Jul 30, 2019 12:24AM illimae wrote:
Thanks for the kind words Teddy, it’s nice to meet you.
Meet and support others who are affected by these issues around breast cancer fears, diagnosis and treatment.
Posted on: Jun 23, 2019 10:21AM
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.
Posts 61 - 82 (82 total)
Jul 30, 2019 12:24AM illimae wrote:
Thanks for the kind words Teddy, it’s nice to meet you.
Jul 30, 2019 01:26AM AliceBastable wrote:
Sports medicine doctors suck and only want perfect patients. One of my hubby's co-workers had bilateral knee replacement and she was well over 300 pounds.
Jul 30, 2019 09:35AM Mavericksmom wrote:
I agree Alice, sports medicine doctors really specialize in that because they want to work on athletes. In a weird way, I understand that, but when there are limited options for orthopedic medicine in an area, they should either treat the non-athlete with all the respect they give all their patients or refer to someone who can help that person without judgement.
I had a knee issue once, and kind of feel it happening again. My doctor wasn't judgmental, he did explain how many pounds of pressure would be taken off my knees per pound of weight loss. He motivated me, he didn't shame me. I very much appreciated that because shaming makes me mad and has the opposite response, I feel defeated and I eat for comfort!
I know I am up against the odds now, that going back to the gym will not be fun or instantly rewarding. Perhaps I am setting my expectations low, but my number one goal is to make exercise a habit. I plan to begin with 30 minutes of exercise but that doesn't mean it will be all at once. I know that you need something like 10-20 minutes before your body actually starts to receive any benefit. I want to ask my cardiologist today about how much I should do.
I am a science person who loves math. The Max-heart rate formula that they use for stress tests has always been an example of bad medical math. 220-age is the most ridiculous formula ever! A person's number for age has NO correlation of the person's exercise ability. The 220 is a shady figure too, but not nearly as shady as the "age" number.
Yes age has impact on our life and our exercise, but who hasn't know people who are young and act very old and older people who act very young? Age is a factor in that there are biological factors that change with age, but NEVER at a precise time, ie: age women go through natural menopause. Age is more of a range for health changes. I have had an issue with this formula since I was in my 40's!
Anyway, none of us wishes to be heavy and we are all in a constant battle trying to get healthy. There should never be comments about our weight.
Comments are the reason I will never have a breast MRI. I tried years ago. The machine was in a "trailer" hospital addition. The techs were very young, didn't seem to know what they were doing. I was way below the max weight of the machine. They told me to lay down on the table, never told me to open the gown and let my breasts go in the holes, no help whatsoever! Next thing I know they told me to get off because "my hips were too big to fit into the machine." I went into the dressing room, tears rolled down my face, and on the way out one of the technicians said," you forgot your script!" I told her to keep it, went to my car and called my BS! My BS was livid but I will NEVER go through that again!
All medical students, doctors, technicians, etc, should have training to understand that their words matter and if they truly want to help people, they need to be encouraging and not judgmental!
Jul 30, 2019 10:00AM santabarbarian wrote:
Here is a minimal but effective exercise routine suggested by an integrative oncologist when I had a consult w him for use during chemo to maintain fitness... Interval training can be on a bike, a treadmill, an elliptical, a walk/jog, or any other exercise that you can modulate the intensity of:
30 seconds at regular intensity (walk at a normal/brisk pace) then 30 seconds max intensity (as briskly as you can do) -- repeat this 3 times, for 3 minutes total of low/high, low/high, low/high
then 3 minutes of sitting still - total rest
reapeat the above pattern 3 times.... 3 cycles of 6 minutes each: 3 working and 3 resting.
Total = 18 minutes including the rest periods.... 9 minutes of exercise. This is a minimal yet heart-effective daily exercise plan.
Jul 30, 2019 02:00PM AliceBastable wrote:
My current problem is my arthritis acting up to the point that exercise-type walking is difficult. I walked a lot last year during all the cancer crap and looked and felt great. Now my "good" hip is giving me fits, and since it makes me walk crooked, it throws my back out of kilter and sets off problems there. It's weird, the Dexa scan showed osteoporosis in this hip, but the other bone scan from last year didn't show any arthritis there (about the only place without it!). I thought osteoporosis didn't hurt until something broke. And it hurts worst when I'm laying down, some nights I barely sleep because I can't find a position. Standing is fine, sitting is sort of okay, and I can walk but not as fast as I'd like and kind of crooked. Very different from when my other hip had arthritis before I got a new joint. And I can't take Ibuprofen anymore because I had kidney cancer, so I have to take extra care of the one kidney I have left. Very frustrating. I have to get a new PCP which means no appointment until September, because I can only change at the beginning of a month in my insurance plan. I have to wait until a prescription renewal clears this week at my old doctor's before officially switching, which puts me into a new month.
