Thursday, July 24, 2014

MY FEET IN THE SAND: A Look On The Bright Side

I've always been consumed with my weight.  As a child I was proportioned, skinny even.  As a young adult off to college, I gained that Freshman 20 and battled back and forth.  As an adult in my twenties gained a gang of weight, hit my 30's and lost the equivalent to a tween person--I was back to a sleek size 6.  My wedding dress was maybe an 8--wedding dress sizes are always larger--and it had to have minor alterations.

After marriage, I stopped working out, consumed a lot more wine socially, ate decadently and paid for it.  Truthfully, I am still paying for it--currently I am over-weight.  In fact I thought carefully about showing current full body pictures of myself because of my weight.

My Wedding Day

My pause to be cautious was solidified by a series of comments from people who saw me after diagnosis and/or spoke to me on the phone.

I told one friend of my diagnosis and she said, "Well at least you'll lose some of that weight..."  I bought into the statement as well.  It was a silver lining in a dark cloud, I guess?  Long after treatment began, another family member greeted me with a, "Oh my you've kept that weight on...".  She continued with a five minute diatribe concerning my weight.  Another caring phone inquiry came when a family member asked how I was doing?  The second question, "Have you lost any weight?"  Not a pound, I retorted and we both chuckled--mine out of hurt and caution to make the voice on the other end uncomfortable.  We laughed again--this time genuinely for me--when it was pointed out how a close friend also soldiering through Breast Cancer hadn't lost a pound and strutted around with her fat, bald head and big earrings.  By that time I had been doing the same.

I've encountered a number of women who lost weight, some with no real weight to lose so they look gaunt, yet others maintained.  My eyebrows and hair were gone, but my weight and bright skin caused people to question if my bald head was voluntary.

The point is that I've struggled with my weight all of my life.  And my long hair and pretty face often compensated for my obesity.  And when hair loss was inevitable, I had to get comfortable with me, and re-learn and reaffirm to like the me I am today. 

How did I do that?  I posted pictures that I didn't consider necessarily flattering but poignant.  I thought of people: past folks who might gasp and comment or not, and those who only know me at this weight.  During the surgery phase, I considered a full mastectomy, double even for the sake of getting a new tummy behind the ordeal.  Yes, a tummy tuck is a perk and power to those who benefitted.  For another minute I tried cutting people off at the path:  I know I'm fat and yes I'm battling cancer.  To this day #TeamToni stop-gaps that self-assault.

Finally, I began to look on the bright side.  There are plenty of skinny and fat people in urns, in the grave, on their death beds, at home, in hospice, living poorly--not only referring to wealth--sad and healthy.  And while I will conquer this weight again--when the time is right--my job is to soldier through this phase of my life--Breast Cancer.

Obesity is never the option.  However, my bright side is that when this condition came to me--some say obesity is a cancer factor--I thank GOD that I had/have a body to fight it with.  Sure changes and challenges accompanied the condition but my body, this body has the gumption to fight!

My look on the bright side:  To keep fighting with what and who I have, that is divinely me, not the me boxed into some corner cowering about a distraction.  And if you have a problem with my weight, I'm going let you keep your problem.  Right now I'm fighting and winning a war, my weight, a battle I'll win another time.

Whatever your circumstances or situations, find the bright side.  Lock into it, own it and ride it until the bright side becomes better.

Me and CoCo


  1. Outstanding, Toni. Simply. I say this with authenticity. You are beautiful. One of the biggest issues I have with women are that we use our outer shells too much as a validation. Although I actually am digging your natural hair and face during this my point is somehow during this you've found YOU! And trauma/crisis does this.

  2. You are more than a conquerer love you!

  3. I may be crazy but I believe that as long as we're active and exercising in some way that even if we've gained weight (as I have), we'll still feel and look good. Obviously, health issues affect strength and mood levels but start slow. I'm working to get back into my size 12 and that's as small as I want to be. To me, I look good, and I feel good most of the time so my additional weight is something I'm taking day by day, walk by walk. So I agree with you where you say: "Whatever your circumstances or situations, find the bright side. Lock into it, own it and ride it until the bright side becomes better." --- Ride it until the bright side becomes better. You're in a phase, a season. We've always been told that in life, there will be many. Many, my sister. Press through today and keep a corner in your mind, in your sight for tomorrow because trouble don't last always. Get through the storm and ride it out! Don't worry about who's going to be on the other side with you. You're going to have everybody and everyone who's supposed to be there because they put in the time with you, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Ride it out, Toni, Ride it out! ------

  4. Hey Beautiful Lady! You are fearfully (a forced to be reckoned with) and wonderfully (I am in awe of you) made. I love and appreciate your transparency. You are healing others as you are on your healing journey. Love ya. Roz

  5. What up solider-girl! I know ya can't remember me saying or showing (and I definitely wasn't selfie posting back then) but during chemo treatments I did GAIN 30lbs and wondered why the hell that happened?! As you also know I focused on dropping what I could when the time was right. I most importantly stayed comfortable in my skin during every phase, ......this being the reason that I now also do post "no filter" "no make up" selfies too! I am so proud of you, ... I know you know this! When the time is right together we will climb that mountain (my nemesis) known as Runyon Canyon ....... Love YOU!! xo

  6. Toni, you are tremendously courageous, and I really admire you. I may not look like I've fought the battle with wright all my life, but I have. But thanks be to God, I have a marvelously strong body -- not by accident -- as I have spent many years exercising and trying to do the right thing -- but sometimes our bodies betray us, especially in terms if how we look. However, I too, have battled breast cancer, and I am a 13-year survivor! You've got your focus in the right place..all you need to do is work at staying healthy. The other things will work themselves out, especially with God's help.

  7. You are and have ALWAYS been BEAUTIFUL!!!!! Concentrate on you and your health...........xoxoxooxoxoxxoxoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    diane baker