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Yummy foods while undergoing chemo

My sister will begin chemo treatment early next week -- We're offering all the support we can, but food seems to be the biggest help so far, since it gives my brother-in-law one less thing to worry about. My sister is an omnivore, but I'm not sure how her tastes will change as she undergoes treatment. I hear soups are always good - especially with rich broths. Are there any particular foods served hot that will be especially good for her? I looked up an old "Chemohounding" thread, but I'd love some more ideas. Thanks so much in advance.

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  1. Mashed potatoes are easily edible and digestible, comforting and can be calorie- and/or flavor- enriched in practically endless ways.

    Prayers for her swift recovery.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JenJeninCT

      Thanks so much Jen - appreciate it. Yes - mashed potatoes sound extremely good and comforting for her.

    2. Sra., My heart really goes out to you and to your family. I wish there was something that I could say or do. I'd like to ask one question before answering - if her immune system is compromised, there's a chance fresh fruits and veg are verboten - at least, some of them. If I know that, I can help better.
      The very best to you, my dear. I am so, so sorrry.
      Marci

      1 Reply
      1. re: mamachef

        Marci - thank you so, so much. I can't imagine what she'll be going through (it's very advanced, I'm afraid). She starts a very aggressive round early this week. I'll definitely keep in mind to cook any veggies that I make - just in case this 1st round starts to affect her immune system. I so hope not and I hope she has an appetite by the weekend.

        How are *you* doing these days? The very best to you as well. Just your input and warm words help a lot. XO

      2. Every persons reaction to chemo is different. You just have to see what she craves and what tastes good to her.

        I was never told not to eat fresh fruits or veggies during chemo.

        3 Replies
        1. re: rasputina

          Oh - you could eat fresh fruits and veggies - good to know - thank you, rasputina. If you don't mind me asking, what particular hot meals did you enjoy while you were in treatment? I'll be cooking for her, my brother-in-law and nephew, so I'll be making big amounts for them to eat and refrigerate/freeze for later.

          1. re: Sra. Swanky

            I remember craving salads and fresh foods. Sorry I can't think of any hot meals I craved.

          2. re: rasputina

            rasputina, it depends on the nature of the cancer. My son had leukemia and did not taste fresh fruits nor veg. for three and one half-years on his doctors' orders. It has to do with the degree of autoimunne supression, and some chemos. are specifically targeted to destroy the autoimmune system in the case of certain treatments.

          3. My mom is undergoing chemo and has really craved ginger, since it settles her stomach. I made her some chai mix and some plain green tea, both with copious amounts of candied ginger, and she drinks it in the morning instead of coffee. You generally can't have alcohol or a lot of caffeine, so tasty, soothing drinks are always good.

            2 Replies
            1. re: kathleen440

              My sister likes smoothies, so hopefully those will still taste good to her. Thanks so much. A very speedy recovery to your mom.

              1. re: Sra. Swanky

                Thanks a lot - she's doing quite well so far :)

            2. Big, warm, healing happy thoughts to your sister. The wisdom seems to be that everyone reacts differently. When I fed my friend through it, my home health & hospice nurse advisor reminded me to just try a variety of things and to not be offended if good food tasted bad. So we just cooked whatever he thought "might" taste good. Our friend didn't know till he tried it. For him, Italian Wedding Soup was a hit. Now, during radiation, he's into tortilla chips and salsa. Who knows? The important part is the trying and TLC and the calories. She's lucky to have you.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Vetter

                Thank you so much, Vetter. She and I love Giada's Italian wedding soup recipe! Great idea - Thanks. I'm going to try mixing beef and chicken broth this time to fortify it a little. Here's hoping she'll enjoy it. I was also thinking desserts may be a good idea if she's jonesing for sweet as well?

              2. Sorry to hear of your sister's diagnosis. If you want something nourishing, soothing on the stomach, but still "exotic", you could consider making Vietnamese Rice Porridge with Chicken (Chao Ga). It's the Vietnamese equivalent of chicken noodle soup. It's rice boiled in chicken broth that's infused with a knob of ginger. It's boiled until the rice kernels burst and soup becomes a porridge like consistency. You use fish sauce instead of salt. Chicken used to make the stock is shredded and added back. You can garnish with thin sliced scallions and cilantro and a squeeze of lime. It's filling but very easy on the stomach. And the ginger should help some with the nausea.

