The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society - Fighting Blood Cancers
4 Replies Latest reply: Jul 4, 2012 2:24 PM by mom2samandmad RSS

Learned to swallow pills

stevemckinion Registered Users
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I've written previously about Harrison's (10 yrs old, pre-B ALL with previously unknown translocation, dx dec 2011) struggle with swallowing pills.  Of all the challenges fighting cancer, this one has caused Harrison and our family the greatest frustration.  Because of his rare form of the disease, he is experimentally on Gleevec (which, thanks to God, is currently working), meaning he has three additional pills to take every day.  Many days he would go through 4 or 5 doses, vomiting them up in whatever concoction we mixed them in.


After six months of this daily hell, he has finally gained a victory over the pills.  We went to specialists, the child psychologist at the clinic, and countless websites looking for help.  My wife found the following video from Dr. Bonnie Kaplan from the University of Calgary.  After practicing with virtually no success for two weeks, Harrison just starting swallowing the pills one day.  Amazing.


Once he learned the system, he started practicing at baseball games.  He was invited to join the North Carolina State baseball team in the dugout for their games.  Of course, there are plenty of sunflower seeds to be had in a college baseball dugout.  So Harrison started using what he learned from the video to help him swallow the unshelled seeds.  It worked.  Now he takes his meds with NO PROBLEM every day.


One small victory in this terrible war against pediatric cancer.  But a HUGE victory for Harrison and our family.


I've spoken with numerous families with kids always struggling with swallowing pills.  If this helps someone, like it did Harrison, then great.


Here's the link:


Keep up the good fight!

  • Re: Learned to swallow pills
    MomofNicholas Registered Users
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    Thanks for sharing!  I"m going to pass it along.   Fight on!!!  ~Theresa

  • Re: Learned to swallow pills
    tcell_all Registered Users
    Currently Being Moderated

    This may also help...


    Our son had trouble with pills too.  In the beginning, he would stare at the pills for an eternity before attempting  to take them.  He also tended to gag.  I told him not to try to swallow and not to bend his head backward/eyes skyward, but just to keep his head level as usual and let the water wash the pill down -- like drinking.  That is, do nothing special, just do what he would do when he drinks.

  • Re: Learned to swallow pills
    kimmeebee Registered Users
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    What a victory!!



    Emma learned at age 4, which I think is a true testament to just how terrible flagyl and septra taste. :-( Now she is almost 7 and has to do either chewables or liquids when she has to take an OTC med. She is actually looking forward to the day when she's old enough to swallow pills again. LOL

  • Re: Learned to swallow pills
    mom2samandmad Registered Users
    Currently Being Moderated

    Good for Harrison!!! Thanks for sharing. Anything that makes day to day life easier for our kids (and us) is definitely a huge victory! We have all agreed that Sam learning to swallow pills would be a greatly helpful accomplishment in this journey. It's mainly the weekend septra that we've been having problems with but it would be great if we could stop crushing the nightly chemo, etc too. He just started the bravery bead program and one of the beads he can earn is a special accomplishment that we decide on so we said that it should be pill swallowing. I'm hoping that this will add some motivation and I will check out the site you posted for more tips. Becky

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