Losing Weight Without Trying : My Cancer I am losing weight. And I'm not supposed to be. My doctors aren't so happy. When I was first diagnosed with a brain tumor, I was given steroids to reduce the swelling. Well steroids also make you really hungry, and it was Christmas time. Bad combi...
NPR logo Losing Weight Without Trying

Losing Weight Without Trying

I am losing weight. And I'm not supposed to be. My doctors aren't so happy. When I was first diagnosed with a brain tumor, I was given steroids to reduce the swelling. Well steroids also make you really hungry, and it was Christmas time. Bad combination. The house was full of food, and I was ready to eat it all. Needless to say, I put on weight. And since I wasn't really in any shape to work out, I kept it on.

Until a couple of months ago. When I had my first spinal surgery, I started to lose weight in the hospital. That continued with the second, and then third, surgeries. I've lost a substantial amount now. There are some good reasons for that. The first was hospital food. I know that they try hard, but it still amazes me that a hospital that can work medical miracles can't make decent meals. Secondly, I had lost my appetite somewhat. With everything going on, I just didn't feel like eating. And they served dinner at 5:30. Who's ready to eat then? I spent a fair amount of time in Latin America, and lived in Miami. Dinner there starts around 10:00, and I got used to that.

But since I've been home, I thought I was eating a lot. When I started the radiation a week ago, my appetite went down a little, but I still thought I was eating a fair amount. But when I got weighed today, I was shocked. I'm not just skin and bones — far from it. But I've also lost a lot of muscle and just bulk I guess.

Part of this is caused by the disease too. Cancer changes your metabolism. You can eat, but still lose weight. This is a real concern, one that I have to take seriously.

So I've been told to eat a couple of those nutrition shakes a day. It's funny, you may be hungry, but when you're told to eat, that you have to eat, all of a sudden you lose that hunger. I think back to my days as a wrestler in high school. In order to lose weight, I ate one meal a week. Literally. My parents found me sleepwalking out in the kitchen, pulling cans of food out of the cupboards. After that, I was terrified that I would eat in my sleep and not know why I didn't make weight. It was a terrible time.

Now I guess things have come around completely. Maybe I should leave some food out at night in the hopes that I will eat it in my sleep. Who knows, it might work.

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