Starting Weight: 318.2 lbs.
Weight Last Week: 260.6 lbs.
Current Weight: 258.6 lbs.
Weekly Change: –2 lbs.
Total Weight Lost: 59.6 lbs.
Good afternoon, friends!
Another 2 lbs. of fat is gone for good! I’ve now lost a total of 59.6 lbs., and although I did miss hitting the big 6-0 by less than half a pound, I am finally in the 250s, so that more than makes up for everything else!
I used to dream about weighing just 250 lbs.–seriously. Once your scale topples over the mountain of 300 lbs., 250 seems unachievable–or at least it did to me. To know that I’m now less than 10 lbs. away from that number is mind-blowing. I can’t believe what I’ve accomplished thus far during my journey to better health. I am so very, very proud of what I have done, and I’m also so excited for the future. I will see ONEderland eventually. I’m inching closer and closer each week! 🙂
I am currently just 4 lbs. away from my 20% goal, so if all goes well and as expected, by the time April is through, I should be 20% smaller than I was when I first embarked upon this journey back on September 12, 2014.
Can you believe it?!
I wrote to you all just over a month ago and explained that my dear friend and fellow Weight Watcher, Betty, was diagnosed—for the second time—with cancer.
I hadn’t heard from her since she dropped the cancer bomb in my lap, so for the past month, I’ve been really worried. Then, out of the blue, Betty shot me a text this past Tuesday, and, as always, she was just as sweet as pie. She wanted to let me know that she was holding up OK, and she also wanted to see how my weight loss journey was going. We sent a few texts back and forth, and I was feeling better about her prognosis.
Then, this morning, Betty gave me a call. While I was on my way to Weight Watchers, she and I chatted on the phone, and she told me the details of her condition. Turns out that I shouldn’t have been comforted by her texts.
Betty is, quite literally, fighting for her life.
Betty has a very aggressive form of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma—the exact same cancer that she had last time. She had been in remission for about five years, and her doctors were all incredibly shocked that the cancer came back.
Last time around, it was stage four. This time, it’s stage three, however, none of that matters. Because Betty had the unfortunate luck of getting the exact same strand of cancer this time around, they have to treat her with the most aggressive form of chemotherapy as possible because the HL left behind bits of DNA and RNA last time, making the chemotherapy treatment she received before ineffective for a second go-around.
This is all very grim news—so grim, in fact, that the doctors only gave her one year to live, and without pressure from her husband of 45 years, her children, and her grandchildren, Betty said she’d have taken that news and just… accepted it. However, her family wanted her to push forward and continue to fight, so that’s what she’s doing.
Right now, as I mentioned, she’s receiving an extremely aggressive round of chemo. She gets chemo for five days, shots for seven days, chemo for five days, shots for seven, etcetera. The treatment has killed her immune system, so she’s in nearly complete isolation right now; the only person she gets to see outside of medical personnel is her husband—not even her children are allowed to see her these days. She can’t have plants in her room because of the dirt. She can’t do much or have much of anything, honestly. And she’s lonely.
All of this is leading up to something big, though: at the end of this month or the beginning of May, Betty is going to have a bone marrow transplant. She has a 40% chance of making it through the transplant and then being cancer-free aftwards.
“It was either one year or forty percent, so I had to try.”
That’s all she gets. One year, or forty percent.
That just doesn’t seem fair.
After the transplant, she’ll have to stay in the hospital for 6 weeks, and that’ll be the first time she’ll be allowed visitors. We’ll have to wear gloves, gowns, and masks to enter her room, but we will be allowed in.
I am planning to be one of the first visitors through the door, and I’m also hoping that maybe I’ll be under 250 lbs. by then, or maybe I’ll even be closer to a 75 lb. loss at that point. You see, Betty has been cheering me on from the get-go, and I want to show her that I can do this and that I really am changing my life. Betty’s life is hanging in the balance right now, and I am ashamed of the fact that I have essentially wasted the first 22 years of my life overeating, binge eating, and slowly killing myself with pizzas, cheeseburgers, and whatever else I could get into my mouth. Life is so short and so precious, and I have done such a disservice to myself by letting the pounds continue to pack on each year.
