Trying to Manage Emotional Eating after the Death of the World's Best Dad
Monday, November 23, 2009
So last year I had a weight loss set back when my beloved dog, Molly, died. I was feeling depressed and just buried my feeling in food... lots of food. Well, I beat that and got back on track and met my goal! Whoo Hoo! I thought that last summer was tough with the death of my dog, but this summer was even worse!
My dad was diagnosed with Burkitt's Lymphoma and two weeks later he died. I did not see that one coming! I noticed he was breathing funny and didn't eat as much as usual on our weekly lunch date and urged him to see a doctor. I'm not normally a worry wart but my dad had a kidney transplant about 11 years ago so we are all more careful about his health. Well, he went to the doctor and thought it was just heartburn. A couple days later he went to the emergency room for stomach pain. I can't even tell you how bad the pain must have been for my dad to leave work and go to the hospital. In the ER they told him they thought it was cancer. I hear that it is very uncommon to be told that you have cancer before they do a biopsy, but his cancer was so obvious they could tell right away. Of course they said they couldn't be sure until they got the biopsy done but they didn't give any alternatives and only talked cancer. He was in the hospital for almost two weeks while we waited for the biopsy results. Maybe I was in denial but I thought we were going to kick cancers butt! I was worried but I really thought we were going to beat this and I had to be strong for my dad. He had enough to deal with never mind having to worry about his princess on top of everything else. After waiting... and waiting... and waiting... we finally got the biopsy results back. As they already knew, it was cancer. It was worse then they thought, it was stage 4 Burkitt's Lymphoma - a rare and very aggressive cancer. The good news was that aggressive cancers, like Burkitt's, tend to respond well to chemo and they gave us odds of 60% success. He came home with me for a couple nights before going to Dana Farber for a very aggressive chemo regimen. We spent all day seeing doctors, getting various treatments, and waiting. Finally he was admitted to Brigham and Women's (they are affiliated with Dana Farber) to receive his very first chemo treatment. We were all very upbeat and hopeful, after hearing bad news after bad news we were finally starting the treatment and we were on our way to beating cancer. Even my dad, who had been in a lot of pain and discomfort, was happier then he'd been since this whole thing started. By the time they started the chemo it was late, but we stayed to see him get his first chemo treatment and finally left a little after midnight. The next morning we were so excited to see how things went - again, very upbeat because we were kicking cancers butt! As I approach his room I notice it's empty. I know this is bad, but I'm not panicked because maybe there was a complication and he had to be moved or go for tests. After all, he had faced some complications at the other hospital... a bad reaction to Ambian, blood loss and transfusions, and a blood clot. I thought, "Oh no! Maybe something happened and he had to go to the ICU." Looking back, that was illogical because he was already in the "cancer ICU." I turn to the nurses station and knew something bad had happened by the look on their faces. I ask where my dad is and they say they have to get the head nurse. Okay, this is really bad. As I see the head nurse coming and the look on her face I know right then that he is gone. It is amazing how much a facial expression can tell you - and so definitely too, without question there is just an understanding. So she tells me, "I'm sorry your father passed away this morning." I look at the empty room and try to go in, looking desperately for him. He was just there last night! I can only take a couple steps and my knees just buckle beneath me as the nurses catch me as I fall to the floor crying "No! No!" I try to regain my composure, confused and shocked. They put me in a wheelchair and bring me to the family waiting room where I feel like I am falling apart.
Here I am now, almost 6 months later just eating through my feelings and gaining all the weight back that I worked so hard to lose. When he was in the hospital I made a point to continue making exercise a priority, just to keep some normalcy in my routine and to help me manage my stress. That was all well and good and but here I am now just wallowing in my own sorrow and numbing the pain with food. Today was my first day back on track! Usually I would be having what I like to call second dinner by now, but instead I'm writing this blog and am getting one step closer to conquering my emotional eating.