Saturday’s post was about how Revlimid–even at lower doses–causes me to seize-up and cramp in the early morning.
After sharing a few tips about how I have learned to minimize this inconvenient side effect over the years, I wrote this:
Constipation is also an issue for me–especially since I also take oxycodone for bone pain–and it helps my peripheral neuropathy, too. But I handle that with a comprehensive program I will be glad to share with you in a few days.
Since my diagnosis over five years ago, I have heard from a number of my fellow patients that using Velcade, Thalomid and/or Revlimid can cause diarrhea. While I’m not surprised to hear that any type of strong medication can shock one’s system, a far more common side effect is the opposite reaction; chronic constipation.
In my case, constipation issues are aggravated by my use of oxycodone.
Notorious for “binding-one-up,” a combination of prescription pain killers and any number of novel therapy agents often lead to big-time challenges with constipation.
So what do I do about it?
As many of you have already experienced, simply changing one’s diet may not be enough. But it is the beginning of a long-term solution.
I start my day with a vegetable smoothie which includes spinach, tomatoes, celery, carrots, kale and milled flax seed. And I eat two or more vegetables at each meal.
Since I’m on a low carb diet, eating lots of fruit isn’t practical for me. But some raisins, blueberries and a few prunes can help.
But modifying what you eat by adding a wide variety of fiber-rich foods is only the solid base. I quickly learned that no matter how many veggies I ate, it wasn’t always enough.
I have never liked the idea of using a product like Metamucil or over-the-counter stool softeners for a long period of time.
So what’s my secret? Magnesium.
Yep. Inexpensive magnesium tablets that you can buy at Walgreens, CVS, Walmart or Target.
Magnesium is the number one ingredient in a number of laxatives. It is inexpensive and has the added bonus of helping to reduce the severity of Revlimid induced cramping.
You can experiment with how many tablets to take and when. I’m not a physician, but I believe the worst that can happen if you take too much is a case of the “runs.”
For me, a couple of tablets in the am and again at night–along with my high fiber diet–is enough to keep me close to regular.
I already mentioned how I add milled flax seed to my morning smoothie. Flax seed is an amazing food, full of omega 3′s and fiber. So is wheat germ. Sprinkling one or both of these concentrated super foods in your cereal is both good for you and a “constipation buster” for some. Consume enough, and “some” becomes most.
I’m anxious to hear how my readers deal with constipation. If you aren’t comfortable sharing your tips in the comment section, email them to me and I will pass the information along later this week: Pat@helpwithcancer.org.
Tomorrow I will continue my series: Immunotherapy: The good, the bad and the ugly, featuring Part Two: THE BAD.
Part Two focuses on some of the drawbacks and inconsistencies with immunotherapy research thus far.
Until then, load-up on flax seed and magnesium so you can feel good and keep smiling! Pat