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Let's Discuss...food intake and energy levels

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Many people share that energy levels decrease significantly while they are going through treatment or while caring for someone with cancer. The way that we nourish our bodies can make all the difference in our energy level. A well balanced diet gives your body the nutrition it needs during and after cancer treatment.

  • What are some of your favourite energy boosting meals or snacks?
  • What was your ‘go-to’ meal during treatment?
  • As a caregiver, what are your tips for preparing meals for your loved one?




Comments

2DogMamaelle29

Here is some information from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre on Steroids and why they are used during chemotherapy:

In cancer treatment, steroids have multiple roles. First, they’re sometimes a part of the cancer treatment itself, such as with some lymphomas and multiple myeloma.

Second, they’re very effective at bringing down nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy.

They can also play a role with CT scans, which take images of your body to locate cancer for initial diagnosis as well as throughout treatment to see how the cancer is responding. To get clear images, a contrast dye is used, but some patients are allergic to it. Steroids can help control that allergy so that patients can safely get the contrast dye and undergo CT scans.

In addition, MD Anderson research has shown that steroids can help ease cancer-related fatigue, which is different from the tiredness you may feel after a long day. Typically, your energy level is much lower than it was previously, and you can't really pinpoint one cause. We’ve seen that a small dose of steroids can help boost energy to where patients can have a better quality of life. It’s important to note that in the case of treating fatigue, steroids aren’t affecting the cancer, but they’re a valuable tool to help improve your energy level as you're going through cancer treatment.

I too am 5 feet tall. I had Dexamethasone (steroid) during my chemotherapy treatment. I too gained some weight. It is important however that you not lose weight during treatment.

It almost goes without saying that good nutrition is essential during chemotherapy. If your caloric intake is too low, it can lead to weight loss while lowering your ability to cope physically and mentally with your treatment.

Poor nutrition can also lead to a drop in your blood cell counts, resulting in anemia, neutropenia, or thrombocytopenia. This will not only make you feel tired and fatigued, but it can also lead to the discontinuation of therapy until such time as your levels are restored.

In addition to good nutrition, exercise of any sort can be beneficial if approached wisely and under the supervision of a medical professional. Even a little outdoor activity (such as gardening) can prevent the loss of lean muscle mass key to maintaining strength and mobility.

Overexertion, on the other hand, is not advised as it can not only wear you out but cause inflammation that can worsen any side effects you may be experiencing.

I was also worried about the weight gain. Once chemo finished I was able to shed the excess weight by getting back to my usual, healthy manner of eating. Give your body what it wants during chemo, the steroids are not a forever thing, just necessary during treatment to make the side effects more manageable. Exercise as much as you can as it will help keep fatigue at bay.
  • Posted Sun 21 Nov 2021 12:16 PM EST
Thank you @Runner Girl...this is very useful information! And it may explain why I have (so far, anyway--only had 2 chemo treatments) had minimal/occasional drops in energy levels (been able to carry on with all my sports, workouts, etc.) And since What I am eating has been consistently good (nearly everything made from scratch, wide variety, etc.) I probably shouldn't worry too much about How Much I am eating--just go with when I am hungry and leave it at that...
  • Posted Mon 22 Nov 2021 01:10 AM EST
Broth from veggies beef # 1 with low levels wbc Neutrophils , rbc , Macrophages and chicken salad , sandwiches . Yes tea herbal like ginger #1 or ginger drinks , cannot do with out . Super dehydrated on treatment until they reduced the dosage so ate JUICEY WATERY cleaned scrubbed washed fresh veggies like Cukes, peppers yellows r best for cancer I read long ago to add . Banana apple slices fresh sliced . Strawberries 🍓 blueberries washed to nibble on . There is a list of dirty fruits and veggies strawberry was one . If your constipated add cooked corn 🌽 and mixed NUTS #1 like Cashews , Brasils , Walnuts , Hazel on the counter Great fibre . Something salty like Rice or seasoned specialty crackers kept around will help with diarrhea from onset . Also having yogurt or that drink similar Kefir !
Adding something u like to eat to get you salivating for reaching something healthy . My fave is tofu scrambled eggs my daughter makes with pancakes and blueberry syrup non sugared , fresh pieces of any fruit on the side . I must confess though I do like my coffee and chai .
  • Posted Sat 20 Nov 2021 12:52 AM EST
Try get off the steroids . My doc said they can make your health worse and affect a persons heart ❤️. Ask your oncology nurse .
There are lots of alternatives to combating nausea . I find effective with with alternatives as ginger shaved in to hot water for a tea, Over counter pharmacy has those ginger chewables travellers use . Ginger bubbly drinks from grocers , even ginger ale pop been around a long time ! I get ginger tea packets , it helps a lot with the warmth ,
Try not obsessing about a bit of weight . Sounds like your on the right track about being active and already fit ! Able to do that and on a regimen of sport activity .
I am the same height, but not returned to my fit activity yet preferring a group motivation with a Buddy . Even if we could do it here on CC like zoom like yoga or something as I get hypoglycaemic. Loved to use a pool leisurely doing laps . More concerned about acquiring an infection or covid being prone under treatment etc . It’s the fact that I cannot return to what kept me active , pool shut down . An inflamed heal . And just found out we have a bear 🐻 in our suburban area. Try not obsessing over that real fear entering my property and space to go outside . I guess I will have to invest in some sort of equipment like an indoor bike or if a soft tread mill something . A member here @Runner Girl may help being on treatments search her out as the link does not work . @Runner Girl,
  • Posted Sun 21 Nov 2021 07:45 AM EST
I must confess I am feeling very conflicted on this whole issue of food intake. It seems that the steroids I am given (to prevent nausea) also make me Extremely Hungry! And I have had the odd day of fatigue which I also feel I should try to combat by eating more (to provide energy). But at the same time, I am fearful about gaining weight; when you are only five feet tall, there is very little leeway for gaining weight. It does help that I have managed (so far, after my first two chemotherapy treatments) to remain very active (sports, running, etc.) But again, at only five feet tall--even a five-pound weight gain is significant! I would appreciate any and all feedback on this, as it is something that is starting to bother me...
  • Posted Sun 21 Nov 2021 05:16 AM EST

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