The Scary Thoughts of Cancer

Scatter brained is how I would describe myself this last month. Everything seemed to be in shambles. The feeling of inevitable doom lingered over my head in a dark cloud. Facing things alone is one of the scariest and most lonely things you’ll ever do. I learned how weak I can be in the last 4 weeks.

Milton was in Germany, so I was already somewhat overwhelmed with feeling of loneliness. A few days before milton left I ended my monthly period. But just 2 days after he left, I started another period. Weird right? Especially since I’ve never experienced this, I’m used to sporadic periods and odd timing, but never 2 in one month. This raised my suspicion and I was worried enough to set a drs appointment. I went to my OBGYN 2 days later where they ran an ultrasound and discovered some polyps. The dr told me we’d need to do a biopsy to check for cancerous cells. I really didn’t know how to handle the word cancerous.

Internally I freaked out, externally I freaked out. I binge ate what I’m pretty sure was my weight in M&Ms and ice cream. I explained everything to Milton, my mother, my brother and a few close friends. All whom had the same positive reaction to it, all of them saying, “everything will be fine”. Now, yes I needed the positivity, and I appreciate it, but to me it didn’t help. My mind was stuck on the “what if” aspect. The aspect of all things that come with cancer.

The biopsy was set for a Thursday at 1pm. I freaked out the entire time. I don’t take prescription medications that are classified narcotic, and I was having a hard time dealing with having to take a Valium for the procedure. I got a friend to take me to the appointment and another to watch the children for the entire day just in case I had any adverse reactions to the procedure or medication. I got to the appointment, into the room and I seen the scope. This thing was every inch of 2 feet long, the ever-so dreaded duck bill stretcher, a scraper and some other miscellaneous materials. I was freaking out, sweating and every bit of nerve wracked. The time comes and I’m stirruped in, and I hear my dr say “1 2 3 POKE”….This man had just given me a shot in the cervix! Let me tell you, I seen my life flash in front of my eyes. Procedure continues with some pain and discomfort. It’s over, I get up and there is the largest blood puddle I’ve ever seen in my life. The dr continues to talk to me, and is very blunt with his perspective on things. He tells me he is going to have the results within a week, to try and stay calm and relax.

All weekend I hated life, I hated anticipation, I hated the potential of what could happen. I dreaded what could be told to me, I hoped to be wrong about my ever-so growing suspicion. I tried so hard to be positive, I failed at it. Finally I get a call stating my results are in, however my dr won’t call me with any answers until the following day. I was confused why they told me they were even if I couldnt find out the outcome. Stressed for one more night. The following day I finally received a call saying that the polyps are inflamed, and that I need to have an Ablation and Tubal Ligation performed, but they are noncancerous.

I was so relieved I cried for at least 10 minutes, but then I was angry. Not at the fact that it was cancerous, but at the fact that I went from not being able to have children, to having children back to not being able to have another one if I wanted to. Now I know this is illogical and irrational because I wanted to have a tubal done anyways, I don’t see myself wanting more children. But the thing is, that way decision, now I feel like I again don’t have a choice, back to square one.

I’m scheduled for the 25th of September for this procedure. I’ve been able to come to terms with everything and have a more positive attitude towards everything. I am nervous about a surgery, as I’ve never had one before. I know I’ll be fine. Just worried and a bit nervous. But Milton will be home for the procedure and I don’t feel so alone now that he is home. I’m very relieved it wasn’t cancerous, but I was so scared. I couldn’t stop thinking about my family and how it would impact them.

I’ve definitely learned that my family cares, and they love me. (I already knew this, but this experience made it even more apparent) I can’t see myself without them, and am so thankful for them, in ways they will never fully understand.

The Second Appointment

Monday, June 25th, 2018: Second Appointment

Weight: 324.4 lbs

Lost: 30 lbs

Period: 30 days

 

                It was appointment day, June 25th, 2018 4PM. I went to the Dr, after exactly 1 month of starting my diet. I stepped on the scale and watched the numbers on the scale just go down, I watched the BMI go lower than I could remember seeing it in a very long time. My OBG had told me that it was next to impossible to lower your BMI naturally without surgery if it was over 50. My BMI when I started was 54, one month later I had a BMI of 51. I was still over, but I was getting lower. I don’t like to be told that I need help to do something. I am a determined person, strong willed and stubborn minded. My nurse finished up with her vitals and her normal questions and I wait for the Dr. As I sit and wait for him to come in the room I prepare for him to tell me I need to slow down, or I am taking things too fast, or it’s unhealthy to for me to be on a Ketogenic diet. I prepare for the worst even though I thought in my head “I am doing wonderful, screw him if he says otherwise”.

