Today is World Cancer Day. It is a day set aside to focus on ways to prevent cancer. Their slogan is "Cancer can be prevented too!".
Everyone knows things like quitting smoking and getting breast exams are ways to prevent cancer.
But did you know that obesity is one of the biggest cancer risks there are? It causes higher breast and colon cancer rates along with skin cancer and other cancers.
For the past year and a half of my life, I have been consumed with helping American Cancer Society Relay For Life. Most of my stitching has been for fundraising. Most of my spare time has been going to meetings, talking about Relay, posting stories about cancer prevention and patients going through treatment. Crying at stories that tear your heart out.
But there is one person I haven't worried about. That is me. You see, I am obese. Morbidly obese (that is a diagnosis on my medical chart). I don't eat healthy. I don't exercise.
I have been overweight most of my life. Not so much when I was young, but pretty much in the past 30 or so years. I would lose weight, gain weight, lose again. I was pretty agile, even for a fat woman.
Six years ago I lost 100 pounds through Weight Watchers, but gained it back. I got married and thought I should cook really big meals. And of course with cooking those meals I also ate.
I have been generally happy all my life, fat or not. I am happy with my looks, happy with my personality.
Until the past year. My weight has taken a toll on me. My knees hurt all the time. I don't go to the doctor as much as I should because of my weight. I mean really, what does the doctor want to do to help me if I don't want to help myself?
My life has taken a turn that I don't like. I can't walk hardly at all without getting out of breath. Fun stuff, like shopping or going on vacation is surrounded by the thought, how far is the door from the parking lot and do they have an electric cart for me to go around in. There is a local museum here I want to take my grandsons to, but I know I can't do it. I have tried. I almost pass out and the pain in my knees are unbearable.
This past Christmas I attended a party at a friend's house. My first thought was "are her chairs going to hold me up? What if I break one?".
A work acquaintance asked me to go on a small trip with some staff. I had to say "no" because I knew I couldn't do all the walking they were going to do.
Going out to restaurants and parties and everything is centered around "how close are the chairs to each other? Is there enough room for me to get around?".
All of this is minor compared to what my weight is doing to me. I am 49 and feel like I am 100. And I am at risk for cancer. A big, fat risk.
I didn't write all this to make you feel sorry for me. I did this to myself and I am not looking for sympathy.
I am looking for a change. It is time that I do something to really prevent cancer. IN ME!
So last Friday I joined Weight Watchers. I am adding vegetables and fruit to my diet. Stopped drinking coffee (Starbucks I hope your stocks don't fall). Am drinking more water.
I went to the doctor and talked with him. He is sending me to a cardiologist before he will release me to join a gym. I go on Feb. 10. But for now, I can walk as long as I take it easy, as well as light exercise.
And I added something to our house. My sister named it Satan, and at times it feels that way. But I think it should be named Friend. My friend is a stationary bike. I can't go too long on it (only a couple of minutes at most).
I think God had a hand in bringing my friend into my house. It was on sale at Wal-Greens. The only one. Someone had bought it online and never opened it. It was not supposed to be returned to the store but the assistant manager didn't know that. They had it for $129 (regular $199). And the manager gave me another 15% off that.
So now everyday I get on my friend and I do something to make me less a cancer risk.
Is this going to be easy? No. Am I probably going to fail at least once? Yes. Am I going to keep trying. Yes. Am I going to need all the support of my friends and family? YES, YES, YES.
So I am asking you to follow me on this journey. Many of you have followed me on the journey with my SFAC project. Follow me now. Encourage me. Scold me. But mostly love me as you always have, fat or not. Be my friend.
Because it is time for a change and I want to be around a long, long time!