Topic: For those of us with BMI over 35

Forum: Mental Health: Because Cancer Doesn't Just Affect Your Breasts — Meet and support others who are affected by these issues around anxiety, depression & other emotional effects.

Posted on: Jun 23, 2019 07:21AM

Posted on: Jun 23, 2019 07:21AM

mavericksmom wrote:

Having a BMI over 40, and dealing with recurrence and family history of breast cancer makes me feel isolated. Out of my family members with BC, mom, and two sisters and a cousin, I am the only one in my family with BMI over 30. I feel those of us who are plus size don't fit in to many of the discussions here, especially the ones about depression. Perhaps I just didn't read the right threads? Anyway, I started a new thread in hopes of connecting with others like myself.

I have dealt with being over weight all my life. I was once within 10 pounds of normal, but that was over 35 years ago and with my second pregnancy I gained the weight back and some. I also lost 56 pounds 5 years ago, but again, I couldn't keep the weight off. I lost that weight via Weight Watchers, but WW isn't really set up for people on tight budgets who need to lose 80+ pounds! I had to give up because I couldn't afford to keep going to meetings. I thought I could continue myself, which I did for awhile, but then I saw how the skin was just hanging off of me, my thighs, my stomach, and honestly, I freaked out. I still tried to eat healthy but I didn't want to lose anymore weight. Then I slowly started to gain it back and I gained back 45 of it. After the DIEP surgery in January I put on 20 pounds, but luckily most was fluid and I lost 15 of it since then.

Normal weight or overweight women really have no idea how humiliating it is for those of us categorized as obese to go through the process for DIEP surgery. I had to stand naked in front of my husband, doctor, and two 20 something male medical students while the plastic surgeon described what he was going to do. That humiliation will live with me for the rest of my life, as will the humiliation of having a young male PA stand inches from my naked standing body, drawing on the abdomen before the surgery.

But they are medical people, supposedly used to seeing naked people of all sizes. The hurt from family is so much deeper.

I don't know any obese person who is happy being obese. Most, like me are in a constant battle with their weight. Breast cancer is hard to deal with emotionally, but add obesity to it and it adds to the depression over body image. I hate my body more now than ever. I never thought I could look worse than I did prior to this second time with breast cancer, but I was wrong.

Yesterday, my sister, who is normal weight and my only sister who didn't have BC really hurt my feelings. I expressed concerns, via text, that the reason I haven't had side effects yet from the Letrozole (been on for two months) is because it isn't working. I explained that I think that because I am so fat, my estrogen levels may not have fallen enough to prevent another recurrence of metastasis. I also said I didn't think there was any way to know for sure if it was working. I told her that the paper I signed at my MO's office which stated all the possible side effects also said that I was aware that this drug may not work for me. I added that on the up side, I was glad that so far I haven't had any SE's from the drug.

Her response. "Only you could find something positive to say about being overweight!" I responded that I didn't say it as a positive for being overweight, that there is nothing good about being overweight. She never responded. My feelings are still hurt. I assume she said that because no normal weight person would see anything good about being overweight? Not sure.

Anyway, I would love to connect with anyone with BMI over 35 to listen to and support our mental and physical health. We have a unique set of hurdles to deal with.

Dx 6/6/2003, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/24 nodes, ER+/PR+ Dx 12/4/2018, ILC, Left, 1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 24, 2019 05:34AM missouricatlady wrote:

I don't want to know what my BMI is, I try not to know. I stepped on the scale this morning and am over 230 again. I did get down to 225 on that chemo diet some of you ladies unfortunately know about, I think my weight was somewhere around 260 when I was diagnosed, highest I've been in my life. Back then, I wondered how hard it was for thin women, who didn't have the weight to lose.

Let me share this link with you, because some YMCA's offer a free program for cancer survivors: We have three YMCAs around where I live, and only one offers this, so not all of them do it.

When I saw my family doctor for my OBGYN appointment, we talked about weight and breast cancer, and she encouraged me to use a goal of 20 pounds. Maybe setting small goals is easier for us. I'm on anastrazole now for the past 3 months or so, but I have not tried to lose weight yet, although this morning, I told my husband, let's see if we can lose one pound this week (we both need to go on a diet). And I also told him we are going to walk down the street and back tonight, from what I've read on these boards, just a little exercise can help with side effects, and I'm going to try (I don't sleep well and have hot flashes and a tiny bit of bone aches, but I am 55 and think maybe I am achy anyway). Now, you watch him lose 20 pounds, men have an easier time of it.


I come from a family of people who enjoy alcohol as well, and sit and think about recurrence, thinking about not drinking at all, and then thinking about my weight, which is also a factor - try and not overwhelm yourself with all these thoughts.

