I’ve never had a true relationship with food. I grew up studying ballet and musical theatre, so I was always going to class or rehearsals. It was the same way in college. I was always too busy talking in the dining hall and my food would get cold. Then when I lived on my own, I realized I did not know how to cook anything! I basically lived off of microwave food and take-out. My metabolism was insanely high. I was still maintaining my thin and athletic figure.
My weight started ballooning in 2013…
My weight not only fluctuated, it ballooned big time that year. What the heck was happening? That’s when I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and Hypothyroidism. That gave me a sense of relief because now I had a medical reason for this crazy weight. It was traumatic to go from being so tiny to huge. I was not pleasantly plump. That was the first time the term obese was put on my medical chart. I was horrified. I was on metformin and losing weight. I was eating a little better. Though I wasn’t happy with the way I looked, I still had a pretty face, right?
Cancer diagnosis September 2015…
I got the cancer call at 3:05pm on 9/14/15. My life was permanently changed forever. I started emotionally eating as I was thrusted into the cyclone of test after test to make sure my body could withstand the harsh chemo treatments. I started chemo on 10/2/15 with Adriamycin (Red Devil) and Cytoxan (4 xs). Once I lost my taste buds, developed mouth sores, sensitive teeth and swollen tongue, I really started to hate food even more. I was losing a lot weight while on the AC treatment though.
I started the Taxol chemo treatment right after Christmas in 2015, which was 1x per week for 12 weeks. That’s when my weight went back up and up and UP and UPPPPPP!!!! You see, when receiving chemo, they pump the body full of different bags of steroids to help the body tolerate the poison and adjust the chemo dosage, if necessary.
No evidence of disease (NED) in October 2016…
I was the largest I had ever been in my entire life. I absolutely displayed steroid induced aggression and non-stop eating. Mean Megsie was crashing the scene. My cravings were intense for sugar and carbs. It was like PMS x 1million. I had never experienced anything like it! I was thrown a surprise 40th birthday party in June (b-day is July 3rd). When I saw myself in the pictures afterward, I just couldn’t stop bawling; full out ugly crying. I did not recognize this body.
No, NO, NO to post treatment summer of 2016 thru 2017…
I was no longer walking. I was actually waddling. The girl who grew up so graceful was now waddling everywhere. My body was put through so much as my 2nd opinion oncologist experimented with the best post treatment options. In the voice of Amy Winehouse, my body said, “No, NO, NO” to Tamoxifen, Evista, Lupron Injections and Arimidex.” That just added to the weight gain even more. Then I was medically induced into menopause + ovaries removed on 2/15/17. My self-esteem was in the negative. None of my clothes looked good or felt good. I’m no longer on any post treatment cancer meds because none of the typical protocol worked for my body. I do have severe inflammation in my joints and currently trying to get to the bottom of it.
Dating food starting March 2017 thru present day…
It has taken ONE year to lose 65 lbs. The last pic on the right was me on Friday, 3/16/18 wearing my favorite “Made In Iowa” t-shirt (birthplace) and standing in a bad first position. LOL Many ask how…
Well, I started dating food. My taste buds have not fully returned, even after two years post chemo. Thanks to a suggestion from my stylist Vicki, I mainly eat based off color and texture. I actually cook now! I get a kick out of making a meal look pretty with colorful veggies. I rarely have fast food or eat out anymore. Socializing doesn’t always have to be over food, does it?
Though my cravings are no longer intense, I realized that I mainly like to crunch on food when I get stressed out. So, I devised a plan to slowly but surely start being healthy. I worked very hard to break the bulk of bad eating habits. I try to always have some healthy snacks in my purse. I do NOT diet. I just make different choices. You see, I had to first acknowledge the reasons why and how my eating got out of control. Then my body memory of never having much of an appetite has started to resurface.
My goal was to be able to cross my legs again and relieve the joint pain. I did not put it in terms of losing weight. I think that distinction is very important. Now I have reached that goal, except I still have the joint pain. Now I can rule out weight as the cause, which is a start.
Looking at where I started to where I am now keeps me encouraged and on track. I’m eating healthy for ME and my health, not for dating or trying to be a size 6 again.
It really is “you are what you eat.”
Part II: Dating Food and Myself will come next week! Stay tuned!
Until next time,