The New Year’s Resolution

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Rodney Warner, JD

Rodney Warner, JD

It’s a perennial favorite. The New Year’s resolution. Not only do you hear about them, but you hear about how fruitless they are for most people. When asked if I have a New Year’s resolution, I usually respond, yes, to give up New Year’s resolutions.

This year is different, I swear. Change can be difficult, but possible. When the status quo is simply no longer tenable, change will happen when you wake up to the pile of shit you’ve crapped on yourself. Up until that moment, it was warm and cozy, but then you realize how much it stinks.

I’ve dealt with weight issues for as long as I can remember. There are certainly people more obese than I (to put things in perspective, I think I’m 6 feet 2 inches tall), but that’s no excuse not to do anything about it. I was a fat kid. From what I’ve been told, I would put on weight when the weather got cold, and burn it off in the summer. As time went on, it didn’t burn off, it just piled on top of itself. One birthday I didn’t have a cake, I got what I really wanted. Jelly doughnuts.

In high school, I weighed over 200 pounds. How far over, I can’t remember. It’s not something I want to remember. But I do remember having a pair of jeans (that were on the loose side) that had a 44 inch waist (most of my jeans were 42 inches). Acne, fat, all the coordination of an epileptic on ice skates and college prep classes were not a recipe for high school popularity (especially among the females).

In college, I lost weight. The beer consumption increased, but the food intake decreased. The cafeteria was awful, and I didn’t have enough money eat elsewhere. It was often really cold (Syracuse, New York is not exactly in the Sun Belt) and I burned a lot of calories just staying warm. The campus is on a hill, and I had to walk everywhere. I was down to a 36 inch waist. My last year, I shared an apartment and cooked for myself. Weight went up a bit.

Over the years, weight came back on. I went to law school at night and worked full time during the day. I got used to a very busy schedule. I graduated, and landed an 8:30 to 4:30 government job. I had oceans of time on my hands, what to do with it? I worked out, dieted and lost weight.

It didn’t last forever. Weight came back. Diets ensued. Weight gain again. Diets ensued. Weight gain again.

Cancer, enter stage left. Steroids and constant snacking to calm the stormy sea that was my stomach. Ice cream was my comfort food. If you’ve been told three times, in a about two years’ time, that you have cancer, and you feel like eating ice cream, you eat ice cream. What’s the downside? A casket that maybe’s just a little bigger than average? Besides, when I’m in the final stages of the disease and too sick to eat, I’ll just burn all those fat reserves before I finally kick off.

By the time treatment was all said and done, post allogeneic bone marrow transplant, I was up to 230. After that transplant and the handfuls of steroids that came with it, every meal had at least three courses, but I did walk almost every day.

A couple years ago I tried the South Beach Diet and got down to the 170′s. As effective as that diet was, it obviously wasn’t a long term solution. I’m back up to 210.

Over my life time, I’ve gotten to know people with substance abuse problems. Some managed to deal with them, others not. One guy who used to live down my street was an alcoholic. After his wife divorced him, she and their daughter moved away, and he drank himself to death. I know of two other people who killed themselves because they couldn’t kick their drug habits.

For a couple years I had a co-worker who was a funny, intelligent, educated, fashionably dressed, charming person who just happened to be one of the most attractive women I’ve known. When she entered a room, I think every guy there (even the gay ones) couldn’t prevent themselves from “checking her out”, perhaps longer than what would be considered polite, maybe even thinking thoughts not shared in mixed company.

She also happened to be addicted to prescription drugs. She died, as far as anyone can tell, due to a broken neck she suffered while going down a flight of steps, on her way to score some drugs, after another failed attempt at rehab.

Others I’ve known are success stories. People who emerged from very dark places to be wonderful, productive, successful people.

Given my disease (Hodgkin’s lymphoma), how many times I’ve relapsed, and all the treatment I’ve had, many of those who had to deal with what I had to deal with, are dead. I beat the odds. One key to my success is my ability to tolerate suffering. I was able to put up with it and not give up. I don’t see much bravery or sacrifice involved, because the choice was so stark. Treatment or death.

I think dealing with a substance abuse problem is more difficult than getting treatment for cancer. Whatever the substance, at some point, it provided some kind of pleasure, some kind of benefit, at least some kind of escape. Cancer has no upside, there are no benefits to having cancer. I imagine dealing with substance abuse involves constant decisions NOT to partake in something that in some way, gave pleasure in the past.

For me, in a way, it’s harder to deal with weight loss than with cancer. Excess weight doesn’t immediately threaten my ability to function or live. Addressing this issue will require me to give up (at least in part), food that I like, that not only tastes good, but that I associate with pleasure and/or fond memories. I’d do anything to get rid of cancer. Give up ice cream to lose weight, now that’s a challenge.

Rodney Warner, JD

Rodney Warner, JD

It’s a perennial favorite. The New Year’s resolution. Not only do you hear about them, but you hear about how fruitless they are for most people. When asked if I have a New Year’s resolution, I usually respond, yes, to give up New Year’s resolutions.

