When was the last time that you rummaged through your closet to get rid of the clothes you no longer wear that just take up needed space?
I’m sure this will shock my mother, but I try to do this at each season transition (you would not guess this from the look of my closets in Worcester). For those of you who know me well, I don’t have to tell you how much I love clothes and building my wardrobe, despite how irresponsible I can be about it. As much as I love the clothes I have bought, I also love sorting through them and deciding what to give away when I feel I have made as much use of them as I can. Lately, however, giving away clothes is not always about choice.
This past spring I actually did not do my usual closet clean-out. I didn’t have to. Why, you ask? Well, it occurred to me that I had been getting rid of clothes sporadically over the past months because they simply no longer fit me. I am not complaining or saying I’m fat, but this is a fact. Giving away clothes has not been so much about what I no longer choose to wear, but more about the clothes not being right for me anymore. As I thought about the clothes I had in bags to bring to the local Goodwill, it occurred to me that most of them were clothes from before or while I was dating Eamonn (you may be thinking that it was time for me to get rid of them anyway!). It did not take long for things to click.
Weight-gain is a large component of having cystic fibrosis. Many CF patients have pancreatic insufficiency which means that they do not digest food properly, resulting in being very thin (I’m sure some of us would, at times, not mind having this issue). Case in point, Eamonn. For those of you who know him or have at least met him, he is rather small (funny for me because before dating him I used to be attracted to men with guts). Being that he is really skinny, gaining weight is critical to staying healthy. In fact, now that he is on the lung transplant list, there is even greater pressure to increase his weight specifically to ensure a better recovery, post transplant.
What does this mean for me? I think you guessed it—his weight gain has meant my weight gain. To be fair, I cannot blame CF entirely for how I have been taking care of my body and what I choose to consume. However, can you blame me for wanting to cook and eat dinner with my husband, even if this means cooking and eating fat and calorie-rich meals? Almost every meal that Eamonn eats is very intentional, meaning that he has to be sure that he has the proper nutrients and that he is taking in a lot of calories. To provide perspective, he drinks two, sometimes three, weight-gain shakes a day each containing 1,000 calories. I happen to think that this is a perk of CF because those milkshakes are really tasty! All of our dinners must have plenty of fat and until now it did not really occur to me how much this would affect my dietary habits as well. We also eat a lot of carbs: pasta, rice, and potatoes, are our staples. In one form or another, our largest meal of the day is loaded with calories, fat and carbs—and for anyone who has ever dieted before you know that fat and carbs are the first to go when losing weight.
Up until now, I honestly have paid little attention to my diet. My focus has always been on making sure that Eamonn is eating right and supporting his efforts to gain as much weight as he can while staying healthy (side note: because of CF he also has diabetes, making this far more complicated and challenging than eating a lot of junky, fatty food). However, though this remains my focus and priority, I am also trying to ensure my own good dietary health. Along with exercising more, I have started to eat a healthier, well-balanced diet. This does mean that Eamonn and I oftentimes prepare separate dinners for ourselves. But as long as we enjoy each other’s company, dancing in the kitchen while cooking, it doesn’t actually matter what we’re making!
Last month, as I was on my routine walk to my office, I got a call from Eamonn. He had just gotten out of a follow-up doctor’s appointment and the first thing he told me was that he gained two pounds, making his weight a record high! I could not stop smiling ear-to-ear—I would take a wardrobe full of tight clothes if it means that Eamonn is gaining the weight he needs to be healthy. I’ll tell you this, there is no better sight than seeing my husband’s gut hanging over his bathing suit, sitting at the beach in the summer!