One of the most frustrating aspects of any kind of cancer treatment, including chemo and radiation for mesothelioma or another asbestos-related cancer, is the fact that nausea is a common side effect.
When you’re struggling to stay as well as possible, you need good nutrition. That can be difficult to manage when you’re not even hungry. Here are some tips that can help:
Drink more water
You’ve probably heard this advice a lot, but you may not have been told that a lack of fluids can actually make your nausea worse. Dehydration can both cause and aggravate nausea and make it harder to eat. The lack of fluids can also cause or increase problems with constipation, which also decreases your appetite.
Try flavored liquids
If you’re having trouble getting enough fluids in because even water doesn’t taste right to you, try adding something tart to your drink (lemon or lime juice is easiest). Clear, flat soft drinks are another good option (just remember to open the bottle and let the soda sit for a while so that the carbonation doesn’t irritate your GI tract).
Get a medication consult
Some of your medications may be making it harder to eat – or some combo of your medications may be working against you. There are also anti-nausea drugs that can safely be taken at home to manage your symptoms, like olanzapine and promethazine. Because everybody reacts differently to chemo and other cancer medications, your doctor may not realize you’re having such a serious problem until you bring it up.
Try liquid supplements
Sometimes solid foods are more problematic than liquids, but there are many options available to you for replacement meals. Try instant breakfasts, smoothies you make yourself at home and keep products like Pedialyte and Ensure on hand for rough days.
Throw out the meal schedule
You may have always had breakfast at 6 a.m., lunch at noon and dinner by 6 p.m., but that can change. Right now, it’s better to eat whenever you’re hungry (and whatever you’re hungry for) than try to force yourself to keep a firm meal schedule.
The devastation a mesothelioma diagnosis can bring to someone’s life and family is hard to explain unless you’ve been there, but you may be entitled to compensation that can help you obtain some measure of financial security.