August 3, 2013
I know I'm not suppose to give a shit about my weight while under going cancer treatment, but guess what? I do. I'll chalk it up to the ego again. Just like my phobia about losing my hair, I feel the same about gaining weight. I always had a vision that cancer patients were frail and bony. That very well may be the case with some chemo meds. In my case, I thought it was difficult to eat and keep food down. Not the case with this gal. Apparently those fun steroids that keep me up all night are also responsible for the extra 12+ pounds I've packed on since May.
The thing that healthy people don't quite comprehend is the toll that cancer takes on your self esteem. Everyone tells you to focus on the fight, keep positive, don't give up. I know all that is important. It's a daily challenge to keep those thoughts top of mind. But here's the deal … I had grown to love my long hair and the idea that I can cut and color it whenever I want to! As it stands today, I have no say in that process. Previously I had control over my physical health. If I started packing on a few pounds I would kick up my exercise routine or keep an eye on portion control and cut back on the carbs. If I wanted a new look, I'd call Erin and schedule a cut and color. Right now none of those things are options. It is a tremendous mental and physical challenge to go from being a strong, active, living life to the fullest person to a sickly, dependent, bedridden lump of flesh. It's like running full speed and coming to a complete stop and none of it is under your control.
One of the many rotten things about chemotherapy for colon cancer is that it's difficult to eat healthy. You can go into it with the best intentions with diet plans and recipes and come out on the other end in severe belly pain. I love salads, fruits, veggies, especially in the summer months. Too many of those good things can send me into severe stomach pain or worse, spending the day in the bathroom. Carbs are one thing that seem to settle well with my chemo belly. And sadly sugary snacks too. I've re-developed a nagging sweet tooth that I was able to subdue several years ago. Just those two things combined are enough to account for my newly acquired LBs.
So to all my chemoites out there, don't feel bad about feeling bad over the superficial stuff. We're only human. If you're disciplined enough that you don't give a shit, then God bless you, you're a bigger person than I. But if you feel down and sulky, that's OK too. Don't feel that guilt over posting a Facebook profile picture from your lovely hair days if it makes you feel good! That is you. And without sounding too Doctor Seuss-ish, the you you are now is you too! Embrace them all. It's OK, you have permission because you are the only one on this journey, everyone else is a bystander. And hopefully supportive bystanders! In the end, regardless of our weight, awkward bodily functions and lack of hair, us chemoites will come out on the other end stronger, braver, and better looking than we were before! It's all part of this crazy-ass process, my friends.