                Here's a good example of the recipe.
                http://jojokaya.hubpages.com/hub/Viet...

                2 Replies
                1. re: larkemon

                  The rice porridge is very similar to Chinese Congee. My mom has continued to enjoy this thick soup the entire time she's been in treatment for multiple myeloma. Her immune system is compromised by treatments, as well as by her disease. However, the only restriction I am aware of is NO green tea. Hopefully your sister will have had a visit with the nutritionist/dietician at the cancer center.
                  My mom's sense of smell is compromised by an earlier disorder, and her sense of taste is mostly gone. Her appetite is severely diminished. However, things she continues to want to eat include: nicely cooked white fish; canned peaches, pears or apricots; applesauce; yogurt; meatloaf; lemon tarts. Baked goods such as bread, muffins, cakes; and "dry" proteins (firm fish, pork, beef steaks) are particularly difficult to eat, as these items need saliva to masticate, and the meds cause dry-mouth.

                  1. re: KarenDW

                    Thank you lark & Karen. She might enjoy this soup -- sounds like she'd like the cilantro addition and the lime -- hopefully her love for citrus won't change with treatment. Karen - warm thoughts are with you and your mom.

                2. So Sra., I wanted to get back to you either way - fresh fruit/veg. or no.
                  One thing to consider is that your sister may have discomfort inside her mouth, and in that case things which worked for us were homemade applesauce, custard and puddings; softly scrambled eggs; creamed soups; and smoothies. All these sound like no-brainers, but homemade makes all the difference in the world. Something Mike really loved were soft flour tortillas around refried beans with melted cheese - sometimes too rich, sometimes not. A good well-cooked veg. minestrone or bean soup can work too. Grilled cheese on bread that's not too crunchy or buttery was a winner. Scalloped potatoes; loaded potato casserole. Chicken pot pie filling, with a soft biscuit. Softly-shredded long-cooked beef. Braised shredded turkey.
                  The best piece of advice I got came from mariacarmen, who told me to feed my boy small, small portions of the things he loved best. It was nonintimidating for him to face, and he could generally at least try it.
                  Sra., thanks so much for asking about me/us. Things will never be normal again, but they are getting better. And they will get better for you and yours.
                  I hope this finds you and that family of yours doing well....isn't the baby about 10 mos. old now?
                  Best,
                  Marci

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: mamachef

                    You're so welcome - you have been in my thoughts and thanks so much for sharing what Mike loved. Sounds like Michelle will find the very same things comforting and easier to try when her appetite lessens.

                    My little guys are doing great, thank you! My "big" boy is 3 and the baby is 10 months exactly - and is about to take his first steps! :o) Kids grow way too quickly, but I'm savoring every minute. :o)

                    Hugs,
                    Lauren

                    1. re: Sra. Swanky

                      I guess you aren't really a nun, then- sorry to interject, but I don' t think I've seen your posts before and having gone to Catholic school in the '60s, I just assumed...
                      I had a friend who went through chemo. She had always been weird about food anyway (and by that I mean really bizarre), and being alcoholic I suspect she behaved in a borderline anorexic fashion in order not to get fat from the alcohol. Shortly after she started chemo I had a long distance come-to-Jesus meeting with her about her diet, stressing the need for good nutrition and bla bla bla was what she was hearing, I'm sure. Her friend there told me that she took a sudden liking to brie and ate basically nothing but that for weeks and weeks and weeks. I know i'm making a short story long, and certainly don't condone the all-brie diet, but if she can, your sister shouldat least try lots of stuff, or you can run ideas by her to see if it sounds good. I have no idea how Kate seized upon the brie thing, the only other thing I'd ever heard of her craving was duck-liver pate when she lived in Anchorage.
                      Sending good healing thoughts in your direction.

                      1. re: EWSflash

                        Haha! No - I'm not really a nun - just have Kathy Najimy (who played a nun in "Sister Act") as my avatar because people say I look so much like her. I will be sure to encourage my sis to try lots of things and I'll try to make her whatever she seems to be in the mood for. Thanks for your good thoughts. She starts treatment tomorrow.

