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Lack of muscle tone

sue1
Posts: 31
Joined: Mar 2002

I am currently undergoing chemo (Carbo/Taxofere) for ovarian cancer. Within my 1st month of treatment (currently starting my 3rd) I noticed a loss of muscle tone. It was all my muscles (calf, thigh, arms)! It is a HUGE effort to just take short walks, it feels like I'm dragging my legs! I had VERY strong muscles before this all occurred. Has anyone else experienced this and do you have any suggestions for me? Will the muscle tone not come back until after chemo? I'm anxious to hear some suggestions. Thanks, Sue

phattpig's picture
phattpig
Posts: 29
Joined: Apr 2002

Sue,

Ok, I do not know anything about your type of cancer, but from my experence with chemo it seems that all types suffer some of the same effects. I too had a lack of muscle tone after my chemo. It does go away, but like everything else associated with cancer, it takes time. I know that you don't want to hear about how doing exercises will help, but that is the only way I know of rebuilding muscle tone.

I have head & neck cancer and I lost about 170 pounds because I could not eat, I was living off "the fat of the land". I was so ashamed to look at myself in the mirror, I looked like a saggy old bag of bones. But now, a year later, I have started to put weight back on, and I am starting to get some tone back.

You have come this far, and you can make it back, you just have to keep hanging in there.

Good Luck

wallpa's picture
wallpa
Posts: 24
Joined: Apr 2002

Hey Yeah! Me too! I'm gettin CHOP and I found out I couldn't open a JAR the other day. I used to be one of the strongest women I knew, but now I'm asking my husband to lift heavy garbage cans and move furniture by himself. I thought it was from all the bedrest (chemo really wipes me out, I don't understand how people can WORK while they're getting it) but is it from the chemo chemicals too?

patty

sue1
Posts: 31
Joined: Mar 2002

Hi Patty, Thanks for the response! Yes, what I'm hearing is that it is from the chemo. I was feeling fine after the surgery. I was back to work in 3-1/2 weeks and walking with my usual pep. But after the first month of chemo I noticed the muscles actually getting soft and after the 2nd month of chemo it's an effort to walk uphill! Same thing as you, I had to ask my husband for help in opening a stupid jar last week! I'm hoping that once the chemo stops I can get some of this tone I once had back. I'm still working (about 36 hrs a week)but I do find I'm in bed a lot earlier than I ever used to be. By the way, what is CHOP? Hope to hear back from you. Blessings, Sue

wallpa's picture
wallpa
Posts: 24
Joined: Apr 2002

Working 36 hours a week! God bless you. I hope this means that CHOP is a really hairy treatment or I am in big trouble! I can barely walk around for a week or two after I get it.

CHOP is SUPPOSED to be an acronym for the chemicals in this brand of chemotherapy. Cyclophosphamide, Adriamycin (how they get the letter "H" out of that, I'll never know, maybe it has a nickname like "Hellish chemical" that they don't want to tell us about), Oncovin and Prednisone. From what I understand, it's the standard for intermediate- and high-grade lymphomas. I thought I was done after 6 rounds, but I just found out that they're going to give me two more treatments . . . just as my eyebrows were starting to come back! I am bummed. But we must be aggressive. We must be safe. We must be poisoned just a LITTLE bit more. I am looking forward to getting back to normal...whatever that means now! patty

phattpig's picture
phattpig
Posts: 29
Joined: Apr 2002

Patty,

Hi, I was just reading the different posts, and I thouht your was funny. Good to see that you kept your sense of humor. And I love your picture. Keep laughing, it helps.
Good luck to you.

John

sindi
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2006

CHOP used to be an acronym for Cyclophosphamide, drugs starting in H and O and prednisone but they changed the two middle drugs and kept the acronym (and added -R for rituxan). I had this for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (NHL) in summer-fall 2003, after losing 20 lb of mostly muscle (down to 93 lb). I gained back 30 during and after chemo. Before starting chemo I was too weak to sit up but got progressively stronger during chemo as I regained muscle, except for periods of weakness for a copule of days after the 5 days of prednisone, which prevents muscle growth. My partner dragged me out for walks starting about a week after my first therapy, at first a slow progression to the curb and back (the porch step was a problem), then we made it to the near corner, the far corner, the nearby orchard a few houses away where I sat as he picked windfalls, eventually around the block, to the pharmacy 1/4 mile away (a 'milestone') and after four months I made it to town 1 mile away, rested at the only place
open Christmas day (Chinese restaurant) and back. That summer I went swimming and managed 1.5 lengths of the area (20 = mile) first time, 3 second. Next summer I went with another lymphoma survivor and gradually made it to a mile with rests. I still drag myself up stairs by the handrail and runout of breath, but am up to 15 pushups and 50 situps. Start with vertical pushups against the wall. Normal activities are not enough. I can run 1/2 of a short block, slowly. I am 55 now and bike everywhere. Hot flashes continue 2.5 years but every 3 hours not 45 min and shorter and milder. Still hurts where I sit. Doctor told me the foot cramps and frequent colds are due to chemo. Colds are caused by chemo wiping out the memory part of your B cells (immune response) and should be temporary, but they advised a flu shot. See my diary of 6 months chemo at http://keesan.freeshell.org/lymphoma1.htm (or similar - go to the main site). How long has it taken others to regain muscle strength after weight loss?

