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Mimi
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June 29, 2020 9:59 am  

Hello fellow ostomates

Fasting can sometimes be helpful for managing illness, and also for managing side-effects of chemotherapy etc., for some people.

I have Stage IV colon cancer, and alongside my healthy diet, supplments, exercise and meditation, I have been toying with introducing fasting - say a day a week, or perhaps a couple of days a fortnight. I have googled, and I haven't found much information at all about fasting with a stoma, and I wondered if any ostomates here have fasted in the past, or fast regularly for health and well-being?

If there are fasting ostomates - how has it been for you, and do you have any tips or thoughts for someone thinking about it?

One concern I have is - so far (11 weeks in) my stoma is working very well, managing my wide and varied diet, and it's all going well. (Apart from some skin issues). What I didn't know was whether fasting might disrupt a well-functioning stoma - or am I worrying about nothing?

Best wishes and many thanks.

 

Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can. - John Wesley


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VeganOstomy
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June 29, 2020 10:10 am  

I've fasted strategically, but not usually more than a few days. 

Here are my observations (keep in mind that I have an ileostomy, so other stoma types may differ):

  • First, I don't recommend fasting without letting your doctor know. If you have a nutritional deficiency, it will only make it worse. 
  • My output will slow down to nearly nothing when I fast (great if I'm traveling).
  • I will have an increase in bile in the bag as I fast, which is green and smells worse than output. I use gelling products to better manage it. 
  • My wear times are about the same when fasting.
  • My stoma works as it did before the fast once I resume eating. 
  • Longer fasts may result in weight loss, which could change the landscape of your abdomen, so measure and monitor your stoma size/shape.

I personally don't feel that fasting benefits health enough, at least not in the way it's often "sold" by some people, to do it on a regular basis. It does help to give the bowel some rest and will significantly reduce my output enough to make it a useful tool.

Good luck!

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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Mimi
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June 29, 2020 10:24 am  

@veganostomy

Hello Eric - well that's a full and very helpful answer. Mine is also an ileostomy. Good to know that the stoma carries on working normally post-fasting. Good idea to use fasting as a tool to help with travel, I can see how that would be useful.

You mention gelling agents - what are those? I hadn't even thought about bile, and relative consistency.

Many thanks and best wishes.

Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can. - John Wesley


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VeganOstomy
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June 29, 2020 10:27 am  
Posted by: @mimi

You mention gelling agents - what are those?

Have a look here: https://www.veganostomy.ca/guide-to-ostomy-gelling-products/

They are basically a product you put inside your bag to thicken up liquid output. They can reduce leaks caused by liquid output and they can help make emptying your bag easier.

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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Jattzl
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June 29, 2020 1:32 pm  

Hi Eric 

I need to have an MRI laying flat on my stomach for an hour. I was considering fast before it to slow the output. Has anyone else done this or have any other advice on how it will impact my stoma?  I’m afraid of it causing a blockage or something. 

51 years Type 1 Diabetes, insulin pump, CGM, neurological complications, retinopathy, and autoimmune CIDP. Nerve damage led to ileostomy in 1/2015.


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john68
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June 29, 2020 1:38 pm  

Hi Jattzl, I had to do that last year, I was fasting and as a result had very little output. I was given a buzzer so if needed I could alert the operator. On thing that was a real pain was it’s a real killer on the back. But no problem with the stoma 

ileostomy 31st August 1994 for Crohns


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VeganOstomy
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June 29, 2020 3:09 pm  
Posted by: @jattzl

I need to have an MRI laying flat on my stomach for an hour. I was considering fast before it to slow the output. Has anyone else done this or have any other advice on how it will impact my stoma?  

I had an MRI and didn't have to do any special prep for a very short fast (like no food or drink for 4 hours before), but I did end up skipping breakfast and lunch that day. https://www.veganostomy.ca/my-first-mri/

I would let someone at the MRI clinic about your stoma, mostly to see if anything can be put under your stomach for comfort. Stomach down on a hard surface would be uncomfortable for anyone, ostomate or otherwise. 

