It’s good to be alive when all odds were against it. On the same day health care passed I passed my MRI scan. My cancer has shrunk in size to a few nodes of less than one centimeter. Two years ago I was diagnosed with three areas of metastatic breast cancer. After three operations, radiation, chemo and avastan, the cancers are reduced in size, one not showing on the scan and two less than one centimeter in size. Obama’s speeches on health care and the aggressive treatment I received worked.
Life takes as much getting used to as impending death. I have to get my mind off funerals and wills and on to living. Time to get myself together. Not an easy task at the best of times. When I look at diet and fitness regimes I feel like ground hog day. Been there and done it numerous times. I reread the South Beach diet, signed up for several low fat online diets and had another look at Atkins, even ordered the next book. I’ve now been three days without carbohydrates.
I feel as divided about my own health care as the USA is about theirs. One part of me wants to go on a diet and lose twenty pounds, another part of me wants to pig out and never mind the consequences.
Fitness is something else I’ve been there and done. Does being alive mean I have to go back to the gym? Could I still do a rowing machine, lift some respectable weights or do Pilates and keep my wig on at the same time? It doesn’t feel promising.
So like Obama I have to make compromises. The bill that will get past my divided self will not be all that is needed. It will not satisfy the part of me that wants to feel revitalized again after two years of very aggressive cancer treatment and it won’t satisfy the other part of me that wants to lay back and let the chips fall where they may.
Like Obama must have done, I look at what there is to be worked with. Overweight, exhausted, grumpy, pins and needles in hands and feet and worse of all no voice: recovery doesn’t look good. If I could start small and get the first bill past my negativity, I could tackle a few modifications and improvements six months or so down the line. I still have one more month of chemo treatments so I have time to make a plan that I can vote for.
As of three days ago I started on the no carbs diet, induction phase of the Atkins diet and phase 1 of South Beach. I started when I looked in the fridge and found it full of treats. Crowding the fridge were chocolate cake, blueberry cheesecake, and a few pieces of carrot cake. It was as if the Republican tea party had held a meeting in the refrigerator. You couldn’t even find the vegetables. When you did, they looked pathetic, half frozen in the bottom drawer.
There were also a few ready meals that had enough calories to be a dessert. My fridge was full of cauliflower cheese, spinach in a cream sauce and my current favorite, creamy mashed potatoes.
Since I’ve had guests around, I’ve felt justified in keeping on hand a few boxes of organic chocolate bars. They have no calories because they are organic. Like health care information a few lies accumulate along the way.
Repeat after me: ‘organic chocolate has no calories and you can safely eat five to ten small squares a day’. It should be called orgasmic chocolate. In fact, it’s your duty as a citizen of fat land to eat one of each flavor a day and there’re a lot of flavors. I actually didn’t have any chocolate left because I’d eaten it all. I think I only once gave a guest a square.
Exercise is beyond me at this point. I think it’s sitting next to the public health care option in my internal debate. The only exercise I get is going out to buy food. Unfortunately, there are two supermarkets, a food hall and five pastry shops within a radius of three city blocks, so a five to ten minute walk could bring home millions of calories. I don’t even mind carrying heavy bags as long as they contain food.
I was thrilled that health care passed even with the compromises. But my own health care bill looms ahead. Will it be passed? I don’t know. On one side are friends who say you look better than expected. Whatever that means. And others who say it’s time to pull yourself back together, to start putting on your wig carefully, as it looks like you put a bag on your head (and feels like that too), lose some weight, get some new clothes and start exercising.
So life after cancer holds its challenges. For now I’m glad health care passed and I’m glad to be alive. Both were against the odds.