Monday, August 31, 2009

Myeloma transplant - Food

Food and fluids were a major issue for me during both myeloma stem cell transplants leaving me with weight losses of 8kg and 4 kg respectively.
After about 6 days my white counts were coming down, my appetite decreased, nausea increased, mouth and throat became sore and tender, taste buds changed and it became difficult to swallow. [Nausea link] Eating food and drinking became a hassle.
Myra prepared some food recommended by the hospital dietician, food which was easier to eat compared to the hospital food. All my food was approved by the medical team and dietician.
What I could tolerate was moist soft food in small portions, spaghetti, creamed rice, pasta, macaroni, soup, tinned baby food, mashed veggies, mashed potato, the hospital ice cream and yoghurt, jelly and mixed fruit. Breakfast was rice bubbles or wheetbix with ample milk. When the going got tough there were several days when I ate my rice bubbles two at a time. I was advised to add a little more sugar to sweet foods and salt to savoury foods. This had little effect on my taste buds though others have said it made a difference to theirs.
Water became tasteless so I added lemon juice or mixed it with fruit juice. Fruit juice by itself, ginger ale, ginger beer and ginger tea was a good option and I enjoyed a cup of normal tea or coffee.
There were lemonade ice blocks which were soothing. I should have negotiated with the BMTU to bring in my own flavoured ice block or ice cream on a stick.
The nurses made a divine milkshake, so soft and cool.
The problem with the hospital food was I had to order it the day before and often I got the chefs choice, not what I ordered. A lot of it was dry and hard. It had to be eaten when it came, portions were too big and some times the smell of it put me off. I wanted small moist portions when I needed them not big portions when it arrived.
Unlike some others I never vomited and that was probably because I ate small portions of food that I could tolerate.
Generally I tried to eat a little often, not always achievable especially when I was feeling nauseous. There were times when I just did not want to eat, so I didn’t. I always ate sitting up as I felt this would help my digestive system and I could focus on eating even if it was slow.
Keeping my fluids up was difficult as mentioned previously; water became tasteless, bland, difficult to swallow and nausea effects. To prevent dehydration my fluids were monitored and maintained by being fed intravenously through my central line.
Hygiene is important so I always washed my hands before eating or drinking.
After going home the nausea, lack of taste and lack of appetite continued for about 3 weeks before a gradual change for the better.

This is one of “part 2” a series of postings relating to my autologous stem cell transplant for myeloma. As they are complete the posting series can be found under labels/part 2 [Part 2 link]

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