Just know, you are not alone, Mavericksmom. I think what Illimae said is important - acceptance and be happy. Hugs, Lisa

diagnosed at 55, DX 10/17/18 IDC Left IIB grade 3 0/2 nodes ER+PR-HER2+, 11/7/18 TCHP, 4/4/19 Left Lumpectomy, 4/29/19 anastrozole (name-brand at CVS with a GoodRX coupon), 6/3/19 Rads, HP done 1/8/20, complete response to neoadjuvant therapy Chemotherapy 7/11/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 4/28/2019 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Jun 24, 2019 07:07AM mavericksmom wrote:

illimae, Thank you for your post! I am glad you pointed out that you could only do 2 minutes on the elliptical because I forgot that I had the same experience many years ago. Now when I do go to the gym, I will have that in mind which will help me greatly not to be discouraged. I will take it slow and not push myself. I also think that was a mistake I made years ago, I pushed myself so hard from the start that I ended up hurting my knee and needing surgery. I really can't thank you enough for reminding me to take it slow and increase gradually!

Missouricatlady, I'm in between your 230 and 260. The lowest I have been in 5 years was 198. That was when I was on Weight Watchers. I agree that using small goals is easier. I think I am setting my first goal at 10 pounds because if I lose 10 pounds I will know for sure I am doing something right and it isn't just water weight. Then my next goal I will set at 20 pounds. I found my pipe cleaners with beads yesterday. When I went to weight watchers I received a bead for every pound lost. I also had ribbons for every 10 pounds. I had lost a total of 56 pounds but failed to keep them off. A reminder of what I could and can do!

I also want to thank you for the link!

I am putting my failures behind me. When I return from vacation I will put all my energy into diet and exercise. I decided to hit the gym around 3 PM because that is when I would go once the new school year begins and it would keep it more routine. I am a list maker and scheduler type of person so routine is important for me. The only time I "fly by the seat of my pants" with no real schedule is on vacation. My goal with vacation is to enjoy my family and relax. We are going out to the mid-west to visit our son and family. We haven't met our newest granddaughter who was born last fall. We facetime with them but I can't wait to see and spoil our two precious granddaughters in person!

I almost never gain any weight on vacations because I don't eat a lot of high calorie foods and I tend to get more exercise. That said, I also don't talk or worry about calories on vacation.

As for alcohol, I drink very infrequently, which I guess is good because I had ILC and someone posted a link to research showing alcohol increasing ILC, but not IDC which they found interesting and are going to research further. When I drink it is wine, sangria (which adds to the sugar content, ugh) and in winter, Bailey's Irish Cream. I never liked beer and as a young adult friends would tell me "you have to acquire a taste for it." I would respond with, "why would I want to do that? Do I look like I need more calories?" My husband and I had season tickets to both hockey and baseball and I always thought that beer looked so good, but I couldn't get past the taste. There is a very short list of foods and drink that have high calorie content that I don't like and beer is on that list!

Some day I will need to discuss cat ownership with those of you with cats. I know there is a "Cats, cats, cats" thread on here. I have always been a dog person. I used to be allergic to some cats, but I was a veterinary technician for a number of years and never had any serious issues working with them. Even though I was a vet. tech. I never owned a cat. I don't know how to keep a cat off my table and kitchen counters. I am assuming that a cat would be cheaper than a dog (inside cat, we have a busy road in the back of our house). I also don't know if that is true. I really miss my sweet chihuahua mix, who we always said acted like a cat, and would love to have a pet again. Perhaps a reward for meeting a weight loss goal? Anyway, that is a topic for another time.

((((cyber hugs to all)))) We are our own caring support group! I am so thankful to be part of the BC community!

Dx 6/6/2003, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/24 nodes, ER+/PR+ Dx 12/4/2018, ILC, Left, 1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 24, 2019 09:00AM - edited Jun 24, 2019 09:29AM by Spoonie77

Hi ladies - I just wanted to join in and say thanks for starting this thread.

I have no idea what my BMI is but I do know I'm overweight by at least 50 pounds or so. I used to weigh 170, looked amazing, and then in 2010, had a relapse in my other chronic illnesses, which sent my metabolism into a tail spin. It's been a losing battle ever since. Gaining slowly, no matter what I tried. No matter what I ate or how I got moving, nothing would come off, it just slowed the gradual gain. Even Keto wouldn't help me lose. Par for the course. Just my body and its Spoonie Life. Le Sigh.

Anyway, had learned to accept it for the most part. Honestly, since I wear my weight well I guess, many people couldn't imagine I weighed what I did. So, before I was dxd last summer with BC I was up to 220, after putting on 10 pounds to soothe my heart, with wine and chocolate, over a rough break up. Was devastating. Enter BC. More pounds added. In all, considering the harsh SEs that have happened and affected my QOL over the past year of treatment, I'm up to 240ish range, the most I've ever weighed in my life.