                He comes in and starts going over the bloodwork that h had ordered the month prior. He tells me that everything is looking good, that my Thyroid is normal, and I have okay cholesterol levels. He tells me that my pre-diabetic diagnosis wouldn’t remain if my sugar and insulin levels continued to show as they were on these results. I explained to him that I haven’t been able to take the prescribed medication due to headaches. He offered another medication, I don’t recall the name since I didn’t accept the prescription. I explained to him that I have been partaking in the Ketogenic Diet, I explained to him how I feel when I wake up in the morning and throughout my day, all the way throughout bed-time which typically doesn’t come until around or after midnight for me.

                He looked at me and said, “GOOD FOR YOU”, I want to see you back in 1 month, and we’re going to do blood tests and another EKG to make sure that your body is responding well to the Ketogenic Diet. I agreed, set my next appointment for Wednesday, July 25th, 2018 at 4pm. I was excited to see what this month would bring, since the last 30 days were so great.

                But, this month wasn’t the best. I fell off the wagon, times got hard and family life took over. I fell victim to “easy and convenient” food. My family was struck with a hard time, that we are still currently handling. An emergency had happened with my Uncle, back in Michigan. I had to go home. I had to go and see him, I had to go home and see my cousins and my Aunt. I needed to be there, regardless of conditions. I love my family very much, and my Aunt Becki and Uncle Mike have always been there for me. They are 2 of the greatest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, and I’m not just saying that because they are my family. I am saying it because they help EVERYONE, with just about everything. They have the most kind and loving hearts that anyone could have. My Uncle Mike was injured while helping to set traps in a field for a family friend, she was having a problem with raccoons. However, while he was setting traps, he was mistaken for the very same thing he was trying to trap, a raccoon. He was shot behind the right ear with a .22 caliber bullet.  He was immediately flown to the hospital and placed in critical condition. I flew home a day and a half after I found out. He was considered “cautiously stable”, but still in a critical time window. (To donate and learn more about my Uncle and his updates please visit http://gofundme.com/mike-amd-becki-bradford )

Time at the hospital, seeing family and close friends meant not being able to be home and have access to the foods I was used to eating in that last month or so. I attempted to not eat nearly as many carbs as I normally would, but you really can’t pass up a few chips and salsa at a Mexican restaurant, especially when you’re “sad eating”. This weekend that I was gone, I had indulged in chips, a donut, and few other very high carb things. They were easy. They were there. I was sad. It wasn’t an excuse. I ate them. I felt like crap. I got home the Monday after I left on Friday. I was only gone for a few days and I was scared to step on the scale. Before I had left, I weight 307.5. I stepped on the scale… I gained 14 pounds while I was gone on a 3-day trip. 321.6 pounds. I WAS DEVISTATED. But I didn’t give up. I went right back to my ketogenic diet the very next morning.

Monday July 16th, 2018, I started back in my Ketogenic diet. It typically takes your body anywhere from 3-5 days to earn a state of ketosis. I struggled during the time with the “keto-flu”, falling victim to being sluggish, no energy, cranky as all hell, hungry, fighting cravings, stomach cramps and headaches. But, I made it back to Ketosis. I started off strong and kept my feet moving since then. After plummeting the first time, there is no way I want to feel that Keto-flu again. I lost 16 pounds, after my temporary setback of carb bingeing.

The First Appointment

Friday, May 25th, 2018: First Appointment

Weight: 354.4 lbs

 

I went in for the appointment a few days after setting it. We did the normal Dr visit stuff like weight, blood pressure, height and discussed why I was there. I explained in grave detail how I had struggled in the past with diet pills, diets and exercise. He explained to me that typically for approval of weight-loss surgeries with the insurance companies, it has to be the last resort and has to have a clear and long record of physician reports to support the decision. He explained to me some of the options he had, which consisted of Adapex or Pheniramine, which are appetite suppressants. He wrote me the prescription and gave me an EKG reading, request for bloodwork and explained to me that I needed to do a low-carb high-fat diet in order to achieve weight-loss due to my sugar levels and pre-type 2 diabetes.   

                Since that day, I have been a changed woman. I started taking the medication, however it gave me intense headaches, so I had to stop taking it after 5 days. I stayed with the low-carb and high-fat diet though. Knowing that I HAD to do something, I was getting out of control and the very last thing that I wanted was to have to have surgery. I have never had a surgery of any kind, and I am scared to be honest. So, I stayed on the diet that I was currently on, just doing low-carb and higher-fat intakes. Then about 2 weeks in, I started noticing my energy levels were amazing! I have 2 young boys, both under 2, so energy is a thing of rarity! But, I had it! I was getting everything I needed to get done, done, and then some! I was cooking, cleaning, playing and laughing WITH actual energy and comfort!

                I said okay, let’s adjust my carb intakes and attempt to lose more weight. I started at 354.4 pounds, but 2 weeks in I was down to 334.4. I started looking into the low-carb diet even more and stumbled upon the “Ketogenic Diet”, it looked exactly like what I was already doing, just with a lower carb intake. I was doing 45 grams of carbs per meal and 15 grams of carbs per snack while low-carbing. But this Ketogenic diet suggested only 20 grams of NET carbs total per DAY. I did some more research and decided since I was already low-carbing, might as well give her a go. There was nothing to buy, so I felt no risk, I just wanted the rewards.

