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Thread: Weight Loss and Emotions

  1. #1
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    Weight Loss and Emotions

    My husband who was diagnosed with stage III pancreatic cancer continues to lose weight. The chemo treatments have done a good job and they are considering surgery. Currently he is taking xeloda and radiation. He finished his 12th of 28 treatments and has lost 10 pounds in this time. He was 211 pounds in the beginning of 2016 and is now 160. He is 6'1". In between his first chemo and now the chemo/radiation he was able to gain 10 pounds, probably because the diarrhea calmed down. The doctors don't seem that concerned. They say he is thin. He eats well but has diarrhea, so I guess that is how he is losing the weight. He gets extremely upset and angry when he loses more weight and then stops eating for a day or two to stop the diarrhea, which also does not help. He then tells me he just wishes he would not wake up in the morning. Any suggestions on how to cope with this, and has anyone else experienced such drastic weight loss.

  2. #2
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    Is he taking Creon? This helped stop most of the diarrhea and belching for my husband. He takes 4 3600 tablets with each meal. If the meal is fatty he will take one or two more. His doctor also said take immodium AD at the first sign of even a loose stool. He has been able to limit his weight loss in this way. In fact he weighs the same today as he did when he began his treatments with folfirinox.
    Also, my husband had to stop drinking most milk. So no milk or ice cream for him although he can eat yogurt.

    Have you seen a nutrionist? They can help with this type of thing. They have lots of ideas and can give you suggestions of things to try.
    Cindi
    Last edited by chailes; 02-02-2017 at 03:24 PM.
    7/15: Went to doctor with indigestion. Blood test showed liver problems. Sent for sonogram.
    8/1: Appt with GP who said you have mass on pancreas and it is probably pancreatic cancer
    Many procedures including a stent and final diagnosis of Pancreatic cancer stage 4 and pet scan
    8/26: First treatment with Folfirinox and results of pet scan
    10/5: Stroke spent 2 weeks in the hospital between hospital and rehab
    10/20: Began chemo again
    11/4: Petscan. Pancreas tumor same size, liver mets shrunk, possible bone involvement
    1/31: CTSCAN. Pancreas tumor same size, livers mets shrunk.

  3. #3
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    He is taking creon and has seen a nutritionist. The Immodium and Lomotil do not work. He usually starts a brat diet when the diarrhea gets real bad. Nothing seems to work.

  4. #4
    Moderator Top User ddessert's Avatar
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    Diarrhea during radiation treatments is common. All that radiation hitting the GI tract can upset it. Some radiation treatments try to be more targeted than others. It seems like we patients get radiation from whatever machine they have to deliver it.

    I wrote a post about the different types of radiation delivery and now I've put it into a separate blog post:
    https://www.cancerforums.net/entries...ation-Delivery

    Cindi's comment about Creon applies to diarrhea whether he's getting radiation or chemotherapy. Some hospitals have a GI oncology nutritionist on staff that knows about digestion and nutrition when you have missing and/or damaged organs. The nutrition is a little more complicated for cancer patients.

    Make sure the doctors check/monitor for C. diff infections. This can cause chronic diarrhea and is quite dangerous.

    Keep drinking water to prevent dehydration. Not huge amounts all at once, but sips of room temperature water throughout the day. I became dehydrated during daily radiation treatments (even w/o diarrhea) and it landed my with daily infusions of saline solution. Just what I didn't need in addition to the relatively quick radiation treatments.

    Try eating many small meals. The GI tract is probably already inflamed from the radiation and the small meals should be able to pass more easily.

    There may be certain foods that trigger the diarrhea more than others. Keeping a diary of the foods eaten and the later response might help eliminate the problem (pun intended).

    Soluble fiber foods expand in the GI tract and slow it down. It's a good idea, but maybe spread them out, a little at a time. Soluble fibers absorb the extra water and expand quite a bit in the digestive tract. But I'd hate to have it expand too much into those tender intestines.
    BRCA2 3398del5
    Dec 2010 - back/abd pain
    May 2011 - Unresectable stage III, 2.5cm tumor
    Jun-Aug 2011 - Gem/Cis, 9 rounds
    Oct-Nov 2011 - Radiation+Xeloda, 25 days in 5 weeks
    Oct 2011-Sep 2012 - shrinking tumor
    Feb 2012 - National Familial Pancreatic Study
    Aug 2012 - Downgraded to stage IIA, PGP
    Sep 2012 - Whipple, T3N0M0, 0.5cm tumor, 0/16 lymph nodes
    Dec 2012 - Quebec PanCan Study
    Sep 2012-Nov 2017 - NED
    Mar 2013-present - NCT01088789
    @pancanology

  5. #5
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    Thanks for all the responses. I think maybe the small meals might be the key. He tells me he is so hungry and then over indulges. He has had his stool tested about a month ago and everything was fine. I think it was that God awful folfirinox that messed up his digestive tract and it didn't get time to fully bounce back before he started the xeloda/radiation. He is getting the IMRT radiation that they are trying to target the pancreas but they are also getting the stomach and intestine. His bloodwork was also good as far as potassium and sodium so he is not dehydrated yet. He is just an emotional mess for the last couple of days and I don't know what to do. He can't tolerate the side effects of the anti-depressants that we have tried so far.

  6. #6
    Moderator Top User ddessert's Avatar
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    Just wondering if anything has helped?
    BRCA2 3398del5
    Dec 2010 - back/abd pain
    May 2011 - Unresectable stage III, 2.5cm tumor
    Jun-Aug 2011 - Gem/Cis, 9 rounds
    Oct-Nov 2011 - Radiation+Xeloda, 25 days in 5 weeks
    Oct 2011-Sep 2012 - shrinking tumor
    Feb 2012 - National Familial Pancreatic Study
    Aug 2012 - Downgraded to stage IIA, PGP
    Sep 2012 - Whipple, T3N0M0, 0.5cm tumor, 0/16 lymph nodes
    Dec 2012 - Quebec PanCan Study
    Sep 2012-Nov 2017 - NED
    Mar 2013-present - NCT01088789
    @pancanology

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddessert View Post
    Just wondering if anything has helped?
    I think the smaller meals has helped a little. We are going to the medical oncologist on Monday and hopefully the xeloda will get reduced and that will help. He eats very little when the diarrhea gets bad and then he loses more weight. Only 6 more treatments and hopefully it will get better soon. I don't think these GI issues were as bad as the ones from folfirinox and they eventually got slowly better.

 

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