Soooo long story short I guess is that I completely understand and sympathize with y'all. I'm here and with ya. <3

FYI -- > Learned about Intermittent Fasting here on the boards recently and have incorporated that into my daily regimen. I basically do not eat anything after 9 pm to 11 am the next day. Am working to increase that to a 16 hr range. I'm hopeful this will help somehow with my metabolism as this was never brought up by any of my dieticians in the past who were stumped. We shall see. Intermittent Fasting & Health Benefits (including lowering risk of BC RR and decreasing inflammation) Those factors, plus a possible metabolism and insulin resistance change, spurred me on in this new venture. I could definitely use all 4 of those, plus any of the other benefits studies show it can provide. It can't hurt and I know I won't fail at this as I kind of was already doing a version of this prior but just need to extend it by a few hours. Time will tell.

Prolonged Nightly Fasting and Breast Cancer Prognosis "The cohort of 2413 women (mean [SD] age, 52.4 [8.9] years) reported a mean (SD) fasting duration of 12.5 (1.7) hours per night. In repeated-measures Cox proportional hazards regression models, fasting less than 13 hours per night (lower 2 tertiles of nightly fasting distribution) was associated with an increase in the risk of breast cancer recurrence compared with fasting 13 or more hours per night (hazard ratio, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.05-1.76). Nightly fasting less than 13 hours was not associated with a statistically significant higher risk of breast cancer mortality (hazard ratio, 1.21; 95% CI, 0.91-1.60) or a statistically significant higher risk of all-cause mortality (hazard ratio, 1.22; 95% CI, 0.95-1.56). In multivariable linear regression models, each 2-hour increase in the nightly fasting duration was associated with significantly lower hemoglobin A1c levels (β = −0.37; 95% CI, −0.72 to −0.01) and a longer duration of nighttime sleep (β = 0.20; 95% CI, 0.14-0.26)."

Can Fasting 13 Hours or More at Night Reduce Recurrence Risk?

"The researchers also looked to see how many breast cancer recurrences and diagnoses of new breast cancers there were during about 7 years of follow up. The researchers also looked to see how many women died from breast cancer or any other cause during about 11.5 years of surveillance.

Overall, half the women fasted for more than 12.5 hours per night and half the women fasted for less than 12.5 hours per night.

The researchers reported that fasting for fewer than 13 hours per night was associated with a 36% higher risk of breast cancer recurrence compared to fasting 13 or more hours per night. This difference was statistically significant, which means that it was likely due to the difference in fasting and not just because of chance."

Cancer And Fasting

"Risk Reduction and Tumor Regression
In 2014, Longo and colleagues demonstrated that fasting caused "old" immune cells to die in mice, which were replaced by stem cells as soon as the subjects recommenced eating. They concluded that a 3-day fast could help regenerate a strong immune system.9 They also demonstrated that a 48-hour fast in mice slowed the growth and spread of five out of the eight cancers studied. They showed that the combination of fasting cycles with chemotherapy was more effective than chemotherapy alone in all cancers studied.6 As these were all animal studies, and it is unknown if humans would have the same benefit; however, several active clinical trials are studying the effect of calorie restriction or fasting on cancer."

"Spoonie" who entered BC World @ 41. DXd w/MS & Thyroid Cancer @42. Treatment: LX/SLNB/RADs. Plan A: 5mg Tamox = 0 QOL. Plan B: OS/AI = Rare allergy to OS meds. Plan C: Only option left,  Diet & Exercise. PS: Not a dr, just a Googler. Dx 7/20/2018, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-, Surgery 8/29/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel Dx 8/30/2018, DCIS, Left, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2 Radiation Therapy 9/30/2018 Whole breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 3/29/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Hormonal Therapy 7/1/2019 Zoladex (goserelin)
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Jun 24, 2019 11:01AM nleerussell wrote:

I feel your pain and the struggle! I am glad someone brought up fasting. I am in the over 35 BMI category also. But I have lost 40 pounds slowly and pretty steadily (a bit of a set back at Christmas and then again recently with my diagnosis) intermittent and alternate day fasting over the past year. I like to eat and drink too much wine and hate exercise! I emotionally/stress eat as well, with fasting it makes me recognize and listen to my body and brain. If you really want to eat that - eat it when your eating window opens. I have a 12 year old and a dog so they FORCE me to walk daily so that helps too. One of the best things about fasting is it's free - no gimicks, pills, teas or any of that. Read the links that Spoonie posted - good info on healing the body with fasting as well. I am pulling for you - for all of us. Sending positive energy your way Smile

Dx 5/30/2019, DCIS, Left, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+/PR+ Surgery 7/10/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement
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Jun 24, 2019 11:07AM - edited Jun 24, 2019 11:09AM by mavericksmom

Welcome Spoonie! Happy to have you join our group! I'm still amazed that I am not alone with BC and obesity!

