Integer Coach, Pam Kaye offers her story and wisdom below in this moving article.
In 2018 I was diagnosed with throat cancer. Not many months after that I lost my ability to swallow. There were many months of therapy hoping that I would regain the ability to swallow again but sadly, I was told recently that that will never happen. I will never swallow liquid or solids again. I live off the nourishment from a feeding tube.
As you can imagine, this process has been life altering and life-changing. The journey of learning to live without eating has taught me many valuable lessons I would have otherwise never learned. I would like to share some of them with you.
What I am learning while not eating:
I’ve learned to derive my pleasure from people, not food. I enjoy celebrating the small victories in their lives. People are incredibly important to me so my joy is in seeing them thrive. That is far more satisfying than food.
Tons of time has been freed up to serve others. I love being in a large gathering and seeing needs that I can meet, silently dropping off a meal to the elderly or just blessing an overextended young mother. 100% of my “cooking time” is now for others, to love and serve them. That has been so fun.
This has helped God become my God, instead of food. I have learned that food can be a God. It was for me for many years. So much energy and time is put into what we will eat. While celebrating together with food can be very special, it is often blown way out of proportion and is elevated to places people and God belong. There were times I would plan family meals months and months in advance. That was not healthy for me.
Food is meant to be life giving, but we make it pleasure-giving. Everything around us screams: eat more, bigger, better, further, seek more pleasure. We rarely engage in biblical hospitality because we fear our “offering” might not be good enough.
I have a new empathy for overeaters . They are trying to fill their souls with something that only God can satisfy. I hurt for them. Gluttony is all around us with all you can eat buffets and super sized portions no matter where you go. The temptations are so great. Not eating makes others over-eating all the more noticeable and I hurt for them. I am confessing that it is a daily challenge to not judge others for poor, glutinous decisions and to try to show them the love of Jesus.
God has become my source of strength and satisfaction. I am satisfied with life because I know what it feels like to face death.
I can be an embarrassment to others. Ever since I lost the ability to eat, I am viewed as someone with a disability because of one thing I can’t do instead of the many things I can do. I am left out of activities that center around eating which hurts and alienates me. This experience has given me deep and new compassion for the disabled, who are actually extremely able!
Life is sweeter than anything I can put in my mouth. I am Learning to find joy in so many new things. Taste and see that the Lord is good! Life is good and it is better than food, richer than taste!
Knowing that our poor eating leads to illness and early death, I try to impact others to make better choices. I struggle to not want to correct but encourage them into a healthier lifestyle. I want to help, not hurt, but my eyes are now wide open in new ways.
Our God will supply all of our needs according to his riches in glory. I have learned to trust God that he really is supplying all of my needs. This has been a time of truly defining and deciphering between my needs from my wants. And it has changed my life.
I would love to hear from anyone to talk more about this and your journey with pain and loss. Reach out today for coaching at: https://www.integernetwork.com/pam-kaye
With love and grace for all,
Cancer Care Coach