Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Nutrition and Chemo - Fiber

My beloved Dad endured 3 years of chemotherapy. He passed away about 2 weeks before I started mine. I remember clearly one conversation I had with him several months before I was diagnosed. I had asked him how he felt, and he told me the constipation was so bad it was unbearable. Without a second thought I told him "Dad, you just need to eat some more fiber! Have some high fiber bread and it will fix it."
This line came back to haunt me and I will forever regret what I said that day. Chalk it up to if you haven't been thru it you don't understand, but now I understand. Constipation was one of my worst side effects of chemo. I tried everything. More fiber, more water, no cheese, exercise, even teas and coffee's. Yet most nights I would get out of bed in horrible pain, and head to the bathroom to sit for an hour. By the third round of chemo I would be bleeding it was so bad. And the pain was sometimes unbearable. I cried, I remembered what I had said to Dad, and I cried to him to help me. What made it worse is that this is the thing you don't talk about - right? So when people ask how you feel you don't complain about blood in your stool because you are so constipated. So I grinned and bared it.
I finally got to the end of my rope and said something to the nurse. She prescribed Senokot-S, and that proved to be the only thing that would help me. And eventually it became less painful.
So, two lessons learned, first if you haven't been thru it you might not understand, and second, speak up and ask for help from the doctors and nurses. Even if it's embarrassing.
This picture is of Dad and his favorite chemo nurse.

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