This is my first written breast cancer story. Never did I think I would be so emotional, sitting in my general practitioner’s office crying because without even trying I lost seventeen (17) pounds of fat within a few months. But breast cancer does that to a person….. makes you cry, makes you lose weight, makes you older…. frightens you…. pisses you off… an individual’s breast cancer story can create big fat emotions they can do without.
The Breast Cancer Story for Fat Women
This is about fat women who get breast cancer and are told time after time how good it is that they are losing weight, that they look so much better, even as they are dying. Pure, unthinking fiction. It is a breast cancer story of the detriment of all women.
After a lifetime of attempting to be thinner – I did not say thin – I had not come close. Dealing with undiagnosed hypothyroidism did not help.
Thin is another lifetime for me since time may be running out. If I end up thin from cancer weight loss, it will not count in this lifetime.
I never wanted to be thin, just thinner. I think fat women are lovely. I just wanted my body to be easier to move around in. My GP said she knows no one who wants to be thin more than I do. But she was mistaken, I only wanted to be thinner.
The myth, the dense observation, the lies we have been told…. all the untruths about breast cancer.
Now that is an irony all rolled into one when it comes to the breast cancer story. Add fat to it, you can walk in a nightmare where your weight is misunderstood, a world where there is no empathy.
If you are diagnosed with breast cancer and you are fat, yup, the fatness is a prerequisite to breast cancer according to junk science reporting. So you brought it all on yourself, the medical theory of too many.
If a fat person is on the scooter in the store, people think they are too fat to walk. Fact, they cannot summon the energy to walk down the aisle. Cancer does that to a person who is often quite healthy until then, fat or not.
If a large person is on the beach in a coverup, people think they are hiding the fat. Some are, but some are happy with their bodies. The ones with breast cancer who are hiding under the cover up likely are not ready to reveal to the world their new figures or extremely long scars.
We think if we are thinner, we will be cuter. But for any person with breast cancer, cuter is not going to happen so easily, though it is possible.
Sometimes breast cancer will leave a person with their inner beauty and that is all, if only for awhile.
The breast cancer story… we end up with maimed breasts or none at all. We end up with no hair if we use conventional chemotherapy and when it grows back often the color is silver, the texture unrecognizable. We end up with a sallow complexion. Some overcome all this. Some have reconstruction better than the originals. Some look vibrant with no hair. Some do not fare as well.
The breast cancer story… we end up older just because time is passing then illness happens too. If we were already older to begin with, oh well. If we are fat first, and we mistakenly think that if we lose weight then the thin person inside that was lost sometime ago would be revealed, we end up disheartened. The younger version is gone, the cancer cements that reality. The cancer version that evolves from our healing can prove daunting.
My Breast Cancer Story — I was not crying because I was not going to be cuter.
I cried because the genetically-thin, athletically-inclined intake nurse at the GP’s office thought that even though I listed my symptoms clearly—-
- in pain,
- feeling three more tiny masses in my right breast,
- a long fibroid in my left breast,
- and a growth on my ribcage
—- she thought she would cheer me up by saying it was so good, though, that I lost seventeen pounds. Couldn’t I move around better now?
Seventeen pounds? Without trying? My breast cancer story took a drastic derailing. I knew it as really happening.
I knew the cancer was winning at that point, that month it was. The cancer is not always in check but then I knew it had been living off the energy and life support I was supposed to be using.
But listen to her voice, her message.
The breast cancer story for fat women. Fat women can have chemo, waste away from cancer, be dying…. but repeatedly they may hear how good they look.
I was reminded of a beautiful woman our family knew who weighed two-hundred-plus pounds her entire adult life. She was diagnosed with breast cancer. She went through the conventional treatment wringer, she lost weight. Frankly, she wasted to nothing. Even those who knew she was dealing with cancer told her how wonderful she looked. So much better to be thinner. Wasn’t she feeling better? they would ask. Her breast cancer story was that she died from an infection.
