Chemo Cravings

As I’ve alluded to many times before, chemotherapy hasn’t yet taken away my healthy appetite. However, I was met with some out-of-the-norm food cravings in the days following my first treatment.

Yup. Wendy’s would be one of them. Actually, I am one of those people who legitimately does not like fast food (as opposed to you health nuts who secretly do – you know who you are!). I was told not to eat any of my favourite foods after chemo, because chances are I may never want to eat them again. Good advice, because even though I didn’t get physically ill, I’m not sure if I’ll want to eat Wendy’s chicken wraps again.

Mostly what I craved, and have been craving, is meat. Surrounded by bread. Namely, fried egg sandwiches.

I lived off these for the first three days after my chemo. It was all I could stomach. The thought of my usual peanut butter toast and Greek yogurt for breakfast made me gag. Yes! Peanut butter!

Another one of the big cravings was a hamburger. Again, meat surrounded by bread. I may have overdone it a little on the red meat the first few days, but without these I may have starved. Or just eaten more egg sandwiches. Some people said I may no longer like spicy things, but I’m still dousing everything in hot sauce. And mustard. And pickles. And especially hummus.

The strangest craving of all is rather a lack of craving – for sweet things. I usually have an insatiable sweet tooth, but after chemo it was completely gone. The thought of anything sweet – cake, cookies, chocolate, even fruit, yogurt and nut butters, made me feel more nauseous. I’m not sure if this will be the case every time, so we’ll see what sort of craving chemo treatment #2 brings next week. Should be interesting.

In other news, I’m going to be MIA until Sunday. I’m at The Best Place On Earth!

My cottage!

We’ve got a family cottage in Nova Scotia and I’m finally feeling well enough to go. The first time this summer! A few relaxing days away before my next treatment will be absolute paradise.

Have a great weekend!!

Posted on July 29, 2011, in Cancer. Bookmark the permalink. 54 Comments.

  1. Interesting about the cravings! I’ve never heard that about chemo before. I don’t really like fast food either, so I’m with you. Except McDonalds french fries, which I haven’t had in years haha. Your cottage looks absolutely beautiful so have fun :)

  2. Enjoy your rest at the cottage, I hope you get to relax!

  3. all my friends who have had chemo have said some thing about sweet things. maybe the body is showing us that our taste for sugar dones’t mean its good for us? and when in recovery mode, i’m sure our bodies know what we need – meat and bread for you!!! happy holiday – your cottage is stunning. its freezing here in Brisbane, Australia so a summer holiday sounds like bliss!!! xxx

  4. Food cravings and aversions, when our bodies are going thru extreme changes and stress, are always so interesting! Reminds me of pregnancy when I wanted nothing to do with fresh, raw, green…and everything to do with white, processed, and carby!

    Hope you’re feeling strong today!

  5. greensandjeans

    I love Nova Scotia and I’ve been currently plotting reasons to go back. My friend DJ went through chemo a few years ago and he said all he ate was McDonalds blizzards and now just driving by a McDonalds makes him queezy.

  6. Oh your cottage looks perfect. Enjoy your weekend to the fullest my friend!

  7. Your cravings make sense — meat to get your iron levels up, and sugar is really bad for cancer since cancer cells thrive on it. Smart body!! ;-) enjoy the time at the cottage!

  8. I’m in Nova Scotia and crossing my fingers this lovely weather sticks around for your weekend.. Enjoy! :)

  9. Welcome to NS :) I hope your weekend is relaxing and rejuvenating!

  10. It’s always random what chemo patients crave. My dad CRAVED those gas station bagged donuts when we was on chemo. He didn’t really like them even before the chemo. He once ate a bag on a road trip during that part in his life. You always hear that your appetite goes away, but good to hear that food sounds good to you:)

  11. I’ve never been to your cottage but I agree it’s in the best place on earth (I’m originally from Nova Scotia, now living in Toronto). Going back home for a visit in two weeks and can’t wait! When my Mom went through chemo she experienced a lot of the cravings you are as well. Plus potato chips, even though they’re not healthy they helped her stomach a lot.