                        1. re: Sra. Swanky

                          :-) You may want to give brie a try, high in calories. But I have no idea if there's a probiotic aspect to it. Hopefully there is. Best of luck to you and yours

                      2. re: Sra. Swanky

                        Just checking in - things okay?
                        Marci
                        ps - hugs to all of you

                        1. re: mamachef

                          Hi Marci -- you're such a doll. She had her first round yesterday. Hopefully, the anti-nausea meds will help her. The doc thinks she may be out of commission this weekend, which means she'll miss Easter. :o( We're wrapping up the pizza rustica, veal pie, and all the other goodies (Italian Easter breakfast - a family favorite) so she can enjoy them when her appetite returns. Thanks so much for checking in. Hugs right back. XXOOO

                          1. re: Sra. Swanky

                            You might want to make 2 baskets if the food can freeze. One for when she rebounds this round, and one for after she is all done if she gets some taste issues.

                            I wish her well. Remember to keep pounding in the hydration message.

                            1. re: ocshooter

                              Thanks, oc. Yes - this stuff is very freezable. I so appreciate the advice - I have been stressing hydration over and over with her and my brother-in-law. Thanks so much. Wishing you the best. :o)

                    2. I am currently preparing and organizing meals for a dear friend undergoing chemo for a recurrence of cancer. I will echo some of Mamachef's observations, particularly about fruits and veggies (strictly verboten due to compromised immune system) and mouth sensitivity. She has mucousitis, caused by some types of chemo...makes eating anything extremely painful. It often also affects the entire diestive tract. For a while, even water was painful to have in her mouth. :-(

                      For my friend, this time around it seems that creamy soups and mild, unspicy comfort foods are what works best. Favorites have been clam chowder, potato soup, cheesy broccoli soup, beef stroganoff, Mac n cheese, twiced baked potatoes, and pretty much any other thing potato or pasta with a mild sauce. The first time she had chemo, she was able to and interested in eating pretty much anything she had prior to chemo so this is a very different experience. At that time, her doctor encouraged balanced meals...now the goal is to get calories in without a lot of concern about all the food groups. I do try to get some protein into her meals.

                      One additional thought. My friend is a very nurturing mom and wife and it pains her to not be able to take care of her husband and son by cooking for them. Sadly, neither one is very adept in the kitchen. I have found that it comforts her greatly to know they are eating well so I try to bring food that will take care of them as well, ie, a meal like baked chicken, some kind of pasta, salad, dessert. I know that she will probably just eat the pasta and be happy with that but she likes knowing they are eating well.

                      Healing thoughts and prayers to your sister. She is blessed to have your wonderful caring support. Julie

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jlhinwa

                        Thank you, Julie. Your friend is very blessed to have you as well. I'm in the same boat as you, since I'll be making meals for my sister, my brother-in-law and my nephew. All your friend's favorites sound great. I've got a huge list now - thanks again! My best to her and wishing her healing thoughts and prayers as well.

                      2. Something else to consider (and I think may have been touched upon up-thread?) is portion size.
                        Large quantities of anything are overwhelming for my mom to receive. She becomes quite anxious when she perceives that food is being wasted, and considers it her "fault" because her appetite is so low. If possible, try to take over small packages of food, i.e., eight 1-cup size containers rather than one 2-quart. The smaller containers will fit more easily into the freezer, and will provide much-needed variety when your sister want it. Also, with smaller portion containers, her family can choose to eat something else, while she has something she likes.

                        1. My guess is that she is going to have to feel her way through her diet as chemo progresses. I had a 3 drug combo and by about round 2, all stachy carbs were unpalatable. So any type of wheat flour, potatoes or rice ended up being absolutely disgusting. Which really sucked, because I love those things. So when I went out for a burger, I needed to get a lettuce wrap instead of a bun and side salad instead of french fries. I discovered the cornbread was not too bad, and some 'crackers' made of beans that I had at an Indian restaurant were also really nice. With both of these, it was great to find bread-like substance.

                          What did end up working best for me as chemo progressed and more taste issues would come into play were bold, strong citrus and vinegar flavors. So proteins with a strong citrus glaze or salads and veggies with a nice balsamic vinegar were great.