                The rewards started to come very fast. I was a week in and I had already managed to drop from 334.4 down to 324.4, I track my weight loss in pounds of 10. So a total of 3 weeks just low-carbing, 1 of those weeks consisted of research of the ketogenic diet, and the 4th week of being on Keto. I was 1-month total into my weight loss journey, and I felt amazing! So in one month I had dropped from 354.4 down to 324.4, 30 POUNDS in 1 month! I couldn’t believe it, because I didn’t feel like I was on a diet. I didn’t feel tired, sluggish, hungry, deprived or any other negative word you can associate with a diet. I felt happy, leaner, less hungry and had more of a clear mind. I was processing everything differently, and I just felt like a damn superhero.

My Personal Weight Loss Story

Introduction to my Feelings:

If you’re anything like me, then you’ve tried multiple diets in a never-ending loop of failure and regret. You’ve practically starved yourself trying to reach calorie deficits, lost buckets of sweat doing vigorous workouts and circuit training. You’ve been depressed and felt deprived, all because of the diets you were choosing. You’ve probably tried diet pills with very little success and never end up looking like the person on the box. You’ve probably looked at other men and women with envy or even jealousy, longing for the feeling of being able to do the same things they physically can do.

                That was me. I woke up everyday attempting to feel smaller than my 350-pound body was. I tried diet pills, vigorous workouts for hours at a time, embarrassed myself in class workouts and gyms. Striving and pushing myself for a better, healthier, more attractive body. People don’t really discuss what its like to lose excess amounts of weight. Being considered morbidly obese is taboo in today’s society and simply and harshly put but is very unhealthy for us. We dream of different bodies, and what and who we would be had we not gotten large.  We regret ourselves and our lifestyle choices, but at the same time, we battle an addiction. We do well for a while and say, “hey let’s have a cheat meal”, then our cheat meals activate the part of the brain that triggers food cravings. Our one cheat meal turns into cheat day, then cheat week and then before we know it we have gained everything back that we have lost in our success.

                I would look at women running around at the park with their children and long for the feeling of not getting winded while chasing my toddler. I would long for the feeling of pain free hips, back and knees. I would get jealous watching people eat the things that I love but not gain any amount of weight. I would get physically angry hearing someone, anyone say how fat they were. Talking about clothing or beauty products just became awkward conversations. I always felt like I was less than a woman because I weighed more than most people. But these downfalls, they were all eye-openers for me. I currently use every one of these reasons or excuses, whichever you want to call them, as my personal motivation.

                Everyday I am reminded on how much energy my body needs to keep up with my 2-year-old son and my 3-month-old son. I am constantly moving a majority of the time. Typical mom-stuff, filling drinks and bottles, feeding and cooking, sweeping and laundry, playing and teaching. But those things feel like chores without the proper energy levels, you feel tired and grouchy and just all around not wanting to do those simple tasks. You look to energy boosters like soda, energy drinks and coffee packed with sugar and cream. You don’t have the energy or the drive to cook breakfast, so you find something you can throw in the microwave. So just at the start of the day, we look at the less-nutritional options because we look for convenience, not substance.

                I wanted to feel better, more confident, more attractive and sexier to my husband. I hated looking in the mirror, no matter what I bought or tried on, I just did not feel how I was supposed to. Sexy panties wouldn’t fit correctly because of my overhang. Jeans would be tight in the hips but loose on my legs and my butt. Shirts would be stretched over my torso and belly. I would have to wear extenders with my bra’s which make them even more uncomfortable. I resorted to wearing an ungodly amount of under clothing and layering’s, anything to try and keep my rolls from popping out. I started to hate myself, became depressed and then just “sad ate” all the time. I would buy candy bars and chips practically every time I would go to the store or gas station. I started hiding my food because I knew that I had a serious problem and I was ashamed of it.

                My breaking point was during my pregnancy with my youngest son, I felt disgusting, no self-esteem and no self-love. I had to wait until after I had my child because I had gestational diabetes, so I couldn’t really adjust much of my diet without posing a possible threat to my son. So, I used this time to do research on diets and workouts. I started contemplating weight-loss surgery, looking into insurance options, payments and pricing. I finally decided that I wanted to have weight-loss surgery. I had a conversation with my OBG during my post-delivery appointment. He advised that it would practically be impossible for me to lose enough weight on my own to be healthy and suggested weight-loss surgery as well. He then gave me a recommendation to a Practitioner across town. I set the appointment and I was nervous, I was under the impression that I would be getting information on surgery. But little did I know, something greater was about to happen. Something was about to happen, that I never thought possible, something that doctors told me I wouldn’t be able to do on my own.