Topic: feeding tube, chemo, depression

Okay, so my dad is still on a liver transplant list.  However, he has had such a hard time keeping anything down they have had him on a feeding tube for about 6 weeks (give or take).  They would like to take him off it but he won't eat.  He says he wants to but it makes him want to throw up.  We are working on mind over matter but that is hard too.  He was off chemo for some time but is now on a 2 week on 1 week off cycle for as long as  he can tolerate or get a liver, whichever comes first.  So any suggestions to help with the nausea/vomiting/lack of appetite are welcome.  He already tried the feeding tube makes me feel full until they told him the feeding tube went way into the intestines and never touched his stomach. 

So lately he just says he doesn't care.  I have had to take anti depressants for about the last 12 years (with the exception of during pregnancy).  My grandma (his dad) has also had bouts of mental illness.  My mom has even taken things over time.  We know that the medication makes a difference for us and think it would help my dad. 

My question to you is...have any of you taken anything for it and if so what works with the whole liver thing?  He forgot to ask the doctor yesterday and I am sure my mom will call the doctor but it always helps to see what you guys think.

Re: feeding tube, chemo, depression

Hi Daleymom, I'm sorry for all that your Dad is going through. The docs were very surprised that my Dad did not claim to be suffering from depression, my sense from that was that it is a major issue with cancer patients, thus I am certain that people will provide you with feedback on that. There are also appetite stimulants that the docs can prescribe, to potentially help kick start your Dad's appetite. One consists of the hormone in a pregnant woman's body, hence the weight gain.  The other one, that Dad took, was a marijuana derivative of some sort. They never did much for Dad.  Dad tolerated the supplement shakes & better than anything, when all else failed.

Wishing you the best.


Re: feeding tube, chemo, depression

I was on antidepressants and it REALLY helped, however I had to get off them because they were affecting my liver values and I wanted chemo more than antidepressants. If your dads liver is less fussy than mine, I would strongly suggest talking to your doctor about them. The one I was on only affected the liver in 1% of the patients, so I was just unlucky.

About eating, I was on a feeding tube for about 3 weeks and it was hard to get off it. In fact it was what kept me in the hospital longer than I wanted. The nurses became by slowly lowering my calorie intake from the feeding tube. I then had to  make up the calorie difference. I had those drinks like Ensure and I tried to eat foods that were cold. For some reason, after not eating for so long the smell and taste of hot food sent me over the edge and I could not eat it without feeling sick. So instead, I ate sandwiches, ice cream, cold canned corn, different pasta salads, etc. The hospital dietician suggested that when I got home to eat lots of cheese and put olive oil on all my vegetables to increase the fat and calorie content so I would not have to eat so much.

Hope that helps. Best of luck getting food into your dad. It was hard work for me and I am a stubborn wench who only wanted to go home from the hospital and it still took about 10 days to get my calorie count up enough to go home.


Cancer is a word, not a sentence.

36 year old patient with buckets of hope

Re: feeding tube, chemo, depression

I agree with Tess, I think depression is a major issue with Cancer patients.  When my dad was first diagnosed one of the symptoms was depression.  I dont know if it is caused by something chemical in the body from the cancer, or if it is just "depressing" to have cancer, but    my dads mood definitely reflected the cancer.  He didn't want to take anything for the depression b/c he thought he was taking too many pills, but we did give him St Johns Wart and that may have helped a bit.  The doctor had  prescribed Adavan(?) and said it was a really mild, but he never took it.  He also tried Marinol (marijuana), to increase appetite, but that didnt help his appetite, it did however really relax him.
I know how overwhelming and frustrating this can all be, I am thinking of you.

The  Lord is my shephard

Re: feeding tube, chemo, depression

From someone who never had depression issues before, I can now understand why people need medication to keep it under control. Originally my doctor prescribed Lexapro to be taken in the morning (and also stimulate appetite) and she added Mirtazapam to be taken at night - at a low dosage it causes drowsiness which helps me to sleep.

Highly recommended.