                          The chemo also did a number on my mouth for a couple of days each round, giving me lesions and ulcers in my mouth that pretty much prevented me from taking in any solid food. Make sure she talks to her oncologist to see if this is a side effect of her drugs. If this is the case, make sure she has protein shakes like Ensure on hand. She may want them anyway if her appetite goes away. I would end up losing 5-10 pounds over a 3-4 day period once every round because eating was just so uncomfortable. As an option to Ensure, there is a product called Orgain which is similar, but organic and a little thinner, so it is more like a drink than a shake. Plus they have a Mocha flavor (no caffeine though), which was my favorite. She may need to check with her local health food store, as none of the supermarkets or big chains carry in in my area. The website is http://www.drinkorgain.com. It has 255 calories per container, about the same as Ensure regular. Though it is not any source of nutrition, Otter Pops were also good when my mouth was in bad shape (the worst of it would last 2+ days), they are cold, self contained, and are a source of empty calories. Trust me, when you are living on 300-500 calories a day, empty calories count too.

                          In addition to the protein shakes, smooth soups were good. creme of tomato, that kind of stuff. I love Vietnamese food, and one of the things that I ended up getting was Pho broth with the veggies and meat, no rice noodles (they tasted disgusting because of the chemo). I would stop by my local Pho place and get a large bowl with no noodles. I added a lot of the Hosin and veggies, and a touch of spice and it was excellent.

                          Spice... For me, I lost my ability to eat spicy foods, fairly quickly. I used to put hot sauce on every bite when we went to Chipotle for lunch, but after chemo, the stuff they used to in the cooking process was almost too hot for me.

                          My oncologist never warned me off of any fruits or veggies, so I have no idea how that would clash with the immune system. But then, my immune system was able to bounce back quickly after each round.

                          A couple of general things she should know, and just hearing it from a doctor may not make it sink in. Drink tons of water. If you are not getting up every 2 hours overnight to pee, you are not drinking enough. Dehydration is your biggest enemy. Dehydration will lead to issues that can easily spiral down and land her in the hospital. My chemo clinic had an open door policy to come in for fluids and time. I did not take enough advantage out of it because I was a tough guy, but when I needed really it, I got it. I ended up fainting in my shower one morning because I was lightheaded from dehydration. Make sure she stays on top of diarrhea. I would take 1/2 doses of anti-diarrhea meds as a prophylactic. Diarrhea is uncomfortable and easily leads to dehydration, which is your worst enemy.

                          For whatever reason, I never got nauseous during my 3 rounds. Twice in the 3rd round I had a moment of reflux, but it was just a moment and I recovered as fast as it came. Part of my 'luck' was the helper meds I received. When they did the infusions, they pumped me with anti-nausea drugs, so that took care of the start, but I was given 2 prescription anti-nausea pills which I carried with me at all times. They worked through different mechanisms, so I could double up and take both, but I could only take a pill from each once every 4 hours. Any time I had a tiny stomach rumbling, I popped a pill. I don''t care if it was gas, hunger or unease, I was taking a pill. In addition to just making you feel terrible, nausea will rob you o the calories you need to stay strong, and more importantly, will dehydrate you, which is your #1 enemy.

                          I have no idea how many rounds she is getting, but I would highly recommend a port-a-cath. It is a little implanted device in the upper chest that has a feed line to your circulatory system. An RN then can use it for IVs and blood draws (technicians can access them by the rules). I never had one needle in my arm during chemo because of the port.

                          One last thing, and the treatment duration and follow up are relevant (which I know nothing about), but encourage her to eat whatever and as much as she can. This is not the time to worry about your weight. I lost about 20 pounds during chemo and another 40+ during subsequent radiation. I dropped 6-7 inches on my waist. Sure, I am glad I lost some of the weight, the 220+ I was carrying around was too much, but I have not been 160 since high school, almost 30 years ago. I needed to eat more, and I think the Orgain/Ensure could have helped more throughout chemo, but I did not drink as many as I should have. She has a free pass to eat whatever she wants as long as she can get it down. Ice cream, cake, candy... Chemo is going to put her on a diet just because of the nature of the drug, now is not the time to exercise self discipline in restricting what she eats if she is able to eat it.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: ocshooter

                            Wow, ocshooter - I so appreciate this --and hope you're on the mend now. You've been through quite an ordeal. I'm very concerned about the rough road ahead for her.Sounds like you're quite a fighter...I pray that my sister has your tenacity. I will make sure to remind her to always hydrate and eat whatever she likes when the mood strikes her. Thanks again so much.

