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scottiedogluvr 06-30-2004 08:45 PM

Father in law recently had surgery and I have questions
Hi all,

I am new here and have some questions. My father in law recently had sugery for colon cancer. He had about 3.5 feet of colon removed. This was about 3 weeks ago. He is now home, but is having problems eating. He has no appetite and nothing tastes good to him. I guess his stomach is upset and very unsettled. He will eat two or three bites of food and that is it. He has lost a lot of weight and has become weak and anemic. He is having a lot of gas and severe gas pains. Everyone is on his case about not eating. Is this a normal side effect of the surgery? My husband was with him when he had his surgery and for about a week after and he was doing okay except for eating. Now, he can barely talk on the phone. He is having trouble breathing and sounds extremely weak. It is difficult for him to talk. We don't know if it is just part of the recovery or depression or a little of both. When he was in the hospital he sounded issues breathing. He could talk and carry on a conversation. Now it seems like a huge effort to breathe or make conversation. He just got his staples out and was able to shower today, so he was happy about that. He has a physical therapist coming 3x per week to help him get up and move around and excercise. I think he also has a nurse to check in on him each day. He is upset though becuz no one will leave him alone with the eating. He is a bad patient! LOL It is hard becuz we live 12 hours away, so can't help him out with this. He is going to have chemo, but they are waiting until he has healed up and gets his strength back. I guess the recovery process is a long road. I would appreciate any advice or suggestions. This is all new to us and very frustrating. :confused:

jaydees 06-30-2004 10:12 PM

Re: Father in law recently had surgery and I have questions
You don't say how old he is and that could play a big part in how quickly he recovers from surgery. I assume he has an ileostomy or colostomy? At any rate with 3.5 feet of colon gone he is going to be prone to losing electrolytes and water. This will make him dozy. Perhaps a sports drink like Gatorade can help and they taste better than pedolyte. Try to get him several flavors and different brands to find one that he likes.

While on chemo I liked orange flavored Safeway brand sport drink and found that Gatorade was more expensive and tasted too salty. I also like iced tea made from green tea and with a little lemon, light on the sugar.

jaydees 06-30-2004 10:29 PM

Re: Father in law recently had surgery and I have questions
There are a few things he can try for the gas.

Gas-X, might work if the gas is being generated higher up the GI. It coaleces bubbles into larger bubbles, the theory being that these will pass quicker.It has limited effect on me.

Beano is a pill containing enzymes that break down sugars that feed gas producing bacteria such as those found in beans and lentils. It does help against those foods.

Acidopholus is the bacteria found in yogurt. If your Father-in-law likes yogurt this will help a lot in settling his stomach(as long as he isn't lactose intolerant!!!!!!). You can also buy acidopholus pills that are taken after a meal. I find that this really does cut down on the amount of gas I get as long as I keep up with at least one pill a day. Check the expiration date on the bottle, they lose potency the longer they sit on the pharmacy shelf.

Don't gulp food or drink, don't slurp drinks or soup.
Eat slowly, chew well, don't use a straw, don't talk while eating. Stay away from carbonated drinks or at least let them go a little flat first.

If diarrhea is a problem try a couple of marshmellows first before Immodium or other chemical treatment since the later tend to shut things down for a day or two..... For upset stomach , soda crackers or peppermint tea (peppermint candies also work but it has to be real peppermint not peppermint flavor) If the tea is not to his taste you can try a regular tea bag plus a peppermint tea bag in the kettle.

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