W is for… Weighty Issues

20 Nov

weight gain chemoSo I thought the one and only silver lining of chemo would be weight loss. Cancer patients are always skinny, right? How wrong I was! OK, a few of the girls I met actually lost weight during chemo, but the majority put on weight and I was no exception as I slowly ballooned into blimp-sized proportions.

According to Breast Cancer Care‘s Diet and Nutrition seminar, women put on an average of 28lbs during chemo for breast cancer. TWO stone?!! I managed to beat this figure. (Not proudly!). Combine this with my straggly, thin hair, frog-like steroid face and lack of eyebrows and eyelashes and the last of my self-confidence slipped down the drain. I got quite upset as felt fat, sluggish and ugly. However, my oncologist told me not to diet during chemo as my body needed the energy. I am doing my best now (thanks to Weight Watchers), but it is a very slow process, most probably due to the Tamoxifen. SO, with hindsight, if I knew what I knew now, I would have kept stocked up with healthy snacks for my steroid-munchy days and eaten what I liked when I felt totally rubbish and only a mountain of toast would do, but tried to make up for it on my better days. I would also have upped my exercise. This will not only help keep the weight from piling on, but is also proven to help with the fatigue. I walked my dog every day which was all I could manage as my heart was seriously affected, but some friends ran every day and did yoga and pilates.

However, don’t beat yourself up if you put on weight. You will be able to lose it afterwards (albeit much slower than you used to) and it is much more important to keep your body energised and healthy rather than having to cope with being starved while being pumped full of poison.

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2 Responses to “W is for… Weighty Issues”

  1. Helen Graham March 12, 2015 at 9:06 pm #

    I am just about to start chemo and am really apprehensive, but your website has helped me to think about the future more positively. Thank you, I’ll be checking back during treatment!

    • chemo for beginners March 13, 2015 at 1:47 am #

      So sorry to hear that. Wishing you all the best. I’m sure you’ll be fine. Most people say it’s not as bad as they thought. There will be difficult days, but just remember that if the chemo is making you feel bad, then it’ll be making any pesky cancer cells feel a hundred times worse. Take care. x

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