Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Oncology "Nutrition" 101

Posted Nov 11, 2008 10:30am

Although my body and brain feel reasonably normal, my taste buds have taken leave of their senses. Remember what a food snob I was in the beginning, after reading the American Cancer Society booklet on “Nutrition” tips? Remember how I scoffed at their recommendations of foods like mashed potatoes and ice cream? Once again, I’ve been humbled. Once you start chemo, unless you have a personal chef, all bets are off regarding culinary interests. Even then it would be a challenge.

It’s not due to nausea – if I feel the least bit queasy, the Psi bracelets do the trick. It’s just that the usual foods are not appealing, and stuff that would usually turn my stomach now beckons me, even if it ends up sitting inside like a lump of lead. It is such a strange shift in my appetite. Last night the sight of soup made my tummy turn over, yet I ate most of a medium organic veggie/pesto pizza, to which I had added extra chicken and goat cheese.

I can’t stand the sight of a carrot, but I’ve had a couple of days of craving Kraft Mac & Cheese – remember that sticky orange mass we used to seriously consider as “food?” Although I didn't succumb to the temptation, I confess that I did pick up an organic version at Trader Joe's last night - just in case. And with the carrot aversion, you can imagine my dismay every time I open the fridge to see it stacked with containers of the carrot slaw I spent 2 days creating. Good thing Dave likes it as a side dish with his lunch.

Juicing? I’ll give it a try this morning, but it is pushing my limits (i.e. the ominous carrot). My best food friend at the moment is plain organic yogurt – sometimes with organic applesauce and a little organic maple syrup. The concoction not only soothes my conscience, but also helps the daily supplements go down more easily. In contrast, at night I may make another pizza or a veggie quesadilla with lots of goat cheese and guacamole. How crazy is that???? As I’m reading articles about the food experiences of other women, mashed potatoes seem to be a big favorite. I’m not there yet, but now I know better than to eliminate the possibility.

Not that I’m complaining - over the past month, as my weight has shifted up & down, overall I’ve lost about 7 pounds I didn’t really need to keep. I am concerned that it probably is not fat loss, since I haven’t been very active, so I’ll do a body composition test this week to see what is going on. I’m feeling more ambitious today; I can at least do one of my “8-minute” exercise DVDs, and start alternating that with yoga to do something each day (more or less – bear in mind I’m having a rare flash of exercise ambition). I have no idea how some folks choose chemo time to train for a marathon, let alone take care of a family and work. I am such a wimp! Well, I am running a business, so that does keep me pretty busy…

I’m meeting with a local chiropractor today to discuss starting some sessions of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). There’s an overview about it at HBOT. I checked with other doctors that work with cancer patients, and there are no contraindications to this treatment. Although I was able to find several research articles on HBOT and different types of cancer, they are careful to note it is for wellness enhancement, and not a cure, but one doctor indicated it may help with “chemo brain.” Since I already had “menopause brain,” that was one smooth transition, but we’ll see what happens to improve the situation! Other than my two off-days on the post-chemo weekend, my brain seems to be doing quite well, and I actually don’t feel as forgetful as I was six months ago. From what I can remember, anyways...

The research on HBOT during radiation has been very favorable in regard to minimizing tissue damage, so in combination with the Chinese Soothing Balm, I trust that it will not be such a bad experience. I’ll cross that bridge next year.
Have a fabulous day!
Love, Laurie