Hi - I am the new Amanda - with an inspiring story to share.
I'm Amanda. I just turned 30 this year. Last year, right before my 29th birthday, I was about 270 pounds (my heaviest yet), suffering from years of depression, severe anxiety, stress, constant muscle pain. But all of that I had gotten used to. And then, one day I couldn't breathe. I was downtown, shopping, I took a breath, and it wouldn't go in. In my usual not-wanting-to-draw-attention manner, instead of calling an ambulance I got on the bus and took a ride to the ER, where I eventually relaxed (after 10 hours) and thought, everything's fine. It's just anxiety. And then the doctor came and saw me out in the hallway and said, "you have a giant tumor."
That was the day everything changed. I was 28. With a rare form of cancer growing out of my ribcage, threatening my heart, lungs, and the rest. I had to be booked for surgery right away, had to leave my new job, apply for welfare, and then undergo massive open-chest surgery that left me feeling depressed, weak, and disabled by pain. Everyone told me I had nothing to complain about, that I should be happy to be alive. Happy the surgery went so well. Happy I was a cancer survivor. But I wasn't happy. I was pissed off! I had new pain! Constant bone pain! Couldn't sleep through the night! Mad about the cancer. None of my friends had cancer, none of my friends had to have their ribcages sawed apart. I couldn't move as well as I had before. The tumor was so big it had damaged a major nerve and now I only had one functioning lung. I gained weight. I ate more emotionally than ever before - bread, cake, and more bread. I was suicidal. I thought about the fact that this was it, that I had permanently damaged my life, and that I should just end it to prevent further suffering and humiliation. I thought about that a lot. I cut myself off from the world. I was irritable. I was destroying relationships. No one wanted to be around me. I was miserable. I started getting shingles on a semi-regular basis. That was the breaking point for me. And then, one night, this last month, I spent a good amount of the night in a fever from a shingles outbreak, having nightmares and strange thoughts, and somewhere in the middle of it, a voice told me, "you need to eat raw food."
It was, as I relate the story to others, a revelation. I didn't know much of anything about raw food - but how difficult could it be? That next day, I emptied out my fridge and cupboards and went shopping for new foods. I read a lot online to figure out what I should do. But it was pretty simple, really - apples, salad, nuts, seeds, dark greens, berries - I'm not an idiot, so I figured out pretty quickly what was and wasn't raw. And in that first week, I ate more produce than I had in the whole year. Maybe two. And a magical thing happened. Well really a whole many magical things.
I started losing weight. I'm still losing almost a pound a day.
I sleep like a baby.
My skin - which was always pretty great - feels A-mazing. I actually make people touch it so they can see for themselves.
I feel happy! For the first time in about 20 years, I feel really joyously happy. I laugh freely. I smile all the time. (It's still weird but I'm adapting.)
I have my period again for the first time in 2 or 3 years. My doctors told me it was the birth control, that it was normal, but I always thought otherwise.
I'm not irritable like I used to be. I don't get angry over all the little things. I'm not a bitch who others find depressing to spend time with.
I'm not swearing a lot anymore, which is a little detail but I think it's worthwhile noting. I'm using positive language that I never did before: "magical", "amazing", "wonderful".
I am letting go of grudges. I want to make connections and reconnect with old friends. I want to get going with this vibrant life that I new I was destined for.
I have physical energy! All of the sudden, I'm no longer out of breath, I can walk for blocks without tiring or stopping, and I want to do things like kayak, or run, or hike mountains.
Most amazingly of all, my pains are GONE. My chest doesn't hurt. My years of back pain are gone. My neck doesn't ache.
I am on the right path. I can't wait to see what next month brings, and the month after that, and the next. I bought myself a nice dehydrator and a nice mandoline, and I am spending time making delicious meals again. I've stopped drinking altogether, which is fine because alcohol never liked me much, and I wake up at 6 am every morning, raring to go. I don't even mind that I hate my job, because I know that I am going to make amazing changes happen in my life in the near future, and I don't have to feel anxious or obsessive about this weight loss because it is happening so freely.
Well I could go on forever but I've got other things to do with all of this energy. I hope to make some connections with some of you, and thanks for reading all of this. :o