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Old 05-07-2012, 12:53 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 55
Managing Energy and Diet

How have you managed your activity level while going through chemotherapy?

How have you managed your diet while going through chemotherapy?

I seem to be a bit hesitant in my activity level. Sometimes I feel it is more psychological than physical. For instance, i work this morning then went to PT. No i am home, a bit tired. Should I stay home and take a nap or push through and go to work? thoughts?

Regrading diet- i am never hungry. I eat because of the habit, the time on the clock, the social atmosphere, or emotional reasons. But since starting chemo, i am never hungry. I know diet is important, but i have struggled with food issues even before diagnosis. thoughts?
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Old 05-07-2012, 05:34 PM   #2
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Location: Central Coast, CA
Posts: 3,207
Re: Managing Energy and Diet

My experience is, with the physical activity you need to take cues from your body. I felt better and stronger when I could continue my regular walking regimen, even if I was a bit slow or didnt walk as far. But some days you're just too tired, and you have to respect that. Overall, there is evidence that physical activity will help you.

On the food thing, my first time around I ate pretty normally. This latest regimen, I've had problems with appetite, taste, and mouth sores. So it's been a challenge, and I've had some weight loss which is approaching unhealthy.

It's super important that you stay well nourished, as your healthy body (the rest of besides the cancer) is the resource you are bringing to the treatment party. Some things that have worked for me is pured soups, smoothies of all types - but always including a good dose of whey protein and all healthy stuff. With "no" taste buds, it actually makes it easier for flavors to find those few buds who are still willing to play.

Stay strong.
Chris in Scotts Valley
June 2002 extensive hi grade DCIS (pre-cancer-stage 0, clean sentinal node) Mastectomy/implant - no chemo, rads. "cured?"
9/2004 Diag: Stage IV extensive liver mets (!) ER/PR- Her2+++
10/04-3/05 Weekly Taxol/Carboplatin/Herceptin , complete response!
04/05 - 4/07 Herception every 3 wks, Continue NED
04/07 - recurrence to liver - 2 spots, starting tykerb/avastin trial
06/07 8/07 10/07 Scans show stable, continue on Tykerb/Avastin
01/08 Progression in liver
02/08 Begin (TDM1) trial
08/08 NED! It's Working! Continue on TDM1
02/09 Continue NED
02/10 Continue NED. 5/10 9/10 Scans NED 10/10 Scans NED
12/10 Scans not clear....4/11 Scans suggest progression 6/11 progression confirmed in liver
07/11 - 11/11 Herceptin/Xeloda -not working:(
12/11 Begin MM302 Phase I trial - bust:(
03/12 3rd times the charm? AKT trial

5/12 Scan shows reduction! 7/12 More reduction!!!!
8/12 Whoops...progression...trying for Perjeta/Herceptin (plus some more nasty chemo!)
9/12 Start Perjeta/Herceptin, chemo on hold due to infection/wound in leg, added on cycle 2 &3
11/12 Poops! progression in liver, Stop Perjeta/Taxo/Herc
11/12 Navelbine/Herce[ptin - try for a 3 cycles, no go.
2/13 Gemzar/Carbo/Herceptin - no go.
3/13 TACE procedure
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:12 PM   #3
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Re: Managing Energy and Diet

Regarding physical activity, as I progressed along in chemo, it became harder to be active. I was just so fatigued and achey. But I had to walk the dog and a neighbor, who had not been friendly prior, started coming by to get me every day to go walking the dogs. Sometimes I only got half a block, but it was someting and I am very grateful to her for the support and encouragement.
Regarding food, I had no appetite so I made sure to eat frequent snacks of easy to prepare things.Like cheese and crackers, yogurt, soup, smoothies.( For some reason I loved these little frozen spinach thingys. Now I cant look at them!) I was encouraged to eat protien, calorie rich foods. Ice cream and milk shakes too! I drank canned Ensure.
Good luck. Keep the faith.