Well, that turned into quite a whinefest!
Jul 30, 2019 02:26PM movingsoccermom wrote:
An appropriate whine fest AliceBastable!!! Is there anywhere you could swim? Way back in my 20's I competed in triathlons and found swimming to be the least offensive for joints (noticed it even then). If the water is chilly you could look for neoprene to keep you warm while swimming. Additionally, I used to swim with a float between my knees to use only my arms--if your legs are too painful, that might be an option to still swim and nurse your sore joints. Not sure swimming ever helped me lose weight, but it sure did help my overall fitness. I am commiserating on the joints--my left hip and knee are chronic problems.
Hope you feel a bit better soon!
Jul 30, 2019 03:29PM - edited Jul 30, 2019 03:43PM by AliceBastable
I never learned how to swim. I think the closest Y is several miles from here, and I don't drive. TWO things I should have learned when I was younger. And now my shoulders are a mess from arthritis, too, so I'm not sure swimming would be doable in any case. It's stupid, but I panic in water above my knees.
Geez, people like me annoy the heck out of me. 😊 But it's similar to the situation I was in when I had a hysterectomy in 2008, when my other hip was rotten. The onc gyn kept saying "Go out and take a brisk walk!" I couldn't take a slow damn shuffle. The way doctors' offices work, the doctors don't see us on our feet. We're in a chair or on the examining thingy by the time we see the doc, and we could be paralyzed from the waist down for all they know. It's the main disadvantage of specialized medicine; they only see that narrow body part. Add in a completely clueless PCP, who doesn't open emails from other doctors until months later (why I'm looking for a new one), and I'm just frustrated and cranky.
Aug 11, 2019 07:59PM movingsoccermom wrote:
AliceBastable. My Mom never learned to swim either, so I totally understand your terror--I have seen it on my Mom's face.
It is so frustrating the way our system works, that you have to wait so long for a new doctor. I hope you are able to find a good one.
And yes. Hyper specialization has gotten worse over the years. So has the way doctors DON'T listen to patients--which then exacerbates everything.
Have you considered trying medical marijuana? I have used CBD gummies to help with sleep and pain management and found it very effective (my 23 year old DS helps me find it).
Thinking of you!
Aug 12, 2019 03:11AM Mavericksmom wrote:
How are you doing Alice?
Aug 27, 2019 11:07AM Fairydragonfly wrote:
I have a BMI of 50. I'm well aware of the health issues it causes. It's something I have struggled with for decades. I recently found out I am BRCA1. So once chemo is done for my breast cancer, I move on to prophylactic surgeries (breasts, hysterectomy). While this does mean I can have immediate reconstruction, the plastic surgeon basically said I am too fat for anything to work or look good.
My options are:
I'm devastated. I'm overwhelmed. I'm hating my body even more now. And I'm questioning if all this is even worth it when there is NO guarantee that the cancer won't come back.
I was trying to minimize the amount of surgeries I would have to do. Now I'm looking at at least 4 and a very long road ahead (if I do gastric bypass, which I don't want to do).
My mood plummeted so low yesterday I called a crisis support line. Why am I going through all this?
Aug 27, 2019 11:22AM DorothyB wrote:
I'm glad you were brave & strong enough to call the support hotline!
Throwing another option out there (which may or may not work) - can you have largest possible implant on that side and have breast reduction on the other side so that they will be closer to the same size?
Aug 27, 2019 11:27AM illimae wrote:
fairydragonfly, I had a lumpectomy with immediate reduction (non cancer side) and lift (both). Two surgeons, one OR, one recovery. I went from DD to D and feel fine with results. Could that be an option for you?
Aug 27, 2019 11:31AM mistyeyes wrote:
I have been reading all the posts. I am overweight and am struggling with food and exercising. I am tired when I come home from work and don't feel like doing anything, I eat good during the day but at night I don't eat very healthy- its more of a feel good comfort food. My husband died last Sept. 24th-so it has been almost a year, I feel like I am emotionally better and need to stop some of the comfort food and get myself healthy and do things after work instead of feeling depressed and tired. I am hoping that I will get some motivation from reading here ... or at least not feel so alone in this fat stuff.
Aug 27, 2019 11:37AM santabarbarian wrote:
re swimmng: most YMCAs offer aqua aerobics which is gentle and does not require swimming. Might be something to try.
Aug 27, 2019 12:27PM Fairydragonfly wrote:
It's a prophylactic double mastectomy, so both breasts will be symmetrical size wise with an implant - the problem is they will be smaller width wise. They will be fuller closer to the middle of my chest and she's not sure what the sides will look like.
