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Steriods & weight gain

cahalstead
Posts: 119
Joined: Jan 2007

Does anyone else here have the weight gain from the steriods, mainly Decadron given at infusion time? I've put on a lot of weight since I started chemo. I have lots of bloating in my upper abdomen, does anyone know if this is typical of steriod usage? I'm so disgusted, I look fat, feel fat and it depresses me. I've never been this heavy, my onc says we'll deal with the weight issue after the chemo!

Any thoughts?

LynnN
Posts: 14
Joined: Dec 2006

And thoughts I have....I, too, gained a lot of weight during chemo. I was diagnosed with Stage 4, mets to liver in December,'05. I had lost a lot of weight because of the unknown cancer and quite liked it! After surgery I was very thin ( perhaps 96 pounds)....not so good and ate a lot to regain some of the weight....I finished chemo August 4th, 2006....NED as far as I know.....30 pounds heavier, which makes me crazy but as my friend says....It is a lot better than pushing up daisies!

Lynn

JoyceCanada's picture
JoyceCanada
Posts: 134
Joined: Mar 2006

For 20 years I was on and off every crazy diet plan. Spent a fortune on Aitken and Weightwatchers....got Rectal Cancer and the first thing the Oncologist said was "I don't want you to loose any weight". The steroids added 40 pounds to my already "chubby" body.

You got to laugh ...for 6 months I ate mainly rice and chicken broth and the damned steroids still managed to pack on the pounds.

Now I don't think of myself as "fat"....I'm delightfully plump :-)

KierstenRx's picture
KierstenRx
Posts: 249
Joined: Nov 2006

Hello,
I complained also about the decadron given at infusion time making me gain weight. I would eat like a viking after each chemo treatment. I gain 15 pounds during treatment and when I complained to my onc he said I should be happy I didn't gain 50 and that I could work on losing it after chemo. Well be careful what you wish for..... I had a small bowel obstruction 2 weeks after finishing chemo. So after surgery on July 5 I am down 20 pounds. I was really heavy 2+ years ago. Started a diet and lost about 60 pounds before being diagnosed. Have since then lost a total 102 pounds. I have always been unhappy with being heavy, but in a way being the weight I was when I was diagnosed allowed me to lose weight from surgery and such and never look sick or get too low in weight. It's funny, but everyone that knows me they all say I have never looked better. I tell them this is not the kind of diet I would wish on anyone.
Hang in there it will get better.
Kiersten

lfondots63's picture
lfondots63
Posts: 822
Joined: Jan 2006

Hi Kiersten,

I just wanted to tell you I laughed at your post. I've been heavy most of my life and on all kinds of diets. I started loosing weight because of my symptoms that I was having. I lost weight on chemo because nothing tasted good. (wish they could bottle that and sell it as a diet plan). I lost a total of 35 lbs in the 6 months from dx/surgery and chemo. At work everyone said how good I looked and I would say "You don't want to be on my diet! I have colon cancer. I wouldn't recommend it!" and then I would laugh. I think some people looked at me very strange for that but oh well. Have to keep a good outlook. Now I have gained the 30+ back since I can again taste food and LOVE IT! Oh well, back on yet another diet plan. Sigh.

Lisa F.

kerry's picture
kerry
Posts: 1317
Joined: Jan 2003

Oh boy, can I relate!! When I was diagnosed I was happy with my weight - very comfortable. After surgery I lost 20lbs and became thin and then worried that the chemotherapy ahead of me would make me emaciated. Well, I too ate like a viking after each treatment. I not only quickly gained back the 20lbs I lost after surgery, but put on again another 15 - 20 lbs from my original "happy" weight. Now it is the battle of the bulge. Life is full of challenges. Again, it is better than the alternative.

Kerry

alta29's picture
alta29
Posts: 435
Joined: Mar 2005

This will make you feel better...what about from 128 to 180 pounds? I have always be thin also, so it's not easy, but since I stopped chemo I have dropped 12 pounds...I may never get back to 128, but you know what ? when someone talks to me about my weight...I always say..." When you go trough 2 cancers, 2 chemos, and radiation...then ask me...
God bless

robinvan's picture
robinvan
Posts: 1014
Joined: May 2007

This is an interesting thread. I'd always expected to lose weight on Chemo. I think I've gained this time. This despite a fairly modest diet, frequent diarrhea, and hardly any beer (really)!. I wasn't aware of the decadron connection. I've also done a dose of prednisone so that probably doesn't help. We'll just call this a "chemo gut". Once I'm off chemo I'm sure it will go back to the rippling "six pack" common with us middle aged men. :) :) :)
Rob; in Vancouver

kathleenss's picture
kathleenss
Posts: 49
Joined: Nov 2006

Oh, yes!

When they said "chemo" I thought bald and skinny. I was going to get me a red wig and be a skinny redhead! I'm "fluffy", and I gained back some of what I lost at Weight Watchers, and my hair, dk. brown and grey, stayed there, only somewhat thinner.

So, now, here I am - an overweight, thin-haired Grandma with tingly hands and feet and no sense of taste.

It's amazing to me that I have to make myself eat. Never was a problem before.

catherine58's picture
catherine58
Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2007

I was really worried about gaining weight on chemo, thanks to the steroids. I asked my oncologist if I really needed them (after all, they're not going to cure my cancer) and he agreed I could try a much reduced dose. I've since reduced it further still, at my own request. I now have 8mg as an infusion before the chemo (this is the part of it that seems non-negotiable) and then 2mg once a day for two days afterwards (originally he wanted me to have 12mg for five days!). I haven't put on any weight (in fact I've lost a few pounds) and am coping fine - I take other anti-emetics to deal with the (fairly mild) nausea (I've only thrown up once). Perhaps you could ask your oncologist whether you really do need to take a high dose of steroids?

Good luck!

Catherine

Betsydoglover's picture
Betsydoglover
Posts: 1256
Joined: Jul 2005

As a result of my colon surgery I had a HUGE drop in appetite. I lost about 20 lb between diagnosis and the start of chemo (9 weeks) - I could barely eat more than 3-4 bites of any food before I was full. My appetite suppression continued for another month or so. After that it improved. My chemo (Xeloda/oxaliplatin/Avastin) started 7 weeks post colon surgery. I was given Decadron IV as an anti-nausea drug (but no take home Decadron). I have never found that steroids increased my appetite (even though that is a classic side effect). I probably gained 5 pounds of what I lost post-surgery during the latter stages of chemo, but it is also true that during chemo I had a pretty bad diet - I ate whatever felt good which was mostly carbohydrate comfort foods plus little bits of chicken.

I think I may be an exception to the usual way people are affected by Decadron. Hopefully once you are off chemo (and associated drugs) your body will start to regulate itself more normally.

Take care,
Betsy

cahalstead
Posts: 119
Joined: Jan 2007

As always, I thank you guys for your inputs and thoughts, they mean a lot to me.

I, too, lost a significant amount of weight after my resection. After that I was concerned about my weight loss so I ate more before treatments cause I knew I would lose weight afterward. But that caught up with me and the weight quit coming off and here I am with a much too large appetite (thanks to the steriods) and weight I need to lose. I'm not taking the steroids after chemo as I'm supposed to do. I'm just on the Decadron during the infusion process.

It's nice to know that there might be light at the end of the tunnel and I will regain my balance in the weight game.

Again, many thanks!!

Char

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