I was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2003, at the age of 22. This is my story about the fight for my life, and the support and inspiration that helped me succeed. I have been in remission since 2004, and although I may never be considered cured, in the clinical sense of the word, I will never take life, or family, for granted.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
I spent this past weekend going through old pictures ( I LOVE to scrapbook!), and came across a few that are interesting and alarming all at the same time. I have been meaning to add pictures to this blog, unfortunately a lot of them are not in a digital format. I do plan to scan them and add them to the appropriate blog postings. Here are some pictures that I do have in digital format that show how cancer affected a 22 year old woman.
This picture was taken in September 2002, on my first trip to see Marshall in GA, I was 21
This picture was taken at the Westin Peachtree Plaza in February 2003,
this was our Valentine's Day, before the Bon Jovi Concert
This was taken summer of 2003, I was at my lowest weight around this time
(80 pounds lighter than in September 02)
At around my heaviest weight, thanks to months of magneisum/saline infusions
Still nowhere near where I want to be, but 30 pounds lighter than November 2006
The theme of these pictures is weight, and that is because I have struggled with my weight my entire life. It's kind of ironic that being overweight probably saved my life. Not many people can survive losing 1/3 of their body weight, but I did. It's kind of sad, at my sickest, I was at my thinnest, and my mom and dad told me how GOOD I looked. In fact, those were their very words when they saw the picture I have posted from the summer of 2003. In their eyes I was thin, but they did not see a picture of a very sick person, because the steroids I was on gave me a nice plump face. If it was not for those steroids they would have seen sallow, sunken in cheeks and eyes. (It was probably their way of coping, by pretending, but I have to admit, it hurt.) No matter how "good" they thought I looked then, my body is not meant to be that size. Yes I enjoyed wearing mediums and size 10-12 jeans, but I was extremely uncomfortable in my skin. I remember getting ready to take a shower and I saw myself in the full length mirror. I did not recognize myself, and that terrified me. I felt like I was wasting away.
As I started to get better, the weight came back. I was wearing size 18 jeans again by the fall of 2004, and that was okay with me. I had been averaging a size 18 since I was in high school. Actually, if I had to pick my target size, I would want to be between a 14 and a 16, and I am working on that now. Unfortunately, once the doctors realized I had a magnesium deficiency I was being infused daily with saline. Salt waler. As I mentioned early, I gained A LOT of weight in those months after the hypomagnesemia diagnosis. Luckily we were able to change the infusion liquid to dextrose, but the damage had been done. I have lost over 30 pounds since I was at my heaviest, but there is still a long way to go.
The moral of this particular story is that sometimes there is a reason it is hard for a person to lose weight. Throughout my childhood I was overweight, but I was never unhealthy. I am big believer in everything happens for a reason, and being overweight saved my life.