Near the very beginning of my diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer with extensive bone metastasis Stage IV, I constantly weighed around 214 pounds. Once learning of my cancer diagnosis, I found it hard to eat while I was dealing with the immediate shock.
As I remember now, many nights during those earlier days I could not sleep. I was sitting at the island in my kitchen at all hours of the night trying to figure out how and why this all had happened.
Losing weight during chemotherapy
During the start of my chemotherapy, I began to lose my taste for nearly all solid foods and some drinks as well. My treatment plan called for monthly doses of a very potent chemotherapy medication docetaxel. I often heard other patients refer to it as “the red devil.”
The six months of my original chemotherapy were indeed the longest of my life. Losing an amazing 41 pounds, I weighed a measly 173 pounds. My body had not saw this weight since the early days of high school. And for all it was worth, I definitely did not feel in any way like a freshman in high school.
Nearing the end of my six-month chemotherapy, all that I could stomach was popsicles and ice water. This had taken a toll on my overall body weight. I must confess that all food and drink had taken on a taste of metal. Utilizing metal utensils became intolerable, and I could not stand the feeling nor the taste in my mouth.
Gaining weight after
Once the chemotherapy came to an end, all I wanted to eat was ice cream. Ice cream became almost an hourly obsession. Needless to report, I began to put on tons of weight. Upon the return of my tolerance for milk, my weight began to climb.
In fact, I put on so much weight that I had ballooned to a whopping 235 pounds. Not only had I regained the 41 pounds lost – I put on an additional 21 pounds once my taste buds returned to nearly normal. I could not believe the swing in my overall body weight. It became necessary to purchase new clothes, as I could no longer squeeze into my pre-cancer wardrobe.
At the peak of my weight gain, my oncologist became concerned and directed me to lose the additional weight. It was very tough and took much concentrated effort to get back down to near my weight just prior to cancer. 218 pounds was as close as I could manage, and it became frustrating.
A new normal
Many of the numerous prescription medications seemingly fought my attempts to lower my overall body weight. For a short while, I became obsessed with beginning and maintaining an exercise program. However, I could not continue with the exercise program, as it became difficult to tolerate the pain. A body weight of 218 pounds became my new normal, with it fluctuating between 207 pounds to as high as 229 pounds.
At present during my many doctor appointments, as of my writing this, I normally weigh in between 216 pounds and 220 pounds. Frustration does not set in for me, unless my body weight is outside of this new normal range.
In closing, one of my all-time favorite moments concerned a visit to my urological oncologist. I sat in his little room waiting for him to come visit. Upon entering the room he exclaimed as he started back out the door, “Oh, I am sorry! I was supposed to see Mr. Estep.” In his defense, I must report he had not laid eyes on me since my status of being down 41 pounds and completely bald. It was a lovely day.
What was the most difficult part of your diagnosis?