Post menopause
May 2007 Core biopsy, Rt breast
ER+, Pr-, HER2 +++, Grade 3
Ki-67: 90%
"suspicious area" left breast
Bilateral mastectomy, (NED on left) May 2007
Sentinel Node Neg
Stage 1, DCIS with microinvasion, 3 mm, mostly removed during the biopsy....
Femara (discontinued 7/07) Resumed 10/07
OncoType score 36 (July 07)
Began THC 7/26/07 (d/c taxol and carboplatin 10/07)
Began Herceptin alone 10/07
Finished Herceptin July /08
D/C Femara 4/10 (joint pain/trigger thumb!)
5/10 mistakenly dx with lung cancer. Middle rt lobe removed!
Aromasin started 5/10

Last edited by BonnieR; 05-08-2012 at 04:13 PM.. Reason: punctuation
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:21 AM   #4
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Location: El Paso ,Tx
Posts: 436
Re: Managing Energy and Diet

I would take the week off after chemo but then do some light exercise the next two weeks, walking and biking. Eating became more difficult as chemo progress as mentioned above you may have to try a variety of things to see what works but make it a good meal ie protein fat anything to help keep your energy up. Good luck.
dx: DCIS 6/8/10, HER 2+ 7/26/10; Stage I Age 41
Double mast w reconstruction
6 TCH w 1yr herceptin
25 radiation tx
Removal of expander on L due to infection. Tried to save it had 3 bouts of antibiotics and went to see plastic surgeon 2-3x wk to get drained. Saving it was my idea not his. But lost it anyway.
Reconstruction set for December 21st,2011
Finished chemo 12/2010
Finished Herceptin 8/26/11
Reconstruction 12/21/11
Expanders exchanged for silicon 3/19/12
Nipple reconstruction 5/18/12
Nipple tatooing- 7/9/12- All done yay!
11/22/12-Went back to get scar tissue stretched to even the outside of breast, didn't work due to it being radiated skin.
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Old 05-13-2012, 04:12 PM   #5
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Posts: 55
Re: Managing Energy and Diet

Thank you for the support. I went I'm to work a lot this week- some days for 5 hours. Found put that was too much, even on my good week. I go into my 3/6 Chemo on Tuesday. Yippee for the halfway point!
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:09 PM   #6
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Re: Managing Energy and Diet

I've been on chemo for 2 1/2 years. I finally decided I had to give up my job, so I'll work until mid-June and then I'm done.

I find that if you make yourself do stuff, you can do it. Getting up is hard but once you do, you are fine.

I really dread the days when I have to sit around the house all day.

Eating is a bit harder - I seem to have trouble making myself eat. I guess it's because I"m busy at work so maybe that will improve when I am done.

I don't know what stage you are or how long you'll be on chemo. If this is your first, and hopefully, only round, then I would take it as easy as you can. When it becomes your life, then you have to push through stuff.

08/17/09 Dx'd.
Multifocal/multicentric IDC, largest 3.4 cm, associated ADH, LCIS, DCIS
HER2+ ER+/PR- Grade 3, Node Negative

10/20/2009: Right mastectomy, reconstruction with TE
12/02/2009: Six rounds TCH, switched to Taxol halfway through due to neuropathy
03/31/2010: Finished chemo
05/01/2010: Began tamoxifen, the worst drug ever
11/18/2010: Reconstruction completed
12/02/2010: Finished herceptin
05/21/2011: Liver Mets. Quit Tamoxifen
06/22/2011: Navelbine/Zometa/Herceptin
10/03/2011: Liver Resection, left lobe. Microwave ablation, right lobe - going for cure!
11/26/2011: C-Diff Superbug Infection, "worst case doctor had seen in 20 years"
03/28/2012: Progression in ablated section of the liver - no more cure. Started Abraxane, continue herceptin/zometa
10/10/2012: Progression continues, started Halaven, along with herceptin and zometa.
01/15/2013: Progression continues, started Gemzar and Perjeta, an unusual combo, continuing with herceptin and zometa
03/13/2013: Quit Gemzar, body just won't handle it. Staying on herceptin, zometa and perjeta.
04/03/2013: CT shows 50% regression in tumor, so am starting back on Gemzar with dose reduction, staying with perjeta/herceptin/zometa. Can't argue with success!
05/09/2013: Discussing SBRT with Radiology due to inability of bone marrow to recover from chemo.
06/07/2013: Fiducial placement for SBRT
07/03/2013: Chemo discontinued, on Perjeta, Herceptin and Zometa alone
07/25/2013: SBRT (gamma knife) begins
08/01/2013: SBRT completed
08/15/2013: STABLE! continuing with Perjeta, Herceptin, Zometa
06/18/2014: ***** NED!!!!***** continuing with Perjeta, Herceptin, Zometa
01/29/2014: Still NED. continuing with Perjeta, Herceptin. Zometa lowered to every 3 months instead of monthly.
11/08/2015: Progression throughout abdomen and lungs. Started TDM-1, aka Kadcyla. Other meds discontinued. Remission was nice while it lasted.

