forum: Food & Drink

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#1 Wed 09 Sep 09 3:48am

runwestierun

Forum champ
Occupation Volunteer
From Oregon Coast USA
Member since Sat 22 Nov 08

Cooking for Chemo Patient

My friend has fallen on some bad luck and is having surgery for stage 3 ovarian cancer Friday.  She is 68 and quite thin, her husband is 81.  I will be cooking for her when she gets out of the hospital and is going through her chemotherapy.  I am wondering if any of you know anything about what to cook for someone who is going through chemotherapy?  All I know is her doctor said she couldn't have any garlic, and it is better for her to eat many small meals than 3 large ones.  Any suggestions, I hope?

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#2 Wed 09 Sep 09 3:54am

JoyYamDaisy

Forum super champ
From Melbourne Australia
Member since Sun 12 Apr 09

Re: Cooking for Chemo Patient

O RWR I am so sorry to hear this, and so glad you are able to help. I can't help with suggestions although I am sure your fresh, tasty food will be good. Best Wishes.

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#3 Wed 09 Sep 09 2:02pm

ACDC

Forum champ
Occupation Bewitched, bothered and bewildered Mother
From Ireland
Member since Tue 19 Aug 08

Re: Cooking for Chemo Patient

There may be some things that she will not want to eat, even thought she nmay have eaten them before her illness. Ask her first what she craves or just cannot stand the thoughts of trying.
My friend found the  chemo changed her taste buds, she could tolerate small amounts frequently rather than big meals.
Smoothies, she found, were a great way to get fresh food in with the minimal of fuss. I suppose they were quick and easy to prepare, she kept here fav ingredients in the fridge/freezer and I know there was a stage that is all she ate.
It is a difficult time. I hope it helps having such a friend to stand by her and her family.

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#4 Wed 09 Sep 09 3:09pm

1anarchopagan

Member
Member since Fri 07 Nov 08

Re: Cooking for Chemo Patient

My wife went through chemo. She ate a lot of macaroni and cheese.

It's a challenge. You are up against nausea and decreased appetite. You need to find foods that are comfort foods, but bland enough not to cause problems.

It may also be advisable to stay away from the one or two comfort foods she really likes. Sometimes on chemo you can associate the feelings of nausea with the foods you are eating, and end up with a conditioned nausea reaction to that food that persists long after chemo is done with. If that ends up nixing your favorite food, that can be a bummer.

And I don't know what state laws are like in Oregon, but if you can legally lay hands on cannabis for your friend, and she is willing, it will help a great deal with the nausea, loss of appetite and all-around malaise. New Mexico passed a medical marijuana law last year, and it has helped at least one friend of mine through the cancer ordeal.

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#5 Wed 09 Sep 09 4:27pm

mrpab

Forum champ
Member since Wed 23 Jul 08

Re: Cooking for Chemo Patient

well, that last part sounds like it would be good for the all-around malaise even if you're not on chemo! whistle  cool

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#6 Wed 09 Sep 09 6:30pm

slbeckett

Member
From Ontario, Canada
Member since Wed 12 Mar 08

Re: Cooking for Chemo Patient

I know this isn't exactly the same, but years ago while at work, my roommate stabbed herself with a needle used on an HIV patient. She had to take the full aids cocktail for many weeks and the nausea was incredible. Luckily I was unemployed at the time so I did all her cooking etc. She couldn't keep a lot down, but the consistent favorites were oatmeal with some milk & brown sugar, scrambled eggs and toast, mashed potatoes with butter, and home made apple sauce with a bit of cinnamon, cloves and brown sugar. When my mom had cancer I made her fettucine alfredo with heavy cream and lots of cheese. It was bland/mild in taste and really fattening. I tried fruit smoothies too but even that was too much for her.

Best of luck RWR

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#7 Wed 09 Sep 09 6:39pm

DebDiMaggio

Forum champ
Occupation Newbie Mamma
From Italy-UK-Spain
Member since Mon 16 Jun 08

Re: Cooking for Chemo Patient

when I was ill...... all I craved was minestrone and thin vegetable soups. Everything else made me sick, that and milk chocolate(which I don't particulary like in normal circumstances) I had my mum cook minestrone for over 17 weeks of treatment.

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#8 Thu 10 Sep 09 1:30am

runwestierun

Forum champ
Occupation Volunteer
From Oregon Coast USA
Member since Sat 22 Nov 08

Re: Cooking for Chemo Patient

I hadn't thought of macaroni + cheese or fettuccini alfredo.  Those are good fattening mild things.  She is too thin going into this, with no reserves.  I offered her some of my body fat but we aren't sure how to accomplish the transfer...

Scrambled eggs are a really good idea.  I am trying to think of proteins that would be least likely to make her yack.

Last edited by runwestierun (Thu 10 Sep 09 1:32am)

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#9 Thu 10 Sep 09 10:20am

Cindy

Forum champ
Occupation Registered Nurse
From Adelaide, OZ
Member since Tue 03 Aug 04

Re: Cooking for Chemo Patient

I can give you information first hand as I had breast cancer three years ago and went through both surgery and chemo.

After surgery she needs lots of the best quality, fresh, nourishing food that is the available. Really, give her her favourites and use full cream milk, free range eggs etc etc. She needs to build her strength for the oncoming nastiness that is chemo. This is not a time for weight watching. Lots of soups like minestrone are perfect as they are easily digestable and if freshly made the same day or day before still contain lots of goodness.

I have no idea why she was told not to eat garlic, I know of no medical reason for this, and I am a registered nurse too.

Chemo will change her sense of taste and meat will taste absolutely disgusting. She shaould avoid her favourite meals as they will not taste as good as they used to.

Some of the steroid medications should stimulate her appetite, and really ask her what she feels like. I developed a liking for KFC wicked wings. They were the only thing that did not taste horrible, and not sure if it was the fat  content, but they were one of the few things I didn't throw back up. Again, offer her soups and other nourishing things. Avoid anything that is overly spicey (except wicked wings, somehow their spiceyness is ok). She will not be able to tolerate it.

Another thing for people with chemo nausea is to nibble crystalised or glace ginger. It helps get rid of the nausea.

Good luck and really go with what she is able to tolerate. Every persons experience is different. The best advice I can give you is to relax and not to be overly serious. I see so many 'older' people who were so stressed about the cancer thing it only made things worse. Yes cancer is a serious disease and ovarian is pretty awful, and one of the worst. The thing is, your friend needs laughter and smiles, not miseries around her.

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#10 Tue 06 Nov 12 12:46pm

simonjhere

Member
Member since Tue 06 Nov 12

Re: Cooking for Chemo Patient

I was diagnosed with cancer of the colon in 2009 and since then have had three tours of chemotherapy. During my first tour I was fortunate to meet a lady cook who even more fortunately took quite a shine to me.

We are now married and she has sustained my health through some incredibly difficult and scary times with her wonderful cooking and recipes which she often re-designed for me to take into account my metal-mouth.

The results of our journey together is The Chemo Cookery Club which is currently an online resource which offers many recipes and lots of nutritional advice. The book is being published in April 2012.

Please do visit www.chemocookeryclub.com

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