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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Jattzl
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June 29, 2020 3:43 pm  

@john68  thank you John and Eric!  Yes my back is a big concern along with stoma. Also, I need to have my arms up so my frozen shoulders are a worry too. I didn’t mean to hijack the thread but the fasting caught my eye so that info helped too. Thanks again!

51 years Type 1 Diabetes, insulin pump, CGM, neurological complications, retinopathy, and autoimmune CIDP. Nerve damage led to ileostomy in 1/2015.


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Mimi
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June 29, 2020 3:44 pm  

@veganostomy

That's a lucky coincidence . . . I had completely forgotten that I have an MRI scan tomorrow morning. (My first, for my spine). And you have reminded me that I need to avoid eating before the scan. Thank you so much!

I've also just read your post about the MRI scan, so at least I have some idea of what to expect. Not sure if I'll be lying on my tummy or my back.

Best wishes.

Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can. - John Wesley


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ChrisandBagpus
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June 30, 2020 12:36 am  

Another option is a low residue diet. It reduces the amount of output half resting good after a curry hurry!

Colostomy Jan 2020


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LK
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June 30, 2020 4:37 am  

Folks...Interesting topics!  I have had MRI in Feb. & my shoulders were still giving me trouble from an Injury long ago when I tore my right rotor cuff & arthritis. Arms above for that hour was a concern for me too. Make sure you tell them & they will support your arms with pillows for comfort  I was only a tad sore after. Not bad at all!!  I did find the holding of breath the worst part to deal with tho. Being Asthmatic I feel tight for air often. No mask wearing and lots of staying home these days! Lol!  My Ileostomy is hyperactive the majority of the time. Only sips of water if allowed. It limits output too. There were no issues after  the  MRI everything picked up where we left off. I did start with soups and soft meals  to begin foods again tho. Just to avoid a blockage. I deal with a lot of bloating  even after a short  fasting, so I also take Gas-X with good results.

Same with a longer fasting. I have had to do it often with a stoma and it has never caused issues when starting to eat again if I started as above and small meals often. Never weekly just for tests or blockages. As the boss man said, be very careful with fasting if you deal with malnutrition issues  from an active stoma. If you think your body is giving you signs of nutrition issues....please.. see you Doctor about it. They can run blood work to make sure your doing well & not lacking in essential nutrients & vitamins  plus they can support you with advice if you need a little help. Just a little nutrition issue can lead to bigger problems. 

Eric,  impressive, your explanation above  is  excellent! You covered everything necessary! Way to go Boss Man!! lol! 

I hope everyone's test results come out for the better! Be as well as you can be. 

 

Linda


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dogtalkerer
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July 2, 2020 2:39 pm  

@mimi , 2 things that bother me;

1.) "some people" and "most people" are often used but have no specific meaning. here we want  a very specific number as to people that benefit from fasting during chemo.

2.) say you don't feel well during chemo and you decide to fast, then you feel worse so you decide you need to fast even more? a downward spin.   I think you are in for a bit of a  rough road ahead, just being honest here.  I was stage 2-3, on Oxyliplatin and Xelode . it wasn't always easy.   if I didn't have something to eat shortly after an infusion, I got pretty sick feeling.  luckily I was never in a vomit state.

I did get so sick once that I stopped taking Xelode for 2 days, i lay in bed and didn't move a muscle. most food is not going to taste good, eat whatever you can.   one reason medical marijuana is suggested-munchies....eat,eat.  from my experience , I would not recommend fasting at all.  I really don't think diet is that important, its too short term to worry about and I feel eating something,anything , is better than not. 

its nice to think the body heals itself,  but not always. here's a good example.  i heard the founder of Apple computer wished he had tried tradition chemo rather than natural medicines.

on the flip side I've heard of people gaining weight during chemo, but you'll probably find those numbers very small. 