5/27/18: Stable. Kadcyla put me right back in the barn. I have two teeny spots on my lungs that are metabolically inactive, and liver is clean.

Im beating this MFer. I was 51 when this started and had two kids, 22 and 12. Now Im 60. My oldest got married and trying to start s family. My youngesg graduates from Caltech this June. My stepdaughter gave me grandkids. Life is fantastic.
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Old 05-17-2012, 11:48 AM   #7
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 18
Re: Managing Energy and Diet

Hi Alicia,

I think both diet and exercise are important during/after treatment. Having said that, I'm not the best example of what to do at all times.

I used to be very active but find that with each treatment I can't do as much as I want to. But, I do what I can, when I can. I try to walk / hike regularly but some days I don't feel up to it, so I don't. I ride my bike some days and ski or kayak also. I don't do any of these activities with the endurance or strength that I used to but I find that just getting out and doing something makes me feel better physically and mentally. When I was in IV chemo, I was only able to walk short distances but since then, I can do more and have even run some races along the way. Currently, I'm rebounding from a treatment that has left me wiped out so I'm working on getting back to routine exercise again.

As for the diet, I haven't had much of an appetite through it all. As my onc has told me, eat whatever sounds good to you (spicy food is my fave!), regardless of what others might tell you to eat. That is supposed to help boost your appetitie.

Over the last several months, I have lost a bit of weight and am now considered 'under weight'. I'm trying to remind myself to eat small meals / snacks throughout the day instead of putting all the pressure on eating 3 bigger meals (when I am not hungry and can't eat much). I am focusing on protein and fats and carbs to help me gain and have a little success in the last week.

I start everyday with a smoothie full of yogurt, juice and my favorite fruits. I eat toast with nutella or pistachios or a handful of garbanzo beans as snacks. I usually have leftovers or a creamy soup or cheese sandwich for lunch and another snack before dinner. I have no desire to cook these days so dinners are either something easy and family friendly or cooked by my husband. I finish everyday with ice cream or a milkshake.

We try to buy 'whole' foods, we don't buy a lot of processed items, and we buy organic when it makes sense for us. While I think this approach is good for me, it also poses problems since 'whole' foods equate to 'preparation needed'. If you're not able to figure out what sounds good to you, or how to combat side effects, there are some great websites / cookbooks out there that offer recipe ideas to help you through your treatment as well (Eating well through Cancer, caring4cancer.com).

I wish you well in your journey, Jen
6/09 - self exam - lump!
8/09 Dx - IDC, left breast. Suspicious mass,right breast (more testing required).
9/09 - Double mast/cholecystectomy /nodes removed. IDC confirmed, right breast. liver/bone mets. ER-/PR -/Her2 +. BRCA 1/2 -.
10/09 - Started Taxotere, Carboplatin, Herceptin, Zometa. Hospitalized with Tetany.
1/10 - Finished Taxotere, Carbo, continued Herceptin, Zometa. PET/CT - improvement.
2-3/10 - Rads (25 rounds).
8/10 inflammation vs. malignancy?
1/11 progression. started Xeloda.
9/11 progression. pancreatitis or tumor? Chest rash appeared.
10/11 confirmed pancreatitis. Halted Xeloda.
11/11 skin mets confirmed.
12/11 - started Tykerb, back on Xeloda.
1/12 cut Xeloda dose in . skin mets fading!
4/12 - no more Xeloda. skin mets resolved.
8/12 - brain mets found.
9/12 - gamma knife and fractionated brain radiation.
1/13 - progression throughout body. brain mets shrunk/resolved. no more Tykerb.
2/13 - starting T-DM1 trial.
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