Nutrition for Cancer Patients

The more that I learn about nutrition, and the more I hear others share their stories or see their results, I am totally convinced that it is central to not only how our body operates, but also how we feel.  In my own pursuit of trying to lose weight that started more seriously about 8 or so years ago, I started to understand more about nutrition’s primary role in trying to get my body to function more “optimally”, shall we say (wink).  Along my journey, I have continued to learn more about nutrition through professionals in various parts of the health & fitness industry – which is extremely helpful in the current situation with Mom’s Bone Cancer.

My Mom’s body has gone through a real beating after 4 months of Chemo in 5 months time.  She only missed 4 weeks of treatment (which was to be done on a weekly basis) due to terrible Diarrhea that she suffered with.  She has lost weight–which the Doctors do not want to happen while on Chemo–and now between the Bone Cancer, her general either loss or depleted appetite, and her fear of what food may end up doing to her body again; well, I’m trying to focus on nutrition right now.  She drinks Ensure, and has small portions of whatever sounds good to her at the time, but you can only have so many of those little Ensure shakes before wanting a change of pace.

I started doing some more research yesterday on Bone Cancer, and foods that Cancer patients should eat or avoid.  I was shocked to realize that none of her medical staff had ever given her even a simple list of foods such as this – it has been trial and error.  My Dad has been doing everything to just take care of Mom, himself and the house – when would there be time to study this, shop for very specific and sometimes organic ingredients, and even do special cooking, juicing, smoothies, etc?  When she tried to take a pill supplement a few days before Christmas, if made her vomit.  So, with me now here at my parents home, we can share the “load” a bit, and try to figure out creative ways to keep her eating and drinking the best things for her.  After all, there is no better time than now to focus on trying to help Mom’s body heal from her treatment and try to function better.

Since she is not taking Chemo currently, and her body was fighting the 2 days the Doctor tried of a new Chemo pill.  It looks like her body just needs to recoup.  She had been sleeping a lot for the past few days, and now is becoming more wakeful. Last night, around 1:00 am she said to Dad and I, “Maybe I’m all caught up on sleep!” Without taking Chemo right now, and the fact that Cancer markers had begun to rise, I feel that we need to do our best to naturally help Mom’s fragile system right now. With her quality of life going down so much, mainly from side effects, she says that she feels very little pain from the actual Cancer.  She needs a breather right now.

For anybody needing it, or wanting to know more, here are some helpful links that I have initially found:

I looked up Bone Cancer prevention – this had some helpful info: http://curezone.com/dis/1.asp?C0=784

The Cancer Center also has some nice recipes on their website:  http://www.cancercenter.com/after-care-services/recipe-cards.cfm

I spent a good while at the grocery store last night loading up on some important things, especially with Antioxidants:  like fresh and some organic produce (especially Blueberries), Agave nectar, Rice Milk (she didn’t like Almond milk, and is supposed to avoid dairy), Green Tea, Dark Chocolate (with more than 60% cocoa), Chocolate Covered Digestive Biscuits, and some simple whole grains.  Mom also loves canned apricots, which have helped her become more regular.  I’m also learning about the timing of when we give her things is also important, because giving her things too late in the day can make her have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom – and sleep is really important for her (and us, her caregivers) right now too.

Healthy Foods

Yummy & healthy foods to fight Cancer

Last night I made her a smoothie that was not only delicious for her but also very nutritious, and the ingredients balanced things to prevent her from worrying about Diarrhea.  I didn’t measure the ingredients, but I put in a Banana, fresh Raspberries, fresh Blueberries, and fresh Strawberries, a bit of Agave Nectar to naturally sweeten it, and Rice Milk. Rice and Bananas are recommended foods to help firm up the poo-poo, and the berries are high in Antioxidants.

