Have you ever seen a photo of yourself and had to take a second look to see if it was actually you?
I recently found some photos of when I was going through chemo. I know I put on some weight, but hell … I packed it on! I kept looking at this particular photo and I felt embarrassed, disgusted and I couldn’t believe it was me. I didn’t recognize the person in that photo.
Weight gain isn’t something that anyone ever wants. I can say I wasn’t real keen on it, especially on top of everything else I was having to deal with, but it was the least of my worries at the time. I remember sitting in my oncologist's office asking him if weight gain was normal. His response was “Kate, you are having chemotherapy, and with that comes a lot of other drugs, including steroids. These can cause weight gain. Don’t worry about it, you can work on losing weight after you have finished active treatment.” I was satisfied with that answer and went about fighting this bastard disease. If that meant I gained a little weight to beat it, then I was ok with that.
After chemo, I had gained a whopping 27 kilos! That’s a lot of weight, but I had my oncologists words in my head saying “You can work on that after you finish treatment.” I was going about my daily life and not paying much attention to losing weight. I was enjoying being out and about and no longer having to answer to doctors, nurses, and being used as a pincushion or being pumped full of toxic drugs. I thought I had got back to my normal.
I managed to lose a bit of weight here and there, but I can honestly say I didn’t give it a second thought. I was enjoying life. That was until I went to see a surgeon about having a breast reconstruction and he refused to operate on me until I had lost weight. I didn’t think I was that overweight, but looking back, I was! I was an unhealthy weight and it took a health professional to be brutally honest with me to shove me back into reality at a fast rate of knots.
As you can imagine, hearing the words “refuse” and “morbidly obese” hurt. It cut me to the core. At the time I didn’t take kindly to it, but it lit a fire within my belly to get my arse into gear and do something to not only lose weight but show that doctor that I am worthy and I could do it. He didn’t challenge me directly but I took it on as a challenge. I never back down to a challenge, even if it scares the living daylights out of me. I wasn’t blind to the fact that losing weight wasn’t going to be easy, it was going to be hard but I was determined to lose the weight and begin the process of putting myself back together.
I began walking, I watched what was going in my mouth and the weight started to come off. I began to like what I was seeing. The difference within my body was amazing and I was gaining energy with every kilo that disappeared. I was changing, the person that was in that photo was changing.
Everyone has some sort of weight challenge thrust upon them at some point in life. I didn’t realise quite how badly I needed to change until I recently saw this photo of myself. I have come a long way, and I should be proud of what I have achieved but strangely I am grieving that person I saw in that photo. She climbed a mountain whilst continuing to be a mum, work, and she kept smiling. She has shaped me to be the person I am today, and I’m thankful to her for showing me who I really am. I hated that person back then, I didn’t know who she was but I love her now.