For a lot of my adult life I have worried about weight and I have been every size from a 12 to a 14 to a 16 to a 20. For my wedding I was a svelte size 12 and on both my pregnancies I was all bump with a little bit of extra padding just to balance things front to back.
In recent years I have always been a size 16-18. People are surprised when I tell them that because I am tall and I can get away with it just a little bit more.
It was a nice surprise for me then in December 2006 to be suddenly told by a lot of people that I had lost weight. In the early part of 2006 I was a size 18 -20 dress and jacket. My father in law Eamon had the strongest reaction when he saw me for the first time in a few months. He and my Mum in law had come for the weekend for some shopping. When i got home from work and went into the sitting room to say hello he was visibly taken aback and commented on all the weight I had lost. I was still in size 16-18 so I didn't really think there was much of a difference.
No woman I know has ever complained when she lost a few pounds! Then to have someone notice it - well for a lot of women there's nothing nicer to hear from someone that the words - HAVE YOU LOST WEIGHT?
The reason for the wight loss became clear on 10 January 2007 when I was diagnosed with a cancer of the bone marrow called multiple myeloma. I was not expecting that to be the cause of the weight loss - I was 38 and otherwise very healthy.
From January to August 2007 my weight was constantly monitored. I attended the hospital every two weeks and every pound that I lost was monitored. I started new drugs including steroids and I put on weight - I had a moon face and went back up a size or two.
Then in May 2007 I had my first dose of chemo and I lost weight after receiving it as I was off my food for over a week and puking a bit.
In July 2007 I had high dose chemo and a stem cell transplant and I was so sick after the chemo that I could not eat for 4 weeks. even when I did start eating I lived on a yogurt a day, graduating afterwards to a cup a soup.
While I was in hospital for the transplant for the month of July I was so bloated that I did not notice how much weight I had lost. I was not very mobile and I had no interest in looking in the mirror as I was so sick. I was so ill some days that I can't remember large chunks of time.
I was discharged from hospital in early August and it was a few days before I realised that NONE of my clothes would fit me. I had lost weight but I had no idea that none of my clothes would fit!!!!!!
I was still quite weak and sickly but we decided to get out of the house and to take a trip over to Kildare Village, the outlet.
My husband said I should treat myself to some Levis. Levis - sure you have to really skinny to look good in those and I would always avoid the shop like the plague as they have American sizes and I never knew what size and they all looked really small.
I went into the Levis shop and looked through some of the jeans. I picked up a couple of pairs and took them into the changing room and they were huge. The assistant came in and she said: What size are you? I said I was a 16 or a 14 and she said: Eh I don't think so. She left and I thought - what a cheeky cow! How dare she say I am fatter than that.
She came back minutes later with a size 14 and I tried that on -way too big.
She came back then with a size 12 and I tried them on - way too big.
I smiled as I realised she could see my new size, long before I could!!!! I apologised to her in my head!
She came back in with a size 10 and I tried those on and they were too big also!
She shook her head and I said that it might be the styles.
I looked at the pair of jeans which was on the mannequin and I asked her about the style. She said that was the only pair she had left. She went over to the mannequin and took the jeans off it and handed them to me. I shrugged thinking there was no hope that a pair of jeans from a mannequin would fit me. I tried them on and they were perfect.
I was in shock as I realised I had gone from a size 18-20 to a size 8!!!!!!!!
I took the jeans off and held the little waist of them in my hands. I was a stick insect.
I did a twirl in front of the changing room mirror and I could see ribs sticking out where they had not stuck out before. I went in for a close up on my face and my bones were sticking out there too. I was gaunt, sickly and stick thin. I felt horrible.
All my adult life I had wanted to be thin - but not like this and not because of sickness!!!!!
I bought the jeans and I wore them and looked good in them but I missed my curves and my womanly shape.
The new diet which was imposed on me soon saw the return of a curvier and healthier me. I am not too skinny and I am not a size 18 anymore - I think I am just right.
I still have those jeans. I take them out every so often to look at them. They are also a reminder to me of how sick I was. They are a reminder to me that being stick thin is not all its cracked up to me and besides in 2010 having curves is the new black so I am well and truly in fashion.