I am going to lose this weight, and I want Betty to see that. She is so very, very sick, and I know that there’s a real chance that I won’t even have the opportunity to see her in-person again, but if I am lucky enough to get that chance, I want her to look at me and see the personification of hope and determination.
Betty told me this morning that I am incredibly special to her, and that choked me up like you wouldn’t believe.
“You’re like a daughter to me Ms. Rachael. No—you’re more than that. It’s different. This week has been very hard, and I’m so lonely, so I started thinking about you and knew I needed to call. I wanted to hear your voice.”
It’s amazing to me that just 7 months ago, Betty was a stranger. It’s amazing to me that 7 months ago, all of the people at Weight Watchers were strangers—all of you were strangers.
Before I decided to take this journey, I had forgotten what it was like to be shown compassion and empathy. I was bullied for being fat when I was a child and a teenager, and once I reached adulthood, that bullying didn’t really stop—it was just different. People would give me dirty looks on the street, or they’d snicker or make a rude comment under their breath. My friends—and even my family—would make seemingly lighthearted jokes at my expense, but I’d just laugh it off or joke along with them because that was just “normal.” Guys would fall in love with my personality, but they couldn’t see past the almost-320 lb. outside to let that matter.
Nothing mattered to anyone except for my weight.
So somewhere along the line, I stopped having fun, stopped caring about myself, and really just stopped living because I was in the same boat as everyone else: I couldn’t find any value in myself either.
I was “just” the fat girl.
Today, I called Betty back during our Weight Watchers meeting so that she could say hello to everyone and so that our group could send their love, thoughts, prayers, well wishes, and positivity to her. I watched a group of people—most of whom never interact outside of that building—band together and get genuinely choked up about her wellbeing.
Then, after the meeting, several members stopped me and wanted to chat.
“You look so good, Rachael. It’s just incredible what you’ve done.”
“You’re one of the reasons why I come each week, Rachael. I come because I want to see you succeed.”
“I was thinking about you on my drive over! I said, ‘Oh, I wonder if she hit 60 today!'”
“I thought about you this week! I remembered what you said about hunger. I had just eaten dinner and then went back to the kitchen, but then I stopped and said, ‘NO. I am not hungry!’ And I tried to figure out why I was doing this. I heard your voice in my head, so I just had to tell you!”
“You’re just like me—crossing those big numbers is hard! I keep thinking, ‘OK, you lose another 10 pounds and then I’ll lose five! You’re just *this* close to 60, and I’m *this* close to 30! We can do it!”
“You’re such an inspiration to me. I have been gone for a month, and I gained 6 pounds. I came here today and saw you, and you’ve lost another 10 pounds this past month. I am ready to do this now. I have to.”
I don’t know when this happened, or how or why it happened, but suddenly I matter to a lot of people. I was standing there talking to them, hugging them, sharing my hopes for us to all just do this together, and I realized that for the first time in a long time, I’m not “just” the fat girl.
I’m not “just” the fat girl to any of these people, and I’m not “just” the fat girl to myself anymore either. The light that used to burn bright inside of me was put out long ago by mean-spirited and petty people with nothing better to do than spew awful things at me, but now, a group of not-so-strange-strangers that I see for about an hour once a week and a group of not-so-strange-strangers that I write ramblings to online have managed to somehow pull me out of the darkness and turn the light back on.
I can never repay any of you for what you’ve done.
If it’s not too much trouble, please continue to keep Betty in your thoughts. She needs the support and positivity of as many people as possible.
Also, I’d appreciate it if you could think of me a bit too this week. The final draft of my honors thesis is due on Wednesday, and I’ve got a lot of work cut out for myself just yet. The next five days are going to be incredibly stress-filled, and I don’t see much sleep fitting into my schedule.
I wish you all an absolutely wonderful week. I’ll be thinking of you all, as always.
Eat well. Be well.