I'm just in a very bad head space right now. I want to lose weight, but it's always been a struggle. Now trying to lose weight while dealing with cancer and unresolved grief from the loss of my parents... It feels impossible.
Then I start going down the mortality hole. Am I wasting a year + to try to get this all sorted out only to get cancer again and regret not just living my best life? I have difficulty seeing myself alive past 55...
Aug 27, 2019 01:51PM santabarbarian wrote:
FD are you comfortable with waiting for implants? Do MX but take step at a time, so to speak? It can be overwhelming to take it 4 surgeries at a time!
Also, if you lose weight the implant size ought to work better and better, because your side to side measurement will get narrower.
Aug 27, 2019 11:19PM Teddy88 wrote:Hi Fairydragonfly: I deeply admire your strength of character through the last two years, and hope that the next phase of your life will be divalicious. Not sure that is even a real word - but what I am envisioning is that you find a surgeon who supplies creative and comforting answers; that you receive incomparable blessings and expand your social circle with people who adore you; and that when the medical matters quiet down - that you begin to see a new path that makes you happy. And I see you sparkling. Lots of sparkle! Swarovski/level sparkle😊You have done and been so comforting to others. It’s your time now. Love, Belle xx
Aug 27, 2019 11:29PM sbelizabeth wrote:
FD, just a couple of thoughts. Have you examined why you're against gastric bypass surgery? We are all different and have our own motivators and hesitations, but I've had a number of friends who've had this surgery and are very pleased with the result--and not just smaller clothes sizes. It's much easier on our health to carry fewer pounds (like you don't know that...).
For me, my DIEP was a HOPEFUL surgery, after all the crapalactic stuff I'd endured to kill the cancer. I don't know, but maybe a gastric bypass would feel the same way. Like you're stepping out into a journey to reclaim yourself, physically and emotionally. And, c'mon, girl! You're very young and were diagnosed with Stage I cancer. You have MANY years ahead. Losing your parents truly sucks but if they were here, they would want you to thrive.
My sister lost 50 pounds before her DIEP recon. Her surgeon wouldn't operate until she did. She lost the weight with weight watchers and did really well.
I'm not saying you must lose weight. But you might find yourself in a better head space.
Aug 28, 2019 10:07AM Fairydragonfly wrote:
Thank you for all the responses. I have a lot to think about. I was in a very bad head state on Monday and grateful to have this forum at times like that.
Sep 10, 2019 07:12PM Turkeypoult wrote:
I, too, am in the BMI 35+. I am 68, 6 feet tall (from a family of giants) and before chemo started at 260. That is down from 292 due to stopping all the games and putting together my own plan along with 12 hr fasting. Based on what I’ve read in posts here, I guess that should be a little longer.
I learned what hunger feels like, what full feels like, and tried to eat what we know is healthy. (You know: veg:protein:fiber:fat:etc.). Smaller portions, etc. I also have a large dog that I walked 1-3 miles each morning.
I only brought my base down 32 pounds in 2 years, but I was really proud and felt good, intending to keep going. Then my right knee gave out. A full knee replacement was scheduled when the cancer was discovered. It has to wait until Spring, 2020.
Now I have to go through chemo without being able to fully exercise. So, planning again, I walk on my elliptical slowly, but can still get my heart rate up and can walk further than I thought. (Not like before, but it is something.) I also do stretches, resistance and small weights using household items, and I am mindful of protein in my diet
I find this site so useful, and I’m happy to have found this part.
Mavericksmom, I know and I’m sorry for your discomfort. I am usually a modest person, but I was not bothered by the time I got to the last surgeon with resident tagging along. Modesty got tossed aside by that time. All were polite enough, though
Sep 10, 2019 09:00PM DorothyB wrote:
Turkeypoult - see if they offer LiveStrong at a YMCA that you can get to. If it has a pool, you might be able to do some water exercises / water walking without as much stress on your knee.
Sep 10, 2019 11:11PM AliceBastable wrote:
I had lost track of this thread. Hell, I lose track of EVERYTHING that's not right in front of me.
I found a new PCP! She's a real firecracker, knows more about me and my body after one visit than the old one did after 25 years. I had an echocardiogram today because things were found on a pre-op CT done LAST JULY that nobody followed through on. So with this doctor, if it's not in my records somewhere, she wants to KNOW, and pronto. She may wear me out!
Fairydragonfly, try not to look too far down the road at the What Ifs. I've had four cancers and none of them have killed me yet. And some were the kind that preventive surgery couldn't have helped, like vital internal organs! I've had genetic testing and nope, nothing, even with a strong history of cancer on both sides of my family. My older sister hasn't had any cancer. It's just not 100% predictable.