This year is different, I swear. Change can be difficult, but possible. When the status quo is simply no longer tenable, change will happen when you wake up to the pile of shit you’ve crapped on yourself. Up until that moment, it was warm and cozy, but then you realize how much it stinks.

I’ve dealt with weight issues for as long as I can remember. There are certainly people more obese than I (to put things in perspective, I think I’m 6 feet 2 inches tall), but that’s no excuse not to do anything about it. I was a fat kid. From what I’ve been told, I would put on weight when the weather got cold, and burn it off in the summer. As time went on, it didn’t burn off, it just piled on top of itself. One birthday I didn’t have a cake, I got what I really wanted. Jelly doughnuts.

In high school, I weighed over 200 pounds. How far over, I can’t remember. It’s not something I want to remember. But I do remember having a pair of jeans (that were on the loose side) that had a 44 inch waist (most of my jeans were 42 inches). Acne, fat, all the coordination of an epileptic on ice skates and college prep classes were not a recipe for high school popularity (especially among the females).

In college, I lost weight. The beer consumption increased, but the food intake decreased. The cafeteria was awful, and I didn’t have enough money eat elsewhere. It was often really cold (Syracuse, New York is not exactly in the Sun Belt) and I burned a lot of calories just staying warm. The campus is on a hill, and I had to walk everywhere. I was down to a 36 inch waist. My last year, I shared an apartment and cooked for myself. Weight went up a bit.

Over the years, weight came back on. I went to law school at night and worked full time during the day. I got used to a very busy schedule. I graduated, and landed an 8:30 to 4:30 government job. I had oceans of time on my hands, what to do with it? I worked out, dieted and lost weight.

It didn’t last forever. Weight came back. Diets ensued. Weight gain again. Diets ensued. Weight gain again.

Cancer, enter stage left. Steroids and constant snacking to calm the stormy sea that was my stomach. Ice cream was my comfort food. If you’ve been told three times, in a about two years’ time, that you have cancer, and you feel like eating ice cream, you eat ice cream. What’s the downside? A casket that maybe’s just a little bigger than average? Besides, when I’m in the final stages of the disease and too sick to eat, I’ll just burn all those fat reserves before I finally kick off.

By the time treatment was all said and done, post allogeneic bone marrow transplant, I was up to 230. After that transplant and the handfuls of steroids that came with it, every meal had at least three courses, but I did walk almost every day.

A couple years ago I tried the South Beach Diet and got down to the 170′s. As effective as that diet was, it obviously wasn’t a long term solution. I’m back up to 210.

Over my life time, I’ve gotten to know people with substance abuse problems. Some managed to deal with them, others not. One guy who used to live down my street was an alcoholic. After his wife divorced him, she and their daughter moved away, and he drank himself to death. I know of two other people who killed themselves because they couldn’t kick their drug habits.

For a couple years I had a co-worker who was a funny, intelligent, educated, fashionably dressed, charming person who just happened to be one of the most attractive women I’ve known. When she entered a room, I think every guy there (even the gay ones) couldn’t prevent themselves from “checking her out”, perhaps longer than what would be considered polite, maybe even thinking thoughts not shared in mixed company.

She also happened to be addicted to prescription drugs. She died, as far as anyone can tell, due to a broken neck she suffered while going down a flight of steps, on her way to score some drugs, after another failed attempt at rehab.

Others I’ve known are success stories. People who emerged from very dark places to be wonderful, productive, successful people.

Given my disease (Hodgkin’s lymphoma), how many times I’ve relapsed, and all the treatment I’ve had, many of those who had to deal with what I had to deal with, are dead. I beat the odds. One key to my success is my ability to tolerate suffering. I was able to put up with it and not give up. I don’t see much bravery or sacrifice involved, because the choice was so stark. Treatment or death.

I think dealing with a substance abuse problem is more difficult than getting treatment for cancer. Whatever the substance, at some point, it provided some kind of pleasure, some kind of benefit, at least some kind of escape. Cancer has no upside, there are no benefits to having cancer. I imagine dealing with substance abuse involves constant decisions NOT to partake in something that in some way, gave pleasure in the past.

For me, in a way, it’s harder to deal with weight loss than with cancer. Excess weight doesn’t immediately threaten my ability to function or live. Addressing this issue will require me to give up (at least in part), food that I like, that not only tastes good, but that I associate with pleasure and/or fond memories. I’d do anything to get rid of cancer. Give up ice cream to lose weight, now that’s a challenge.


One Response to “The New Year’s Resolution”

  • Donna

    Hello,
    My weight problem sounds exactly like your weight problem. I wish I knew the answer but i love good food, and I also love ice cream and cookies, etc. I go up and down. I wonder if yo-yo dieting contributes to cancer. I have NSCL Cancer, just starting radiation and chemo. I had lost a lot of weight recently. Just wondering. i quit smoking about 4 years ago.