I am a fat woman. There, I said it. It’s something I have to come to term with. I am fat; actually morbidly obese, if you go by the BMI index, my height and weight send me there. Yay. So I’ve got that going for me, in addition to cancer.
There are those out there who say cancer is a direct cause of my weight; that it feeds on the excess estrogen and cortisol my body produces. There are those that say that if I lost weight, my cancer odds would go down, even be cured. I do know I’d feel a lot better about myself if I lost this weight.
I have tried Weight Watchers twice with varied success, a doctor supervised very low calorie diet and on my own too. None seem to have sticking power. I lose then regain, that familiar cycle we all know so well. I know how I gained weight. Thanks to surgeries that put me on crutches and drugs that fine-tuned my psyche, I put on the pounds. After my affair, I hid behind food, feeling that if I were less svelte I wouldn’t be noticed anymore. That food could get me back into my husband’s heart, that it would give me solace. When I got divorced, food gave me moral support, a means to make myself feel better when people couldn’t.
I love to cook, I love to eat. I love to drink. It’s hard when you have a new man in your life and you want to make him happy; to impress him; to love you for what you put on the table before him. I am more worried about him being happy with his meal than my own. He’s a meat and potatoes kind of guy, so vegetables and fish can be a challenge. Fortunately, he loves to cook so we have a lot of fun in the kitchen cooking meals together. That’s a trap too I guess, cooking meals that are mutually satisfying, and we all know that love involves cream, butter, eggs, indulgences that are just as good as what’s between the sheets.
Cancer forces you to come to terms with things too. You’re forced to realize your own vulnerability, your own mortality. Sometimes it can make you angry, or sad simply glad to be alive. It can also make you hungry. People often wrongly joke “oh now you can lose weight” thanks to the “Chemo Diet.” I’m sorry to say that chemo didn’t affect my appetite. The docs loaded me up with so much anti-nausea drugs that it didn’t phase me. On top of that, they added steroids to help ease pain. So instead of not wanting to eat, I wanted to eat everything in sight. I’m also one of those people who when thanks to the altered taste in my mouth (another side effect of chemo), I want to keep eating to try and get rid of the taste…
Many people with cancer change their diet in an effort to combat their disease. I haven’t changed mine, nor do I intend to. During the summer I enjoy hitting up the local farm stands and buying tons of beautiful produce. I spend my Sundays often cooking great meals with the harvest I’ve gathered and there’s nothing more enjoyable than sitting down to a meal filled with colorful fruits and veggies and meat hot off the grill. Oh and a glass of French rosè in my hand as well.
Being fat still lurks in the back of my mind. Especially when I put on clothes. Suddenly thing that weren’t tight shrank in my closet overnight. It’s a struggle to find flattering work clothes. Why do many clothing makers seem to think that every fat girl wants sleeveless tops or ones that fall to their knees? I’m short; I don’t want to hide behind an overly large top. Or they assume that larger sizes mean taller people, again, I’m short, while the waist may fit great, I have to take the pants up a couple of inches. And often the clothes are just downright ugly. Not every fat girl wants to wear bright colors and sequins. Thank god for Modcloth; I can’t tell you how many awesomely cool outfits for fat girls I’ve found there.
Being fat limits your mobility and makes you tired. Just like cancer. The two combined makes things all that much more difficult. Exercise is great for both, but when you’re just too tired and worn down, how can you find the energy to get out and walk? Plus it hurts; bone mets makes everything painful. I know I can find every excuse in the book to not get up and exercise and I’m very good at being self-defeating. Something else I need to work on.
The cancer and obesity link is being studied, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, the studies want people who are Stage I-III, not Stage IV which is too bad because Stage IV needs more research and people at this point in their cancer life are living longer and therefore deserve more studies.
I feel happy and embarrassed that Hunny loves me just the way I am. While it’s reassuring, it’s hard to hear him say “I love all those extra rolls, fat girls are sexy.” He’s referring to me, and I hate hearing someone else, even him, call me fat. It’s a hurtful word and I know many women struggle with this term. Fat-shaming has become a hot topic online and there’s a movement afoot to blunt it. But what do you do when you’re fat shaming yourself? Body acceptance is hard for me, when I look at my face in the mirror, I don’t see the fat girl, but when I see my whole body, I realize that I really am fat and I look away. I don’t like to see reality. It was hard to look at myself in the mirror when I lost all my hair from chemo, I felt like it was a surreal alternate place and that I wasn’t really going through all that hell. That’s why I wore the wig, and still do, I want to feel a semblance of myself before I got cancer, I want to feel “normal.” The wig’s a shield from the truth. Kind of like billowy clothes when you’re fat.
I’m at a new chapter with cancer now. I’m on a new drug that seems to have cancer at bay for now and I feel better, I really do. People have even been telling me I look better. Guess I never realized I looked bad. Huh. So, I have a new lease on life and I should do something about the rest of my health. First thing I need to examine is the how and why and what to do about how I feel about myself. Admitting you have a problem is the first step…
So, I’m Norah and I’m fat.
But since I can’t leave well enough alone, I’m going to give you a cocktail to drown your sorrows, and rejoice because it makes use of summer’s gloriously, fresh and juicy blackberries!
Drown Your Sorrows
- 2 shots vodka
- 1 shot crème de violette
- 14-1/2 shot simple syrup (depends on how sweet your berries are or how sweet you like your drink)
- 2-3 ripe blackberries
- Lavender bitters
Muddle everything save for the bitters in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and pour into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a fresh blackberry and add bitters to taste.