I promised a bit ago I would share the calorie finds. As a brief refresher, when on chemo, you are supposed to eat, eat, drink, eat, drink… etc. The surprising thing is, those are the two things you want to do least on chemo. However, if you do follow instructions (consume enough calories and fluids), I personally have found that the side effects are a lot less daunting.
As this is the 7th of my 12 treatments, I have started to understand the warning signs of when I need to do either of the two above. At first, finding the calories was tough. It was amazing how much of a struggle it was to eat 2500 calories in a day. So, to help those who might be starting this path, let me give you what I have found to work well to ingest calories in abundance. (Please note, this is list is specifically geared to those of us with cold sensitivity as a side effect. Otherwise, milkshakes and ice cream would top the list!)
1. Starbucks. So I love my coffee, but let’s admit it, the syrup drenched goodness that is a late from Starbucks is a crazy amount of calories. However, for the next 2-3 months I do not need to feel guilty. So enjoy the syrup and fun without any guilt!
2. Poptarts. Yes they are a “kids” treat, but at 500 calories for a pack of two pastries, they are an easy quick fix. And you can throw them into the microwave for 10 seconds to heat them up for days when room temperature is just too cold to consume.
3. Instant meals. I have been stocking up on the single serving containers of instant mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, etc. There are even some that have something posing as meat or eggs in them. But, hey they are easy and fast for when the body suddenly screams for food. The benefit also with these, is that they don’t have to be in the fridge, so my gloves do not have to come out to handle them.
4. Soft pretzels. I have never really been a big fan of the big soft doughy pretzels, but for some reason, chemo has made me love them. Maybe it is the fact that salt is one of the few things I can actually “taste”. Maybe it is the easy to digest carbs. But I love me some soft pretzels now! (By the way, feel free to drop some off to me whenever anyone wants to. You will see a happy dance from me!)
5. Dried Fruit. They are loaded with natural sugars plus I can kinda taste them. Plus, hey I can eat some natural food occasionally, really, I swear I can.
6. Chinese Food. It probably has to do with the sodium content in Chinese food, but it tastes something like what it is supposed to. Give me some Emperor’s Chicken and I will happily consume. Heck, I will take some Sweet and Sour Chicken. Yum and more yum!
So those are my big hitters for the current time. The surprising thing for me is that candy is not on that list. Candy kicks my heartburn up to an unbearable level and thus not worth it. Others might be lucky enough to be able to enjoy it, and if you are one of the lucky ones, WOOHOO for you! Eat candy without guilt! Dance and sing as you eat as much as you want. For let’s admit it, there are not all that many perks to chemo, but eating calories without one ounce of guilt is a really nice one. Just, don’t fight it, rather, enjoy it! Eat all the pancakes and waffles you want! Put some extra syrup on it!