It was two weeks after my first chemo treatment and I felt fine – now what? I was just sitting back, playing the side effects waiting game.
I was getting in the shower one morning when I noticed these rashes on my legs. They just appeared overnight – a cluster of acne-like breakouts on my thighs and side butt. This startling discovery wasn’t supposed to be one of the side effects from the particular chemo I was on. Awesome! I got lymphoma and a rash! Then I remembered a little warning label I ignored a couple weeks prior.
In my attempts at a healthier lifestyle, I adopted an alkaline diet. I just so happened to have alkaline water ionizer packed away in my garage. Typical wedding gift. I thought it would compliment my diet, so I hooked it up. I’m too lazy to look I’ll spare you the boring details of what exactly an alkaline water ionizer does, but basically it takes your tap water and makes it gooder. It’s supposed to have many health benefits, just don’t drink it with vitamins and medications, so said the warning label. I disregarded the message because I didn’t think water could do much harm. With the exorbitant amounts of medications I was taking, apparently this water can give you an ass full of rashes. Needless to say, I packed up my alkaline water ionizer and put it right back in the garage.
Aside from the rash, the only other physical change was my weight loss. This stupid tumor just showed up in my chest – unannounced. None of the doctors we spoke to ever offered any insight as to how it got there. They left me to come up with my own conclusions. I couldn’t help but think I was responsible for getting myself into this lyphomic mess. Something I was doing or not doing was creating an environment for tumors to flourish. I had my ideas on why, but one stood out: I wasn’t taking care of my body properly. I was not putting the right things in my body (and putting in too much of the wrong things) and now I was paying the consequences. That’s why I decided to switch things up and go on the diet. Eating healthy, nutritious food made me feel like I was now doing the right things for my body. I also stopped drinking caffeine and alcohol. I assumed they weren’t helping my cause either.
I wanted to be prepared for the test that chemo was about put my body through. I had no idea how my body would react to the six rounds of treatments. Making these lifestyle changes seemed like logical steps to getting my body prepared for this journey.
With all the ups and downs this tumor has put me through, I had every reason to find refuge in a cheeseburger – but I didn’t. I treated the diet like a test. If you’ve ever dieted, you know how much of it is in your head. You have to be disciplined. I wanted to see if I could stick with this healthy lifestyle throughout all my treatments – for my own peace of mind. It made perfect sense: I’ll torture myself while I’m being poisoned. I didn’t look at cancer as the end of the world, why should a little diet be any different?
Everyone noticed I was losing a significant amount of weight – except for me. With so much chaos over the past few weeks, I wasn’t paying attention to my figure. I thought I was getting a little thinner, but I just assumed it was part of the transformation into a cancer patient. I would get weighed every time I was at the doctor’s office, but I never looked at what the scale said. Maybe I should’ve. It wasn’t until one morning when I finally noticed just how serious my weight loss had gotten.
I was putting on my shorts, but they kept falling off my waist. Now in my younger days I used to sport a sag, but it ain’t ‘92, so I threw on a belt. I never needed a belt with these shorts, but now, I looked like the “after” on a weight loss ad. Jared from Subway would be so proud, but this was no cause for celebration. I didn’t realize I lost that much weight. Even with the buckle in the last hole on my belt, I had room to spare. I ended up punching a new hole in the leather strap so my belt could work on my new 30” waist. Looking like a cholo with my oversized shorts all bunched up at the waist, I threw on my locs and stepped on the scale to see what was really going on.
I stepped on the scale and it read, “155″. I was shocked. The last time I weighed this much, I was a scrawny kid in high school…20 years ago. This diet was now making me delusional, because my immediate reaction to seeing my weight was, “Holy Shit! I’m BJ Penn!” OK, maybe not exactly the young, up and coming, UFC lightweight. More like the older BJ Penn…at weigh-ins: dehydrated, shaking on the scale because he just sweated out 25 lbs. in the sauna, looking like he’d murder someone for a burrito…if only he had the energy to. I dropped 20 lbs. in just a few weeks. I may have been overlooking what people were saying about my diet, but I couldn’t ignore the numbers on the scale. Maybe this diet wasn’t “healthy” after all.
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