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 12:51PM edj3 wrote:

Mavericksmom, I have cats and honestly they go where they want. I had a consult w/ my asthma & allergy specialist and his questionnaire asked where the cats slept. He laughed b/c I wrote "anywhere they want" but it's true.

I also wanted to say I'm incensed on your behalf at how you were treated with the surgeon. That is beyond not acceptable.

Tried the tamoxifen, no thanks. Dx 4/9/2019, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-, Surgery 5/5/2019 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Dx 5/6/2019, LCIS, Left, <1cm, 0/1 nodes Radiation Therapy 6/2/2019 Whole breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 9/22/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jun 24, 2019 12:53PM - edited Jun 24, 2019 12:54PM by Spoonie77

Tadover & MavericksMom - The only reason I'm even trying the intermittent fasting is because with all the trouble I'm having finding a endocrine treatment for me that doesn't disable me further, I'll add whatever I can into the mix at this point. With the evidence that simply by not eating for 12.5 hours or more (for me from 9pm till 11am) I can reduce my risk of recurrence, well count me in. My current risk is 28-35% and at 42 well that's a bit scary to say the least. Anyway,I hope I'll lose weight too. I've tried everything else short of bypass to lose weight, and since nothing works, this seems like a good next step. Maverick, I think this might have been one of those antedotal discoveries by researchers. You know, they were amassing all this info from a group of patients during follow-up and then a pattern emerges. IDK. Who knows right?

NLeeRussell - Congrats on the weight loss. It's nice to read that someone has had some success with the IF strategy. I know I'll never be a person that can not eat for 2 days...smh...I love food WAYYYY to much. But I know I can handle just dragging out the time between supper and brunch/lunch. And I love what you point out's free! Big plus for me living on disability. Wishing you much success with your journey.

Tadover - Congrats on Keto success! Seeing something, anything come off is a nice bit of motivation. Keep on going. :) I, like you, can't even look at a carb without it going straight to my hips. Ugggh. At least for me, since I live alone, I can choose not to bring it into the house and avoid binging on whatever it may be. I feel for others who have hubs/bfs/gfs/etc that have no dietary concerns. I've seen my mom struggle with this for years. Having to find something my Dad will eat but she can also eat too, without having to cook 2 different meals. It's a tough dance. Those that fight that on a daily basis & find success deserve a medal.

Runurcrb - I agree with you about what happened with Maverick. Maverick, your experience with all men and you naked for PS surgery consult/planning is appalling. Even when I had my consults with my PSs, there was ALWAYS another woman in the room, and I either had a robe on even if it was open at the time, plus their scrub pants if needed. I'm soooo sorry you went through that experience. Not acceptable. I hope you've found a new team.

"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 04:07PM Artista964 wrote:

My ps and bs are men. They have the best bedside manner and are caring. When looking at recon options, ps advised against the flaps saying I'm a higher risk for infection at my bmi. Very respectful. These 2 surgeons are my fav docs. So there are good ones out there. Hope you find kind respectful team.

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 04:55PM mavericksmom wrote:

Let me clarify my experience of being naked with 4 men (my husband included) looking at my body. First, I wasn't completely naked, although I might as well have been as I stood with the front of my gown completely open, a full frontal view if that makes sense. The gown was just hanging on my shoulders, but all that was covered were my shoulders and my back.

He went over the procedure with me while I was on the exam table which I was ok with. Then he had me stand up. First he looked at me and told me what he was going to do for the surgery, then he asked me if I would give my permission for the two medical school students to come in. So it was my own fault that I was in that position. I said yes because I felt like I was expected to say yes, for "student learning." It was one of those moments that I wasn't prepared for and never in a million years expected. I blurted out yes because I didn't know what else to do! When the two med school students came in and I was standing with a full front view, I was so nervous I remember saying "I hope you aren't traumatized by my body!" So, for me, it was extremely humiliating, but I know it was all "medical business" for my plastic surgeon. That said, I also feel, with almost 100% certainty, that the students went home and told their fellow students/friends about the fat woman they saw that day. If they didn't, I would be surprised! I could have prevented the students from seeing me, but I was too nervous or stupid to say NO when my doctor asked me. I actually feel shame admitting that I didn't say no!

The day of my surgery, I was also in a gown, but it only covered my shoulders and I had to stand and hold it open so the PA could draw surgery marks from hip to hip and on my abdomen and breast for the surgery. He was completely professional, however there was no one else with us behind the curtains that divided the surgery patients. Again, I was humiliated. I assume this is how it is normally done for DIEP flap patients.

I am so sorry if I wasn't clear about that.

Rosabella, when I found out I had ILC and I saw my BS for the first time, I went to the appointment wanting a double mastectomy with no reconstruction. My breast surgeon refused to remove my healthy breast, he said it was the hospital policy. Then I said I didn't want reconstruction but he talked me into it for medical reasons like balance, which now doesn't sound like much of a reason but at the time made sense. He said an implant might be a good option and he was against flaps due to the time under anesthesia and my weight. He called the PS right then and 15 mins later the PS came and said the opposite of my BS. He pushed the DIEP flap due to previously radiated skin.

