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All TopicsForum: Relationships, Emotional Crises, Anxiety, and Depression → Topic: Eating disorder and Cancer

Topic: Eating disorder and Cancer

Forum: Relationships, Emotional Crises, Anxiety, and Depression — Meet and support others who are affected by these issues around breast cancer fears, diagnosis and treatment.

Posted on: May 4, 2010 06:17PM

John_eleven_4 wrote:

I know this isnt a section about this topic, but I figured it might fit.  I was wondering if anyone else has/had and eating disorder and also be dignosed with breast cancer?  I have been anorexic for over 23 yrs.  I have 3 kids but really have been struggling for about 6 months.  2 months ago I was in the hospital and ED IP again and have been really having a hard time eating anything and my weight is once again really low.  Now I am waiting on my biopsy results , my BI-RAD was 5, so now I may be facing cancer too.  Everyone keeps telling me that I need to eat to get my body ready for fighting cancer.  I'm sorry, I know it makes sense that I should just eat if I want to have energy to fight, but I cant!!!  I am in therapy and all, but honestly, i dont have the best support system.  If anyone else has been in my shoes, please give me some advise.  Maybe tell me how you handled it.  Thanks!!

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May 4, 2010 11:24PM Shrek4 wrote:

I know that what I have been told and what I have read in various medical studies, is that over-weight is a risk factor for BC. And also a risk factor for surgeries as well. I was under-weight all my life, until a year ago, when they had pushed me into hipo-thryoid state so I can get my thyroid "burned" (I was severely hyper). A year ago I became normal. Now, after surgeries, I am 20 lbs overweight.

So don't worry if you are under-weight. It is an asset, not a hindrance.

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May 5, 2010 07:01AM Bren-2007 wrote:

Hi Tammy,

  You wrote you've been anorexic for 23 years ... that's a long time to be suffering from weight and body-image issues.  My sis was anorexic for a very long time ... she would just stop eating when emotionally overwraught.  She got very, very thin as well.

   The thing is .. breast cancer doesn't change our other health issues.  I think it can make them worse sometimes.  My lifelong depression became much worse, and I needed to have it treated as such. 

   Telling someone to eat while under great stress and anorexic is like telling a person with depression to snap out of it once you've got the all clear from surgery.  It doesn't work that way.  And it just makes you feel worse.

   What you need to fight breast cancer is a strong mind .. gather information, do the research and make informed decisions.  I hope you family can be supportive and let you work through this issue with food. 

  My issue with food is the opposite .. I started eating after my diagnosis and treatment ... it's emotional eating and I haven't yet figured out how to stop.  Like Day wrote, I've gained 20 pounds and it's stuck to my belly. 

I wish you all the best ... please don't be too hard on yourself.  Eat whatever you can, when you can and focus on getting rid of the cancer.

Hugs,

Bren

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May 6, 2010 02:42PM, edited May 6, 2010 02:45PM by GryffinSong

Hugs to you!!! I'm so sorry you're facing breast cancer!!! I am not anorexic, but I was borderline in college. I remember, at 104 pounds, looking in the mirror and seeing a fat young woman. Meanwhile, my brother yelled at me to eat, my hipbones stuck out about an inch beyond my belly, and when I see pictures now I can't believe how underweight I was.

So I can sort of relate. I didn't want to eat anything, and threw out most of what the cafeteria put on my plate. I remember feeling dizzy a lot, if I stood up too quickly my vision would start going black until only a dot remained, and although I never actually fainted, I still remember the odd feelings of having a body that was deprived of all that it needed.

I know a woman who has been anorexic for over 50 years. She was doing terribly for quite some time. She was lucky to weigh 60 or 70 pounds, and often suffered from crippling migraines, as well as spending a fair amount of time in the hospital. She is much better now. Still quite underweight, but no longer sick all the time. I think what changed for her is retiring and moving to the shore. In other words, she's happier. She's in a beautiful place and is getting active again as her body gains strength. Perhaps there's some things you can do to make you feel happy, to see beauty around you, to feel joy as much as possible. Whatever that means to you, if you can spoil yourself a bit, and know that you deserve it, I think chemo will be a little easier.

I wish I had better answers for you. Chemo is a time for pampering yourself, if you can. It takes its toll. I'm glad to see that you're aware of the issues, and hope you can find support during this time of fighting and healing.

Hugs and best of luck to you!!!

Edited to add: If you haven't already, please share with your therapist your lack of supportive people in your life. Perhaps he or she can help you build a support network to get you through. I know that I was really helped by a local cancer support group that met weekly. They might not have your exact issues, but it's one idea to at least feel heard and supported.

bmx, no recon - December 16, 2008, AC/T, rads

Dx 11/4/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 3/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 7, 2010 12:29PM wildbreast wrote:

Hello,

I have some eating disorders, | believe I am a bulimic bordeline (laxative, diuretic). I have this problem for very longtime. I don't think it really made any different during treatment but the fact that I was more anxious about food due to the sickness and changes in the taste. I suposse this things, anorexia and bulimia have an impact on your hormone levels, as many other things, but I don't think they can cause you cancer or being a risk factor. I think cancer is a very complex illnes and we don't understand yet all the factors that take place in the development of the illness. 

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May 7, 2010 06:09PM John_eleven_4 wrote:

just got results stage 2, in the ducts and lobes.  i only know that i will be starting out with chemo to shrink tumor.  meeting with surgeon on mond. at 4pm

John 11:4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. Diagnosis: 5/2010, IDC, 4cm, ILC 1cm, DCIS, Stage III, Grade 3,ER+/PR+, HER2-

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May 8, 2010 12:15AM LoriL wrote:

Hugs to you, Tammy! Anytime our world as we know it is rocked, we are at risk for any emotional problems flaring up. I've struggled with Binge Eating Disorder on and off for years. It had not been a problem for me in several years, but when I was diagnosed with B.C. last year it sure flared up. I found myself wanting to binge a lot, and often woke up in the middle of the night to eat. I'm super active, so I haven't gained any weight, but the guilt feelings associated with binging have taken a toll on me. Slowly things are getting back to normal.

As you know, eating disorders really aren't about the food itself. It goes much deeper than that and often has to do with control. So, it makes sense that when we feel like a part of us (like cancer in our breasts!)  is out of control we try to control other parts of ourselves that much more. Hug yourself, be kind to yourself, and if you can, give your body the nourishment that it needs. I wish you well!

Bilateral Mastectomy without reconstruction 5/28/09; Oncotype Dx 16- no chemo; Close margins so 6 weeks of rads followed by Tamoxifen for 1.5 years (discontinued due to side effects)

Dx 4/22/2009, ILC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 26, 2012 08:32AM 11BC wrote:

I'm adding this to my favorite topics. Thanks.