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Managing the Nausea of Chemotherapy

Bottom Line/HEALTH: What was your secret—so you said you got a lot of nausea—what was your secret to managing nausea from chemotherapy?
Hollye Jacobs, R.N. Well, there were a number of different things. I engaged a dietician, who was pretty much glued to my hip for a period of about two months. Some of the ways that I handled my nausea was by drinking homemade ginger ale. I would drink Perrier water or a fizzy water with drops of ginger extract dropped in. That was incredibly helpful for me. I also really tried to get as much nutrition as I could in whatever I ate. Oatmeal was a really big lifesaver during that period because I kept it very bland and there’s a lot of nutrition in that. I added chia seeds and salba seeds to my oatmeal for protein and for fiber, because I had a lot of constipation issues as well. When I was the most nauseous, I found that I ate Newman’s Own pretzels (and no, I’m not paid to endorse them), but that was the brand of pretzels that helped me immensely, and I would just eat them very slowly. In fact, I ate everything very slowly. I would take one bite at a time and eat very slowly. I chewed slowly, and I also tried to eat small and frequent meals throughout the day, because for some reason, whenever I felt hungry, I felt more nauseous. Bananas were actually another food that helped me a lot. Quite honestly, when I was the sickest and most nauseous, and not laying on my bathroom floor, I watched a lot of television. A good television series or a good movie is actually a good diversion for nausea—at least it was for me.
Source: Hollye Jacobs, RN, MS, MSW, a palliative-care nurse and social worker based in Santa Barbara, California. She is a breast cancer survivor, mother of four and author of The Silver Lining: A Supportive and Insightful Guide to Breast Cancer (Atria).

Date: September 15, 2014 Publication: Bottom Line Health
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