I'm not into fasting other than not eating after dinner, but it ws very interesting to read about. If it works for you or others here that would be awesome. Whenever I read about studies like these, I wonder what made someone decide to do research on it. I wonder what it was that caught the attention of the researchers.

We are all proof that nothing is “one size fits all," no pun intended. Thank you for sharing!

Dx 6/6/2003, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/24 nodes, ER+/PR+ Dx 12/4/2018, ILC, Left, 1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 24, 2019 11:22AM meow13 wrote:

I hate watching tv and the food commercials come on. I wasn't even thinking about food till I see the commercial. Night time is the worse. Also social events always revolve around food and drink.

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Jun 24, 2019 11:33AM mavericksmom wrote:

Sooo true on both counts! I hate that our society is food/drink oriented! The first question people seem to ask before every social gathering is “what kind of food are they serving?” I also hate the commercials at night although lately they don’t bother me because for some reason I am getting very bloated after dinner. My “muffin” top from the DIEP surgery gets tight and hard. By the next morning it’s better. I don’t think it’s lymphedema but Iam going to mention it to my MO later this week.

Dx 6/6/2003, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/24 nodes, ER+/PR+ Dx 12/4/2018, ILC, Left, 1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 24, 2019 11:55AM runrcrb wrote:


I want to recognize that your experience of standing naked before 4+ men (or anyone) to discuss your surgery is horrible and unacceptable. Regardless of one’s weight or physique that is an awful experience. Shame on your PS for this approach. I’m sure my PS has seen me naked but if/when it has happened, I was under anesthesia. Even at my follow ups, I’ve always been in a robe and underpants. No one should have experienced what you did.

Dx 6/27/2016, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IIB, Grade 1, 4/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 6/27/2016, ILC/IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 1, 4/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/21/2016 Lymph node removal; Lymph node removal (Right); Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Right); Reconstruction (Right): Tissue Expander Chemotherapy 10/31/2016 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 2/8/2017 Whole breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 4/22/2017 Aromasin (exemestane) Surgery 12/12/2017 Reconstruction (Right): DIEP flap
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Jun 24, 2019 12:12PM Artista964 wrote:

I'm bmi 37. It bothers me but its not enough for me to diet to lose weight for long. It probably helps I'm alone and the fam i see on occasion like 2 x year doesn't say anything or they'd be cut off. I had a left knee replacement march 19, 19 at the only place I would, where i used to work. Dr. Alexander Sah here in Fremont is an outstanding surgeon with an outstanding bedside manner. Of course they always advise to lose weight before joint replacement surgery so recovery rehab may be easier but I went in bmi 37. Since I'm alone I got lucky that the skilled nursing and rehab facility across the street from Washington Hospital was a great clean non smelly place where I got OT and PT m-f which really helped me since motivating myself is non existent. It was painful and hard work but best decision now that my knee is stable and pain free.

Dxd at 50. Went thru it all on my own by choice. Dx 6/2/2015, IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/4 nodes, PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/5/2015 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Chemotherapy 11/2/2015 AC + T (Taxotere) Radiation Therapy 5/3/2016 Whole breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 6/28/2016 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jun 24, 2019 12:21PM tadover wrote:

Mavricksmon, You are definitely are not alone. I fall into this category also. I've always been overweight, as long as I can remember. I've tried different diets over the years and lost weight, but always gained it back eventually. And I remember my dismay when I walked into radiation treatments and there was a 20 something male tech that I was going to have to see every freaking day for 5 weeks! but before all of my treatments were done and over with I was over it, lol. I just thought to my self, they've seen every shape, size, color or whatever and at that point everybody else has seen my boobs, why not them too!

On the weight loss front, I'm doing Keto. I've come to the conclusion that I just gain weight if I even look at a carb or sugar. I've lost about 30 pounds so far. It's coming off slow. but that's okay, as long as I'm losing. I'm going to try the intermittent fasting that someone mentioned above. I know that any weight I can lose should help my chances of no reoccurrence, especially when I come off the Femara next spring.


Dx 6/14/2014, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Surgery 6/26/2014 Lumpectomy: Right Chemotherapy 7/28/2014 AC + T (Taxol) Targeted Therapy 10/10/2014 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy 1/18/2015 Femara (letrozole) Radiation Therapy 2/11/2015 Whole breast: Breast Targeted Therapy 2/15/2016 Nerlynx

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