Helping Those Fighting Cancer to Swallow Their Medicines
With her body pumped full of chemo and skin burned from radiation, my mother was always the stoic and didn’t complain. I watched as she tried to be strong and take the pills needed to ease the pain and ward off infection, but she just couldn’t swallow them. It would take several tries to get them down and the look of pain on her face was excruciating. I would’ve given anything to help ease that pain, even just a little of it.
About 15 years ago, my mother was rushed into emergency surgery for a hysterectomy. During the surgery, the doctor came out and told us he’d removed the tumor, but that she had uterine cancer. Stage 3C, as it turned out. She had a tough fight ahead of her and surviving was a long shot, but she made it through and doctors called her a miracle.
A few years later, when they were doing follow up scans, they found she had thyroid cancer. They caught it early and the treatments weren’t nearly as hard on her.
Then, in 2015, she became very sick and was diagnosed with colon cancer. She went through surgery and started chemo, but was having a much harder time with the treatments. My dad and I did everything we could, but felt helpless watching her struggle. It was especially hard when she’d try to take her pills. She was already nauseated from the chemo and her gag reflex was super heightened, so she would choke every time trying to take the pills. She couldn’t swallow them anymore. After speaking with the doctors and trying everything she could think of, nothing seemed to help, so she ended up having to sprinkle the contents of capsules into water or crush the pills up into powder to put in the water. It was the only way she could take the medicines. Unfortunately, by doing that, she was altering the effectiveness of the drugs. I wanted to help her, but I just didn’t know how.
Later that year, my mom lost her battle with cancer.
While this is my story, there are countless others who are experiencing the same. The changes a person’s body goes through when they have cancer are numerous and one of the most common affects is how difficult it becomes to swallow. The simple act of taking a pain pill, antibiotic or anti-nausea medication becomes almost impossible.
Today, there is an option. I came across this revolutionary product while doing some research for work. It’s called MEDCOAT®. It’s a slick coating that allows pills to slide smoothly down the throat. It’s perfect for alleviating the sharp edges of pills that need to be halved or quartered, and eliminates the need to crush tablets or open capsules. Another benefit is that it covers up the bad taste of medicines.
This a simple product can make life just a little less challenging during an already trying time. While my mom never got a chance to try it out, I know several cancer patients who have and they say they are grateful for something as simple as a pill coating to make it possible to take medication without any additional pain or stress. I know if my mom was still here and able to try MEDCOAT®, she would say, “Thank you,” for making her life a little bit easier.