March 11th, 2016
| Survivor: Testicular Cancer
It's more common to hear cases of weight loss during cancer treatment rather than weight gain. And once you've gained weight, it can be hard to lose because of post-cancer complications such as muscle fatigue and weakness. Not exactly a simple topic, but an important one to bring up, cancer survivor Steve weighs-in on this topic. Read more below.
I've struggled with my weight for my entire life. I'm a 6'3" large-framed guy that most people think surely must have played football, so 300 pounds might not have looked like a whole lot on me, but it was still way too much. Through a lot of discipline and hard work long before cancer, I managed to trim myself down to a far more healthy 240-250 pounds, and felt and looked good. I gained a bit over the holidays one year and knew it was time to hunker down once again to keep my weight from spiraling out of control. And then I was diagnosed with cancer.
I was in a state of shock. The last thing on my mind was managing my weight at that point, but as the reality of my cancer diagnosis sunk in and I was about to start chemotherapy in March of 2011, I thought to myself, well at least I might lose that bit of excess during chemo! Chemotherapy affects everybody differently. You could lose weight if you end up having zero appetite from feeling sick constantly, and this is true for many. For me? Pardon the pun, but fat chance!
A confluence of factors conspired against me, from extreme fatigue, steroids causing me to balloon up, and out of control stomach acid production for which the only relief was to keep on eating, to give it something to absorb. Otherwise, I felt like I was constantly on the verge of gagging, and so the pounds piled on. It was so demoralizing to watch years of discipline going to waste, but it's just how things worked out, and I finished my five month fight against cancer back at nearly 300 pounds again! I had never felt more miserable and disgusting in my life, but I was still here and had my first all clear, and that's what counted.
As far as weight gain during treatment, body image issues, and tips on losing weight after cancer, here are some hopefully helpful tips:
1. Cut yourself some slack.
2. Be patient & never stop believing in yourself.
3. Try to stay active & get exercise if you can.
4. Clean up your diet.
5. Find the support that you need.
It was a huge turnaround in 2015 and very proud moment when I finally saw 259 on the scale, marking having lost all 40 pounds that I had gained since my cancer diagnosis. I passed my annual physical with flying colors, and all of my numbers looked great. Next up for 2016? Back to 240 pounds, let’s do it!
Have you struggled with weight gain from treatment yourself? Share your experience in the comments below!
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