Rebuilding after Chemo

  • bluesurge863

    Posts: 5

    Jan 12, 2014 6:07 AM GMT
    So, having recently completed chemotherapy for the second freaking time, I find myself stuck in terms of building muscle mass. I talked to my oncologist and GP about it, but they just have me the usual "Every body is different, what works for others may not work for you" spiel. I filed it all in my "No Shit Sherlock" vault and resolved to figure it out.

    So has anyone else been in this situation? What did you do too combat the loss of muscle mass and reduced appetite to get back in shape?
  • bluesurge863

    Posts: 5

    Jan 12, 2014 8:06 PM GMT
    Well, see, that just sounds like waiting for five years to either die or not die. I've given this so much of my energy I'm ready to just move on. If it does return, I'll take it on like I did the first two times, but I don't want to use "being sick" as an excuse anymore.
  • bluesurge863

    Posts: 5

    Jan 13, 2014 3:51 AM GMT
    I didn't say that's what you meant by it, I said that's what that experience sounds like to me. I'm not sure why you feel like that warrants a pop psychological takedown of my character, but whatever. Godspeed.

    Anyway, I have spoken to my oncologist, as I mentioned in the OP, but again, all I received was a list of platitudes I could have written myself. I find it much more useful to hear the stories of people who have been through it.
  • Apparition

    Posts: 3529

    Jan 13, 2014 9:46 AM GMT
    my bf's border has just finished his second set of chemo and is in recovery now. he can barely eat anything. he can eat a bucket of icecream though.

    we kept feeding him little bits of everything that we had, and it seems for some reason he can eat some things in bulk that are random, so he has grabbed on to them to find something to keep up his appetite.

    he ate almost a whole leftover ham for instance. perhaps if you can find some leftovers regularly, you can find some foods that you can keep down regularly.

    something else that he admits has helped is that there is a dog in the house...and the dog is his responsibility now since he has been home for the last couple years. It keeps him on somewhat of a schedule in the morning at least, it makes him go outside regularly, and has given him someone that loves him unconditionally when he feels like shit. It is kind of heart rending to see the dog lay outside the bathroom door waiting for him to come out since he lives in there most days it seems. my bf thinks the dog is really the only reason ben made it through.

    I dont know if you have a pet, but some dependence on you might at least keep you walking and awake when you otherwise would be in bed.
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    Jan 14, 2014 6:34 PM GMT
    Apparition saidsomething else that he admits has helped is that there is a dog in the house...and the dog is his responsibility now since he has been home for the last couple years. It keeps him on somewhat of a schedule in the morning at least, it makes him go outside regularly, and has given him someone that loves him unconditionally when he feels like shit. It is kind of heart rending to see the dog lay outside the bathroom door waiting for him to come out since he lives in there most days it seems. my bf thinks the dog is really the only reason ben made it through.

    I dont know if you have a pet, but some dependence on you might at least keep you walking and awake when you otherwise would be in bed.

    I was given my dogs after several failed rounds of chemo for the same purpose and credit their presence (in addition to my top oncological team) for my survival to date - I wasn't expected to last past 50. No one told me dogs didn't have to poop with every walk so I made sure I didn't bring them home until they did their #2, on all four of their daily walks. That meant walking four hours a day which was good because the chemo and treatments I was on were of a type that made me gain weight.

    But so far as rebuilding during and after chemo it was bad in that while the walks represented regular exercise that made me cardiovascularly fit I they wore me out so much I couldn't also drag myself to the gym, which was problematic for a couple of reasons. First, I remained 80 lbs overweight with bad coordination and balance and had difficulty moving given my meds and overall exhaustion. Second, given my condition where I was quite frail but didn't look it I found myself even when I stayed out of their way curbing my dogs getting literally knocked to the curb by the world's most self-involved, self-entitled people - Manhattan joggers wearing yellow Lance Armstrong "Live Strong" bracelets, who were just a tad less considerate of being delayed a nanosecond than the average pedestrian. The situation seemed so crazy and hopeless that I traded East '60s NYC living for a house in the 'burbs.

    Once I moved and after I just let them out in the yard or set them loose at a nearby 30 plus acre dog run I was able to return to the gym, and what a gym - because I needed a gym with everything on one level because of frequent stair falls I was limited to the #1 hardcore bodybuilding gym on the east coast, Bev Francis' Powerhouse gym. Let me tell you, there's nothing more motivating and demotivating than going from being decimated by NYC joggers to NPC bodybuilders but the rest is history - look at me now. Functionally I'll never be what I was but as far as looks go I keep hitting new personal bests after every setback. Believe me, there have been lots of setbacks but the certainty of knowing I can rebound have kept me doing so time and again.

    Just be certain in yourself - yes, everyone's different but not so different that you can't do it too! No more excuses - I was over 20 years older than you are now when I had to rebuild, and I've never been bigger and leaner. As MuchMoreThanMuscle said the answer is time - which at 27 you probably have more of - and if it's any consolation or inspiration I started building way late in the game.

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    Jan 16, 2014 3:56 PM GMT
    my bf went through the same. he lost a lot of weights while he was on chemotherapy, he went down to 129 pounds. 3 years later after he was done with therapy. he turned into gymrat, his body look amazing (toned) (yummy)