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Monday, August 16, 2010

Nutritional Supplements

During my mother's most recent visit, my mother could not help but notice how little I was eating.

Being a mom, she immediately expressed her concern about the possibility that my being so tired might be connected to malnutrition.

My husband has had the same concern for several months now.

I blew them both off, joking about all the weight I can afford to lose.

But I do not have as much to lose as before.  I can easily drop another 5 kilo, and even another 10, but not more than that.  It will not be long before I must eat more calories.

Of course, there is the very real question about whether or not I am suffering from malnutrition and whether or not I should be supplementing my diet.  I recognize that I probably should be supplementing somehow.

Yet, I have consistently refused to take anything.

I know that my reaction to the idea of taking Ensure is irrational.  I cannot help it.  Ensure, in my mind, is for sick people who are dying.  I cannot bear the idea of swallowing it.  I am not sick.  I am fine.

Except that I am not fine.  I am tired and weak... all the time.

I barely have enough energy to do the bare minimum.

I know that I need more nutrition.

When Taube passed away, her husband offered me her leftover nutritional supplements, various powders to add to food/drink.  Reluctantly, I accepted his offer, knowing that, in the not-so-distant future, I would need to supplement my diet.

I always joked that "when I get down to my 'ideal' weight, I will just eat ice cream all day!"  Yesterday, a friend took me out for ice cream and I could barely manage to eat anything.  The ice cream was too rich and too sweet.  I know that ice cream is insufficient nutritionally, but it has protein, calcium and fat.  Most important, I like the way it tastes and can always eat it.  Until now.  Suddenly, even eating ice cream is hard for me.  I did share frozen yoghurt blended with fruit, but I could not eat nearly what I used to eat.

For a few days, I was eating more and feeling optimistic that I might be heading in the right direction.  But I find myself even less interested in food now than before.

Today, I finally succumbed and took out a packet to make a "milkshake."  The "shake" was too sweet, and not to my liking, but I forced myself to drink the whole thing.

I know that one supplemental shake will not affect me significantly, but I really hope I will feel some change in my energy level.

Between the heat, my pain, and general exhaustion, I do not want to move!!

And I expect to take my kids on a 3 day camping trip?!  You bet I do!



Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,
RivkA

11 comments:

faith/emuna said...

rivka remember when you went to disney and you obsessed about the wheelchair and once you did it realized it was no big deal? please get over your negative feelings to supplements, i follow your blog, and i was still suprised last wk to see how much weight you lost since i last saw you. please take care of yourself, a 3 day camping trip is very tiring (not that i would know, just thinking about it tires me).

Sarah said...

remember also that the patches you wear make the body very tired. They are strong pain killers, at high dosages. I know any time I am on strong pain killers, it completely wipes me out.
Nutrition is way, way important. But don't expect magic from those changes. The consistent narcotic pain meds knock anyone out.

I pray you find your balance. BTW- I also **hate** insure. I had to live on it for a month almost, and just the smell of the stuff now makes me gag. Try mixing those powder supplements with a pain yogurt- it cuts down the sweetness, and adds good bacteria to your system, and extra protein and fat.
Is there any way to change the chemo to stop the progression of this appetite problem? I know, trade one evil for another.
Hang in there... we love you!!!

Bernie said...

Nutrition is important always let alone when battling cancer, I know it is hard for you to eat when food seems to turn you off right now but please try to overcome this and eat some healthy foods. Your body really needs it, we want you to enjoy your camping trip this week.....:-)Hugs

mikimi said...

I use Protein Powders regularly since my Gastric Bypass more than two and half years ago. I get a whey protein low-carb. the directions on the canister makes it too sweet so I prepare with more liquid. Protein build muscle and the heart is a muscle. I like my drink very clod almost like a slushy.

Andrea said...

Food, RivkA my friend... the staff of life. Everything evolves around it. You must eat good wholesome food or your body will not be able to fight the good fight for you. Please force yourself to eat, will you?

Love you & praying~ Andrea
xoxoxoxoxo

michele said...

Here's a positive, life-affirming story about Ensure. Not everyone who uses it is ill or dying.

I was in the second trimester of my twin pregnancy and totally stopped gaining weight. About 7 weeks of no weight gain! The babies were growing, growing and I was becoming thinner and thinner. I felt too sick to eat enough to sustain the 3 of us and it was endangering the pregnancy. My doctor freaked out. I started drinking Ensure twice a day, and as much other food as I could manage. Finally, I started to gain weight! The boys were born 4.5 weeks early, at 5 pounds each. All thanks to Ensure.

Please be careful in the heat. It's supposed to be extremely hot this week. Would you consider someplace AC'd to sleep (it's the togetherness that counts).

Joe K. said...

Not sure if you are still looking at comments twqo days in, but if you are . . . when I had colitis I could not eat food at all. One of the first things that I ate was goat yogurt - plain, not the flavored sweetened kind. Much easier on the system than cow dairy and very healthy. Took a while to get used to but definitely not too sweet! (If not sweet enough, I sometimes added a little stevia.) BTW - have had no recurrence lately but still eat goat yogurt on a regular baisis. There is also a fiber called Super Seed (by Garden of Life) - cleans the system but (unlike plain fiber) also has nutrients so that you do not wash all the good stuff out of you.

rickismom said...

Rivka, maybe try freezing a yogurt (takes about 4-5 hours) until almost solid, then blend it with a milky blender stick. (I make my own frozen yogurt with 90% frozen leben/ fruit.You could add sugar to taste.)

LeahGG said...

I'd better not let my 14-year-old nephew read this. He's very active and has a low appetite, so he wasn't gaining weight. They put him on ensure so that he won't stop growing.
He's a healthy boy who just wasn't gaining well.

RivkA with a capital A said...

Faith, Bernie, & Andrea -- I know I have to "get over it" and just take the supplements. Knowing what you need to do and doing what you need to do are not the same. I am working on it...

Sarah -- stopping chemo means throwing in the towel. I need the chemo to fight the cancer. I also need the supplements to provide nutrients for my body. I have to learn to live with both.

Mikimi -- several other friends also recommended that Ensure tastes much better cold. Thanks.

Michele & LeahGG -- thanks for sharing. a few others have also shared their non-sick Ensure stories with me. It's good to have some additional associations...

Joe -- I am not so into goat products. I do not care for the smell or the taste. I love regular milk products. I drink a LOT of milk and can often manage to eat a yoghurt, which I find relatively easy to swallow. I guess I should add that to my shopping list...

Ricki's mom -- that seems to be the way to go -- mixing the Ensure into a cold milkshake.

LeahGG said...

which reminds me... b"h after Rosh Hashana, I'll be able to make a milkshake visit...I'll bring the blender and any ingredients you think you can get down...

Try to think of the ensure as a way of fighting back against chemo's side effects. If someone told you (for example) that vitamin b6 would reduce nausea (it does for pregnancy), you'd ask your doctors if it was a good idea, and you would take it without a second thought if they thought it was.

As for the taste... that I wouldn't know. I did do both slim-fast and herbalife at various points in my life and was surprised to discover how good I was at lying to myself about the fact that they tasted awful... ;)