Food and the difficulties in eating is a challenge during treatment and it will continue after treatment for a variable period as well.
- During treatment
Your taste buds are being attacked from two sides during treatment.
Firstly, the radiation will remove a lot of your taste buds and secondly the chemotherapy will follow up and rearrange your last sense of taste and make most food taste terribly.
A few manage to eat normally during the whole treatment despite taste and pain, while according to my doctors, more than 50% will get a tube at some phase.
The tube is a necessity if you are not able to eat enough, I hated the thick protein drinks , but by using the NG tube to bypass the taste buds and radiated areas ,i was able to intake the daily protein i needed.
- After treatment
Forget everything about healthy food for the time being, what you need is a lot of proteins and fat, so your body easier can rebuild itself.
Meat, egg, fish and dairy products should be your primary focus. Softly fried eggs with a lot of olive oil is a good contributor to both fat and protein, 4 fried eggs for example has about 35 grams of protein, about 30 percent of my daily needed protein intake.
When your mouth has healed to a tolerable level, you can experiment with food, to see what goes down most easily and has the needed protein and fat volume. I have listed my food experiences after treatment week for week down here:
2 weeks after treatment, my tube is removed and i start drinking the 6 daily protein drinks i need. They are still nasty especially the first days, but when mixed 50/50 with cold water, they are much more manageable.
At week 3 after treatment, i begin supplementing with clear soups, the mouth is to sensitive to any other food.
At week 4 after treatment i begin eating fried eggs, yoghurt avocados etc.
At week 5 after treatment i am able to drop the protein drinks and eat soft meat and fish with sauce, the mouth soreness is reduced considerably, but the dry mouth is making it unpleasant to eat food with no or little fluid.
At week 6 i am beginning to experiment more, sausages, soft bread, rice with sauce, not all is a pleasure to eat, but as my taste buds are better, the whole experience is better.
Now at week 7 even minced beef and burger beef (but not the bun) goes down, i tried pizza and it was manageable but the taste was not what i hoped for.