Cancer Life, Side Effects

Side effects from chemo, that Hannah had to endure. Part 4

Loss of appetite and stomach problems

A couple of weeks into Hannah’s treatment, she had been getting fussy with feeds from her bottles, until she wouldn’t drink anything, it was the same with her food too. No matter what we tried, she refused. We had to start putting her formula down her NG tube.

This seemed to work well until the following day, she threw up her entire feed, we waited a couple of hours before giving her another feed, and she managed to hold this down. But when I went to test her NG placement an hour or so later for her meds, I noticed that rather than a watery substance in the syringe, I had undigested formula, I pulled up as far as the 60ml syringe would allow, I called in the nurse for advice. The nurse took out a further 30 mls, and put in a call for the dieticians.

After a discussion with her dieticians, it was agreed that they’d prescribe her bottles of medical nutrition formula, thinking that maybe her stomach was unable to handle the normal formula, this was put through a pump that would attach to her NG tube at a very slow rate of 5ml per hour.

This didn’t really work either, she was still vomiting up the feeds and only getting hydrated from the IV fluids, so it was decided that it would be best for Hannah to have something called TPN attached, this is total parenteral nutrition, it contains all the fat and nutrients that Hannah needed, that was given through the IV. There are additional risks to having this done, but it was either that or she’d waste away.

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This is Hannah with TPN attached, including IV fluids, needed 24/7

Hannah was eventually able to come off the TPN, but for the remainder of the intensive stages, she was reliant on medical formula through the NG tube, for all of her food intake. She had little nibbles here and there, but not enough to maintain a suitable diet, and sometimes the little she tried, made her vomit again, which set back her feeding rate through the pump.

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Having her feed pump around became normal, it came with a backpack too

Hannah was on the medical formula, for just over a year. She’s been quite picky with her food since the NG tube was removed, but she’s slowly building up her food choices.  It will take time, but we are making progress every day.

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Hannah finally enjoying her food.

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