What chemo can do to you and your heart

I came across an interesting quote this morning in a Washington Post article from Feb. 1, 2018. The headline was “Breast cancer treatments can raise risk of heart disease.” 

I was well aware of the concern about my heart when I was in treatment. I knew Herceptin in particular could pose a risk, and I saw what great care went into planning my radiation treatment so it would affect my heart as little as possible.

But this is the paragraph in the story that really caught my attention”

“Susan Gilchrist, associate professor of clinical cancer prevention and cardiology at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, welcomed the report, especially its focus on exercise and fitness. She said that a breast-cancer patient who goes through chemo for three or four months loses 30 percent of her fitness, gains 10 pounds and ages the equivalent of 20 years.”

My chemo ran for 3 months. My doctor warned me I’d feel 10 years older, but 20!? And 30 percent of my fitness!? No wonder I’ve been so tired. The new numbers are even worse than I’d estimated, but they certainly explain a lot.

Well, so far so good. No signs of heart problems. Yet. Crossing my fingers.

5 thoughts on “What chemo can do to you and your heart

  1. philosophermouseofthehedge Monday, September 10, 2018 / 2:49 pm MDT

    If it’s not one thing, it’s another. that explains why a friend who fought and won over cancer years ago seemed to age so much and seem much more limited/fragile – even though she had a great outlooks and kept going – her energy level seemed to be a struggle.
    Walking is helpful apparently. Back on the treadmill after this…now if it would just stop raining and get cooler and the mosquitoes would leave!

    • Pied Type Monday, September 10, 2018 / 6:53 pm MDT

      Yep, I’m seriously considering a treadmill. No excuses regarding weather or inability to “just get out the door.” It takes all my willpower just to get up and do anything. I continue to be amazed by the women who keep working and raising families after cancer, but then most are a lot younger than I am. I’m sure that helps.

      • philosophermouseofthehedge Tuesday, September 11, 2018 / 8:37 am MDT

        I do not know how they manage.
        Check for used ones! End of year/Jan. exercise stuff goes on sale.
        Sometime still difficult to actually get up and get on the darn thing, but windows and music can distract. I can’t read or use computer on shelf across a treadmill but many do…with my luck, I’d trip and fall off

        • Pied Type Tuesday, September 11, 2018 / 9:37 am MDT

          I’m planning to fit it in a spot where I can watch tv. Otherwise I doubt I’d ever get on it.

        • philosophermouseofthehedge Tuesday, September 11, 2018 / 12:13 pm MDT

          That’s only way I can manage – but I do feel much better when I do it.

"You don’t have to say everything to say something." ~Beth Moore

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