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Feeling a little whiney

carmen
Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2000

Hi,
I'm new to this Web site, but I'm thankful to have found it. After reading others' experiences with breast cancer via the discussion groups, my complaints seem so trivial. However, I'd still like to ask ...

I finished treatment (surgery, six months of chemo, seven weeks of radiation) in May 2000, and I now take Tamoxifen. I'm 47.

Before my diagnosis, I was very physically fit -- mountain biking, climbing, backcountry skiing, as well as daily aerobics and weight lifting. (I was able to keep up with my physically fit 20-something and 30-something friends, but not now.)

I am trying to return to this routine, but my body is slow to respond. How much time should I expect before I return to normal? (I am working out as much as my body allows, which is almost every day now.)

Could the radiation (of my right breast) have damaged my right lung? (I asked the doc to be careful about that, and he used some method to avoid radiating my lung as much as possible.)
I find I can't breath as hard as I used to when intensely exerting myself (like riding up a steep hill or running full stride).

Also, I'm having a hard time feeling good about myself -- and I had what I considered pretty high self esteem before all this happened. And it's not so much because I lost my right breast -- I'm OK with that. But I've gained 10 pounds and it's depressing me terribly. I know, at least I've survived this cancer so far, and I am so thankful for that. I know I shouldn't be whining about weight gain and lacking fitness, etc. But I want my life back like it was before the diagnosis. I was happier then. I want to be happy again.

I have more questions, but I'll hold it to this for tonight.
Any suggestions?

pamtriggs's picture
pamtriggs
Posts: 408
Joined: Sep 2000

Dear Carmen

Welcome to the group. Everyone responds differently to the treatments they get & someone here will be able to answer all your questions. I had DCIS 19/20 years ago & am now in recurrance. I too am on Tamoxifen and unfortuntely one of the symptoms is weight gain. It's not impossible to lose weight on it but it is harder. Basically it's blocking estrogen so you will get menopausal symptoms. I am 54 & had menopause 8 years ago but am getting hot flashes & itching with the Tamoxifen. Just keep with the exercise regime & it will eventually work. As for self-esteem you should be proud of your strength so far & what you have come through. If anyone else can't cope with you the way you are now it's their problem - not yours. I did not even have a reconstruction as my family & friends were so supportive. So keep on keeeping on & hope you get all the naswers you need. Keep in touch. Love & hugs.
Pam

mjdp2's picture
mjdp2
Posts: 142
Joined: Nov 2000

BC (before cancer) I too was quite active, playing lots of tennis. When I tried to resume tennis (12 months after radiation and with my doctor's approval), I felt quite winded and fustrated. I too took A/C. I put on weight during chemo and read about excess fat storing estrogen that my cancer cells might feast on. After radiation treatment ended I decided to focus on getting a better BMI (body mass index). A wt. loss article said to take your present wt. and add a zero to it, ie 140 lbs=1400 calories. If you consume that many calories per day or less you will be able to lose wt. I walked only twice a week for half an hour to burn a few additional calories. Gradual wt. loss is better and more manageable. I lost about 20lbs in one year. I also learned what serving sizes are considered standard. Did you know that a serving of meat should be no larger than a deck of cards? Eating lots of fruits and vegetables helped me lose wt. too. I also take a multi-vitamin for insurance.
My local ABC (After Breast Cancer) support group has an annual fashion show. All models are BC survivors. We have a great time modeling swim suits and new fashions each year. Volunteering for the Am. Cancer Soc. can also provide you a lift. Helping others get thru their cancer experience is reserved for those God has specially chosen. Grab the opprotunity and God bless you. Margaret

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