Oncology Nutritionist

I’m finally able to talk with the Nutritionist in the Oncology Department.  This appointment can be done by phone.  Nutrition is simple, right?  It should be.

She confirms that I’ll be going through “chemo/rad.”  OK, so this is the shortened form name of the therapy.  I like it.  Chemo/rad.  Would have a slightly nicer ring without the chemo part.

Then, as any good nutritionist, she wants my height and normal weight.  I tell her I’m right at 6 foot even and that I haven’t weighted myself in years, only occasionally with cloths on — figuring I always weighted about 160 lbs.  However, because I’m being more selective in the past few weeks about what I gulp, (and a new digital scale?), I’m weighing in down in the lower 150’s, 153/154 somewhere in that range.

The challenge during radiation treatment, I’m told and have read, is keeping weight on (not that anyone would want to go through this as a weight loss plan).  She asks me right away if I’m getting a PEG (feeding tube in stomach), and I say yes.  She tells me in rare cases, some have not needed them, but most do.  Getting the tube put in is kind of like an insurance policy.  If you don’t use it, great.  If you need it and you don’t have it, then you could be in big trouble.  And in my case, the chance of needing one is relatively high.

Being at the low end of the weight scale for my height, she tells me I can’t afford to loose weight during this process.  In fact, I may want to consider bulking up a little prior.  This morning I weight in at 149 lbs, the first time I’ve ever seen myself on a scale under 150.  I don’t feel any lighter, but the scale told me otherwise.

The Nutritionist doesn’t tell me a whole lot, but she does send me a recipe for a high caloric, high protein smoothie.  And, she does tell me (without calculating my metabolic rate which she cannot know), that I need to consume about 2,300 calories daily to maintain break-even.

Since I’m not eating animal flesh and no dairy (except for some whey protein isolate), protein is important and needs to come from somewhere, which in a routine diet might come from lots of whole vegetables, nuts, seeds, soy products, (and fruits).  But I’m not in the routine.  She, and others also recommended a product called Ensure (which I’ve never heard of).  Supposed to be covered by insurance.

Actually, I believe the Hammer Nutrition products I take for cycling are among the cleanest high caloric, balanced supplement products on the market.  Just bought an extra large container of Recoverite for routine use.

Whatever I take (in), the important thing is monitoring and maintaining my weight as chemo/rad burns extra calories and it’s ultra-important that your body regenerates new cells (as others are killed).

Therefore, I may want to invest in a juicer, in addition to the blender that I now use more than once a day.  And, I’m hoping I don’t tire of the broth-type soups I’ve been eating (drinking).  It’s so much easier gulping something and so much less tiresome than chewing.  A real pain in the neck.  Rad.

3 thoughts on “Oncology Nutritionist

  1. Elizabeth

    Ensure is actually pretty good. I drank it in high school when I was running track 5-6 days a week and dancing a couple times a week as well. It helped my body recover.

  2. Laurie Thompson

    First off I am praying for you and know of you only as being Matt’s fatherinlaw. He is our supplier of Office products. My fatherinlaw in Vermont just had his voice box removed with stage 4 cancer and will be starting radiation/not chemo Thanksgiving week due to it being stage 4 and not 2 as they had initially thought. Can’t imagine him going through rad so soon as he is not even able to get off a feed tube (throw the nose( yet. Your blog prepares me somewhat as to what may come along in the next 2 months and after. His treatment is 7 weeks 5days a week, but only radiation. My thoughts are with you and I appreciate your willingness and openess to share your experience with so many. I will be reading along with you. Take care Laurie T.


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