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In July 2011 Barbara Carlos was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. A resident of Hawaii, she works in administrative support at a college and has retirement as her career goal. Music keeps her sane, as side effects of chemo and radiation linger. Overweight since childhood, she keeps trying to lose the estrogen-laden fat that her cancer loves.
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Dieting for Cancer

After indulging a bit too much over the holidays, it's time to get back to the real world.
PUBLISHED: FEBRUARY 16, 2017
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Yippee! The holidays are over! And all those tasty temptations are out of sight for another year (well, almost a year)!  

My game plan to lose weight during December didn’t turn out as anticipated. It fell apart early in the month and I wasn’t able to put it back together. I gained a few pounds and they invited some friends to join them. Perhaps I was overly ambitious. I certainly know myself well enough by now to know I can resist anything but temptation, and December is always full of temptations for me.    

At one time, I would have beaten myself up about adding those extra pounds and then consoled myself with visits with Mr. Cake and Mrs. Cookies. Please note that I said “visits,” not “visit.” I no longer keep things like that in the house and I am too lazy to make a trip to the store just to pick them up, so I’m good. And I don’t have the time or energy to beat myself up. It’s just not important to me anymore. Every day is a new day and I start it with a clean slate. It really has been interesting to see how cancer changed things in my head.   

I got through the last of the holiday indulgences right after the new year. Now I am back on the relatively straight and narrow. I have revised the long-term monthly weight goals set in the fall to reflect re-losing some of the pounds I lost back then and put back on in December. To tell the truth, I also slacked off on my exercise regimen over the holidays and I am back on track there, too. My weight loss timeline has been extended, but it’s still there.  

Rome wasn’t built in a day. I wish there was a magic pill I could take to drop a hundred pounds over night, regardless of all the years it took me to put them on. Medicine and science have made such marvelous advances in just the last few decades you’d think someone would have come up with something practical like that by now. I’m certain it’s being worked on it in a lab somewhere but I sure could use it. Now.   

Since a magic pill isn’t an option, instead I’ll do it the old-fashioned way: an ounce at a time and a step at a time. Then another ounce and another few steps. I am very stubborn and quite capable of plugging away for as long as it takes. However, if all goes well, my adjusted timeline has me losing enough weight by this time next year to have a BMI that’s low enough to go back to the plastic surgeon for breast reconstruction.  

That’s right, I have an ulterior motive. Yes, of course I want to lose weight for all the many health benefits. That goes without saying. As it is now, my knees are no longer painfully angry at me with every step I take, so goodness only knows how delighted my arteries must be with less cholesterol choking them. Don’t get me wrong, my prosthesis is great. People who don’t know me well don’t know what isn’t there anymore. I even had to get a smaller prosthesis last year because I had lost so much weight and so many inches. But, still, I have such a long way to go.   

I think I’ll go take a walk.

Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the Breast Cancer CURE discussion group.
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