                            1. re: Sra. Swanky

                              I was expecting chemo to suck and radiation to be fairly simple. Don't get me wrong, chemo sucked, but it really was not that bad. Radiation kicked my but left and right. Now, I did get it in the neck, so there are side effects (mostly temporary) like a complete loss of my taste buds (slowly coming back now), the worst sore throat of my life (healed now) and the loss of my ability to produce saliva (slowly coming back, but too slow for me).

                              They have so many adjunctive medications these days that chemo is not what it once was, but I only did have to go through 3 rounds. The drug mix I was on is a nasty combo, you used to be hospitalized for the protocol, but things have changed. If it is anything like my treatment, she should be getting oral steroids the day before and after treatment, plus another big dose of steroids at the chemo clinic. She should get a couple of weeks to rest between treatments, so she can regain her strength. One day during each round of chemo, I went and played golf. Other than the time for treatment and Dr. visits, I worked the whole time I was getting chemo. After a few weeks of radiation, I was so wiped out that I had to go back to bed to take a nap after I showered in the morning.

                              I am on the mend and am one of the very lucky ones for whom cancer may be curable and not just driven into remission. I wish you and especially your sister the best. My advice is to do whatever she needs to do in order to finish her treatment. Find God, curse him, read, sleep, paint, eat, be grumpy, be overly optimistic, whatever gets you through the next doctor's appointment. There is no one way to be. For you, remember that your sister has cancer, but is not defined by it. She is going to be the same person she always was, with some changes. Treat her as a whole person, not as a patient.

                                1. re: ocshooter

                                  +1 with EWS - you absolutely rock! Will do, oc. Thank you and Godspeed.

                            2. My Mom just got done 12 chemo treatments for non-hodgsons lymphoma. She had a LOT of nausea not from the chemo per se, but from the lymphomas pressing on her stomach. Towards the end she also got nausea from the chemo itself. She's still only able to eat very small quantities of food but its getting better slowly as the tumors shrink. One thing we noticed quickly was her sense of taste went. She didn't have any of the troubles with her mouth like some people do but nothing tasted good. For awhile we were fighting the double battle of nothing tasted good AND she didn't want to eat anything because having more then a few bites of anything in her stomach made her uncomfortable and would often make her vomit.

                              Right now she can eat pretty much whatever she wants but she still finds food bland. Before all this the kind of cooking I do which leans towards ethnic fusion and has lots of chiles and garlic was a bit much for her. Not anymore. I've helped her enhance her own cooking by suggesting she use more spice blends, lots of soy sauce and Lea & Perrins to enhance the flavor and its helped some. My dad won't eat anything with garlic in it, he can't actually. So Mom typically doesn't eat any garlic either. This past week I gave her a leftover slice of heavily garliced white pizza with italian sausage on it, and some leftover roasted beef I'd made that was marinated in a ton of garlic, mustard, and black pepper. She loved all of it. She's even eating things with jalepenos in them now (we just don't tell her).

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Ariadanz

                                So happy to hear both her health and love for food returned. Thank you - small quantities of what they like to eat seem to be key then. Best wishes to your Mom - hope she continues to enjoy those incognito jalapeños!

                                1. re: Sra. Swanky

                                  How did she do, Sra? You were both on my mind.

                                  1. re: mamachef

                                    Hi, mamachef - you are the sweetest. She didn't start her treatment on Tuesday. She decided to go with a different oncologist, and *hopefully* treatment will immediately follow tomorrow's appointment - she's been delaying it for far too long. I pray as much for her emotional strength as I do for her health. Thank you for checking up on us. :o)

                              2. Hi Sra. Best of luck to your sister, I wish her and easy and successful treatment.

                                My mother was diagnosed with a brain cancer the end of July 2011, and has been on various chemos (and a month of radiation) since September. This type of cancer means chemo for as long as it keeps the tumors at bay, or you can no longer physically take it - so, essentially, for the rest of her life. Her weight loss, nausea and loss of appetite has been our biggest issue. Her tastes change frequently. On day it's almonds, the next it's only the broccoli cheddar soup at Panera. Some days it is nothing at all and only club soda by the quart keeps her nausea at bay. So, as others have said, it is best to be flexible and prepared to change based on her cravings and needs.

