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Weight Loss

Mmpeterson
Posts: 124
Joined: Sep 2016

It's been 1 week since 1st chemo treatment.  Eating all day long instead of 3 big meals a day and feeling pretty good.  The scale seems to be going down instead of up or holding. 

This is what I ate yesterday:

Premier Protein shake 30g protein; 1/2 peanut butter w/sugar free jelly and sugar free whole grain bread; popcorn; organic toasted oats cereal w/almond milk & banana; 2 scrambled eggs; 1/2 salmon sandwich; chicken w/carrots and brown/wild rice; another bowl of organic toasted oats cereal w/almond milk & banana; berry smoothie (spinach,kale,banana,berries,flaxseed,almond milk,almonds,walnuts); sugar free pudding cup; small organic apple; 2 cups green tea

I get worried about not holding my weight through the treatments.  I love cheese and getting the deli turkey breast sliced for sandwiches but I am not sure if it has a lot of preservatives or not so I haven't had either of those since treatment started.  I could easily eat a huge cheeseburger and fries or foot long turkey sub sandwich but not really part of my healthy eating plan.  My dr said to stay away from ice cream, cakes, cookies, etc (any of the bad sugars).  I also go 20 min walking on my treadmill every afternoon to keep my muscles strong.

Any suggestions as to what to add or modify?  Maryanne

 

janaes
Posts: 800
Joined: May 2016

I understand the weightloss worry.  I had that one for sure.  I didnt eat the greatest at times during chemo but i tried.  That was my motivation most of the time during chemo (to gain weight).  It sounds to me like you are eating great.  When I could i ate peanuts.  That was my snack through out the day. I credit my 7 pound weight gain to that.  I would definetly not stop doing what you are doing.

Mmpeterson
Posts: 124
Joined: Sep 2016

It really gets confusing because I eat and it still goes down but I am adjusting a few things so hopefully it will stay where it is.  I love peanut butter so I am upping that daily.  I always worried about trying to lose weight my entire life now it's the opposite.  Go figure!!  lol   Thank you janaes!!  Maryanne

Editgrl's picture
Editgrl
Posts: 903
Joined: Jun 2015

I was also concerned about weight loss during chemo as I am very slender.  What you are eating sounds pretty good. You migtht try bumping up the quantity a bit.  Maybe a whole sandwich instead of a half if you can do it.  I snacked a lot on almonds, organic Greek yogurt (high in protein).  Organic cheese would probably be okay, if you're not avoiding dairy, though be aware, it might be counter-productive if you're having constipation issues. Have you talked to a nutritionist at your cancer center?  They often have good advice on what to eat to maintain weight.  I eventually gained weight on chemo, though it took a while.  In fact, the heaviest I have been in the last several years came at the end of chemo.  At the beginning when I expressed my concerns about weight loss to my oncologist, she said that in her experience, if women keep their appetite, they start to gain.  That was certainly true in my case.

Mmpeterson
Posts: 124
Joined: Sep 2016

Thank you Chris!  I actually ate a whole sandwich for lunch today, I was so hungry!  I do have a dietician at the cancer center I go to and have emailed her regarding any changes she thinks I should make to my eating plan.  All you ladies on here have such wonderful advice.  I guess when the scale started going down and I was eating yet it kind of worried me.  I am increasing how much I eat as of today and just got back from the store to stock up on many things that I needed.  I want to be really ready to go on Nov 15 for the next chemo treatment when my dr adds the Taxol.  Hugs!!!!!  Maryanne

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Kvdyson
Posts: 789
Joined: Jan 2016

Maryanne, it is so good to hear that you are doing well with your treatments! I can't recall whether you had mentioned having your tumor tested but mine was estrogen and progesterone receptor positive (ER+ PR+). Because of that result, I try to stay away from soy and flaxseed since they contain phytoestrogens which can mimic estrogen in your body. It's a controversial topic and the science is not clear at all on whether phytoestrogens could contribute to a recurrence but I decided to err on the side of caution and limit (within reason) how much soy and flaxseed I ingest. 

Additionally, and this too is controversial, my oncology nurses warned me to not drink green tea during treatment. It had something to do with it interacting with the chemo I was receiving (Ifex/Taxol).

This could all be very different for you so please disregard if you've been given the all-clear from your nurses. Kim

Mmpeterson
Posts: 124
Joined: Sep 2016

Hi Kim - yes I double checked my path report and it does say estrogen/progesterone positive.  Didn't know that about flaxseed and soy so I put the flaxseed on the "do not eat" shelf.  I use almond milk instead of the soy because it had less sugar in it and I read almonds are very good for you.  The green tea was nasty so that I have no problem not drinking it.  lol  Thank you for the information.  There are so many things to learn about what to eat and not to.  That is why this discussion board is so very important to me.  Many hugs!!  Maryanne

Nellasing
Posts: 529
Joined: Oct 2016

At first I lost and I was happy because this stuff had started packing on the pounds - it was one thing that drove me to get checked.  I just continued to eat very clean and organic. 

Toward the end of chemo I started gaining and I was stressing. When I talked with the Dr. about my concerns she said she found lots of ladies gained weight.  My naturopath said it could be the hormones and or the steriods and not to worry.  It's very hard for me since I've fought so hard to lose over the last 4 years. 

The thing my Doc and naturopath agreed on regarding supplements or green tea etc. was that I'd stop 48 hrs before treatment and 48 hrs after.  You might check and see if that is an acceptable practice for you if you'd like to keep using the flax and green tea etc.

