There is much that you can do to help your friend or loved one through the period of cancer treatment. Here are some other things to remember that will help you cope:
- Be prepared for the patient's tastes to change from day to day. Some days he or she won't want favorite foods because they don't taste good. Other times, he or she will be able to eat a dish that couldn't be tolerated just the day before.
- Have food within easy reach at home. For example:
- a snack-pack of applesauce or pudding and a spoon on the bedside table if the patient isn't feeling well that day
- a bag of cut-up carrots on the top shelf of the refrigerator
- Have meals and snacks ready so the patient can have something to eat when he or she is ready.
- Be prepared for times when the patient is able to eat only one or two foods for a few days in a row, until side effects diminish. Even if he or she can't eat at all, still encourage plenty of fluids.
- Talk to the patient about needs and concerns, and about ideas that might work best. A willingness to be flexible and supportive no matter what will help the patient feel in control of the situation.
- Try not to push the patient into eating and drinking. Encourage and support without being overwhelming.