With me, the nurse did not get away with it. The punch line to my personal breast cancer story is the end of this conversation. You will realize that around me they are dropping like flies, chewed up with the bitter relish of me telling people what I think they need to understand. I am speaking of the stupid people who are messing with my state of calm. It is fleeting, this calm. I try to have a nice morning, a nice meal, a nice whatever and along comes someone I need to educate.
“How are you doing? Any concerns, symptoms?”
“I feel nausea, my appetite is off but I make myself eat. I am always tired and cold. There are growths in my breast. I break down easily for little provocation. And I am very irritable.”
“But this is good,” she said, looking at my chart. “You lost 17 pounds.”
“That is not good. I have cancer. There is nothing good about losing weight like that when you have cancer. I am doing nothing different with my food, just don’t want it but I am eating as much as before.”
“Maybe you are getting more exercise.”
“You are insinuating I was not doing anything before this? And when I am so tired, I am not getting more exercise. Though I did manage to pack an entire house so it could be moved.”
“Well there you go, you are moving around more. You must feel better, having lost weight.”
“You need to stop. Just because I am fat, you propose that since I lost weight it is better for me, cancer or not. And that all I do is sit around.”
“That is not what I intended to mean.”
“But it is definitely what I am hearing, not once but three times now.”
My blood pressure was UP!!!!!! and she gets out the cuff after taking my pulse which was 75, usually 60. I said, “No, no no, you are not taking my blood pressure now, I am upset, you can take it before I leave.”
“But I have to.”
“But I have to take it. It’s going to be all right.”
I got up and moved to the chair at wall. “No. Did I mention I am irritable.”
“Well, now you get it. Make sure it is in the notes. I want you to know that before the cancer it took me months literally months to lose five pounds because of the hypothyroid. And now, I am down 17 pounds without even trying, while being too tired to take a long hike, sometimes not even a walk. Do you realize the cancer cells are using my energy and calories? The breast cancer stories of fat women is they waste away to nothing from treatments, cancer and food challenges during the illness and often all these fat women hear from people is how good they look now that they are thinner. While some of them are literally dying. But now they are not fat so they are looking so much better, must be feeling so much better too, being less fat and all. But you are right, with these 17 pounds off, I move more freely. But the story is breast cancer could cost my life. While you are insinuating I did nothing in my life to exercise when I am an avid gardener, swimming laps each day, hiking, caring for our property and animals, and I was not a binge eater at all. (My GP) said she knows no one who wants to be thin more than I do, who tried as much as I do.”
We had some calmer exchanges, she left, I cried. Hubby kept his mouth shut. Good man.
My GP came in in a few, found me at the wall instead of the exam chair.
“I am really touchy today,” I said, and with disdain at myself, I started to cry again.
GP said, “I heard, but you have a lot on your plate now. My nurse is crying too.”
“I didn’t mean to make her cry,” I said. So I sent her a hug through the GP.
I told my GP, “How ironic…. I never thought I would be crying because I lost weight.” We both laughed.
I am angry.
I am irritable.
Essa Adams is a writer and green entrepreneur.
Updated to say I am not always this angry, sometimes I am all right, sometimes it is worse. But I am holding my own health-wise, even though this cancer has progressed to the lymph nodes. Part of my fiction and life happens blog will be an online journal of the experiences of breast cancer, this being one of them. Essa
Updates to say, the anger had to be dealt with. I started to use flower essences on acupuncture points to peel my layers of emotional shinola that is hindering my healing from breast cancer. My breast cancer story of healing means I need to deal with the terror I feel in life, not just about the cancer. Also the impatiens flower essence for the feeling of being in a time warp, that I am not connected which creates irrational anger. I am much improved. My breast cancer story is improving, especially since I have decided to write again. Essa
See menu for these stories.
Breast Cancer Story #2 Dippy Eggs or Bust
Breast Cancer Story #3 Derecho Storm Tornado Straight Line Winds Whatever Story or The Damn Dog
Breast Cancer Story #4 Breast Cancer Stress #1 Is Snakes
Breast Cancer Story #5 Breast Cancer Hope – Is Your Mission On Earth Finished?