Prayers that things continue to go well for you!!!  (((HUGS)))

Mmpeterson
Posts: 124
Joined: Sep 2016

Hey Nellsaing - I get everything organic and sugar free that I can find, even my cereal is organic along with my tomatoes and fruits.  Thank you for letting me know about the supplements also.  I am very happy I am learning about all this so early in my treatment that way I can get all the benefits of the chemo in my treatments to come.  Hugs to you as well!  Maryanne

sshhaarrii
Posts: 38
Joined: Oct 2016

It's good to hear you're able to eat well. I think that is a bonus. I have had the exact opposite experience. I'm actually hungry, but am afraid to eat. I'm eating, but very little. Lots of tummy issues with my 1st chemo round. Tomorrows treatment will be just taxol (last week carboplatin/taxol), so hopefully it won't be too bad on the tummy. I actually know what it's like to have nausea reflex in reverse, now. Weight, I've lost weight and am worried that it will continue. I could stand to lose some weight, but not now. I've always had tummy issues and figured chemo was going to amplify it. I ate soup and toast today, 1 hour later tummy issues. Popsicles are good. Halloween candy not good on the tummy. 

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Kvdyson
Posts: 789
Joined: Jan 2016

Shari, you may want to talk to your oncology team to be sure that your nausea meds are working properly for you or if they need to be adjusted to help you eat and maintain your weight. They REALLY don't want you to lose weight during treatment because the chemo meds are modulated based on it. 

Nellasing
Posts: 529
Joined: Oct 2016

So sorry to hear you are not feeling well.  We'll be thinking of you tomorrow and praying that you tolerate it better this time.  Are you drinking lots of water?  I also ate something while I was doing chemo- they say that helps...

I leave the sugar alone- all the research says that cancer LOVES sugar- I figure I'm going to starve it.... lol  (((HUGS)))

 

Mmpeterson
Posts: 124
Joined: Sep 2016

So true about the sugar.  I get sugar free whenever I can except when it's natural like in my berries and fruit.  All that added stuff doesn't seem to be a good thing and cancer loves it.  I took my anti-nausea meds for 4 days after treatment but then also it will constipate you so I also took my Colace and Senokot along with Miralax which everyone here recommended and it has worked great for the last few days.  Hope this helps! Maryanne

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1373
Joined: Sep 2010

Keeping weight on with this diagnosis can be challenging.  It is not at all unusual for cancer patients to develop a condition called cachexia.  Actually, it happens in about 80% of advanced cancer patients.  Essentially it is a change in your body's metabolism that causes wasting.  The one thing that helps address the problem is glutamine.  There are some studies that indicate that glutamine can also help fuel cancer.  But generally, cancer patients are depleted in glutamine, and the benefits to  overall body health and support of normal cells overshadows the minimal benefit glutamine gives to the cancer cells.  Additionally, glutamine helps heal the gut, which is negatively impacted by chemo.  Here is an article about it.  Good luck.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11975938

 

MAbound
Posts: 1062
Joined: Jun 2016

Cachexia is a wasting syndrome a bit more serious than weight loss during chemo due to feeling ill and appetite changes. It occurs in cancer patients in advanced stages for whom treatment has failed. The primary cause of cachexia is not anorexia or decreased caloric intake but rather involves increased tissue destruction as a result of the advanced disease. I don't think Maryanne has to worry about that being what's happening to her at this point. There definitely is a dichotomy out there about the value or harm glutamine supplements have with cancer patients, so the word is to use it with caution and to clear its use with your caregivers first.

Here's  Merck's definition and discussion about cachexia and cancer: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hematology-and-oncology/principles-of-cancer-therapy/cachexia-in-cancer

Mmpeterson
Posts: 124
Joined: Sep 2016

Thank you for the clarification, whew I was getting a little worried.  I take Vit D3, B6, and Probiotic that is all that was recommended going through chemo treatments.  I also put away the flaxseed and green tea due to some of the ladies letting me know those 2 things are not a good choice.  I did up my food intake yesterday and the scale barely budged this morning so it appears to be working.  My dietician also told me that I need to increase my fat content so cheese added to any food and nut butters is good to have with many of the foods I currently eat.  I bought the almond butter and that stuff is really good!!  Many hugs mabound!!  Maryanne

Editgrl's picture
Editgrl
Posts: 903
Joined: Jun 2015

Oh, yeah, forgot about the nut butters.  Almond butter is also good to add to a smoothie for extra calories and protein.

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1373
Joined: Sep 2010

Mmpeterson, 

I did not share the information about cachexia to worry you.  I shared it because it is a very common condition among cancer patients with active cancer and it is not limited only to patients whose treatment is failing them.  It also is not a death sentence.  I had it.  Many people here have likely dealt with some degree of it. But it is directly related to the cancer itself and is not resolved by eating alone.  

http://www.cancercachexia.com/what-is-cancer-cachexia

It sounds like you are eating a lot of food, so it is something to keep an eye on if you cannot stop the weight loss through diet.

http://www.cancercachexia.com/what-causes-cancer-cachexia

Good luck

 

Mmpeterson
Posts: 124
Joined: Sep 2016

I looked into cachexia when I first started treatment.  This morning the scale is holding and I do eat every 1 1/2 hours.  I don't know if the chemo speeds up my metabolism but I am hungry all throughout the day.  Many say that that condition is hard to come back from so it is reassuring that you were able to come back from it and thrived afterwards.  My dietician also suggested to add cheese to anything I eat like vegetables for the fat content so I did that and so far it seems to have a good effect.  I do appreciate the info.  Maryanne

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