My Progress!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Weigh in, confession, and clarification about Lung Cancer


First I want to chime in and let you guys know that today I weighed in at 448.4, so that was a loss of 1.6 lbs. At my size it really should have been more, but I'm used to losing weight slowly. I'm going to be adding in more activity and fiddling around with my meal plan to see what might get my metabolism going a bit faster. We'll sort it out eventually.

I do have a confession. I took Tanner out to eat at an Italian place right up the street from us and ordered their smoked chicken lasagna with spinach. I have no idea how many calories were in it, but I'm wagering it wasn't diet friendly. The good news is I only ate half of the lunch portion and brought the rest home for my ex to eat ;) This wasn't a spur of the moment decision. It wasn't a "binge." It was a very calculated and planned "cheat." I'm looking at a total of 300 lbs I have to lose and I think if I start out expecting that I will NEVER indulge in moderation (like any normal person who doesn't have a weight problem), I will just be setting myself up for failure. I knew going to lunch that I would allow myself to choose anything off the menu that I wanted, but I told myself I would only eat half. I ordered the smaller lunch portion, ate half and had the waiter box up the rest. The result? I came home without any of the typical guilt I feel when I have a spur of the moment cheat or worse, binge. You know, the sort of guilt that typically makes you beat yourself up, then binge again, only to beat yourself up some more and so on, and so on. I ate it. I'm over it. I'll be back on plan for the rest of the week. It's kind of an experiment I'm trying, we'll see if it helps me stay on plan over the long haul.

Now on to answering some of the comments from my post late last night. First I want to thank those of you that were touched by it. It started out being about RFL and before I knew it... All of this stuff was coming out about my mom and what I went through when she was sick. It was a very real and very heartfelt admission about a very difficult time in my life. It was cathartic in a way and I think, for the first time, I really came to terms with something that had been bothering me for the last 7 years.

Val commented and pointed out that she had also lost her mother to lung cancer, but chose not to focus on the fact that she had smoked because of the stigma so many lung cancer patients have to deal with when diagnosed. I completely understand where she's coming from. I not only came face to face with this when my mother was diagnosed in the form of doctors who treated her like a pariah; in fact, the doctor that gave her the diagnosis treated her horribly. I wasn't there, but she recorded it for me and immediately after telling her that she had lung cancer, my mother asked for information to help her quit smoking. The doctor, in a voice void of any kind of compassion, said "It's a bit late for that, but I can write you a prescription for wellbutrin if you want." He continued to talk down to her and treat her like a second class citizen for the remainder of her visit. We had other problems along the way. Some doctors treated her with the compassion they might have for any cancer patient, but every once in a while, regardless of the fact that my mother no longer smoked, we would run into some jerk who would feel the need to rub a very sick woman's nose in the fact that her smoking may have had something to do with her cancer. God, for a while, I suppose I was doing the very same thing as I struggled with my own anger over her diagnosis.

As I've said and as Val also pointed out, we ALL make lifestyle choices that could impact our health negatively. I read an article just yesterday that said that people who have had a lifetime struggle with obesity and have spent most of their life obese have a life expectancy equivalent to those who have smoked two packs of cigarettes a day. The difference is...when people who have made other lifestyle choices, whether its eating themselves into obesity, drinking, worshiping the sun, or a million other things we know is bad for us; when these people get a breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, melanoma or any of the hundreds of other cancer diagnoses caused by lifestyle, they are often met with the compassionate concern we are familiar with when someone receives a life-threatening diagnosis. People reach out to them. An overweight woman diagnosed with breast cancer isn't likely to have people asking her if she ate at McDonalds regularly; insinuating that her diet gave her breast cancer. An ex-alcoholic won't tell someone about his past battle with the bottle as an apology for his disease. If a lung cancer patient tells someone they have lung cancer, I can tell you that 9 times out of 10, the next question out of somebody's mouth is "Oh no, did you smoke?" With that question, depending on the patient's answer, people decide whether the patient is worthy of true concern or compassion. I think you know what happens if the patient answers in the affirmative.

