Evelyn Beat Cancer Twice and Is Half Her Size!*

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Evelyn Cruze (EVWINGS)          
Weight Lost: 150 pounds
Hometown: Crescent City, FL
What was life like before your weight loss?
There are several things that contributed to my weight gain.  One of the biggest was that we had very little gym or fitness training in school. This made it difficult to add it to my life as I grew older; therefore, I spent most of my life in a sedate manner. Next, I became smoke-free, and I gained about 40 pounds. After that, I had major stress in my life trying to juggle my job and caring for my ailing mother. My income suffered, and I was very afraid.  I would eat and eat and eat some more. Finally, I injured my knee and had to have surgery. During physical therapy, all of the work was blown out and I had to be bed bound for over four months, which also contributed to my weight gain.
At my highest weight of 274 pounds, life was awful.  I would cry a lot and after my mother died, I gained even more weight. I felt very useless, especially after my knee surgery.  One good thing was that I had a lot of support from my family.  My new husband was wonderful about my knee injury, which occurred only a few months after we were married.  He said it didn't matter to him what I weighed or what he had to do for me.  He said it was called love and he knew I would do the same for him.
What was the main motivation behind your weight loss?
I felt so miserable weighing what I did. I didn't think it was healthy and my doctor agreed.  He felt my asthma and sleep apnea could be corrected if I lost some weight. He and I talked a lot and I told him that I wanted to do this slowly to ensure that I would keep the weight off.  He agreed and made some recommendations for me.
Tell us a bit about your weight-loss journey:
By the time I found SparkPeople, I had lost about 10 pounds on my own.  I didn’t use the site regularly until about two years later when I became really serious about weight loss.  I came to admit to myself that I couldn’t do this alone. I needed tips, encouragement and support.  I weighed 255 pounds at that time (August 2010), and I began taking off one to two pounds a week.  I started to track what I ate and I learned about portions.  I was very happy with my progress.  Then several months later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I was very depressed because I felt my weight loss may have been due to the cancer.  But after the surgery to remove the tumor and lymph nodes, I still lost weight.  While going through radiation and chemotherapy treatments, I tried to do a little cardio or strength training each day and tracked my food even though I had little appetite. I kept on even though it was difficult. Then, when I went for my regular check-up, I was told that I beat the breast cancer but was now diagnosed with tonsil cancer. This journey has been long and really nasty.  I grew weaker and weaker.  I had a feeding tube and I could eat very little solids.  I dropped weight at this point more quickly than before. 
My treatments ended, and I got right back on track!  I set my first goal of reaching 195 so I would be less than 200 pounds for the first time in 15 years.  Then, I set my second goal for 160.  The third goal was 140.  I reached my final goal of weighing 120 pounds on June 22, 2012. I am about 125 pounds now since my doctor wanted me to gain a bit of weight back.
I have found SparkPeople to be a lifeline for me. Membership on this site and learning so much about healthy choices and tracking food intake has helped both my hubby with his diabetes and me with weight loss. Tracking my food and exercise has been a huge motivator, as well as the opportunity to blog.  When I was so sick I couldn't be online, my dear hubby would update my blog for me. Getting to know so many Spark Friends in my teams and all of the support and information that is available has helped me move forward in my goal of living a healthier lifestyle. The day I found this site and clicked "register" has been one of the best in my life.
What is your typical exercise routine like?
I try to walk a little each day, even if it is just around the house or using a walker. When days are nice, I also walk outside.  I will usually break these up into different times of the day.   In between the two walks, I’ll either follow SparkPeople exercise videos or one of my exercise DVDs.  Learning belly dancing from a DVD was a lot of fun! I really enjoy the videos from SparkPeople. They are explained and demonstrated very well, plus they are easy to alter to my physical needs.
In what ways have your eating habits changed?
My treatment for the tonsil cancer zapped my salivary glands and things tasted horrible for a long time. I also had to have nine teeth removed, so it is very difficult to chew or eat very much at one time.  There are still many foods I can’t eat, like most carbs along with many sweets. Nearly every day, I’ll have an Ensure for breakfast.  For lunch, I usually have cereal with 2% milk and fruit or nuts. For dinner, I’ll have either a soup made with very low sodium broth, veggies or rice or a salad with low fat cottage cheese rather than dressing. I also have between one and three snacks a day. I have limited my sodas to one per day.  That has been a HUGE change for me!
What advice would you give to someone either just beginning or hitting a rough patch in their weight loss journey?
You are so worth getting healthier! I am so proud of you for taking the first step by joining this wonderful community! Try to remember to take things nice and slowly. If you slip, don’t be too hard on yourself or give up; simply start over at the next meal or when you can exercise again.  Not everything works for everyone, so it’s great that there are so many friends here on SparkPeople who are willing to help and be supportive no matter what.  You’ll find them on SparkTeams or on the message boards. When you need some help or tips, just reach out and you’ll be surprised how many you’ll get!  Finally, don’t forget to love yourself! We really can’t expect anyone else to love us if we can’t love ourselves. 
How has your life changed since losing weight and improving your health?
Things are much better.  The doctor was correct - the asthma and sleep apnea have disappeared now that I’ve lost weight.  I can move better and my balance has improved.  I still have some days where I must use my power chair to get around, but that has become less and less often.  I will have some days when my balance is way off, too, and I’ll fall.  But I sure am doing 1,000 times better than I was carrying around that extra person! Staying positive during this journey has changed my life, too.  It's a wonderful journey with twists, turns and some plateaus along the way, but it is all so worth it!

*Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

Have you lost weight and kept it off using SparkPeople.com? We'd love to share your story. Email us: sparkpeoplesuccess (at) gmail (dot) com

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LEANJEAN6 5/6/2018
This is an amazing story Report
How inspiring. Awesome job. Report
ALABAMASUSAN17 2/19/2018
I hope you're well and that life is beautiful! Report
LEANJEAN6 9/10/2017
Wow! She looks like a different person! Report
So inspiring Thank you for sharing your story. All the best to you Report
Your story is so inspiring! It reminds me I have no excuse when it comes to making my health a top priority. Everyone has their own obstacles to overcome and the fact that you faced these challenges with such grace and determination serves as a reminder that good health is a blessing I should never take for granted. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Best of luck with your healthy new lifestyle! Report
I can see you are a strong person to have been able to deal with everything that you to deal with. It is also wonderful that you have such a supportive husband. Many times having support makes all the difference in struggle to lose weight. Report
Thank you for sharing your story. Congrats on your weight loss. Report
Reading your story was inspiring. What a long haul and you never gave up! Congratulations and best wishes to you. :) Report
Wow! I really enjoyed reading your story and congratulations on your amazing success!!! You'll be in my thoughts and prayers for continued success and good health. Thanks for sharing your story! Report
I enjoyed reading about your weight loss journey. The part I liked the best is that you set smaller goals and when you reached one you set another. Report
you are really an inspiration to all of us, great success, Report
what an inspiration you are Evelyn on my first day with Spark People! Thanks from my heart. Report
Wow you are truely amazing, brave and a success, thank you for sharing
Thank you soooo much for this success story!! I'm only 34, but some days I feel like I'm 20 years older!! I have 140lbs to lose and man is that scary sometimes! I try not to think about it much, just keep moving forward to the goal of achieving a healthier lifestyle...I try to think of those steps vs the big number!! Anyway, this story inspires me because I realize that if someone who's older than I am can have success while battling disease (which I am currently not!!) then I can get off my duff and do this!! Thanks so much and God bless!! Report
Wow! You really encouraged me. I'm having a tough time staying motivated and your story helped. Report
Congratulations!! You've had a rough battle and you did it!! And here you are encouraging other people...Thank you! Report
May GOD continue to heal your body. Report
Thank you for sharing your story. You have such determination even though I don't know you I am so proud of you and congrats and having such a caring, loving husband. I just found this site and your story was the first one I read. I am hooked.
Take good care and thank you so much!!
I hope you have continued good health and much happiness you deserve it!!

