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[cancer] Side effects bingo, department of signaling errors and self-tuning - Lakeshore — LiveJournal
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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-02-24 05:56
Subject: [cancer] Side effects bingo, department of signaling errors and self-tuning
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, food, health, personal
Many of my chemo side effects can be ascribed to neural signaling errors. Peripheral neuropathy, cold sensitivity, various other physical and mental effects. What I've come to consider my two primary side effects are unrelenting fatigue, and intermittent but serious lower GI distress. What I've been very lucky on so far is a nearly absolute lack of nausea, and an ability to maintain my baseline body weight.

However, in the last week or so, my appetite has begun to meaningfully decline. It's not so much a sense that things taste bad, as I just don't want to eat them. This is not a good leading indicator for weight maintenance, and possibly also bodes poorly for future nausea control. I seem to be retreating more and more into the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce and toast). Which is not the end of the world, and will keep me going, but wow. Much of what I still want to eat is complicated by the fact that the lower GI stress tends to compound my otherwise intermittent lactose intolerance, so I get pushed off milk, cheese and yogurt due to the explosive consequences of actually consuming them.

In other news, I had a small milkshake yesterday for the first time in years. Because it did appeal to me. Consistent? No. But neither are the side effects. It's quite a curve over the time from infusion session to infusion session. As I've said before, managing this is like driving a car on ice. Every day is a bit different, and every cycle has a somewhat different rhythm.

Also, I slept poorly last night. Given that I slept well the previous three nights, this is not a disaster, but it doesn't improve things either. The fine art of tuning myself, someday I will be a master at it.

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cj_ruby
User: cj_ruby
Date: 2010-02-24 15:19 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My mother never had the nausea during chemo, but her appetite went down to nothing. She drank a lot of Ensure. She just couldn't force herself to eat, she just wasn't hungry. She also never would have told us if she felt bad (she always felt "fine"). I wish she had been more open about what she was going through. Your cancer postings have given me a lot of insight into what she must have experienced.

Thanks for your candor.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-02-24 15:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I am glad my posts are helpful. That's why I talk about it, because so many other people don't.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-02-24 15:59 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Vanilla. (I wanted hazelnut, they didn't have where I went.)

Not sure how it will change, but everything seems to keep changing, so can't tell you what happens next. :\
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Rose Fox
User: rosefox
Date: 2010-02-24 17:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
When I had terrible food poisoning a couple of weeks ago, I got my calories through "milkshakes" of soy milk and frozen bananas. Sounds like that might help with the milkshake craving, give you some protein (from the soy), and be palatable even to your super-discriminating palate.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-02-24 22:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That sounds like a good idea...
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shelly_rae: Raspberry Almond Tart
User: shelly_rae
Date: 2010-02-24 17:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Raspberry Almond Tart
Only thing that concerns me about your BRAT diet is lack of protein. Soy milk, soy yogurt, nuts, remember to get those in too sweets. Don't make me come down there. ::looks menacing in a nurse pratchett sort of way::

Pudding?
Anon
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Scott Raun
User: sraun
Date: 2010-02-24 17:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Does LactAid help? I've got an on-again/off-again lactose sensitivity - my experience is that I do much better if I take LactAid with my dairy products.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-02-24 22:26 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
LactAid helps some, but not when I'm in full cry, so to speak...
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Scott Raun
User: sraun
Date: 2010-02-24 23:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yeah, it's one of those things that is only good as a preventative. I have discovered that the required LactAid per unit of lactose varies wildly - for me, I need nothing for a few ounces, and 18,000 units for anything between about 4 oz. and 16 oz. of skim milk. My wife gets benefit from 9000 units starting at about 8 oz of milk, but doesn't need it until she gets to 12-16 oz.
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The Empress of Ice Cream
User: icecreamempress
Date: 2010-02-24 18:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
If soy yogurt works for you, that's something to consider.

Ensure is lactose-free. Making an Ensure-and-banana smoothie and enjoying it with toast might help you get a big protein fix with a minimum of preparation.

Best of luck finding foods that work for you.
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2010-02-24 18:19 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I wish I knew enough to be constructive. Listening to what you want to eat seems like a good way to go, though. All best wishes.
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