  12. So glad you’re taking some time to get away! Enjoy. You deserve it!

  13. Your cottage looks like the perfect weekend getaway! Enjoy :)

  14. Okay I’m not sure if the “you know who you are” is referring to my pizza obsession or not … or perhaps it’s the beer obsession, who can say … or perhaps you’re not referring to myself whatsoever

    “beer beer beer beer beer” ;)

  15. Wow thats strange that you’ve lost your sweet tooth! I wonder if it will come back after chemo?

    Have fun at the cottage!

  16. I’m not really an ice cream person, but that is ALL I’ve been craving since I started chemo! It is so nice to read about someone going throuh what I’m going through right now and experiencing similar things!!

    • YES!! I craved ice cream in the first few days following chemo too, and I usually don’t like it! There’s something about the cold creamy texture of it that I found strangely appetizing even though all other sweet things sounded too gross.

  17. I adore your upbeat attitude! You’re such an inspiration and a reminder to enjoy life. I hope you have a great time at the cottage. Enjoy your meat and bread ;)

  18. It’s so random- my dad wanted ice cream and mashed potatoes. Loulou (Eden’s dad) wants raw steak! Go figure! Does that mean you’ll never want to eat a hamburger after treatment?? I totally LOVE fast food but never eat it. I’d say a filet o fish & fries would be my fave fast food meal. WEndy’s not as much for some reason. I think I am only lured in by the best fries and wendy’s does not have them.

    Enjoy your cottage! it looks like heaven.

  19. Careful with that meat. It works in direct opposition of what I can only imagine is your goal of health. If you do go for the meat- best be fully organic! Feed lot cattle have insane cancer rates. No one should be eating that- especially if in a position with a suppressed immune system.

    • Despite the meals themselves, we’ve switched ALL the ingredients to organic, grass fed, etc etc. You’d think now would be the time to really boost up the healthy foods, but I’ve heard of some people having to give up anti oxidants because it will work against treatment! Not so crazy if you think about it, considering what’s being used to kill the cancer are toxins that are killing healthy cells too (ie my hair). My doctor has said from the beginning to just eat what I can, as some calories are better than no calories. I’d really like to get through this process without needing a blood transfusion. Not pictured are the fresh fruit and veggie juices I’m using to get those additional nutrients when I can’t eat actual produce itself :)

  20. Hi Susan, interesting cravings. I never have any cravings, but they also told me not to eat my favorite foods. I was hooked on egg salad sandwiches after a few treatments. Now after 5 of 8 treatments most of the foods taste normal again, so maybe that is the way things will go for you. Hope you are felling okay these days, and I think of you going through this journey.

    • Thank you Beth!! So far I’ve noticed the craving subsided after the first 3-5 days and my appetite is back to normal almost two weeks later. Part of my chemo is a steroid, so at this point I’m actually more concerned about gaining weight than losing weight!

  21. Have a great weekend! You deserve a little time away! XOXO

  22. I lost my sweet tooth during both of my pregnancies. Reminds me of something you said the other day, something like: “This must be what pregnancy feels like. Except that I’m trying to KILL something growing inside me, rather than grow it”. Great observation – I liked it!

  23. ApacheWarrior

    Hi Susan,

    I went through chemo for Lymphoma last year. I lost a lot of weight even though my appitite was good. Now I’m almost up to my old weight. My doctor is at the Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok and I took the chemo here in Egypt where I work. So far I am in good health. Good luck to you.

  24. It will be interesting to see how your tastes keep changing! I know my uncle had the biggest sweet tooth, and now he won’t even eat cake after undergoing chemo for testicular cancer. The food thing is that you’ll still enjoy food, maybe just with different preferences!

    Enjoy your weekend at the cottage, it looks gorgeous!

