Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tuesday's Oncologist Visit

Since I started chemo in August, I have had weight gain every time I have my 3 week visit with the oncologist. The weight gain is caused by the steroids I take and the weight gain has been anywhere from 1-3 lbs. per visit. So I've put on about 25 lbs. I hate it because my clothes don't fit and it only adds to the feeling of being tired and lethargic.

Well this past visit I had a weight loss of almost 4 lbs. I was tickled pink because I feel better for it. Why did I lose weight? Last cycle, I had a new symptom that I hadn't had yet ... I was mildly nauseated which caused me to eat less. I would open the fridge and the smell would turn me off.

My oncologist on the other hand was not impressed and said she did not want to see weight loss become a habit. And you know, I forgot to ask her why she is so concerned ... likely because I had the news about my CT scan and was preoccupied by that.

I on the other hand think I would do better with a bit less weight on me. I have a feeling my doctor knows what she is talking about and I should take her seriously but for now I would love to drop some of these extra pounds. I know it would be easier to move around and psychological I would see myself looking better which would give me a better quality of life. I'd be dressing better because my selection of clothing would increase.

O.K. did I convince you it's a good idea to loose a few more pounds? My oncologist has me feeling quiet guilty right now.

Any feedback out there?


Arlene said...

I am surprised to hear that you had gained 25 pounds as you don't look like it. However I understand your feeling badly when the clothes don't fit anymore.

One thing to consider is if you are in the average weight range for your height/body type. If so, weight loss is probably not a good idea.

And perhaps your doctor is concerned that with the weight loss you had not been eating the foods that you need to give you strength.

So even though it is hard to do when you aren't feeling so good maybe the best thing to do for now is just try to eat as healthy as possible - you know, all those veggies and fruit. I know that's hard to do when the tummy isn't feeling so great.

Also I seem to remember that you were increasing your activity level with those walks with D so maybe that contribued to the loss.


Anonymous said...

I totally understand where you are coming from but I gotta tell you - I would go with the oncologists advice if it were me. If she is adamant, it is for a reason, and I think that you need to trust that reason!

I also think you look fabulous right now - yup, I get that your clothes don't fit right, but you don't look overweight. And I agree with Arlene - it is more about your BMI than it is about a number on a scale. Unless you are an oncologist. Then it is all about the number on the scale! Even thought the nurse weighs me before each visit, the first words out of my oncologists mouth are, "How is your weight? How is your eating?" even though he already has the answer. It is clearly a concern for them.
Eat girl! And enjoy!

Michelle said...

No ideas, but mum has the same problem....seems kinda screwed doesn't it :)


Chez said...

Morning Daria
Understand where you are coming from. I had gained weight after Jeremy's accident and noticed it in everything I did.
The recurrence of cancer and the pain requiring morphine saw me lose a heap of weight.
When I commenced radiotheray the oncology unit began checking regularly and get excited if there is a slight gain. They never fail to mention the subject.
Guess I feel that we best know our bodies and can be guided by how we feel.
Good luck with it all and please know I am always thinking of you and sending you healing thoughts...

Sarah said...

Hmmmm... I wonder if she is worried about future weight loss as some other drug might create a lack of interest in food. Maybe she just wants you to keep in on just in case?
I can totally understand your wanting to feel better in any way as you are going through so much hon!!! Hugs, Sarah

Debby said...

I was told, repeatedly, that chemo is very hard on a body, that the drugs would cause weight gain, but they did not want me to diet at a time when my body needed all the nourishment that it could get. The good news, Daria, is that as soon as treatment was done, I began to lose weight.

Dee said...

I think I'm with you - I mean, who really wants to gain weight? And, if it's steroids-related weight, then it's not natural and if you feel better because it's off, then I think that overall it's better (as long as you don't keep losing) for you because the better you feel, the better able you are to fight this @#*(@& disease. That's why I did reconstruction surgery - so that I would feel more "normal" in my clothes. It has done a lot for my sense of self-esteem to look normal in shirts.

Also, if your weight loss was a result of you not eating junk food, then, that's good. But if your weight loss was at the expense of needed nutrients, then that's probably not so good.

In the end, I think a quick call to your doctor and see why she seemed so concerned is in order. That way, you're not second-guessing her reasoning. Perhaps it was just because she was concerned that you were losing out nutritionally because of the nausea. I think docs don't like the idea of losing weight because of nausea. You do need all your strength.

Good luck ... and call your doc so you can get the straight scoop.

andyson said...