I don't really know how it what the final results will be because I am still wearing bandages on my breast from my January surgery, due to healing issues from the radiation I had years ago.

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 06:26PM runrcrb wrote:

mavericksmom, i do hope you enjoy your vacation. The family time sounds great. At the risk of overstepping, I will offer a bit of advice as you resolve to tackle your weight. Feel free to ignore me too. Rather than diet, try to make small changes that you can maintain. I gained 15 pounds during treatment that didn’t move. “Dieting” normally just makes me obsess about food. And my MO confirmed my suspicion that our post menopausal bodies want estrogen and fat supplies it - hence why it’s so much harder to budge the scale. So rather than eliminating all sweets (for example) choose wine or dessert rather than both. (I type this as I sit in my hotel room with a glass of red wine and a bar of dark chocolate!) Ask for no bread basket at a restaurant (or only eat bread in a restaurant). I’ve recently decided that my cookies are better than any others so I’m working on only eating mine. And since I live alone (husband died from his cancer) I have to have a really good reason to make any. I do my cardio exercise before work and recently joined a yoga studio that I go to 2-3 nights after work- so not being at home grazing from 6-9pm helps. Essentially, try small sustainable changes that you can incorporate; once habit, add something more

All the best.

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 07:04PM - edited Jun 24, 2019 07:05PM by mavericksmom

Runrcrb, please don't ever feel you might have over stepped. I actually liked what you said and it makes sense to me. Even if I didn't feel your method was for me, it may be exactly what someone else needed to hear! I think everyone should feel free to share whatever they want to here. This is a group of awesome people who have BC and obesity and from the posts so far, there have been a lot of great ideas! I read about the fasting, found it interesting but it isn't what I want to do now, although I might want to try it in the future. Several others here have been fasting or feel it is something they want to do. That is the whole purpose, to share ideas and give each other support. Your post was great! Thank you for sharing! I do have to admit, I am a bit jealous, wine and chocolate sound sooo good right now. Enjoy!

Again, the biggest thing that helped me today was knowing I am not alone dealing with BC and obesity. Thanks everyone!

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 08:13PM alicebastable wrote:

I was so happy last year because I was finally losing weight, I thought because I was eating much healthier than usual. I'd been hovering around 210 for a few years, which for me was good compared to previous years. Suddenly I was around 190 and losing. But it seems at least most of the credit went to my two cancers, especially the kidney one. I kept dropping until the kidney surgery; I was down to about 165 by then. I thought I looked great at the time, but looking back at photos, I was a pear-shaped sack of skin with a gut.

Good health has really packed on the pounds, unfortunately, plus I quit smoking right before the nephrectomy. I'm up higher than where I started. And there have been a few things that made me not care, like a hinky PET scan for my kidney area and subsequent biopsy - that led to a month of stress eating. So here I am back as my large self, trying to find a method that will work for me.

Ignore treatment info (below) which is a BCO glitch. Do not enter personal information on this site since they grossly mishandled a data breach. Surgery 7/10/2018 Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph node removal Surgery 8/7/2018 Radiation Therapy 10/28/2018 Whole breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Jun 24, 2019 09:23PM - edited Jun 24, 2019 09:24PM by meow13

My goal is 25 pounds so far it is going ok. It takes more effort on my part. My biggest problem is keeping track of the calories consumed and expended. I was gardening today sweating like crazy, have no idea how many calories burned. I think if you can burn atleast 250 calories aerobic that is what is generally recommended for good health. I don't really plan my day and I don't like thinking about it but I know that is why I gain weight.

I would love to be 120 pounds again! I will treat myself to a neck and maybe facelift. My husband thinks I look good and he buys cake and cookies at the grocery store, he is probably 40 pounds overweight all in his stomach. He is ok with his weight says we are not 30 years old. But knees and joints would feel so much better if we were lighter. I love cookies but when I look at that stuff I think that's 2 hrs on the treadmill or more. Ugh, I used to eat anything and everything banana splits you name it. Now I have to worry about upset stomach and acid reflux if I eat anything like that even when I just eat a very small amount.

I admit to watching my 600 pound life and wonder could that be me if I stop the gym? I can see how quickly things can go south. Now that I am retired there are days I don't feel like doing anything. I still don't have a routine.

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Jun 24, 2019 09:26PM Artista964 wrote:

I watch 600 lb life and that at least keeps me where I'm at.

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 09:35PM Kjchico wrote:

I can identify. Last year at this time, my BMI was 36.5 Now it is 24.9. I lost over 65 pounds. I hated my body and my whole way of life. I lived in baggy clothes that I thought covered my fat. I was miserable, Now that I lost all this weight, I may put some back on because of treatment for my BC. I know it sounds superficial, but I don’t want to gain weight again. Much love and luck to you.

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