Fattypuffs and Thinifers

I have always had issues with self control, and my weight has suffered as a consequence of that. For as long as I can remember, I have always been a heffer. I am less of a heffer than I was once, but a heffer I still am. Worst still, I am an immobile heffer. They are the worst.

Since last August, as well as the other stuff that I have had to come to grips with, I have dealt with fluctuations in my weight as a result of whatever treatment I am on. In the grand scheme of things, my weight is far, far, down on my list of where I should be directing my attention and concern, but I worry about my appearance and when I am in a position where my weight has increased as well as the diameter of my thighs, it cannot help but sit heavily on my thoughts. I am waddling.

As somebody who never weighed themselves, the constant stepping on the scales I get in the hospital, means that as well as feeling losses and gains on my jeans, I see it on a screen. Before I had cancer, my image of people with cancer, the stereotype I mean, was a pale, bald headed person who looked a little malnourished. I never associated ‘fat’ with cancer. I get the impression, that a lot of people think like this too, regardless of whether they admit to it, because I am constantly being told how well I look, and I think my girth goes someway towards this impression (and hair growth). In the clinic, I see many people who fit my old stereotype and I always wonder why I do not look like that.

I suppose, I did have more to lose in the first place.

In the initial stages of my treatment, it would be fair to say that I lost my appetite. I was not interested in food. Eating became something that I had to do, rather than something I wanted to do. Others would have to remind me that I had to eat, for I did indeed, have to eat. Not feeling hungry was alien to me. Never in my life had I ever experienced that sensation, and as a result, as one would expect, I lost weight. I lost two stones, though the majority of this was in the first month and two weeks of hospital, may explain some it. I appreciated the side effect.

On PADIMAC, I couldn’t really understand the concept of steroid cravings, I had them occasionally, but because my appetite was suppressed, I assume by the doxorubicin, it did not make that much difference. If I gorged one day, the next day I would forget, unintentionally, to have a meal or two. I remember in the lead up to Christmas, I decided to give in to all my glutinous desires, for my transplant was scheduled in February, and anticipating some weight loss there, I literally, stuffed by face. I know I did because I wrote a blog about it. My want of sweet goods and meat fat, did not do too much damage however, because come February’s dose of cyclophosphamide, I managed to lose some of those pounds I had gained.

How things have changed…

And then, I did not have a transplant and instead, I started VDT/VTD, with its steroids, thalidomide and fatigue. You put those three factors together and what you get in return is a 10kg weight gain in four months. It may be even more, for my short term memory is questionable. I am not surprised by the gain. I am lazy, mostly be default, and I am almost always hungry, which, I am afraid, I give in to. When I am not hungry, I am tired and if I do not want to be tired, something sweet will carry me for an extra few hours. In short, my inner self is always telling me to eat. I suppose, because I have been so focused on my treatment, I thought that it really didn’t matter if I had full fat milk or cream or cheesecake or tin of corned beef as a snack. I really have been a gluttonous pig. A dirty, fat, gluttonous pig.

Clearly, I am somewhat fixated on my weight gain, well, as much as I can be given my current circumstance. I probably could have exercised some more self control. My fixation has grown after the person trained in ladies’ bits and pieces made reference to it on Wednesday. She shamed me because I was right to be shamed.

As I have discovered thus far, a change in treatment, means a change in appetite. I figure, if I am going to shit out my immune system, I might as well push out a few pounds as well. It is wrong to think of a transplant as an ‘easy’ way to lose weight. I do not think anybody can say it is easy. A transplant is not a diet, I have been told that by the Medically Trained People. I did not purchase clothes in March anticipating the transplant diet and then get annoyed that I have not yet been able to wear them. I am not worried that I will now not lose any weight. No way. Not even. I would never be that vain.

In three weeks time, I may wish that I did not have the poopy side effects, but right now, if I have to have a transplant and I have to have cancer, my self esteem may as well benefit from it. Right? Surely? It’s only fair. My soon-to-be-bald head demands it.

EJB x

P.S. And yes, I have made full use of my hospital waiting time today and a train journey.

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2 thoughts on “Fattypuffs and Thinifers

  1. Joy says:

    I’m right there with you. I have myeloma and I find myself with many of the same thoughts and feelings. Today, before reading your blog, I was wondering if I’ll look better weight wise when the stem cell recovery is done. There should be some perqs, right? I mean aside from hopefully prolonging my life. I also get that, “You look good”! Sometimes I get the feeling they’re questioning if I am really sick .However, any comment on my weight makes me uncomfortable. An acquaintance said to me, “Have you gained weight?” She then followed it with,”I mean, I normally would never say that to any woman, but….” I knew she meant well so I played nice but I felt like telling her to eff off. So, I’m supposed to be happy that I’m fat just because I have cancer?! By most standards I’m about 25-40 lbs. overweight. I don’t need anyone to ask me if I’m gaining. Sheesh! Might be different if I were wasting away. I also had my first oncologist shame me about caring if the steroids might make me puff up like a toad. “You have much bigger things to worry about,” she said. I told her it’s a privilege to be able to worry about the superficial and I’d like to keep that privilege. Besides, she’s ten years younger and t least 50 lbs. lighter than I am . She also doesn’t have cancer. Talk to me when your circumstances change, I should have said. The only person that can talk to me about weight is my best friend from high school. She and i went on so many diets together (Beverly Hills Diet, grapefruit diet, low carb, only diet shakes, etc.). The problem was that we’d last about 3 days then eat an entire pan of brownies. She gets it. When she calls, she asks ‘What about weight loss?” When I tell her I’m about the same just up and down 5-8 lbs. mostly because of bloating, she sighs and says “Where’s the weight loss cancer?” She knows that at least there should be some upside to all of this.

  2. It is not RIGHT for anyone to shame you, for any reason, E. Also, I am wondering if you have ever had a saliva test to determine if your endocrine system is working properly. This could be the cause of your cravings for sweets and the lack of self-control, because your body is driving the urges, not your mind. Your doctor can order the test and have the results in a short time and give you what is needed even while you are proceeding with the SCT. Intending they are listening to you and getting these answers… and that all is going well with everything.

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