When this all started, I learned that most women GAIN weight on chemotherapy for breast cancer. WHAT? Really? That totally surprised me. My image of a cancer patient is thin and gaunt and kind of “off” in coloring. So, DZ (surgicial oncologist) had told me that I should do everything to keep active and maintain my weight, with the idea that preventing weight gain was the key.
Fast forward to post-chemo V: This morning, I was right on my ‘basement’ weight of 130 lbs. In fact, last week, I dipped to 128. At diagnosis, I was a bit over 140. Now, I’m barely hanging on to 130, stubbornly trying to keep my weight at or above 130. Why 130? That’s actually about 5 or 8 pounds light for me. But at 130, I don’t look sickly thin… it’s below my ideal race weight – a weight at which I start to notice loss in power… and it’s arbitrary – it’s the basement I’ve selected and will work to hold on to.
So why am I struggling to keep weight on while most women GAIN? Well, my combination of chemotherapy drugs apparently carries weight loss as a potential side effect. In particular, it seems that the PARP inhibitor is the likely culprit. My issue seems to be hunger. I don’t have much. I don’t even think of eating. I have to think to myself, now is a good time for a snack, so eat one. Once I am eating, I enjoy my food (thank goodness). But, it just doesn’t occur to me to actually eat. Ok – anyone who knows me … well… let’s just say this is not my norm! I used to be all like… Cookie? Brownie? Yes please! Fruits? Yes please! Energy bar? Yes please! Sandwich? Yes please! Smoothie? Yes please! Left-overs? Yes please! And after dinner, I’d have a snack… and I mean like right after dinner…. And usually I’d eat second breakfast…and often second lunch… An added challenge is that I now get full much much faster. A modest sized falafel sandwich used to be like first lunch… now it’s a big full lunch.
Going into cyclocross season, I was coming in a little bit heavy but probably right on for peaking for some awesome racing in January (nationals – I really wanted to go). So, this is a total flip in mind set…. not only with regard to food but also with regard to my fitness and strength. And I’m finding it really hard!