and prayers are with you. You certainly have a wonderful family to give lots of love and support.

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