Welcome to OCF! Im very sorry your mother is struggling with her eating! Intake is a major problem for most of us here. Its a very good thing you have found our site to help you both with info and support. I suggest prior to starting whatever treatment she is going to do, you should have a long, open, honest discussion with her doc as well as seeking out a nutritionist or a speech pathologist (ask your moms doc) who may be able to help. Her doc should be fully aware of her eating issues currently and be able to take steps to help her to take in enough on a daily basis. This type of thing can quickly get out of hand and your mom could go thru some very difficult days that could end up with her in the hospital for malnutrition and dehydration... and this is before any treatments! Please call her doc right away today!!!
With your mother starting treatments soon, Im going to assume this means she will be doing radiation treatments??? Has she had any surgeries or is that what shes waiting to begin? Since she's already struggling with her intake, she may find it easier if she drinks her calories with liquid nutritional drinks like ensure or boost? Radiation treatments are cumulative... they become more difficult as the treatments progress. What your mother struggles with now may seem like a walk in the park after doing a few weeks of rads which will negatively impact her ability to swallow, taste, eat and drink.
To be perfectly honest, patients who can not take in enough on a daily basis are prime candidates for feeding tubes. I was horrified when I was first told about needing one but after the initial shock wore off I realized it was just another temporary tool to help get me thru some rough weeks. Nobody likes or wants to depend on a feeding tube but patients who go into rads already having a very hard time with their intake will only increasingly struggle until there is no room for discussion and the feeding tube becomes an emergency surgery to ensure she can take in enough. Its all about the calories so make every swallow count!!! Prior to beginning rads, patients should be eating as much as possible especially all their favorite foods. Going into this with cravings only makes everything so much harder!!! As Gloria mentioned a nasal tube may be all she needs right now. Until you discuss everything with her doc at which point you ask what he recommends, its hard to guess what options will be given to your mom.
If you have read thru posts here, you probably have seem some of my nagging about intake posts. Intake is one of the biggest controllable issues most patients have a hard time with when going thru rads. Every single day oral cancer (OC) patients need to take in at the bare minimum 2500 calories and 48-64 oz of water. This is EVERY SINGLE DAY!!! Patients can not skimp one day promising to do better "tomorrow"
. This quickly turns into a vicious cycle of playing catch up which never happens and it just keeps going with significant weight lost along with losing muscle as well. That path often lands patients in the ER or being admitted to the hospital for dehydration... which is absolutely no fun at all. The doc can write a prescription for extra hydration fluids to be given a few times a week (usually done in the chemo lab). You will notice a big difference in how your mother feels after getting a couple bags of IV fluids. She will drag herself in and almost instantly feel like a new person thats fully hydrated and feels tremendously better walking out a couple hours later. If you notice your mothers weight is dropping where its visibly melting off her then she needs help from her doc, sooner rather than later. No matter if the patient weighs 150 or 500 lbs, doctors want their patient to have zero weight loss as thats a sure sign they're struggling with intake issues. When a patient can barely eat, getting to 2500 calories per day is very difficult but it can be accomplished and after a couple days of having a better intake your mom will feel better, more like herself. For patients who have radiation treatments starting soon they must turn their low daily calories and water intake around immediately so they can go into whatever treatment they're waiting for as strong as they can possibly be.
As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, Boost makes a very high calorie version of nutritional drink which brings 530 calories per box/can. You may have to ask at a pharmacy, if they dont have it in stock they can order it for you or it can be purchased thru Amazon too. For any Amazon purchases no matter how big or small please always try to go the the Amazon link thats on the right side of any OCF page. We get a small kickback percentage which helps our very small non-profit organization keep running.
Heres a list if easy to eat foods along with several other things that may help your mom. It was created to be a guide to help patients who are trying to relearn how to eat after going thru rads. The foods are less spicy and have a smoother texture which helps patients who have sensitive mouths. The chocolate peanut butter shakes are delicious and very high in calories Cachexia ---- muscle - weight loss during radsList of Easy to Eat Foods PS....
Here is a recipe for something I used to make and drink when I went thru treatments and recovery. The shake has anywhere from 1200-2000+ calories depending on how you make it. The list of foods above will help too, they mostly have a smoother texture and arent spicy which should be easy for most to tolerate.
(All measurements are estimates)Giant High Calorie Choc-Peanut Butter Milkshake3 or 4 cups chocolate ice cream (regular/full fat type)
2 tablespoons peanut butter (smooth type)
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1 or 2 cups whole milk (can substitute half and half to add even more calories)
1 scoop carnation instant breakfast
1 scoop high protein whey powder
(check with doc if this is ok)
Blend this extra long to make it very smooth and creamy so it goes down easier. If the shake is too thick, add more milk to thin it down to what works best for your own preferences. Ive also recently discovered powdered peanut butter which can be used instead of the usual big jar kind.Livestrong - losing weight with chemoLivestrong - Calorie Intake ImportanceDiet and Nutrition during treatments
Best wishes with everything!!!!