I'm feeling much better since my last post...the intense pains are finally gone! I still have some slight pain in my stomach but nothing like what I experienced this past weekend. I'm still taking every medicine in the world to keep my symptoms at bay and I hope it works!
So while I was suffering in pain I was unable to eat (yes my cockiness about still having an appetite came back to bite me in the butt) and I simply had no need for food. This was almost as concerning as the pain because I love to eat! It was one of the few times I actually felt like a real Cancer patient because I just couldn't force myself to eat and I know this sounds crazy, but after 3 days of only sips of chicken broth, I felt like my jeans were falling off of me so it made me start to think about my weight and how I felt like I looked sickly. Now like many women, I've obsessed over my weight through the years, I've tried every diet out there and worked out intensely all in the hope that I will be...I don't even know because who ever feels like they're perfect? And I have to admit, with the diagnosis of HL, I thought, well the silver lining is that at least I can lose those last few pounds I'm convinced I need to lose (sad but true...the only reason I feel ok admitting this on the Internet because I've read other blogs where people admit the same thing!) because that's what happens when you have Cancer, you lose weight, right? Well, it depends. It does happen for some people, who are extremely sick and nauseous and unable to hold down food. But for others, the discomfort in the stomach leads them to turn to comfort foods...grilled cheese, mashed potatoes, bread, bread and more bread. So that's not exactly great for the waistline or healthy all the time. I've combed through many message boards and read about people who are now Cancer free, yet 20-40 pounds heavier because of their diet during treatment. Crazy right? Who expects to be dealing with a weight problem after fighting Cancer.
Once I heard that this was a possibility, I was determined that this couldn't happen to me, after all I do have a wedding dress to fit into one day (June 2011!) and I can't just let myself go. When you're getting weighed weekly in a hospital in front of a bunch of people you can't help but be aware of your weight and how big or little you are. Especially when the nurses shout your weight out loud in front of everyone! I'm like, "shhhh! excccccuse me!" It seems like a strange thing to worry about when you're about to go into chemo to kill the Cancer in your blood, but I'm a woman, I can't help it!
My doctor said I could continue to work out as long as I felt ok and I could eat mostly everything except sushi. I also have to be really careful about cutting off all the skin on fruits and veggies so I don't ingest any of the pesticides since my immune system is so fragile. For obvious reasons the doctors don't want you to lose a lot of weight so you can be healthy enough to fight the disease. I've fluctuated a little bit but haven't really lost more than 5 pounds. However, about 2 years ago, I became more healthy, started working out consistently and ate more salads and fruits then I probably ever had in my life...and as a result I lost a significant amount of weight. So when people saw me, they often commented on it. Recently I saw a friend who I hadn't seen in a while and she was aware of my diagnosis and said, "oh you do look thin", now me being me, I almost said, "thanks! yeah I've been working out a lot..." and then I realized, "no dummy you have Cancer, she probably didn't mean that as a compliment!", so I had to change my response to, "oh yeah, it happens sometimes". LOL. It's hard because we're so conditioned to want to be thin and fit and even with Cancer looming over my head, my usual vain self only hears "oh you look thin" and immediately thinks its a good thing.
It's a daily struggle to be healthy and not obsess about my weight, but its sooo hard!! The first time I was really sick, the thought of eating a salad really turned my stomach so fries were definitely more appealing. I've definitely had a few "why me, I feel sorry for myself" moments and a cheeseburger and fries have made me feel better. Now with this acid reflux thing, I have to be even more careful with the greasy, fatty foods...I CANNOT go through that again!
I'm still working out, I take spin and kickboxing classes and lift weights, I've even started taking yoga with my friend Kristin. It feels good to look in the mirror and see my "gun show" on my arms...lol...and it makes me feel strong and empowered as I fight this disease. I can't believe that a year ago as I was getting stronger, Cancer was mutating my cells. It goes to show there's no rhyme or reason for this disease. But, I truly believe that being healthy to start with has helped me have less symptoms and will help me in my journey to remission. I want (and need) to be just as strong in 6 months as I am now.