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Putting on Weight

Posted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:08 pm
by HelenF
I am new to this, so like many others please bear with me.

My Dad (71) was diagnosed with PC with secondaries in his liver at the end of July. He is about to start Chemo next week. I wanted to know if anyone had any tips for putting on weight whilst not getting constipated, this seems to be our main issue at the moment.

If we give him too much stodge he gets constipated and has to resort back to Movicol laxatives, but then we give him foods with fibre and he is going to the toilet too much.
He doesnt like the Ensure drinks and have tried lots of flavours. We are using Complan in his milk and anything else we can get it in. The macmillam dietician came last week, she was ok but was very generalised in her information i.e. not specific for pc. She has arranged a prescription for ProCal and Maxijule which we are going to try today. But I wanted to know whether anyone else had ideas.

I have been reading this forum for quite a while and my heart goes out to all of you. PC is definitely underfunded and lacks awareness. I too have had to be really pushy to get hospital appointments because it is certainly the case if you dont ask you dont get.

Thanks for your help

Re: Putting on Weight

Posted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:49 pm
by endee
Hi Helen

I think the important thing is to let your dad eat what he wants, when he wants. Small and often is better than trying to eat a lot in one sitting!

Is he taking Creon? If not then it might be worth speaking with Gp about this as it will help him digest the food, therefore getting more benefit from what he is eating.

I hope this is of some help and I am sure that others will also be able to give advise.


Re: Putting on Weight

Posted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 9:29 pm
by HelenF
Thanks Endee

I have heard about Creon but he hasnt been prescribed this yet. I read that there were some unpleasant side effect, I know there is with most things but....

Anyway thanks for your reply, we are doing our best and making sure he gets what he fancies. His diagnosis came out of the blue. He had been suffering with a bad back that progressively got more painful. Then he had a CT Scan and the worst thing ever showed up. He is still getting over the shock and is understandibly feeling very down.

Thanks for your help

Re: Putting on Weight

Posted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 9:42 pm
by CFF
Hi Helen,

Sorry to hear about your dad. Similarly my dad is 76 and looks like early stage mets in his lungs - he's in hospital for a short spell at the moment to try and resolve some pain issues in his back.

the 'putting on weight' issue has been something we've grappled with since he was first diagnosed in late 2009. The Creon has definitely helped digestion. He has struggled with big meals regardless so agree with Endee that 'little and often' is more helpful. He has had the ensure but struggles as they are horrible (I've tried them and agree).

Our strategy has to feed him whatever he fancies. He really has a thing for calves liver at the moment we can't find any anywhere! Our other strategy is to pack as many calories into small things as possible. I make a Vichysoisse soup - basically leek, bacon and potato soup whizzed up with lots of whole milk and cream. But whatever your dad fancies will be ok - the weight can be a bit up and down. It's just important to seek advice if he's going to the toilet lots or not enough. And this will change too depending on stages of chemo and his recovery afterwards.

It is a worry but think the weight loss is a bit inevitable. Best to focus on maintaining weight. Let us know how he progresses


Re: Putting on Weight

Posted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:23 pm
by lynbo
Well, like others have said, little and often, when my Andy had the same eating problems, I gave him mash potato with loads of extra butter, and I made full fat milk up with 3 scoops of powdered milk in too, so it was fortified, we bought the small custard pots, ambrosia ones, they are easily digested.
Hope this helps, also Andy had this liquid called co danthramer, it helped with constipation better than movicol sachets which just gave him griping pains.
I hope some if this helps xxxxx

Re: Putting on Weight

Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 4:46 pm
by HelenF
Hi Everyone,

I cant tell you how re-assuring it is to read your responses; we are on the right track and it is such a relief to know we are doing kind of the right thing but as everyone eludes to its a juggling act.

My Dad is going in for his bloods tomorrow with a view to stating Chemo Monday - fingers, toes and everything else crossed.

I am going to ask about co danthramer and creon on Friday when we see his palliative care Doctor. Thanks for all your advice and CFF hope your Dad is progressing

Thanks so much everyone

Re: Putting on Weight

Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:45 pm
by louiepc
Hi Helen

Sorry to hear about your Dad. My mum who is 68 was recently diagnosed with PC, she lost a total of 6 stone in 18 months, it is very worrying I know. Mum has creon, and it helps with the runs, make things a bit more "normal", she takes this with every meal and also with snacks.

She cannot eat a great deal now, she has a small breakfast, then an early tea, which she splits in half and have the rest for supper. Luckily, in a strange way, my Dad has had a heart scare, so they have both changed their diet - for the better, healthy fruit, veg, fish and meat meals, no rubbish.

I also read on the internet - not sure how true it is, but its worth noting, apparently anything sugary is not good, the cancer thrives on it. like i said not sure if this is just a scaremongering tactic or the real deal.

Mum started her chemo last Fri, she's on gemcitabain, she felt very naucous the first 24/36 hours, and extremely tired, she literally slept most of the weekend, but hopefully that is something they can work around and just get used to mum not being up to much for 2 days.

Goodluck to your Dad and you and your family, hope he manages to get chemo.

louie xx

Re: Putting on Weight

Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:43 am
by dorabcoelho
Hi there,
I know what you have been through and hope you and your familly stay strong.
Your dad won't feel like eat too much or anything. Sometimes you will realise that things he used to love eating it is just not so good as it used to be, but that is just part os the process of this sad disease.
My mum had creon, and also this food complement esure and others but mum could stand them too.
Graviola and pine fruit,boille sweet potato, manioc they are filling , my mum used to like it.
Hope i could help in some way.
I will pray for you and familly.


Re: Putting on Weight

Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:30 am
by HelenF
Thanks everyone for your help and advice.

My Dad has now been presribed creon and this is helping the indigestion or full up feeling as he describes it.

He has had 2 dollops of Chemo, I forget the technical term. The first one seemed ok, the second one he had to have 2 days later as he had picked up an infection in his bile duct. I was so upset as we had taken his temperature everyday and everything was normal. Anyway they admitted him straight away and he spent 2 days in hospital on an antibiotic drip, after which they then gave him his chemo. He is back at home really tired alot more tired than the first time and with so many new drugs its frightening. I would love to tell you he is a lot better but live all of you it is very much one day at a time.

Be back to you all later with more questions!!! - Thanks