When Ava was born in February of 2011, all was well in our home as we were figuring out how to juggle a newborn and her two siblings, who at the time were 3 and 2. We noticed that Ava was not gaining enough weight, but we were not sure why. One day in May she developed a high fever and we brought her to the emergency room where we were quickly admitted. During that long inpatient stay, doctors discovered what was causing the fever and the answer to why Ava was not gaining weight — she had difficulties swallowing and was aspirating liquids into her lungs.
By Nancy Burke, R.D., Joan Daniels, R.D., and Danielle Karsies, R.D., M.S.
University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center Dietitians
Think of any celebration, and the first thing that probably comes to mind is food. The aroma, taste and texture of food give us pleasure and satisfaction — but cancer and its treatment can temporarily interfere with our ability to enjoy it.
Some people with cancer may experience loss of appetite or taste. Others may not be able to eat because of a blockage or pain when swallowing. No one wants to give up eating, but when it becomes more of a hindrance or a burden, a feeding tube may offer relief. In fact, we’ve found that many people who opt for tube-feeding say that they wished they had done so sooner, as they feel better overall, more energetic and less burdened by not having to force themselves to eat.