How do I get my dad to eat?

On Monday, my 33rd birthday of all days, our family was told that my father has stage IV non-small cell lung cancer which has metastasized into his bones (specifically his ribs and spine). The oncologist said he has possibly 6 months, and my father has chosen not to endure chemotherapy. He is home, surrounded by family. I've never had someone close to me battle cancer like this, other than my grandmother but she was diagnosed and lived many years before passing. I have so many questions and feelings, but right now my biggest concern is how to I get my dad to eat? He is literally eating next to nothing. I worry that if the cancer doesn't kill him, malnutrition will. I appreciate any suggestions, advice, or kind words you can offer. I am thankful to have found this site and a means to connect with others going through the same things.

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Sorry to hear about your dad. Is he doing radiation treatments? That'll affect appetite too. Anyway, the doctor usually will prescribe Prednizone, I believe, if the patient doesn't have an appetite.

My mom would eat egg-flower soup and Boost shakes.
Boost is located next to Ensure at the grocery or drug store. I would mix the boost with ice in a blender and then my mom drank it with a straw.

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My mom completly lost her appetite. She didn't eat a full meal for over a month!

She also has lung cancer that went into her bones. Cancer does supress the appetitie it is a side effect.

My mom also drank boost and ensure

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Dearest Peacock:
I am so sorry about the news of your dads cancer. I lost my father to lung ca many years ago but I remember well the eating problem. I also have lung ca. now and not a big appetite. Part of it is the shocking news. Part is probably the disease itself. With my dad, I encouraged him to eat absolutely ANYTHING he wanted. He ate things like chocolate whip cream cakes, cornbread and milk. I think just something at this point and not so much about the nutrition of it. Also drinks, the Boost, as mentioned earlier and milk shakes. Encourage with whatever he especially liked before. Also, as a person that does not have much appetite, I think it is more difficult when you are eating alone. If you try to get him to eat 6 small amounts during the day, sit down and have some with him. If you can, act like you actually enjoy it. I have found it is always easier to eat if I feel that I am eating with someone rather than someone trying to get me to eat. Hope this helps a little.
God Bless you
Brenda Mousey

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I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. I went through the exact same thing with my mom - I too had just turned 33. She did go through chemotherapy, but only 3 rounds, the side effects were too hard on her body. The cancer didn't respond and she eventually spent her last 3 weeks in hospice care at home to manage the pain.

She had the same kind of cancer with mets to the bone. They are extremely painful, and I know a lot of the pain medicines also add to the loss of apetite.

My mom ate a lot of pudding and yogurt. She had radiation to her throat and that made it difficult for her to swallow, so the pudding/yogurt was a good texture to help get all of her medicines down. Also, towards the very end, even water was difficult for her to swallow, but they were able to add a thickening solvent to it that helped.

My mom lasted about 5 mos after her diagnosis, so I completely understand what you are going through. Please feel free to email me with any questions you may have.

I'm praying for your strength and will offer any support I can. The next few months are going to be really tough, so please lean on this community as much as you can. We are all here to support you through this.

Good luck!

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hey, Peacock,
first - I love, love,love your name!!!

second - are you taking care of yourself? exercise, good food, etc? getting enough hugs? (if not - I'm sending several - feel free to share)

third - your dad may be having a side effect of the cancer called early satiety (the tummy sends messages of "I'm full - go away" to the brain - also called cachexia). They have drugs to help with this - Megace is one - I understand that when you take them, you want to eat anything not moving faster than you are... You need to talk with either your onc or your family doctor about this.

last - is your daddy getting any non-family support (a counsellor, shrink, hospice, etc) that he can vent off his stresses to? if not - you may want to consider getting one.

another last thought - I think boost and ensure taste pretty icky - have you considered fast food milkshakes? or do-it-yourself smoothies?

sending more hugs

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Today I am at the Cancer Center with my dad and I was reading a few magazines called "Heal" and "Coping" (They have some good articals). In one of them I seen an ad for Nestle nutritional additive. It is a small "creamer" size containter that has about 220+ calories with nutrients. You can add this to what ever and it helps kick up the calories. My dad has a hard time eating too and what ever he likes we try to get him. Some days are better than others. If you can, get him to drink high calorie shakes. (there are all kinds & you can blend them with icecream if that taste better)
Nestle's website has a whole list of different nutritional items dedicated to Oncology patients. So you could check that out. Some of those may be pretty expensive so you my try your local nutrition shop.

Take care you and hang in there My thoughts and prayers will be with you. If you need to chat sometime feel free to email me

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Thank you all for responding! I can't tell you how much it means to me to know that I have others to look to for advice. This site has already proven to be a little bit of light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

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I am sorry for what you're going through.
Also consider what he eats when you get him to eat. You may be interested to read Mina Dobic's story..... You can be the judge.

Her book My Beautiful Life tells her story. I wish you the best. My prayers are with you and yours.

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