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Cancer Destroyed My Figure so I Ate to Comfort Myself
May 30, 2019 – Laura Yeager
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Cancer Destroyed My Figure so I Ate to Comfort Myself

After I lost my real breasts, I gave up hope of ever having a "nice" body again.
PUBLISHED May 30, 2019
As well as being a cancer blogger, Laura Yeager is a religious essayist and a mental health blogger. A graduate of The Writers’ Workshop at The University of Iowa, she teaches writing at Kent State University and Gotham Writers’ Workshop. Laura survived cancer twice.

My surgery to remove my left breast implant is scheduled for June 27. I'm having the implant removed because back in 2016, they removed the right implant when they did surgery to remove an angiosarcoma on my right breast. Since I'm relatively flat on the right side, I figured I'd go for symmetry and be flat on both sides. I'm kind of torn as to whether or not I'm going to purchase a prosthesis for the left side and wear prostheses on both sides or if I'm going to sport the flat chested look. I'll have to see how my body feels after the surgery to make my decision.

But in the meantime, I'm trying to lose 20 pounds before I go under the knife. I know I'll be healthier at a lower weight, and quite frankly, I'm sick of being chubby. When my scale crept up to 200 pounds (I'm 5'3"), I panicked and went on a 1,500 calorie a day weight loss initiative. Since I started dieting four days ago, I've lost about six pounds.

One thing that happened to me after I had cancer and recovered is that I started to eat whatever I wanted. I was so happy to be alive that I treated myself all the time. The killer to your figure is eating out. Everyone knows that. I ate out at least three or four times a week. Half-pound burgers with fries dipped in mayo; Caesar salads topped with grilled chicken breasts served with extra dressing. The dressings were what got me. I adored butter, salad dressing, gravy, mayonnaise –  anything with lots of fat. Another favorite of mine was fried fish sandwiches with extra tartar sauce, steak fries and a big bowl of coleslaw. Country fried steak with sausage gravy, home fries, eggs and a bagel with cream cheese – all in one sitting. Yes, folks, I did gorge my way to almost 200 pounds. I guess I enjoyed it. Since my breast surgeries, my body was shot to hell. I didn't have any nipples. What did I care if I got fat?

But all (questionably) good things must come to an end. Certainly, my eating wasn't good for me. It takes something like an upcoming surgery (and the obnoxious numbers on the scale) to encourage you to lose body fat.

What's so sad is that I used to have an amazing body. (Didn't everybody?) I'm talking when I was in my twenties and early thirties. I remember being a cool size four. Most women put on weight as they age, but my recent weight gain was definitely connected to my cancer issues.

There does come a time when one needs to recognize their shortcomings and change their behavior. I'll have a better chance of living longer if I'm slimmer. My goal is to lose 50 pounds. That would put me at 140. Clothes would look nice again. Men might turn their heads; my husband certainly would. I'd feel cute.

Part of being able to reduce your weight is to know how and why you put the pounds on. Knowledge is power. I feel empowered to do it this time. About two years ago, I got down to 170, but couldn't make the scale go any lower, so I quit and gained it all back again (and then some).

I just can't go to restaurants and eat whatever the heck I want. I owe it to my 14-year-old son to get back to a healthy weight. I've got a lot of living to do and many responsibilities to boot.

Wish me well on my weight loss adventure. Tonight is homemade rice and beans with diced tomatoes and boneless, skinless chicken. I have to cook so I can control my calorie intake. My typical dinner meal is now about 500 calories when before (when I was eating out) it could have easily topped out at 2,000.

It feels good to own myself again, to own my body instead of stuff it until I feel no emotional pain.

That's no way to live.

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