I can’t see clearly – literally or figuratively. The smoke was terrible today and I’ve been obsessed with one thought that I can’t get past right now.

I’ve been slowly coming to the realization over the last couple of weeks that my medication is causing me to gain weight. (This is my hypothesis at least.) I haven’t talked about it much, but I have been running and biking this summer and desperately trying to get back to where I was last summer (running a 5-mile loop, and – more importantly – regaining the feeling of flying that I covet).

I felt like I was making steady progress at first and I was encouraged because I felt like I lost the weight I had gained during chemo (oh how ice cream soothes a sore mouth and a wounded spirit). Perhaps my skinny jeans were still a tad tight but I felt like my face lost its bloated look and I could see some definition in my stomach again. (I keep saying “I felt” because I do not make a habit of weighing myself.) I sighed with relief at getting back to myself.

To throw a wrench in the works, I started taking a medication called Tamoxifen in April. It is an estrogen interruptor since my tumor was fueled by estrogen (referred to as being hormone positive). The good news is that this medication reduces my chances of recurrence (remember the 8%? The Tamoxifen is an integral part of getting there.). At first I was annoyed by the hot flashes I was experiencing a couple of times a day (just as the summer temps were heating up – nothing like sweating on top of sweat). Just as I realized that the hot flashes had miraculously dissipated, I wondered why my pants were still tight. Three good runs a week had always been enough in the past to maintain my normal size and I was throwing in a bike ride or two on top of that!

Just as thoughts of Tamoxifen side effects were swirling around my head, I caught part of Gloria Steinem’s interview on Fresh Air last week. Terry Gross asked about Steinem’s breast cancer diagnosis and lumpectomy just after she turned 50. I can’t get her reply out of my head.

It made me realize several things. One was – this may sound strange if I try to say it short – but…I was less afraid of dying than of aging…

Last year, I came to terms with the fact that breast cancer could kill me, but now I am having to come to terms with the fact that if I survive this thing, I will have to deal with all of its physical ramifications; this includes the deterioration of my body due to my surgeries and treatments, as well as getting older. I consider all of this part of my personal aging process: the loss of a breast, the acquisition of scars, menopause a decade early, hot flashes, and now weight gain. I don’t know how I feel about all of that.

I would never say that it would be better to die, but right now it all just feels terrible and overwhelming. It all makes me feel shallow: being worried about my physical appearance. I am better than this! But then I stomp and pout that I have already given up so much and I don’t want to give up my size 4. Dammit. I’ve worked too hard for it!

How has your body changed over the span of your life? Have you ever had to deal with weight gain that was out of your control? How did you cope? I need some help.

– Diane

* I better set some goals in order to fight the crazy.

by my good friend, Amy


Week:  Start getting out of bed when my alarm goes off. (Ha! I woke up at 6 am last week but rarely got out of bed before 6:30. Baby steps.)

Month:  Find an eye doctor and make an appointment. (I’ve never had my eyes checked! Another side effect of Tamoxifen is eye issues. I’ll spare you the gory details.)

Year:  Finish in the Top 3 Survivors at next springs’s Race For The Cure. (I’ve never been fast and this seems especially daunting considering my current mental state, but I thought I’d just put it out there.)

7 replies on “Blurry Vision + Fighting Crazy Goals

  1. About 1-1.5 years after I had given birth, I remember telling you and Megan how I was still waiting to fit back into my pre-pregnancy clothes. Then I must have said something like, “I guess I just need to get new clothes.” You replied with something akin to “well, they say, dress the body you have.” Of course, I get the sentiment: Work with what you’ve got. Accept how you are now. But I definitely didn’t like hearing that then. And to be honest, I’m still waiting to fit back into my 25 AGs. Pretty sure it will happen THIS fall. Don’t tell me it won’t. You NEVER know.

    By the way, I think you look uh-MAY-ZING! I mean, you made having cancer kinda look like no big deal (I know it wasn’t!). But damn girl, go easy on yourself. You have a beautiful soul.

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  2. How has my body changed over the span of my life? You have known me since we were what? 10? Over the past 30-odd years, I have been skinny, and I have been fat, and I have been everything in between.

    You know what else I have been? A loyal-to-a-fault friend. Someone always hoping to do something to uplift those around me. Someone who often feels too much and says too little. An insecure expat returning to my beloved home to find myself again and build a life on my own terms. An intrepid 25 year old who moved across this beloved country to heal my broken heart and find personal freedom. Someone who turns towards you when others turn away. Someone with a fantastic smile and beautiful eyes, and curviness that I learned to absolutely love. And so, so, so many other things in between that I do not have the insight, wisdom or wherewithal to see myself – good or bad.

    My point with all of the above is this – Aging, and Life, is SO MUCH MORE BEAUTIFUL AND COMPLEX AND FANTASTIC than the only other option that we as human beings have. Embrace it for what it means to you, and know that all of us stand beside you doing the same.

    Scratching our heads sometimes…but doing the same…. 🙂


    1. Will made an acute observation. He said that when I am too inwardly focused I become obsessive and pick myself apart. He said that I seem happier when I am outwardly focused. I think this is true to an extent but I think it is easier to focus out when I am content with myself and doing what I need to for me. Right? Put on your own breathing mask before you help anyone else. I guess I’m just facing a new challenge and I haven’t come up with a way to deal with it yet. I thought it was something old and familiar and I had a solution in my bag of tricks.


  3. Sure I miss my size 6 body (this curvy girl could never sustain a 4 for long, even while running marathons). But there are seasons to life, and my current season requires larger clothes. Will I get my fitness back? I hope so. But I have only so much energy and right now it’s being allocated elsewhere. So be it. With all the worries I’ve had, I simply cannot take on optional ones. That’s how I deal with it!

    I like your goals except I think you should consider tweaking #3. Perhaps to: “Kick Ass” in the Race for the Cure. “Top 3” makes accomplishment of YOUR goal dependent on other people’s outcomes. Why do that?


    1. I like the idea of “Seasons of Life” but are we being naive to think that we can get ourselves back later on? Hasn’t that ship sailed?? Or does that carrot keep us moving forward with hope??

      p.s. Rick & Megan wouldn’t consider “kicking ass” a quantifiable goal 🙂


  4. Prob not what you want to hear right now, but you are truly one of the most beautiful women I haven ever known. I’ve always (as long as I’ve known you!) thought so and still do. I’m not just talking about the light that shines out of you… which is GLORIOUS! But, you’re just damn hot. Fact. But you feel different, and that’s no joke. I’m sorry you are feeling so down…

    And yes, it’s really smoky! I have my mornings free now, so if you ever want to try a class at the rec center, let me know. Not as beautiful as the foothills, but no smoke! 🙂


    1. Not what I want to hear?!?! EXACTLY what I want to hear! And thank you for acknowledging that I just feel different and it has nothing to do with how others see me. Maybe I should start thinking of it as different instead of bad or worse. Your perspective is always appreciated. And your love even more so.


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