WOW - Thanks for sharing! Report
You have prevailed through so much, you're an encouragement Report
Yay Ev! :) Report
That is a remarkable story. I'm so glad your healthy again and have accomplished so much by not giving up. WOW! Report
Your story is truly inspirational. I wish you all the best in the future.
Gail Report
You are an amazing survivor that has reached so many goals and inspired many people. I am happy you shared your journey, you are a WINNER! way to go! Report
Honey, I'm just so proud of you. It's just crappy that you had to go through all the cancer stuff. I can think of several others that are far more worthy of all the pain and problems!!!! I love you and always will!!! Report
CONGRATS!!! :) Report
Thank you for sharing! You are an Inspiration & I know you will always be!
What an amazingly successful journey! You have a great deal of personal strength. Many would have given up if beset with such multiple adversaries.

Congratulations on you new healthy body and lifestyle. It is easy to see why your new hubby loves you so much!

You are an inspiration to all of us.

Wow! Congrats on the weight loss in spite of such physical and emotional hardships. Be very proud! Report
You are truly an inspiration!!!!!! (((HUGS/PRAYERS))) Report
What an inspiring story! Thank you for sharing it. Report
You are so inspiring. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I'm so glad that you have beaten cancer twice. Thanks for the inspiration :) Report
You are an inspiration. Your perseverance and positive attitude are amazing. Thanks for sharing your story and pictures. God bless you! Report
You are so inspiring; thank you for sharing your story. It makes me say, "if you can do it then I can too." Report
Ev, I am so proud of you and proud to be your Spark Friend; it made my day to log in and see your story featured today! Report
Evelyn, you are so inspiring! I love the part about not giving up if you slip and being too hard on yourself - that is one of my downfalls. Thank you for your story,and God Bless you for surviving cancer twice! And I hope someday I will find a husband as wonderful as yours! Bless you, Evelyn! Report
Your truly an inspiration...I'm near the beginning of my journey and appreciate the nice and slow part... Report
Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story. Hugs, congratulations, and the best of everything to you! Report
Evelyn, you are amazing!! God loves you and thanks you for sharing your journey; it inspired me to keep going and I certainly needed that today. Report
Wow, you have been through a lot. Your story is inspiring. Thanks for sharing it, So many people want to thrown in the towel when Life happens and you have shown Great strength to keep fighting.
Thank You for sharing your story! Report
Thank you for sharing your story. I am just starting out, after several failed attempts over the years, sometimes set back because of ill health... However, what I have been through is a gentle stroll in the park on a sunny day compared to the challenges you have faced and the overcome. Reading your story is a bit of a kick up the backside for me. If you can do it, then I really have no excuse!!! Congratulations and much love and respect to you, and also to your devoted husband. Good support and understanding without judgement really makes a huge difference. Where that has been lacking for me in the past, I am hoping this time will be different with the support of spark people. I wish you good health and much happiness. Thank you. Report
Thank you do much for sharing your story. I am grateful for people like you, you are inspiring good in others. God bless and keep fighting! Report
Thank-you for sharing your story, Evelyn. Congrats on the weight loss, and on beating cancer...twice! Reading stories such as yours helps me to keep my life challenges in perspective. Report
great job Report
Ev - You are such an amazing woman and I'm so glad to have you as my sparkfriend! You're a beautiful soul - SP is better with you here! Keep taking care of you. Report
As someone battling cancer AND trying to lose weight, I need to tell you how inspiring your story was to me! Thank you! Report
Thanks for a very inspiring message. Most of all, Congratulations for doing it !! It's not easy to lose weight in good circumstances and you have done it in what I consider very hard circumstances. Report
I think one of the neatest things about Sparkpeople is meeting so many who have lost the weight in spite of sicknesses, disease or cancer [so, often the fear of these stop people from losing or once they DO get something they stop trying].. I one time lost 70 or 75 lbs only to need gallbladder sugury and it messed with my thinking.. I regained everything and was to afraid to try again. SP and the many success stories [like this one] have helped me to overcome my fear of yo-yo dieting and to JUST DO IT!!! I am living differently after many attempts at losing, I have finally figured out.. it's not about dieting but living differently and NOT giving up if you blow it. ..and or, get sick! Keep moving in the right direction.. always making better choices! (Thank you for sharing your success story!!!) Report
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