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Is this normal?

2 Oct 2019 02:01

Mum has terminal small cell lung cancer, Diagnosed just over 5 weeks ago and fading fast. she has had one round of palliative chemo albeit a reduced dose due to only one working kidney and has repeatedly vomited green ‘sludge’ with ovoid pink flesh type things, like the top of a little finger, is this normal? What is it? 

Im very sorry for the subject matter.

Is this normal?

2 Oct 2019 13:27 in response to Karen6104

Hello Karen and thanks for posting, 

I am very sorry to learn about your mum. This vomiting must be a horrible thing for her to be experiencing and for you to see. 

People can feel nauseous and vomit because of chemotherapy, but there are lots of anti-sickness medicines available which may be able to help with this, so do tell your mum to contact either her GP or the hospital chemotherapy unit. They should be able to arrange some different medicines for her to try to get on top of the vomiting. But I am not sure if this is the only reason why she is vomiting. 

Vomit is usually green because bile (made in the liver to help digest fat) is mingled with the stomach contents. Bile can sometimes be present in the stomach because the bowel isn't moving its contents along in the way that it should, and this could be because of a blockage, but it may not be.  I think it is something to mention to your mum's doctors so they know about it and can assess her.

I'm afraid I do not know what the ovoid fleshy things are. Vomit usually contains stomach contents (partially digested food which isn't always so recognizable) along with gastric secretions.  Perhaps they are bits of food your mum has managed to eat? 

As your mum has an advanced cancer I assume she has had a referral to a palliative care team. Palliative care is about controlling symptoms to maintain quality of life and  keeping people comfortable. It is also about end of life care.  Palliative care nurses are sometimes called Macmillan nurses. If your mum has been referred to one of these teams do get in touch with them, if not she could ask for a referral. The hospital or GP can arrange it. 

Do make sure she lets someone know what is happening so they can try and help her to feel a bit better. 

Please do give us a call if you want to talk anything over. Our number is Freephone 0808 800 4040 and we are around from 9-5, Mon-Fri. 

Take care,


Is this normal?

2 Oct 2019 15:12 in response to Karen6104

I'm sorry to hear about your mother. When a friend was terminally ill she was told that cold food might be easy to digest - so she ate tiny portions of food that was sometimes iced. You can also be prescribed food that is easier to swallow as well as drugs to reduce vomiting, although the lack of a kidney may limit what she can be given. It's also worth trying baby food - easy to get in small portions, easily digested and full of nutrients. 

If you have a hospice nearby they are brilliant places and you dont necessarily have to be in one to get help from them.  

Is this normal?

2 Oct 2019 17:52 in response to CRUK Nurse Julia

Thank you Julia for the information and clarification, it’s just so worrrying and it’s very hard to find out what is normal, everything is new to me and I’d just like to be prepared and not to panic my mum who is going through so much. She was to have an appointment with a palliative nurse 15 miles away tomorrow (although we would have struggled getting her there) but she has now been admitted to hospital, they are wonderful I have to say, I’ve met with 2 palliative care doctors today and it appears that mum will not be returning home and will be released to a hospice should she improve enough and if not will be cared for by the people I’ve met today. We had been struggling with any kind of palliative care due to health care boundary issues, her doctor and she are in different authority areas. Her admission to hospital appears to be the best thing for her as apparently the most help we could have obtained otherwise was a short visit 3 mornings a week to help with washing etc and some equipment. Pain meds could not have been administered by us and I feel that there would be times when she was in pain and would have to wait for medication. She hasn’t been eating due to pressure by the cancer on a nerve that prevents her from swallowing and it makes sense what you said about bile. The fleshy things are definitely not food. she had some antisickness meds for 2 days following her chemo, the hospital has restarted them, so hopefully this will have her feeling more comfortable. 

Thank you again 

regards Karen

Is this normal?

2 Oct 2019 17:57 in response to anotheralias

Thank you for your reply anotheralias, I’m sorry about your friend x

Mum is trying, bless her but even tiny sips of water or an ice cube  currently make her vomit, I’m hopeful that the anti sickness meds she has just been started on will make her more comfortable. If she is able to eat anything I’ll make sure I have some iced food etc waiting for her. We have just been assigned some palliative help, albeit following her admission to hospital, I’m hoping that they can help further.

Best wishes x