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How to eat while undergoing chemo

I am under Aggressive IVIG chemoTreatment 5hr a day, 5 straight days, once a Month.

Treatment is .......
I find it impossible to stand long enough to cook a meal.. tv dinners are 'out.

PLEASE does someone have Ideas??

I live alone which makes this more hard...


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  1. Welcome, first time poster. However, I wonder why your dilemma was posted here and to this topic.
    Please consult with your hospital social worker about at home meal delivery. There are also much more nutritious pre-made options than the partitioned aluminum tray offerings of eons ago.

    1. Try reading these threads for some suggestions. There are many Chowhounds who have/had similar questions and concerns.


      I hope they are helpful.

      1 Reply
      1. re: viperlush

        Yay - you dug up the Chemohounding thread - it was the first thing that came to mind.'

        ChefPaulo, it might not be a weekly or even a monthly question, but I can completely understand how an ailing hound would *need* to cook -- both for the body AND the soul.

        Lovebeing, maybe a slow cooker or pressure cooker would take care of some of the process for you, as would a chair/stool that you can sit on to prep so it wouldn't be so tiring, while still allowing you to cook and nourish yourself mentally and physically.

        ....healing thoughts and prayers for you and guidance and wisdom for your medical team.

      2. viperlush has given some good links, but my first thought was crockpot. The preparation needed is minimal (something like beef stew, or soup) or the items can be prepped (carefully!) while sitting down. It does all the cooking for you.

        Good luck to you with your chemo treatment - sending you positive, healing thoughts.

        3 Replies
        1. re: LindaWhit

          and a big crockpot can be used on days you have a lot of spoons to freeze individual servings so you can just reheat on the days you're running low.

          (the spoon reference comes from this: http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/wpr... -- written about lupus, but I've been told it's pretty close to the mark for other long-term illnesses, too


          Hope you always have an extra spoon.

          1. re: sunshine842

            AMAZING, sunshine. I've never thought of it the way the writer has to, and it makes complete sense. May we (and the original poster) ALWAYS have an extra spoon.

            1. re: LindaWhit

              It was sent to me by a friend who has been battling lupus for years -- it really opened my eyes as to what her everyday life is like.

              Glad you enjoyed it.

        2. I can relate, having gone through a bad patch a couple of years ago. "Meals" may not be possible, even if you felt up to cooking. I lived on Dark Chocolate Ensure and soupy oatmeal that I would prepare in a big pot, when I felt like it. Staying hydrated is important too. Chefpaulo is right, you need help. Tell your oncologist just what you told us and ask for his advice.

          I found this topic helpful and entertaining. Chowhound got me through a lot of grim days. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7443...

          I'll be thinking of you. You have my best wishes for better days to come. Pat

          1 Reply
          1. re: Pat Hammond

            Pat, to Hear from you, a Hero who has traveled this way, I feel it! And I am so Touched...

            It Gives me a
            New:Hope!!! Angels come in my life from various directions and thanks for your Prayers, I Need a lot of those love you guys -ashanti

          2. I pray your chemo treatments will go as smoothly as possible and be completely successful.

            I used to work in oncology, so a couple of ideas:

            1. If you're in the U.S., call the American Cancer Society--they have a couple of excellent booklets on dietary issues and cancer treatment. These cover not only increased nutritional needs, but also potential taste changes and other ideas, including cooking ahead on those days/weeks between treatments. If you're out of the U.S., see if your local area has such a resource.
            2. Ask your M.D. for a referral to a registered dietician (that's also a U.S. term, so could be different elsewhere). He/she can give you tailored information to be sure you're getting adequate and balanced nutrition, which you'll need during your treatment.
            3. If you're part of a faith group (or even if you're not), ask if they have volunteers who help out in these situations--many do.
            4. Again, U.S. idea, but a "Meals on Wheels" program may be available--small price for home-delivered hot meals.
            Best wishes for a full recovery.

            1. My best wishes to you during this difficult time!

              When my mom was going thru chemo I found what helped her eat was very small bites of things. Never huge plates/bowls of anything. A quarter of sandwich, a small cup of soup, a half piece of toast.

              I got her a one of those single/smaller crock pots and on days when she couldn't bring herself to do anything else she would open a can of soup, pour it in and leave it on all day, taking small amounts as she could.

              I agree that you should talk to your hospital about meals-on-wheels service. Call your local grocery and see about meal delivery options.

              Do you have friends or children in the area? Are you part of a church? a book club? do you volunteer anywhere? http://www.mealtrain.com is a wonderful website that helps people come together and provide meals for those who need them. Don't be afraid to tell people you need help!

              Lastly is that believe it or not we would watch cooking shows together and it seemed to spark her appetite. Often I would be thrilled to hear she ordered some pot stickers or pizza because she saw it being made.

              1 Reply
              1. re: foodieX2

                <I got her a one of those single/smaller crock pots and on days when she couldn't bring herself to do anything else she would open a can of soup, pour it in and leave it on all day, taking small amounts as she could.>

                Seriously, I'm blinking is disbelief at myself that I've never thought of this modality for ill patients. We do something similar at times at home, and in the breakroom at work. Fabulous and smart idea!

              2. I used a rented power chair for a month after my foot surgery. It allowed me to do many kitchen chores sitting down, and it made transporting ingredients/bowls/pots possible (unlike when using crutches). Best of luck!

                1. I was intermittently alone while going through chemo. I could eat cheese pizza. I used to order a large one and keep slices in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven if I got hungry. Some days that was a main meal

                  I kept Kozy Shack rice pudding and tapioca pudding in the refrigerator.
                  Cans of chicken noodle and chicken rice soups.
                  Saltine crackers.
                  Soft scrambled eggs, toast and milk tea.
                  Sometimes just low sodium Progresso chicken broth heated with slices of fresh ginger.
                  Strawberry jello with banana slices molded in it.

                  I couldn't handle acidic or raw foods or anything with much spice, and to this day (4 years later) I cannot tolerate anything smokey flavored, even paprika sprinkled on coleslaw.

                  Best wishes to you. One foot in front of the other. Slog through it, do what the doctors recommend, don't go online and read any horror stories. Believe in yourself, be kind to yourself. Be strong.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: nlgardener

                    I Needed TO HEAR WHAT YOU WrOTe, WOW!!!!!!!!

                  2. Premake several meals and either freeze or refrigerate to microwave for use before your chemo each month.
                    Talk with your Dr. about watching your zinc levels, a decline in zinc can change or remove taste from food. they can suppliment you while you are getting chemo to off set this.
                    Where is your primary site? Mine was a challenge as it was stage IV squamous cell of the head and neck, which made it hard to swallow.
                    I actulally found that a lot of Japanese dishes were easier to eat while undergoing radiation and chemo. A lot of udon and soba, brown rice, soups and porrages with fresh vegs worked well for me quick to fix and gave me enough protien and fiber.
                    Praying that You get the same good news on the other side of the treatment that I did.

                    1 Reply
                    1. LB, I offer sincerest apologies if I offered a curt response to your initial post but the topic heading for your question was perplexing.
                      Again, please consult with the hospital social work staff on the possibility of at-home meal delivery. You may feel up to making a one-pot meal but also need to keep your nutritional homeostasis in check considering the toll that chemo may be taking on your amino/vitamin/mineral balance. On this basis, I refrain from making any recipe recommendations and prefer that a registered dietician take over who has access to your records and can advise on what you will need to be replenishing the most.
                      Warmest wishes to good health and good eating to you.

                      1 Reply