Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sam's Tips for Managing Nausea

Whether it's due to chemo, steroidsgastroparesis, or something else, lupus is often associated with nausea. When you start adding, for example, chemo and gastroparesis, you get even more nausea. We're not talking "I feel slightly ill" here. No, it's more of a "excuse me while I spend the rest of the day huddled on the bathroom floor" sort of feeling.

Everyone has their own tips and tricks for dealing with nausea. Here are my two favorites:

1. Dissolvable Zofran. This is a prescription nausea medication that tastes almost, but not entirely, unlike strawberries. You put it under your tongue and it dissolves. That way you don't have to swallow a pill when you feel like tossing your cookies. Magic. The drug is so-so in terms of how powerful it is. It definitely helps, but for me it doesn't completely get rid of most nausea. It does bring it down to manageable levels.

2. Compazine. This is actually an anti-psychotic drug that just happens to help with nausea. Two downsides: you do have to swallow a pill, and it can really knock you out. Which is good if you're trying to sleep, but bad if you need to attend a business meeting. For me it's stronger than zofran, but I have to weigh that against the whole "puts me to sleep" thing.

I know, I know...you were hoping for magnetic bracelets that hit pressure points, or scented oils, or somesuch. If that works for you, go for it. Me, I don't buy into it. But there are a few non-medication remedies I find a little helpful:

1. Soda crackers. Counter-intuitive, I know, but if you can eat something very simple like a saltine, sometimes it will settle your stomach. Low-fat graham crackers can have the same effect. I like the cinnamon ones, but that's just a personal taste.

2. Ginger. I tend to ingest it in the form of tea. I don't know how powerful it is, but it seems to help a little.

3. Sleep. If I can fall asleep then I can't feel the nausea. Big if, though.

Things to Avoid:

1. Coffee. We all know that coffee has certain effects on the digestive system. For me it makes nausea a lot worse. I say this with a great face of sadness because I love coffee. A lot.

2. High-fat foods. These are hard to digest, and your stomach will often tell you so. Graphically.

3. Pictures of food. Maybe it's just me, but when I'm nauseous, Pinterest is the last place I want to be. And I've been known to block friends from my Facebook feed because they kept posting food porn and it made me ill. Keep that **** away from me when I am sick.

As I said, everyone has their own tricks, but those are the ones I can come up with off-hand. Hope they're helpful! If anyone has any of their own, please feel free to share in the comments!

Side note: deciding not to eat for extended periods of time because you're feeling nauseous is not such a great idea. It put me in the hospital for two weeks. I don't recommend it.

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