1. Appreciate his body. It’s natural to be worried that your newly muscular BF will be more attractive to other women. Still, let him know how hot you think he is. If he looks amazing, what better person to hear that from than you? says Ramani Durvasula, PhD, a clinicaI psychologist in Los Angeles.

2. Watch your language. Your cheerleadingcan be misinterpreted. You say, A diet is a great idea!” and he hears, You do need to lose weight.” Put dieting in the context of health, and acknowledge how tough it can be, suggests Durvasula. Ask, How can I help?”

3. Don’t be his mom. It can be easy to monitor your partner, saying, ‘Did you exercise? Should you eat that?’ says Leslie Heinberg, PhD, of the Cleveland Clinic. That sets up a parent-child relationship.” Instead, suggest you try that new vegan place or run a 5K together.

4. Be aware of your feelings.

Ask yourself: Am I unhappy? Do I want to change my body? Remind yourself of what getting healthy can mean (more energy and confidence). Or, says health coach Debi Silber, You may realize, I’m fine the way I am. And that’s okay.”

OTHER NIGHT, I went out to dinner by myself to Fish Boissonnerie, a seafood place just around the cobblestoned corner from my new apartment in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. I sat at the counter, ordered a glass of red, and befriended the American woman next to me. She asked why I’m here.

I was sick, I replied. And that was that.

Maybe sick is an understatement. I’ve been through a speciaI circle of hell consisting of six rounds of chemotherapy, two surgeries, three transfusions, one stay in isolation, and more shots than I can count. My oncologist called the treatment regimen spicy.” (Really, it’s ghost-pepper levels of scalding.) The whole time, I just wanted to go hack to normal, a normaI day in which nothing had happened and I didn’t feel like totaI shit.

After I finished chemo and got a clean bill of health in ApriI 2015,I got what I wanted…sort of. I’d been so consumed with wanting everything to be the same again that I didn’t realize what had changed in the meantime: me. I could no longer figure out where I fit in my own damn life.

I spent months trying to contort myself into my old routine. Wake up early, run, walk to the office, eat a tuna sandwich, work some more, go home, cook dinner, watch TV, go to bed.

My biggest adjustment was trading Grey’s Anatomy for Mr. Robot. I tried hard to shoehorn my new self into my old life after all, I ni the one who wanted it. But I began to question my place: at my dream job as a beauty editor at Cosmo, in a cozy apartment crammed with my favorite books and a view of the East River and, beyond that, Queens.

For a lot of people, moving to New York City after college is a daring leap. For me, it was a statement of the obvious. With a good pair of binoculars, I could practically see from my living room

my moms old neighborhood, the house in which my dad grew up, and the Chinese restaurant we went to every single weekend. Since returning home after graduation, I’d done everything I was supposed to: get an apartment, get a job, climb the ladder, and find some satisfaction from it.

But in the months after treatment, I began to feel trapped in my own comfort zone, like I was in a fishbowl, doomed to swim through the same miniature shipwreck and plastic seaweed until the end of my days. I d never strayed from the status quo.

I d never lived abroad. I d never traveled alone. My idea of a risk was calling the cable company and bluffing about canceling in order to get a lower rate. I d stuck to the straight and narrow, and I had never been more lost.

I didn’t know how to fix myself or my situation. I’d become so accustomed to everyone giving me orders, telling me the right course of action. As a patient, I had no control. Even before chemo,

the fertility nurses left daily voice mails telling me which hormones I needed to inject and when. My oncologist s office scheduled my checkups and treatment and then sometimes changed dates without asking me.

The entire time, I spoke up for only a single thing. When scans came back showing how effective the chemo had been (which, luckily, was very), I called an oncologist on my case and asked her to please let me stop at five rounds of chemo instead of six.

No, I’m sorry, she answered firmly. You have to do six.”

Okay, I said. But I looked it up, and the literature for this actually recommends four to six rounds.”

Deanna, that literature? I wrote it.”

Six it was. Theres no compromising when you have cancer. I had no controI over what was happening to me and my life and my body. It’s the reason that nothing drives me more batshit than w hen people, even with the best intentions, call me an inspiration or a warrior or some other empty w ord that implies I even did a thing. I think cancer w it ness is more appropriate. I watched it happen. I saw7 the abnormaI numbers in my blood work. I read my scan report: tumors, tw o, maybe three.

I watched the chemo nurse push the vincristine into my IV. I didn’t fight. I didn’t battle. I just sat under warm blankets and tried to swallow the vomit. My body was just a vesseI for this happening, this squashing of a mutiny launched by some cells with a god complex.



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