  25. May you be refreshed and restored and come back with all the strength you need to face your next round of chemo!

  26. Enjoy your time at the cottage. It looks absolutely amazing and gorgeous there! That is so interesting about your chemo cravings! I guess a Wendy’s chicken wrap isn’t the worst thing to never want to eat again, at least it wasn’t one of your favourite foods – like your fav veggie burger! ;)

    Also interesting to hear how your sweet tooth is gone now! I didn’t know any of this about chemo.

  27. I also hadn’t heard of those cravings around chemo, how interesting! It’s like your pregnant… except you’re trying to kill the thing in you instead of help it grow?! Heh. I say feed the cravings, even if it means living off of hamburgers :)

    Also I would pay money to be sitting on that grass right now, watching the water… sigh! hehe

  28. oh man Nova Scotia looks FANTASTIC! Have a blast!

    I gave up fast food a while ago but CRAVE it sometimes. I can’t eat most of it anyway due to celiacs but man, I want to sometimes.

  29. oh enjoy the cottage! bring plenty of meat! actually, I should have sent you some of my extra venison meat. haha.

  30. It sounds like your body is really wanting and needing protein so I say go with it!

    Have fun at your cottage – here in the Annapolis Valley in NS it’s suppose to rain all day tomorrow, but be nice Sunday and Monday – I hope where ever your cottage is located that you have nice weather for the whole weekend. You certainly deserve it!

  31. I’m pretty much unashamed of my fast food love! Wendy’s and Chick-fil-a are the only fast food places in my area that I can find something gluten free at so I eat a lot of Wendy’s. I always crave fries when I’m sick. Always.

    Have a great time at your cottage! I seems so peaceful and relaxing! :)

    BTW, pizza crust is store bought. I have no success combining gf flours and yeast!

  32. Yep, my sweet tooth went out the window although it has returned somewhat. And I crave Chinese food. Did not even like Chinese food prior to chemo.

    Hope you have a lovely weekend!

  33. I don’t know how hard eating after chemo must be like for you, and I can try to relate, but I have a feeling that i will never get the full story. I do however, know the feeling of weird cravings, where you just want something greasy and fattening and not at all healthy or oil-less.

  34. The cottage! It really is gorgeous. Enjoy your time there, Susan :)

  35. So glad you are enjoying your cottage! My mom lost her appetite for all the things she loved too after chemo although she had no appetite at all…

  36. ENJOY the beautiful time away at the cottage Susan!!

  37. Ever since my dad started chemo, he’s been craving a lot of red meat when he used to be a fish/chicken eater. He actually eats a lot of yogurt now, but also a lot of supplement shakes to keep his weight up since his appetite is not as strong as it used to be.
    Let me know if you want me to make you a special “brownie”… ;)

  38. Have an amazing time. You deserve it!

  39. So glad you’re able to get away to the cottage! Have a great time! When my dad was going through chemo, he ate the weirdest things!

  40. Now that is a cottage! The Maritimes are so beautiful and you get to experience NB and NS…..lucky girl. Fried egg sandwiches are the best!

  41. Have fun on your mini vacation!!! Looks SO lovely!

  42. Have a great vacation! I just ate an egg and cheese sandwich for dinner. Great minds think alike.

  43. Enjoy your weekend, you deserve a nice relaxing time! I love egg sandwiches. I love anything with bread come to think of it! :)

  44. Wow that view is beautiful! Looks like a great getaway :)

    – Nicole

  45. hi Susan, hope you are feeling good today. i went through chemo last year, and had strange cravings too. mostly Mcdonalds vanilla milk shakes, and Hawaiian Punch. I love your food pics. Hope you are enjoying Nova Scotia and taking good care of yourself.

  46. That fried-egg sandwich actually photographs really well!! =P

  47. while i see no connection between it, i too have been having way LESS sweet cravings and way MORE spicy cravings. i have no idea how this has come to be seeming as i have ALWAYS been a sweets person. it has confounded me really. glad you had so much fun at the cottage!!!

  48. I’m totally late on this party but thanks for posting this – I’m in the middle of round 5 of AVBD for HL and I had the peanut butter aversion initially but its gone away. My sweet tooth has been in and out througout the process. Glad I found your blog!

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