This morning we all enjoyed a bowl of Pumpkin Oatmeal (there’s a link to it below) – it tasted like Pumpkin Pie and is really healthy too!  I love http://www.AllRecipes.com, because it can scale the recipes based on number of servings you want to make, as well as see how others rate or modify it: http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/pumpkin-oatmeal/Detail.aspx.  She’s still sipping on her Decaf Lemon Green Tea, which we sweetened with the Agave Nectar also – so good!

Later today I think we’ll make some Dark Chocolate covered Strawberries for a sweet treat that will boost her system as well.  Hey, all that time that I spent living/working with Chefs needs to be put to good use, right?

I know that my Mom is far from being the only one to suffer with Cancer, so I hope that by sharing some of this information, it may help others too.  We need to support each other – we’re not alone!

Today we have an appointment with Hospice to talk about what they can do for Mom to improve her quality of life, manage the pain, and help us to care for her.  Contrary to perhaps popular belief, Hospice is not a “death sentence”.  I have heard great things from many sources, and have several dear friends that work in various capacities for different Hospices that have either given me some advice or have offered to. Mom’s friend is also a Hospice nurse here in their Retirement Village – how cool would that be to have her friend giving her care, if that works out.

Yesterday a sweet Angel neighbor, Josephine (Jo for short), brought by a really nice wheelchair from St. Timothy’s, our Church.  They also have loaned us a shower chair, and getting back in there to take a shower yesterday did wonders for Mom.  My Uncle Joe and Aunt Barbara brought over a “potty chair” the other day, which has also been a big help.  The neighbors have offered to do whatever they can, and our friend across the street told me not to make dinner tonight as she’s bringing by Mom’s favorite – Perkin’s Chicken Pot Pie.  There are such beautiful moments that I get to see by being here, which helps with the difficult ones and having to live and talk about it so much to all the dear friends and family who love, pray, and worry about us. Mom is rallying at this time, I see it, and I’m so inspired by her fighting spirit and will to live despite everything.

Thank you again for your love and prayers.  We are just trying to keep up with the long “to do” list right now, let alone time to try to think about my wedding planning, which has fallen down on the list for the time being, as we need to first figure out Mom’s care.  There are a ton of life changes and decisions that need to be all at once, so yes, it’s stressful.  But I also feel God’s blessing amidst everything – that is Grace. Please keep your prayers coming, you have no idea how much they carry us…

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7 thoughts on “Nutrition for Cancer Patients

  1. Sue Green says:

    Lisa – wonderful that you are tackling diet issues, that makes me very happy! From my recent exercise/nutrition class, I have started using a whole grain flour that tastes like white flour and it is wonderful — I recently dumped the remainder in my flour container and threw away the bag, but am going to Costco today or tomorrow and will buy more then let you know the brand. Also so good that you are brewing tea from scratch and adding the sweetener. More antioxidants that way! And keep that sugar and Splenda out!!! Yeah, Lisa!

    Like

  2. Lovey says:

    Hey Sanch,

    There is a LOT of information out there about nutrition and cancer and the links to cause and avoid. I’m reading a book by Dr. Andrew Weil right now about how foods and other natural treatments can make a HUGE difference in your health. He talks a lot about cancer (I’ve only read the first 50 pages or so…). I can give you the title if you’d like. He also talked about some super effective natural curative treatments for cancer in Tijuana, Mexico. I’ve heard from other people that it truly works. Just thought I’d pass it along.

    Love you! and Congratulations!!!

    Like

    • Lisa says:

      Would love the title of the book, Lovey. Thanks for the comment and advice – appreciate ya! Hope your engagement is going well, little sis! 🙂

      Like

  3. Karla says:

    Lisa,
    What a beautiful gift from God for you to be at home with your parents. You are a
    blessing to all of us whose lives you touch with you amazing grace and gift of prayer.

    Love you and I am storming heaven with prayers.

    Like

  4. Sue Green says:

    The flour is Eagle Mills brand. It is “All Natural, All-purpose unbleached flour, A Wholesome Blend of White and Ultragrain Flours” There are 9 gms of whole grains per serving. It can be substituted cup for cup for white flour in recipes.

    Like

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