You sent me an email asking for help; looking for something to hold on to. I read it and wept. I hear you! I understand! I have fought and continue to fight the same weight battle you are fighting. As a nurse I understand all to well the physical battle you are fighting against cancer but I can't begin to imagine the terror or the emotional struggle you fight constantly as you battle cancer. I ask myself how can I help, what can I say? I feel so inadequate and unprepared but am humbled that you have asked me. I will do my best to give you an answer and hopefully help you find something you can hang on to. I will start with what I know for sure.
I know that we both were overwhelmed with the amount of weight we needed to lose and embarrassed that we let our bodies get to this point. I know that I was disgusted and felt invisible yet knew that there was no way you could miss seeing me. I know that the ONLY way I lost the weight was to set little goals, 5 pounds at a time, because if I thought about the amount of weight I needed to lose I would have been overwhelmed with the enormity of it and would have never begun my journey. Set small goals and when you achieve them, and you will, set another and another until you reach your ultimate goal.
I know that you and I both choose food as our drug of choice, a friend who is always there to make us feel better but I now know a true friend would not let you dig your grave with your spoon and fork. A true friend would say I love you, you are beautiful, you are caring, you are worthy of a joy filled life. A true friend would wrap their arms around you and say I value you, lets go take a walk because you and I both know you are not hungry for food. I also know this is a process that is learned slowly and gradually but once you get it you find you don't find yourself at the bottom of a carton of ice cream or with an empty bag of Oreos in your lap; well not very often anyway.
I know that the process of losing weight, the kind of weight we needed to lose, is a marathon and not a sprint. There are wonderful, success filled days and weeks and there are stumbles and falls that leave us bruised and beat up and defeated but those are temporary. Think of both the good days and the bad as feedback and learn from it. When you fall and are feeling defeated with voices in your head telling you, "I knew you couldn't do it," ignore them and pick yourself up, remind yourself you are loved and beautiful and worthy and start over with a grateful heart knowing you have the chance to begin again and again until the stumbles are less frequent and the falls do not leave you defeated. Learn from your mistakes!
I know that I could not do this alone. You and I are part of a wonderful caring group of people who understand this battle. Allow them to hold you up and support you until you are able to do it for yourself. It is OK to be honest with them; laugh, cry, shout, tell them how mad you are they understand! Be part of the group. Come in and sit down especially when you don't want to be there because sometimes that is when you learn the most. If you find yourself in the parking lot and can't come in, call me and I will come out and we will talk. Use your friends!
I know you can do it. I know you are worthy! I know you will!
I know that fighting cancer is like declaring war on those cells that have invaded your body and that attitude makes a difference. Declare war!! Decide if you have this additional challenge right now you are going to fight like HELL and reclaim your life and your body. Do it! As you face your surgery repeat in your head, "today they are cutting the cancer out of my body and it will be gone forever, good riddance!" Do not concern yourself with thoughts that your voice may change but rather rejoice in the knowledge you will be alive. Who knows what kind of sexy voice you will end up with to go with your sexy new body! Smile and reclaim your health. If you have more radiation and or chemotherapy after surgery then think of it as your insurance policy. It is destroying those sneaky cancer cells that thought they could hide from the surgeon's knife. Be joyful that there is science and technology that is smarter than the cancer. As each of the treatments begins say, "die you damn cancer cells die!" then don't give them anymore time. Put your headphones on, listen to music you love and sing, even if you can only sing off key! Do not give cancer the power to control your life!
At the end of the day I think it comes down to this; Do the best you can do, forgive yourself. YOU ARE WORTHY!
"Some days, doing "the best we can" may still fall short of what we would like to be able to do, but life isn't perfect on any front-and doing what we can with what we have is the most we should expect of ourselves or anyone else." Fred Rogers