                                However, here is one thing we did learn. The worst thing my parents did was get out of the habit of sitting together at the table for meals every day. My mom was always the cook - my dad can barely fry an egg. So, with her sleeping nearly 20 hrs. a day at some points (radiation really took it out of her), dad would snack intermittently or eat a sandwich in front of the tv after asking if she wanted anything - and she always said no. Having visitors at meal times, or being invited to another person's home, or out to dinner at a restaurant really helps her. When she is sitting up with others eating around her, she is much more likely to eat an adequate amount. Just something to keep in mind.

                                Best wishes to all of you at this time.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: centralpadiner

                                  Thank you very much, central. Those are good points. She's never been game for many visitors - but I see how that would facilitate eating. I think sitting together at mealtimes would benefit my nephew as well (he's 12) - his world has definitely been rocked by his mom's diagnosis -- keeping routines will be very beneficial to him. Will be sure to pass this great tip along.

                                  Best wishes and a very successful treatment to your mom as well. :o)

                                  Prayers and best wishes to you and your mom. Wishing her health & great success with her treatment as well.

                                2. My best wishes and prayers for your sister. Never gave much thought to this type of specific situation related to food. Hope she recovers quickly and returns to being able to return to chow hounding.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: cacruden

                                    Thank you, cacruden - I really appreciate it. Missing Easter was particularly hard for her -- and she asked us to wrap all her food faves up for her. (pizza rustica, Italian Easter breads, etc.) Here's hoping they'll taste just as good to her as they always did.

                                  2. Hi everyone, I don't have any food related content to add here but I was reading through this thread and it really did bring a tear to my eye. What a beautiful community of people.
                                    Sra. Swanky, I hope your sister is doing well.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: ladooShoppe

                                      Hi Iadoo - yes - I agree - they are all wonderful. The support from everyone means so much to me. I shared this thread with my parents and they were very touched as well. :o) Thanks so much. It's been a week since she started treatment. Physically she's been fairing pretty well. :o)

                                    2. I don't have any answers, but just wanted to wish God's blessings upon your sister.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                        Thank you so much -- I so appreciate that. :o)

                                      2. I hope that the chemo is going well.

                                        There seems to be some misconceptions about what is/is not allowed during chemo. It depends upon the type of chemo, and it also depends upon the person's condition.

                                        I think that most hospitals/doctors' offices that do chemo will give her a list of what she can and cannot do. If fresh fruits and vegetables are out completely for her chemo protocol, she will be instructed that this is so. If not, they are OK, but you probably want to be careful about how they are cleaned.

                                        Her blood will be tested periodically. If she becomes neutropenic (low white cells), she will be vulnerable to infection. At that time, she will be given instructions on precautions. That will most likely include no raw fruits and/or vegetables (and many other non-food related things).

                                        During my chemo, I could have raw fruit/vegetables except for when I was neutropenic (several times). Sushi was completely out, though (and the first thing I ate after chemo after my white cells recovered - the chemo nurses laughed at me).

                                        I ate some things that one would expect would be good for a chemo patient (bland things), but I also occasionally craved spicy things, so my advice on what to eat may not be appropriate. Perhaps ask her what she is in the mood for?

                                        You didn't mention if your sister had surgery. If so, foods that promote healing (enough protein, onions) are important.

                                        And, rinsing my mouth with salt water kept my mouth sores under control. There's stronger stuff available if that doesn't work.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Lori D

                                          This is really good to know, Lori - thank you. I'm learning as I go. She had an immune-boosting shot at the doc yesterday, and she meets with a nutritionist soon. So far - bland has been what she craves - pastas mostly - baked ziti is a big favorite. So far, she still has the green light on fresh fruits and vegetables.

                                          When she does have her surgery (mid-summer probably), I'll remind her to stick with lots of protein. Maybe a nice, juicy burger would be good? (if she's in the mood)

                                          Hope that you're on the mend and continuing to enjoy great sushi!

