Pain, fatigue and no appetite: How can I help my father-in-law?

Posted by chiwivalencia @chiwivalencia, Aug 30 12:48pm

I joined this group for my father in law who is "old school" and doesn't speak very good English. I am his proxy and I joined this group in hopes that y'all can give me and my husband some advice on helping him feel more comfortable. Diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic July 18th, already in abdominal walls. He still hasn't begun chemo and I can thank the healthcare system for this I'm sure…..but his appetite is pretty much obsolete and pain is over whelming. any suggestions on how to get him to eat or drink water more? Help

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In reply to @chiwivalencia "Is this normal?" + (show)
@chiwivalencia

Is this normal?

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It’s frustrating. My husband was diagnosed 11/30 and he started chemo 1/5/22. We blamed the holidays and doctors being on vacation for having to wait 5 weeks. I know when you hear the word cancer you think everything should be done immediately and unfortunately the medical world ‘s time frame is different. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer they said I could take several months to decide on treatments. I don’t think pancreatic cancer patients have that luxury though. It seems far too aggressive to me. Where do you live?

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My husband is doing gemcitibine/ abraxane and he has no appetite at all. I try to get 1 custom protein shake down him daily. It has about 30 grams of protein. He won’t drink any of the ready made protein shakes. He did drink some chicken broth one day. Doesn’t even eat saltines any more. Occasionally, I can get him to eat a yogurt or some “protein “ pudding. Otherwise he won’t eat any meat, no eggs, no cheese, no vegetables. He will drink a couple of glasses of milk daily and water. It’s very frustrating. Luckily, he was overweight to start with so he has some cushion. If anyone has some ideas , I would love to hear them.

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@lfitz

My husband is doing gemcitibine/ abraxane and he has no appetite at all. I try to get 1 custom protein shake down him daily. It has about 30 grams of protein. He won’t drink any of the ready made protein shakes. He did drink some chicken broth one day. Doesn’t even eat saltines any more. Occasionally, I can get him to eat a yogurt or some “protein “ pudding. Otherwise he won’t eat any meat, no eggs, no cheese, no vegetables. He will drink a couple of glasses of milk daily and water. It’s very frustrating. Luckily, he was overweight to start with so he has some cushion. If anyone has some ideas , I would love to hear them.

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Replace regular milk with Fairlife super-filtered milk (or other similar milks) which has 2x the protein per serving as regular milk. At least he'll get more protein that way. Does he like bacon or sausages? My wife wouldn't touch those fatty breakfast meats but in order to get more protein into her breakfast she'd get a piece of turkey bacon or chicken sausage. That's 7 more gms of protein without eating a huge volume of food. Vegetarians supplement protein in various ways, one of them is Bragg's Nutritional yeast. It's 5gms protein per tablespoon. I hide a tablespoon or two in my wife's mashed potatoes or cereal, food that normally don't offer much protein. Your oncologist should be able to refer you to an Oncology dietician or nutritionist. Don't delay. Excess weight can disappear fast when you're battling pancan.

Good luck.

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In reply to @chiwivalencia "Is this normal?" + (show)
@chiwivalencia

Is this normal?

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Obviously it depends a lot on where you are and the level of care available in your area. If he was prescribed starting chemo, every day counts. My wife was diagnosed the 3rd week of July 2019 had her port implanted the following Tuesday and chemo started Wednesday.

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@beachdog

Replace regular milk with Fairlife super-filtered milk (or other similar milks) which has 2x the protein per serving as regular milk. At least he'll get more protein that way. Does he like bacon or sausages? My wife wouldn't touch those fatty breakfast meats but in order to get more protein into her breakfast she'd get a piece of turkey bacon or chicken sausage. That's 7 more gms of protein without eating a huge volume of food. Vegetarians supplement protein in various ways, one of them is Bragg's Nutritional yeast. It's 5gms protein per tablespoon. I hide a tablespoon or two in my wife's mashed potatoes or cereal, food that normally don't offer much protein. Your oncologist should be able to refer you to an Oncology dietician or nutritionist. Don't delay. Excess weight can disappear fast when you're battling pancan.

Good luck.

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We have talked to a dietitian almost weekly but while he’s agreeable to try things at her suggestion , he refuses to try things at home. He only lost 4 pounds in the last 2 weeks so his weight loss has slowed down. He used to love bacon and sausage, but not now. One day he will eat something and the next day he won’t. Is the fair life the protein drink they sell at Costco? Or is it actually milk? He’s really fussy about milk too. Only likes Costco milk. 🙄

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@lfitz

We have talked to a dietitian almost weekly but while he’s agreeable to try things at her suggestion , he refuses to try things at home. He only lost 4 pounds in the last 2 weeks so his weight loss has slowed down. He used to love bacon and sausage, but not now. One day he will eat something and the next day he won’t. Is the fair life the protein drink they sell at Costco? Or is it actually milk? He’s really fussy about milk too. Only likes Costco milk. 🙄

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Does that yeast have a flavor? I might try it. I tried to put protein powder in oatmeal but he wouldn’t eat it.

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In reply to @chiwivalencia "Is this normal?" + (show)
@chiwivalencia

Is this normal?

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That seems like a long wait to begin chemo if no surgery has taken place and time required for healing. For pancreatic cancer, I followed the advice of going to a primary level academic affiliated medical center that was an NCI designated Center of Excellence in Cancer Treatment. It also had a pancreas center with surgical oncologists that did over 100 Whipple procedures a year and oncologists who were pancreatic specialists.

There was no way I was going to be treated for pancreatic cancer at one of two local medical centers.They had no pancreas program nor the expertise and high volume of patients. I got myself on the train to NYC got a 4’20” round trip where I had my surgery and all of my chemo and scans. For my clinical trial I traveled an even longer round trip when I did it by train. This was too important to consider going to local hospitals. The travel was nothing when considering where I went for treatment of stage IV disease saved my life and now a 10 year survivor.

If you are unhappy with the lack of treatment and no sense of urgency, contact the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCan.org). The Patient Central group of case managers can provide names of experienced oncologists and medical centers with pancreas programs by State and region. Call 877.272.6226, M-F, 7:00am-5:00pm PT. You should not feel obligated to stay at the first location if they are not prioritizing one’s care nor should you be intimidated to seek additional opinions.

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@chiwivalencia have your asked the oncologist for pain meds? Prior to meeting my oncologist my primary care physician prescribed pain meds then one I met the oncologist she wanted full control of all my meds. Hopefully once chemo starts the pain with subside. Lots of good ideas on this thread on how to get more protein into the diet.

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@lfitz
Costco does sell a Fairlife protein drink which is actually pretty good if you can find a good flavor but that's a traditional sports protein type shake, not milk. Fairlife ultra filtered milk is sold in most larger supermarkets. It's real milk in full, 2% and 1%.

The Bragg's Nutritional yeast is described as having a nutty flavor, some call it cheesy, to me it has a bakery bread note. We use lots of it in baked potatoes.

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@beachdog

@lfitz
Costco does sell a Fairlife protein drink which is actually pretty good if you can find a good flavor but that's a traditional sports protein type shake, not milk. Fairlife ultra filtered milk is sold in most larger supermarkets. It's real milk in full, 2% and 1%.

The Bragg's Nutritional yeast is described as having a nutty flavor, some call it cheesy, to me it has a bakery bread note. We use lots of it in baked potatoes.

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Thank you. I will check it out

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