Aside from the way this stigma affects how patients are treated by doctors, other professionals, and the general public, the stigma of lung cancer has a very real and deadly impact on research. According to the Lung Cancer Alliance's Report Card on Lung Cancer (please take a look at this to see just how bad the disparity is between lung cancer and other cancers), despite being the number one cancer killer, it remains one of the most underfunded, under-researched cancers and is largely ignored by the powers that be in Washington. Many people aren't even aware that more people will die this year from lung cancer than from breast, prostate, colon, leukemia, ovarian, and cervical cancers COMBINED. This, despite the fact that 50% of people diagnosed with lung cancer have never smoked or are former smokers. It's unfair and it's just flat out WRONG. Nobody deserves cancer...period.

So, to Val, I apologize and thank you for pointing out the impact this stigma had on our own mother's diagnosis, treatment and mortality. I knew all about this well before your comments, but last night, I was just caught up in relaying a particular experience and working through my own feelings "in the moment." Unfortunately, I probably crafted a post that somewhat perpetuates this very stigma. I hope this post makes up for it to some degree.

Thanks to anyone who actually made it to the end of this post :)

6 Comments:

wildfluffysheep said...

Good on the calculated cheat. I have a post weigh in treat and it stops me from binging during the rest of the week. So kudos to you for recognising you can have a little of the bad and not obsess over it.

I am glad your last post felt cathartic. It is good to have that kind of release every so often. Better out than in.

Nobody deserves cancer. Another insightful post. It really made me think. Thank you for enlightening me more on lung cancer.

Val said...

No need to apologize... I think I've hidden a lot from the anger aspect in my journey. And God knows I made both of my folks miserable before diagnosis because they didn't quit. My Dad still smokes along with his current wife, and I find myself feeling furious about that from time to time. It's hard NOT to be angry because so much was taken from us.

You totally tackled the stigma in this post though. WOW. Thank you for that. :)

As a co-member of this awful club that neither of us ever wanted to be in, I'm glad to have found your blog and to have chatted via comments. It's always good to know that I'm not alone in this, you know?

Natasha said...

Thanks for reading my blog!You asked if I post recipes and sometimes I do if it's one that was really good or if it's one I think alot of people would like. If I ever have a meal you want the recipe for just let me know and I can either email it to you or leave it in your commments =)

I totally agree that you (me) has to be realistic and expect and know that there will be times that you will indulge( I don't call it cheating ;p) and I think by only eating half you did awesome! I eat out once a week or ever other week one meal that I want and dont' worry about it. Then get right back on track.

Look forward to reading about your journey!!

Natasha said...

I'm back! I forgot you wanted the Kung Pao chicken recipe! LOL!!

Water 2 Tbsp
Cornstarch 1 Tbsp
Hoisin Sauce 1 Tbsp
Soy Sauce 1 Tbsp
Chili paste 1.5-2 Tsp (I used hot sauce instead)

Boneless,skinless chicken breast 1 (diced thin and small)
Sesame oil 1 Tsp
Egg white, fork whipped 1
Garlic clove,minced 1

Cooking oil 1 Tbsp
Thin sliced carrots 2
Garlic minced 1
Gingerroot minced 1/2 Tsp

Diced green pepper 1/2c
Diced red pepper 1/2c
Green or white onion 1/4c

Cooking oil 1 Tbsp
chopped salted peanuts for garnish (I used cashews)

Combine first 5 ingredients in small cup set aside

Stir second amount of soy sauce and cornstarch in medium bowl.

Add next 4 ingredients. Stir well. Set aside.

Heat deep frying pan until hot. Add first amount of cooking oil. Add next 3 ingredients. Fry for 1 minute then add next 4 ingredients.

Cook 1-2min until peppers are tender-crisp. Place in seperate bowl. Cover to keep warm.

Add second amount cooking oil. Add chicken mixture. Cook until no longer pink. Stir Hoisin sauce mixture. Add to chicken mixture. Heat and stir until thickened. Add pepper mixture back in. Heat until coated and hot.

You can put over shanghai noodles or chow mein or rice. If using noodeles I add them in frying pan and toss until warm and coated.

Voila! Hope you like it!

Ria said...

Congratulations on your loss! I too think you did great by ordering the smaller portion and only eating half.

It is really a shame that more funding isn't devoted to lung cancer research.

Tony said...

You got a very interesting article here.

Staying fit and healthy gives us more confidence the way we look at ourselves. That is why it is so important that we care take of our body as we use it on our daily activities.