That’s how I responded when I read a news article just out, that claims there’s conclusive evidence that overweight men have a better chance of surviving diffuse large B-cell lymphoma than those of more normal weight.
Like I said: Huh?
That news runs counter to every bit of medical advice I’ve been hearing for most of my life.
The article is of particular interest to me because (1) I’m a man, (2) I’m considerably overweight, and was so at the time of my lymphoma diagnosis, and (3) I have something very similar to diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.
OK, my grading was actually “B-cell, diffuse mixed large and small cell.” That means I had some less-dangerous small cells – the kind present in indolent, “follicular” lymphoma – mixed in with the large ones. It was the presence of the aggressive larger cells, as discovered by the second-opinion pathologists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering as they reviewed my biopsy slides, that put me on the chemotherapy bandwagon straightaway (do not pass GO, do not collect $200). Otherwise, watchful waiting would have been a viable option.
Ever since cancer has come onto the scene, it’s been even worse. It’s hard to marshal the emotional energy to change my eating patterns when I’ve been through the sort of struggle I have. There’s a part of me that says to the rest of me: “Why should you suffer through a diet when you’ve already suffered through so much else? Live a little!”
Then this article comes along, suggesting that the spare tire I’ve been carrying could very possibly have been my life-preserver. Go figure.
The article’s appropriately cautious about the study’s results. The researchers don’t want anyone to go out and start lobbying for hot-fudge sundaes to be included in the treatment protocols. Quite sensibly, it makes the point that obesity is a proven risk factor for all manner of very bad things that could happen to a person, medically, and that there’s every reason to lose those extra pounds.
But still, it makes you think.
And this one I’ll be thinking about for a very long time.