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Mar 30, 2008 11:53AM
Mar 30, 2008 11:54AM
Add me to the list of those of fairly active people who ever since chemopause 6 years ago cannot eat anywhere near a "normal" diet without gaining weight.
After adding 20 pounds during treatment due to the steroids given with chemo I learned firsthand at age 51 just how hard it is to do anything that works for being overweight. I worked fulltime through my treatments and as someone who is self-employed and has no replacement to "step in", that pretty much meant I was either working, keeping up with housework, or having treatment (with no free time for ANYthing else). I mention that in particular for the benefit of those who had the free time for disciplined exercise during treatment.
After completing treatment I began exercising. It was over 2 years before I was able to jump rope without constantly stumbling from the extra weight. I have always been a skater, but during that time I fell.... fell... and fell. I did not stop trying. I added use of a trampoline plus calesthenics and dancing (in the privacy of my home). Result? My knees swelled up like balloons and I had to ease off for a full 2 months, and then gradually build up again for the ground I had lost. I did not give up.
The weight did not budge and in fact I was slowly continuing to gain. My diet? I was eating the same size portions I ate prior to chemopause, and the same foods. I then tried Atkin's and lost 5 pounds initially and then stayed stuck for over 2 months.
The scale told me I was overweight, but I truly did not realize how fat I actually was until I saw myself in photographs.
I came to understand that if I do not want to GAIN weight, I have to go hungry every single day for at least some part of the day. I decided that if I am going to have to suffer hunger every single day so as not to gain weight, the length of suffering will feel the same whether I add more exercise or not. I chose to add more exercise. Over the next 3 years I worked 20 pounds off. The only exceptions I made in my diet were Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and my birthday. That meant never having pizza, never having a beer, never having ice cream or cake or pie or anything even remotely frivolous except for those days.
I continue to resent having to be so disciplined due to chemopause. One slip of having a piece of pie ends up with me looking at 2 pounds of weight gain by the scale that take weeks to work off again.
It is all too obvious from research studies that those who manage to stay within their normal BMI and who exercise have fewer recurrences and live longer. So I will use those two methods to my advantage to continue my "fight".
My impression is that chemopause causes damage that results in severe changes in hormonal balances and in metabolism. I am trying to figure out what I might be able to change to achieve better hormonal balance and yet not cause recurrence of the cancer.
I think as breast cancer patients we have spent too much time and money on better answers through oncology, and not enough on answers through endocrinology. I think we desperately need to change our focus toward the education of a professional that I call (for want of a better title) a endocrinologist trained in genetics.
Six years out and still too fat and STILL WORKING ON IT,
12/3/2001, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC)
1/3/2002 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel
3/12/2002 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil)
11/15/2002 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)