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Mimi
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July 2, 2020 3:04 pm  

@dogtalkerer

Hello - thank you very much for sharing your experience. Yes, I'm trying to find out how people with a stoma manage with fasting. In particular, the impact on the stoma and whether fasting can cause problems.

I'm not currently undergoing any treatment, but I do know that there are some doctors who recommend fasting, starting the day before the chemo, the day of the chemo and half a day following (which sounds a lot to me) - and that this can help reduce nausea and vomiting. Also, that this kind of fasting can also improve the efficacy of chemotherapy. This is not my opinion (!) but I've read about it in various PubMeb papers and also referred to online etc. I don't understand this world at all . . . and am simply at the information gathering stage. And there is nothing like hearing personal experience over 'in vitro' experiments!

The thing that is really clear is that different people react differently . . . and what works for one person, may not work for another. Which is why it is brilliant that people are happy to share their experience. The idea that using fasting to help reduce output when travelling is really useful to know, and something that I will add to my toolkit for beginners.

Best wishes and many thanks.

 

Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can. - John Wesley


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dogtalkerer
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July 2, 2020 3:55 pm  

well, l report your findings for sure. I did better with eating. true, many do not react the same.  there are many different chemo drugs and they all act differently.

read everything you can so you can get a broad feeling for whats going on. read the pros and cons as well.


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dogtalkerer
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July 2, 2020 4:21 pm  

also, read all you can about the drugs you take.  even papers that are impossible to understand, you may get something out of them.  I was surprised to read how short a time the drugs stay in the blood, but since the liver is the filter it did make sense.

the xelode was in pill form and I took that daily.


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Mimi
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July 3, 2020 12:13 pm  

@dogtalkerer

That's definitely good advice. Learn as much as we can, to understand what is going on. Also helps with making better, more informed decisions. Thank you.

Best wishes.

Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can. - John Wesley


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LLNorth
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July 3, 2020 12:40 pm  

Hi. Mimi,

Although I have never fasted there were times during chemo that I didn’t have much appetite and ate little. During those times my stoma began passing frothy white bubbles! I called the stoma nurse, who told me it was because there wasn’t solid food going through me, not to worry, and to eat if I could. Thought I would tell you this in case you should experience the same thing - it was so strange!

LL

Colostomy 4/30/18
I love the smell of coffee in the morning. It smells like .... victory.


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Mimi
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July 4, 2020 5:49 am  

@llholiday

Hello - thank you so much for sharing that experience. To be honest I am terrified of undergoing chemotherapy, and I have not committed to this yet. I have asked the oncologist a lot of questions to try to understand about the risks and benefits for someone in my situation.

I hope that all went well for you.

Best wishes and many thanks.

Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can. - John Wesley


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LLNorth
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July 4, 2020 12:01 pm  

@mimi   My colostomy (lower colon and rectum) was late spring 2018, then I had chemotherapy (infusions) during the summer, radiation in the fall, and chemo (pills) in winter. I lived my life throughout, though I went on half-time FMAL during the fall. Kept on working (love my work, which was flexible and accommodating, bless them), writing, sewing, etc. Chemo was not as difficult as I thought it would be. I had IV anti-nausea medication during infusions and pills for if I needed them at home (they encouraged me to stay ahead of it and not wait for nausea to get worse before taking them). I never actually threw up, though I did feel queasy, and I ate smaller amounts, more often, which I think made the difference. My hair thinned quite a bit but I never felt I needed the wig I bought (I know that is really about the least of problems but I am vain about my hair). I rested a lot. Mimi, my cancer was 3B; I know this is scary and I will keep you in my thoughts - can you feel the good juju vibes coming at you?

Colostomy 4/30/18
I love the smell of coffee in the morning. It smells like .... victory.


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Mimi
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July 4, 2020 1:03 pm  

@llholiday

Thank you so much. It is kind of you to share your story and experience . . . I do feel that this is a very caring foum.

Best wishes and thanks.

Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can. - John Wesley


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