Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I'm Worth It

I think entire days go by now in which I don’t actually think about cancer. I thought this day would never come and I could not be happier. It was a year ago this month that I got the news that the chemotherapy was working and that the cancer was nearly gone. 

My obsession with all-things cancer has been replaced with finding nutritious and filling low-calorie foods. Instead of researching the latest in lymphoma treatments, I’m trying to find the best combination of “pick-two” for lunch at Panera. I have lost eighteen pounds this year, and I’m still going strong. This weight-loss effort has been the easiest thus far, and I fully believe it is related to having survived cancer. 

I think when you go through a cancer fight, whether consciously or unconsciously you make a choice to fight. A choice to live. And in making that decision you affirm to yourself that you are worth it. And this may be a peculiar correlation to make, but I think that experiencing such a life affirming moment has helped me want to live a healthier life for all the right reasons. Thus much of the insecurity and emotional eating that I’ve experienced in the past seems to be absent this go around.

Cancer also changes some of your food preferences. I have always liked milk, but now I love milk. I crave it. Luckily I love skim milk so it works within my daily calories. But some days, given the choice of a glass of wine or a glass of milk at the end of a long day – I go with the milk. I hate to admit it, but I used to have a soft spot for greasy fried food – onion rings, fish, french fries, etc. I really don’t enjoy the mouth-feel now and it has the tendency to give me wicked indigestion so I had started to avoid it while I was receiving treatment. I never did get the taste back for it. I am also finally able to drink and really enjoy wine, although on occasion the acidity still bothers me. I think I have scar tissue in my throat and chest that will always make me sensitive to those types of things.

But with the exception of a few wacky food issues, the “new normal” post-cancer seems to be going well so far. Now I’ve just got to get my drive to exercise kicked into high gear. I’ve managed to incorporate some walking a few times a week, but I need to kick up the speed and duration. But I can do it. After all, I’m worth it.