                                          1. re: Sra. Swanky

                                            I think a burger would be fine in terms of the chemo, although I must admit that I have gotten very picky about the sources of the ground meat that I eat (unrelated to cancer, but related to health).

                                            Meeting with a nutritionist is a very good idea. And sticking with the foods she is craving is a good strategy. If something like baked ziti is a favorite, you can vary that by adding meat and vegetables to give her variety within that dish (good for everyone's diet).

                                            I hope that she is participating in some kind of support group, either in person or online. There are groups for all forms of cancer at listserv.acor.org - I belong to the one for my cancer, and it has been very helpful. People on the listserv have more specific experience in the type of cancer and treatment, so they can give specific advice (although the "chowish" quality of the advice is most likely not as good as here).

                                            I'm almost at the 12 year mark from my last chemo, so I am doing well. Thanks for asking.

                                        2. Hey L: Just checking in. I know you have a lot of loving arms around you and so does your sister, but I wanted to remind you about the arms and shoulders here. Wanted to let you know you're both being thought of.
                                          Best Warmth and hugs,
                                          Marci

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: mamachef

                                            Marci -- I hope you can feel a big hug right back! Thank you so, so much. Loving arms and shoulders here is an understatement.

                                            Hope you're doing well. XXXXOOOOO

                                          2. When I was going through chemo my doctor told me to eat anything I wanted -- he said luckily mine wasn't super strong so raw stuff was okay. I did stay away from sushi though.

                                            I just appreciated having other people cook for me. Soups are great -- matzoh ball was nice and soft with chicken and noodles in the broth.

                                            I have to say that I lost no weight at all during chemo or radiation.

                                            I hope your sister does well and feels good.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Disneyfreak

                                              Thanks, Disneyfreak - love your name, by the way! I'll be making a big pot of Itaian wedding soup for her soon, so that should be good for her. Thanks again -- best wishes and feel good too!

                                            2. My thanks to all who have responded with your suggestions. I have forwarded this to a friend for possible help. How does a non-smoker get lung cancer in their early thirties? Working in a smoke free office.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                Cigarettes are the biggest, but not the only, culprit in cancer. Sad, but true. Sometimes stuff just happens.

                                                1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                  I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. Stay positive and as hopeful as you can - it's definitely helped my family and me deal with this. I'm very thankful to all the support from all who post - they are absolutely amazing people. Hope this helps your friend as much as it's helped me and my sis.

                                                2. Miso soup and kombu dashi was a great comfort to me during my fight. I'd use the Dashi with udon and soba. Soba is high in fiber which is a help with the digestive disruption caused by pain meds. cooked fresh veggies are also good in the soups.
                                                  Have your sister discuss zinc levels if she notices changes or remova offlavor from food. Her Drs can check it when she gets the other bloodwork done.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: nowwendi

                                                    Thank you, nowwendi - I don't think my sister has ever had miso soup, or dug into a bowl of udon or soba before. They're so fortifying and delicious too. She's doing much better now - she's one heck of a fighter, as I'm sure you are. This has turned into one of the most inspiring threads ever. Your spirit is simply awesome. Thank you so much!

                                                    1. re: Sra. Swanky

                                                      Sra., nearly a year later, how is your sister doing? My sis had heavy-duty chemo years and years ago; her prognosis was poor, even with the chemo, surgery and follow-up radiation. Now, a decade-plus later, she's doing great! Plus, following her day-long chemo infusions, she'd stop for a pepperoni pizza on her way home. Goes to show: situations vary, drugs vary, reactions vary, and miracles happen!

                                                      1. re: pine time

                                                        Hi Pine - I can't believe it's been almost a year! Thanks for asking - we're so grateful that she is doing really well and has responded well to all the meds. Her prognosis was rough as well (Stage 3) but she's a warrior like your sis is. :o) Glad to hear of another miracle as well! Best wishes to you and and your pepperoni pizza-loving sister! (a girl after my own heart!)

                                                  2. Egg custard, nutritious and it goes down easy. Portion it out in custard cups for 6 servings. Simple as can be to prepare. All the best to your sister. Pat

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Pat Hammond

                                                      Egg custard (and all kinds of puddings) always go over well with her. Thank you, Pat. :o)