This is the beginning of a series in which I will give you a glimpse into my health journey; it includes my weight issues, as well as my journey with cancer (which I blogged about in the past and you can read about here.) I plan to share about it in the hope to encourage and inspire you that weight matters when it concerns your health.
A cluster of symptoms
Interestingly enough I had been diagnosed as having high cholesterol four months before my cancer diagnoses; a couple of years later I was told that my blood pressure was on the high side of normal and then this year at the beginning of the year I was diagnosed as having pre-diabetes. These signs, including the struggle with weight loss all add up. I was on my way to a landslide health disaster. Depending on where you are located in the world some refer to it as the X-syndrome, others as the metabolic syndrome but what it is, is a cluster of symptoms including heart attack. These symptoms are related to one’s lifestyle.
Breast cancer awareness.
Before I talk about weight let’s pick up on breast cancer first as you might have read about my journey with cancer .
My oncologist explained:
“There are many different types of breast cancers; some are triggered by estrogen, others by progesterone and so on. The two main types of cancer are: ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). When it is in the duct it is easier to do a lumpectomy but when it is lobular it is an insidious network of growths not forming a lump and it is very difficult to know if the lumpectomy will take out all the cancerous cells”.
And that was the type I had: lobular carcinoma which is why I had to have a mastectomy. In actual fact I had a double mastectomy because I didn’t want to take the chance of developing breast cancer in the other breast later or finding that I had it already and did not know. My oncologist sent my cells off for a DNA microarray test used in detecting cancer. When I met my oncologist she explained that mine was triggered by estrogen. My microarray test confirmed that it wasn’t my genes. That made me happy; I thought that was a good sign for my children.
She then went on to tell me that I should lose weight. I had been overweight since having children but I was not too concerned as it crept on slowly over the years. Eventually I consoled myself with the thought that it was middle age spread and lots of people have it.
She went onto explain:
“Your cancer is triggered by estrogen and even although you have had a double mastectomy and can’t get it in your breasts anymore if it were to spread to your bones, liver, lungs, spine or brain it would be the type that is triggered by your estrogen. You are almost post-menopausal now but your body will still make its own estrogen in your fatty tissue.”
(If you want to know more about fatty tissue and estrogen please see the links I have left below.) Hearing this did not please me. “If I could have been thinner I would have already been thinner,” I thought to myself. Most of you know how difficult it is to lose weight.
So I did try to lose weight and went to a variety of dieticians and exercise regimes, but I didn’t have much success; only a sense of failure and some sense of dread of what could happen in the future. I didn’t have much success until this year. The journey is still in process and I will be giving you my account of it: the struggles, the victories and other things that I have learnt along the way. Mostly it is about lifestyle changes and loving myself through it all.
I look forward to sharing Weight Matters in the future. Till then take care and take time to love yourself.
Sometimes we feel uneasy reading about what we don’t know about, especially when we are afraid of the topic, like illness. The ironic thing is: although we feel like “what we don’t know about won’t harm us”, it is more likely that what we do know can help us; therefore education through reading is vital. I know I have a superstitious feeling when I read about breast cancer – in the back of my mind I feel like I might be opening the door to it. Of course this is nonsense but still a real feeling that can get in the way of educating ourselves.
Here are some links that I found worth reading estrogen triggered cancer and weight.
Application of microarray in breast cancer: An overview
What are estrogen and progesterone receptors?
Obesity and Breast Cancer: The Estrogen Connection
Breast Cancer Risk Seems More Affected by Total Body Fat Than Abdominal Fat
One thought on “Weight Matters”
Well done! I didn’t know about the estrogen in the fat causing potentially larger risk for cancer. Your experience may give someone hope, or even more determination to lose weight. Weight loss can help decrease the chances for even more than heart attacks and strokes. Thank you, Morag, for sharing your story.