Dietary issues pre surgery

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Dietary issues pre surgery

by rwasylyn on Sun May 06, 2012 07:12 PM

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Hello,

My mom recently got diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. We initially though she only had a few months but after the CT scan and endoscopic ultrasound it looks positive that she's a candidate for surgery. We meet with the surgeon this week and are hoping that the news is positive.

My mom is starting to have digestive issues and is getting bloated and starting to have a hard time keeping on weight. Is there anything that anyone could suggest dietwise that would help with the bloating and help put some weight on her before surgery. Any help would be appreciated.

RE: Dietary issues

by andy73 on Sun May 06, 2012 08:40 PM

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Easily digestible foods are probably a good idea 

Mashed potatoes, white and sweet 

Blended frozen fruit. Can mix in some rolled oats (oatmeal) Ginger powder mixed in will help to settle the stomach. Avacados will provide some good fats

Coconut oil will also help with digestive issues, while providing good fats. Walmart sells a brand, LouAnna, for around $6,  32 oz 

 

RE: Dietary issues pre surgery

by AliveInOldeTown on Sun May 06, 2012 09:38 PM

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You may want to describe the digestive problems to the surgeon this week and ask about a prescription for Creon, or other brand of pancreatic enzymes.  These will help with the bloating and other digestive issues, and she will have the meds. available after surgery without delay. 

Time between diagnosis and surgery for me was very short.  Before surgery though, practically any food was difficult to digest without problems.  My surgeon's instructions were to eat anything that sounded good to help me build strength and to focus on consuming as much protein, preferably animal protein, as I could tolerate.  (My protein numbers were down a bit before surgery.  I believe this is fairly common for people diagnosed with PC.)  If your Mom is not already taking an acid reduction med like Nexium, one of those could help also.  I read on another forum where several people mentioned eating Coconut Macaroons which have good calorie content and are easily digested for people with pancreatic insufficiency.  I wouldn't worry too much about sweets at this stage.   She needs calories.  

I hope you get good news this week and your Mom's surgery goes well.

RE: Dietary issues pre surgery

by rwasylyn on Mon May 07, 2012 04:00 AM

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Thanks so much for the advice, my mom is on an acid reflux med which was working well until last week, it seems she's having trouble regulating things this week. I've heard that a lactose intollerance can cause some of the issues so we are trying to shy away from dairy.

I'm curious of what to expect with the surgery, as someone who has gone through it, what was recovery like?

RE: Dietary issues pre surgery

by AliveInOldeTown on Mon May 07, 2012 02:28 PM

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On May 07, 2012 4:00 AM rwasylyn wrote:

Thanks so much for the advice, my mom is on an acid reflux med which was working well until last week, it seems she's having trouble regulating things this week. I've heard that a lactose intollerance can cause some of the issues so we are trying to shy away from dairy.

I'm curious of what to expect with the surgery, as someone who has gone through it, what was recovery like?


I had the surgery 9-1/2 years ago, at age 50, and prior to a short time before diagnosis was otherwise healthy and physically fit. People respond in different ways to this surgery from what I have observed.  Of course, no two people are alike.

Whipple is major surgery. I was in hospital for 11 days.  Initially very weak, but I saw significant improvement over the first three months. I was able to return to work (desk job) after 11 weeks. Your Mom will be dealing with adjustments to her diet as well as physical activity at first.  I think the best advice I could offer to anyone who has this surgery is to walk, walk, walk as soon after surgery as possible and as often as possible, espcially after returning home. The activity helps get your system back to working order and improves strength.  That, and eat regularly even if all food tastes like cardboard, which it may at first.  It isn't uncommon to have very little appetite for a while, but very important to eat.  Take Creon with meals and snacks. For reasons unexplainable to me, doctors often don't think of Creon until the patient shows symptoms of malabsorption or inability to digest foods after surgery. Your Mom will be likely be unable to pay a lot of attention to all the things going on and conversations with doctors especially at first.  If she can have someone with her during doctors visits, it would be very helpful. Also having someone with her at home to keep an eye on her (make sure she doesn't fall when walking etc.) is helpful.

The surgery is a big physical challenge.  Barring complications, time brings strength and healing.  It took six or so months before I started feeling stronger and my stamina began to improve.  By that time, I had worked out foods to avoid, my appetite had begun to improve and I was finally given a prescription for Creon which greatly improved my quality of life.

Best wishes to your Mom, and to you also.

RE: Dietary issues pre surgery

by RocCandy on Mon May 07, 2012 05:40 PM

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I highly recommend you see a nutritionist who specializes in cancer patients.  They have a world on information to share, assisting with weight issues and other supplements to keep other organs and muscles healthy.

RE: Dietary issues pre surgery

by Whippleschmiple on Tue May 08, 2012 04:10 AM

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A good probiotic with 8-10 strains mixed of Bifidus and Lactobacillus types, and if on enzymes then on omeprazole for a while too.  I found coconut milk relatively easy to digest, there is a yogurt and kefir form too.  Frequent small meals.  IF any chance she were borderline for surgery, at least some centers do chemo and maybe radiation PRIOR (sloan kettering NY, md anderson Texas, and norris cotton/dartmouth NH).  

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