Tuesday, July 13, 2010

tamoxifen, thyroid and weight

My weight has been creeping up badly since I started taking tamoxifen. This was to be expected. The Tango Man had told me I would gain 5% of my body weight which for me amounted to about 3-4kg. When I asked if I would eat more (cortisone does that, for eg, and you don't even realise it at first cos you just feel hungry and are responding to a need), or just gain weight, he replied: "Just gain weight". Ok, fine. So when I gained the first kilogram or maybe it was two, I wasted no time and went to see a dietician I was told had dealt with this kind of problem before.
I didn't like her but then that's no big deal. I have never met a dietician I did like although I did meet one whose diet worked - but she had a baby and stopped working. Anyway, what was a big deal was that this one didn't weigh me although I saw her a few times, and she also had the distinction of being the most expensive dietician I have ever been - think about R750 or so for an hour session. The medical aid covers about half but that's another story - for Friday's appointment at the gynae they are paying back R409.40 of the R1440 I paid. But generally they've been great.
Anyway,this dietician, let's call her The Anal Waif, told me to eat a plate of raw foods ie veggies and salad stuff, and she was not hassled about carbs such as carb vegetables like beetroot and butternut which I love, and I could eat fruit too, another natural carb which I love. But I had to eat minimal protein. So none of this large piece of fish stuff, with salad on the side. No, no. Rather a salad with a little piece of fish on the side.
Ok, fine. I kinda kept to it - well, I was aware of it even if it was not always possible to stick to it religiously - when the weight crept up.
I gained 4kg. That is, I went up 4kg from my pre-diagnosis weight. All fine. That was the prediction.
Then, very recently, I gained 2kg. I became uncomfortable and my clothes were getting tight. Tried to think back to what the dietician said. Tried to up my water intake. Then this weekend I lost just over a kg. Whew! Felt amazing.
But was concerned. Until this weekend's loss, my weight had been the same every day for week, done to the gram. That is very typical - well, for me - of a thyroid problem, the thyroid gland controlling one's metabolism. Plus my eyes started getting sore and I remember the thyroid doctor saying if my thyroid ever went out of kilter again, I would probably recognise it from my eyes - I had thyroid eye disease when I had an over-active thyroid (hyperthyroidism).
So I went in for a blood test on Monday. Won't go into detail of how the nurse struggled to take blood from me as my veins are so damaged from chemo and my left hand cannot be used because it is at risk of developing lymphedema. Got the results today. Negative. Thyroid is fine. Am using lots and lots and lots of Tears Natural so my eye - especially the slightly bulging left eye from the thyroid - so much happier there and maybe can be spared some money from going to the opthalmologist.
Oy vey. Written too much again.


  1. You are a very strong person, I wouldn,t have guessed it
    if I had not read about it. On twitter you seem to have this endless
    supply of energy, bouncing hither & thither,,, enjoying life to the fullest,
    travelling, get invloved WITH loads of stuff,,,good on ya,,,Piet

  2. Thanks. I am fine... thanks for your comments. Ja do go out a lot but was just saying to someone last night, I think what I have gone through in the last 18 months is starting to show, I look awful - but was then informed that I am looking much better and looked awful when I was ill and on chemo.... guess that wasn't a priority then but I have aged... but ja, love going out and my looking older will be the subject of another blog post possibly.

  3. Bovine thyroid supplements are recommended by some MDs. It’s nothing more or less than dried pork thyroid – and for many people, it relieves the symptoms that synthetic thyroid supplements are not able to do so. It may even improve thyroid function over time.

    1. Do you take bovine thyroid supplements? I have had no problems with the thyroid meds I take. Dunno what they are but called "eltroxin" here in South Africa.