I know the difficulty of going through treatment and recovery and dealing with appearance all too well. My weight has gone up and down over the past two years, but my oncologist doesn't seem as bothered by it. During my SCT recovery period they wouldn't tolerate me losing more than a pound or two, but if I did, it was because I wasn't able to eat.

It's a difficult and fine line, but I'd go with whatever concerns your doctor.

Hopefully things get better and you can find a happy medium between losing a little weight and keeping the doctor happy.

- Brian

Denise said...

You take care of yourself and listen to your Dr.. but I do not see loosing a FEW pounds hurts.... but what do I know.... Nothing! Just glad that you are feeling ok....... I have been missing for a while but hope to be back often!

nollyposh said...

Juice your food is my answer...
Red juice: carrot, ginger, beetroot
& Green (all the green vegies including celery, green capsicum)... After a week i guarantee you will have more energy and will feel like eating less without any determent (Aim for 3 of each per day) also orange and grapes juices (oh and use a rotating action juicer, a Campion or Compact brand, not a regular one) xox

Stephanie said...

It's odd, isn't it? I'm a person who could usually do with losing a little bit of weight.... so I was surprised when, complaining to a doctor I was working with (not one of my team) about my 6lb weight gain during chemo, he said "it's great that you were able to keep eating and nourish your body like that". I felt like getting him to write that down so I could frame it!
Seriously though, like others here I found that once I'd dtopped chemo the extra weight pretty much fell off. Partly because I had more energy and was doing more, partly because I wasn't eating custard and drinking chocolate milk all the time to keep the heartburn down!
I'm now on Tamoxifen and Lapatinib (a trial drug) both of which make me feel a little nauseous and not much like eating. So you will probably find the rest of your treatment takes care of things. But I appreciate the stress this causes - life is tough enough without not being able to get into your favourite clothes. These small things keep our self esteem up and that really matters at times like this.

Jane said...

Hi Daria,

At last I found your blog !!

My weight has fluctuated dramatically over the past couple of years depending on what kind of treatment Im receiving at the time. I now have clothes in my wardrobe from a size 12 to 16 (English sizes!)
Ive become pretty blase about my weight now and no longer worry about it too much - as long as Im eating and keeping it down Im happy.

Anonymous said...

there shouldn't be any concern if the loss or gain in weight is still within the tolerable limit. Your doctor ought to advise you clearly on this and with reasons too.

Jaqi said...

Doesnt weight cause so many problems? It seems lots of us struggle with it constantly. I am sure you will find the right course of action that suits you and I hope its not something that causes you alot of worry. Take Care, Jaqi

Lisa said...

i have never really thought about weight gain associated with the side effects of chemo- any weight gain is frustrating i know- stick to tracky dacks and big shirts and eat chocolate when you want to.
Lisa xx

Deb said...

I understand completely about how you want to lose weight, but don't rush it. Maintaining a good appetite is essential when on chemo as I'm convinced that more weight and a good appetite helps to lessen side effects. It is a balancing act but you are doing a wonderful job! There's time to lose the weight once the treatments are over....hey, you are more beautiful now my shine from within!!!

Keep the faith.

sherry lee said...

People associate cancer with weight loss. It isn't always the case as you know...I gained as well and still have that weight and I finished all my treatments in 2007. Chemo also puts many of us into menopause (some permanent as mine is) and that also adds additional weight. Chemo gave me a new body, one I've come to terms with. I am starting to lose weight now, slowly, for my health, not for how I look. In some ways having this extra weight makes me feel "healthy" -- if I were to lose a lot of weight quickly I'd be worried it was cancer. I believe our minds help to protect us as much as anything else.

Don't worry on the weight issue Daria...if your doctor isn't worried about you having extra weight then neither should you ♥

Sandy Webb said...

I think as long as when you do eat you are eating healthy foods then a little weight loss is OK. Especially if you have gained weight in the past. Let's face it, no woman wants to be above her personal ideal weight and it would make you feel better to lose those extra pounds. Just don't let it spiral out of control of course.

Nicole Covey said...

I, too, gained weight (about 20 lbs) because of the steroids. I trust my own medical knowledge as well as that of my oncologist--weight loss while undergoing chemo is not a good thing. Don't worry about it now--I'm not. I know that I will be able to shed the pounds when I am healthy again, but for now my focus is on beating cancer. I have my next appointment with my oncologist on Wednesday, and then we will discuss healthy weight loss. Don't worry, hang in there...this, too, shall pass.

Dawn said...

Try not to lose the weight! My mom has lost so much weight due to all the medicines and not being able to eat, she is losing strength and energy. And before long, there won't be much weight to lose. When fighting cancer, it's always best to have extra weight! Prayers for you.