Caring for a loved one who is a mesothelioma patient is never easy. But it is especially challenging during the holiday season. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And yet it can be a poignant time of year for the mesothelioma patient and the whole family. Added to a very normal and understandable sense of sadness mingled with the joys of the season are the practical matters of wanting to enjoy each moment but facing physical limitations.
Take food, for example. Food at this time of year is about much more than nutrition. It is about celebration, indulging and sharing festive meals with friends and family. But for the mesothelioma patient undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment, food may be a minefield of discomfort right now. Yet it is possible and important to find some enjoyment in traditional holiday meals. Here are some terrific tips we’ve culled from the American Cancer Society’s suggestions on how to do just that. You can find their complete list here.
- If the sight or smell of food is enough to turn your stomach, grab a ginger ale or tea and move out of the area where food is being cooked or served.
- Try chewing mint gum or drinking a hot beverage to mask the scent of food.
- It’s no secret that holiday foods tend to be fatty, greasy, and heavy. Heavy foods can be overwhelming to a sensitive stomach. If this is the case for you, avoid anything in a cream sauce, gravy, or mayonnaise base.
- Look for baked or steamed items. Foods like rice, potatoes, noodles, and bread can be well tolerated if they aren’t in heavy or rich sauces.
- Eat before you leave the house; try a snack with some fiber and protein just in case there aren’t many options for you.
- Start slow and take small portions so you don’t get that “overfull” feeling.
- Ask your doctor if it is ok for you to drink alcohol before you go to holiday celebrations where you might be tempted to drink.
Most of all, remember that although food is a key part of holiday celebrations, it is not the most important part. Focus instead on sharing precious moments at a special time of year with loved ones – that is food for the spirit that no food can match.