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Weight gain: Menopause or chemo/radiation?

spunkyleela
Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2010

I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced excessive weight gain post hysterectomy and chemo and radiation? I had a total hysterectomy in December of 2009. I finished my chemo in May of 2009, then I finished radiation in September of 2009. Beginning about the middle of October, I started noticing excess belly weight. I can't lose it! I've asked all my doctors, and they say it's most likely due to menopause -- the "spare tire" and all.
I asked my radiation oncologist if it could be from the radiation, hoping it's just a lingering side effect. He said he didn't think so. Anyway, it's very frustrating. I'm blessed to be in remission, but I've gained probably 17 - 20 pounds since September. And yes, I exercise. Anybody else going through this?
Lisa

Reddie's picture
Reddie
Posts: 72
Joined: May 2009

Hi Lisa,

I have similiar situation that you have. My belly has gained than before and it has to do with menopause cuz we will lose (hourglass) figure. I will have to watch what I eat which I'm using calorie counter from free application online which does help me to control of my weight gain. You're not the only one...

smile, Reddie

spunkyleela
Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2010

Thank you so much. It's good to know I'm not the only one at least!

Kaleena's picture
Kaleena
Posts: 1958
Joined: Nov 2009

Hello, Lisa. I eventually gained a total of 30 pounds and exercised. I asked the doctor about it and they said that we eat too much (although I never indicated what I ate). I felt that I didn't eat that much not to lose anything. I finally started to lose some of it about the 4 year mark from my surgery. No one ever suggested any nutritional support or anything which I believe should be part of treatment of any kind.

Check out some of Claudia's stuff throughout several posts here. It is very interesting.

Happy you are in remission!

Kathy

jazzy1's picture
jazzy1
Posts: 1385
Joined: Mar 2010

Yep that's me too. Knowing that I had a hysterectomy which I think you might have had, doesn't help, as they cut the muscles. They do join together once more, but takes time. If I could get out and run like before I was diagnosed, I'd have no tummie bulging again.

I've gained 9 lbs an on a small frame, 5'1" it looks more like 15 lbs. Ouch! The warmer weather should allow us to get out and exercise more.

Jan

Cecile Louise's picture
Cecile Louise
Posts: 135
Joined: Dec 2009

I gained abou 30 pounds after my surgery and chemo. I am very active - Curves 4 times a week, do crunches, hula hoop or Nordic walking on off days - and eat well, but can't drop even a single pound. The "belly pooch" seems to get bigger even as the rest of my body is toning up. I, also, am blessed to have NED 2 1/2 years out, but I just wish my clothes would fit better.

Cecile

jazzy1's picture
jazzy1
Posts: 1385
Joined: Mar 2010

I'm envious that you've had NED for 2-1/2 yrs. What were the specifics for you cancer? Stage? What do you do eating wise that you could share?

I've always been a good eater but now after cancer diagnosis 1 year ago and NED, thusfar, I'm always looking for other input. Trying to eat more "plant-like" and doing as much Organic as my pocketbook can take. The exercise you're doing is great as I'm big into working out too. I miss the running, but know it's not in the cards today, hoping some day in the future.

Thanks!
Jan

Cecile Louise's picture
Cecile Louise
Posts: 135
Joined: Dec 2009

Congrats on your NED - that's wonderful!!
First off, let me say that there are many people on this site who are much more diet-savvy than I - I just try to eat as much organic as I can afford, pesticide and fertilizer free veggies and fruits, and meat and dairy that is free of antibiotics & growth hormones. I eat very little red meat, lots of leafy greens, fresh fruit & grains. There are several posts here regarding turmeric & raw juices which I am trying to educate myself about. Here's something that I just learned yesterday (literally!). Early studies suggest that Vitamin D can prevent or even kill cancer cells. Here are a couple of links I found interesting:

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/prevention/vitamin-D
http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/OnCall/study-vitamin-d-kills-cancer-cells/story?id=9904415

You can also Google "vitamin D and cancer" - there are quite a few articles, although studies are in their infancy.

Now, my oncologist has never talked to me about Vitamin D levels or suggested a bone density scan or blood work to determine my Vitamin D levels. My gyn did, though, and lo and behold, my Vitamin D level is low, though not dangerously - it's 25 and he says he doesn't like to see it below 35. My gyn also stressed the importance of both the bone density test and blood work every year or so since I had chemo. My gyn put me on 50,000 units of Vitamin D once a week to bring my levels back up. I am also to take 2000 units of D everyday along with 1200 mg of calcium. (I suggest you talk to your doctor before beginning any high-dose vitamin regimen) Anyhow, though I am cautiously optimistic, I know that you can't hang your hat on everything you read on the internet :P .
As far as the exercise goes, I love the strength and flexibility I've gained, and getting those endorphines pumping does wonders for my disposition. When I first started working out after my treatment, I wasn't able to do much, but I stuck with it and have improved a lot!

So! I've rambled long enough...

Hugs,
Cecile

jazzy1's picture
jazzy1
Posts: 1385
Joined: Mar 2010

Great information! SOunds you eat similar to what I eat. I met with a nutritionist and the only thing she suggested was to watch my chicken amounts. So really only have 1/2 of a 1/2 breast, but know it must be the organic or cage free whatever they call it. I've not quite dipped into that expensive chicken as only really eat my small pice 1-2 times per week. She also told me to go slow on the vanilla ice cream...1 C at max. So I've switched to sugar-free yogurt and she suggested Greek yogurt. Wow is that expensive too. I eat lots of berries and also take 2 scoops of Whey protein during the entire day mixed with some OJ. ALso mentioned to avoid powder SOY, as the Whey powder is just fine. Theres so much research on soy with hormones and well that is one area we're into with uterine cancer.

Vitamin wise I've always been huge in this area as actually sold a line of products for a few years. Not on them now but do take another which is in powder form. The great part about powder is it gets into your system faster and doesn't need to go thru stomach to breakdown. Worth it!! I've read about Vit D when first diagnosed last year and I was on that one like glue. Remember to also take calcium as both work with each other for absorption.

I've read so many positive comments on Claudia and from her that I'd love to find her emails with the bigger explanastions on what to eat, vitamins, etc. So...I guess I'll do more searches.

Exercising is another big area for me. I wish I could run like the days before cancer,but with my hip pain on and off not happening.

I had a bone density scan before I started my chemo last Feb. It showed thinning at top of my hip joint. Doc told me we'll do one at end of this year, which will be interesting. I do know the treatments are rough on our bones and then add on the pelvic radiation...yikes! We're lucky to be walking I'd say.

What are the specifics of your cancer journey? What stage? Mine is 3C and only area cancer was found outside of 2 very small tumors in my uterus was 1 lymph node by my pelvic area. Good thing it didn't move up higher.

Best to you and thanks for your information!!!!
Jan

Cecile Louise's picture
Cecile Louise
Posts: 135
Joined: Dec 2009

I had bleeding between periods in late 2007 (I had just turned 47), had a sonogram, then a hysteroscopy, then a D & C at which time it was found I had cancer. I had a total hysterectomy Feb 2008 and was diagnosed Stage 1b UPSC & endometrioid. 6 rounds of carbo/taxol but no radiation. Thanks for sharing your info!

Hugs and best wishes,
Cecile

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