Another side effect of chemo that we weren’t ready for was stomach issues. Over the course of the treatments my husband’s problems with his stomach have increased from periodic to now persistent – without let up. I was speaking with a long time friend about it and she said “oh yes, he needs acidophilus for the entire course of his treatment.” The chemotherapy doesn’t just kill good and bad cells, it also kills the good bacteria/flora in your gut – obviously this is a contributing factor to stomach and intestinal discomfort.
So what options are there? I was fortunate to be on the phone with a well informed and knowledgeable practitioner of reflexology, reiki and brain gym. She’s been using natural remedies for as long as I have known her – which is going on 30 years. Right off the top she suggested BIO-K® (argh! I hate using brand names, but this one is Canadian and apparently this product is quite effective) which is a fermented milk. We chatted about a few other ways to get the good bacteria re-established in his gut; all of the items we spoke about were in the health food store when I went there later. So today I came home with a tub of Kefir (for use in smoothies) , a papain supplement (which I need to check out with the Oncology department – it has a warning about a potential interaction with blood thinners) and the BIO-K+ ®.
There were a few other foods that may help to get his tummy back on track. Brown rice, kale and lentils are considered excellent foods that I will incorporate (in moderation) into our regular diet to support intestinal health. With the help of the internet I found an awesome sausage, kale and lentil soup recipe that will be hitting my table in the very near future.
So far in this journey through cancer, my husband has experienced many and varied health challenges including: upset stomach, a blood clot, purpura, petechiae, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, constipation, headaches, change of taste, breathing related issues, modifications to his pre-existing medications that caused high then low blood pressure, and pain management. I suspect I may have missed something in there but you get the idea. His spirit and resilience is remarkable. I have such an immense respect for him and for all cancer patients, this disease is merciless, throwing its victims on a path fraught with peril and challenge and full of unknowns. The Canadian Cancer Society website states: “About 2 in 5 Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetimes and 1 in 4 will die of the disease.” (Extracted Oct 14, 2014 from ttp://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-101/canadian-cancer-statistics-publication/?region=on ) Simply put, it could have been me taking this journey but for the luck of the draw. I, for one, plan on changing our diet to include some preventive foods and will continue my quest for knowledge of this disease.