annahud
Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2009

Did not have my glasses on and accidently hit that offensive button - please forgive me. I did not mean to hit anything like that.

I to suffer from muscle wasting, trying to get it back. I have lung cancer that metastized to the brain. Just had cyberknife to the brain will see how I did after my MRI.

mitziger
Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2009

I see you too have muscle wasting and it makes me kind of ill to look at my body. The chemo made me gain weight, it hasn't made the fat go away but sure messed up my muscles. Do you know any remedy for it? thank you Mitziger I am sorry yours mets to the brain, I hope mine doesn't but we never know. I wish you much good luck on your mri

ACW189
Posts: 24
Joined: Feb 2009

I completed treatment for anal canal cancer in May 2009. Yes, I too had alot of lower extremity muscle weakness -- thighs, hamstring, hips, groin. I started physical therapy in September, had six sessions with massage and ultrasound and it's worked wonders. They sent me home with stretching exercises as well. I'm not back to where I was but I'm feeling ALOT better. I'd advise this route for anyone!

Christine_71
Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2009

My step-dad was diagnosed with lung cancer in June 2008 and had treatments that got rid of that tumor. In April 2009 he had a CT scan and it had metastized to his right frontal lobe. He also had cyberknife treatment with his last treatment being Sept. 9. We found out earlier this week that the tumor has gotten a smaller. I hope it continues. He was doing physical therapy in the home and was making some progress then he developed a blood clot in his right leg so the therapy has to stop until the clot is taken care of. I am concerned that the lack of movement is going to cause even more loss of muscle and that he won't be able to regain any strength. I hope this set back doesn't cause permanent lack of mobility or paralysis in his right leg.

coloCan
Posts: 1872
Joined: Oct 2009

In my case, it seems like all the weight bI lost was muscle as there are none left. Was losing before diagnosis of colorectal cancer in May and cotinued losing weight and muscle during weeks od chemo and radiation. Had some weeks to prep for colostomy and started lifting very,very light weights but surgery past month did a number on me. My doctors have told me that in time I'll be able to work out again but right now I can sometimes barely get out of bed or walk thru apartment. Still have to endure additional months of chemo but havev rest of life to exercise again,,,,i hope

janimil
Posts: 6
Joined: Feb 2010

Talk to your doctor if you can take Coq10. I took protein powders and the CoQ10 and just tried to do what I could--walking and other stuff--to try to bring back my muscles. I had wasting and such weakness after chemo for breast cancer. It took a good year, maybe year and a half, for me to start to feel strength again. During that time, I put my back out twice, so be careful not to overdo lifting and bending until your strength is back. Try some strength training, if your doctor okays it, but slowly.

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MinniHaHa
Posts: 3
Joined: Dec 2010

Only just joined this site and find it very supportive. I had polio of 1 leg as a child and experienced new weakness in previously strong and 'good' leg twelve years ago. Resigned myself to adapting to less mobile life etc... I was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer three years ago, had resection of colon and chemotherapy of oxaliplatin and fluorocil (5fu). Felt myself getting weaker over the first two months of treatment and mostly lay on bed, eventually collapsed after 8th treatment and oxaliplatin discontinued. I had very acute peripheral neuropathy, not particularly painful but numbness of fingers and reduced sensation and movement in my good wieght bearing foot. Asked for and got crutches and have used them since. Most of the neuropathy has now worn off, I swim and do my own regime of exercises 2-3 times a week, so I wondered whether I could restore strength to the flaccid calf muscles of my left leg. The point of all of this is that the physiotherapist I consulted (privately as the NHS in Britain does not do massage treatment apparently), strongly massaged the calf muscle and within 15 mins I could balance on that leg. It felt like a miracle. Apparently a common effect of chemotherapy is to cause the muscle sheath and muscle to stick together and be unable to glide over each other, which reduces muscle activity and eventually it stops working. The massage freed up the tissues. She also discovered lower spinal nerve damage due to the many falls I have had in the past. I am hopeful of further improvements and may even find that I recover the mobility I had twelve years ago,the weakness previously attributed to polio. So my message is try massage and if it does not work just keep on trying - the body is very pliable. All the best to you.

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