A Healthier Me

In January of 2019 I was finished with chemo and radiation to hopefully zap any remaining microscopic jerks of cancer that could be lurking in my body after my lumpectomy in May of 2018. In order to hopefully stay cancer-free, my oncologist put me on tamoxifen, an estrogen receptor modulator that blocks estrogen and progesterone from feeding anymore cancer. I have to be on it for 5-10 years.

One of the side effects of tamoxifen is that it throws you into menopause if you are not already there. At age 40, I was not already there. It also causes weight gain.

I was not exactly slender when I went on tamoxifen. I was already overweight and had high cholesterol. That spring, when I was turning 41 and had my yearly physical with my primary physician, I asked about losing weight. Her response was, “I really don’t want you worrying about or focusing on that for a couple years. We need your body to adjust to the tamoxifen before we consider lifestyle changes. Tamoxifen is already a lifestyle change. Your body needs time to get used to it and to rest and heal from a year of trauma due to cancer and treatment.”

So we shelved it.

I am not a super active person (I hate sweating. HATE it. Nor do I have any kind of eye-hand coordination) and I LOVE food. That means the past two years were a whirlwind of adding an anti-depressant (since the tamoxifen made my previous one not nearly as effective) and weight gain.

By my 43rd birthday this past spring I was over it. I asked again, “Can we talk about this weight situation now? I have never ever weighed this much.”

We talked about it. She gave me some advice that I scoffed at a bit. That weekend, I found out that one of my best friends was doing the very thing my doctor suggested. “Do it with me!” she suggested.

Fine.

That was March. Now as we close out the year 9 months later, I am down almost 60 pounds.

It wasn’t easy, but what I chose with my doctor’s help and my family’s support is actually sustainable. It was a complete change in our food lifestyle, but as a family we are now healthier too!

The best part is that I actually feel great. I enjoy being in photos again. I like getting dressed because I feel cute again.

Committing to my health was the single best thing I did in 2021. And I vow to stay committed to it in 2022!

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.