Chapter 18 – The one with the Levi’s

By choosing healthy over skinny you are choosing self-love over self-judgment. You are beautiful!
– Steve Maraboli

So it turned out that I had lost four stone in weight as a result of the side effects of the stem cell transplant. It was a shock to me and to those around me to see me back in my surroundings looking so very thin.

In the hospital I was surrounded by all the machines and equipment and wearing pjs all the time so the weight loss wasn’t as noticeable to me or to others.


When I was back at home I rooted through my wardrobe looking for clothes to fit me. Nothing fit! I had to gradually build up my wardrobe again with clothes to fit my size. It was a great excuse for some retail therapy.

One Sunday morning when I was feeling a bit better my hubby Bryan said he wanted me to get a stem cell transplant present for myself to celebrate the success.

We headed over to Kildare Village and as we wandered around looking at all the lovely things, we spotted the Levi jeans store.

I had never bought a pair as I always felt they wouldn’t look good on me in my size. I had no idea what jeans size I even was.

I was browsing in the shop and the sales person came over and she asked me if I needed help.

I told her I wanted to try on some jeans and asked her to translate the sizes for me. I grabbed a couple of styles and went into the changing room….

They didn’t fit …. They were huge on me.

She came in and asked if I wanted another size or style and I said I did.

I said “I’m not sure of my size but I think I am a 14/16”.

She looked at me and sort of laughed and said “eh I don’t think so ….” And she left the changing room.

I was livid. How dare she suggest I was fat and would not fit into a 14/16.

I was really annoyed until she came back into the changing room with a size 12 and said “try these”.

Oh ……. The penny dropped with me…. She saw clearly how skinny I was ..,,

I tried on the 12 – it didn’t fit

She came back with a 10 – it didn’t fit

There was a mannequin at the entrance of the changing room and ‘it’ was wearing a gorgeous pair of jeans. I asked the sales girl if I could try on a pair like that but there were none left except the pair on the mannequin.

Right in front of my eyes she stripped the mannequin and handed me the jeans. I started to laugh and couldn’t stop.
Bryan and the kids were waiting outside listening to the commotion.

I took the mannequin’s jeans and tried them on …. They were a perfect fit. I checked the size – they were an 8.

I had dropped five dress sizes as a result of the treatment ….I was shocked ….

I got quite tearful and I think the girl was getting worried so I told her what I had been through (briefly) and she was very kind.

The jeans looked amazing on me but they were also a reminder to me of just how much I had been through and how much it had cost me physically.

It was the first time I had bought a pair of Levi’s and the first time they had ever looked good on me. I was delighted with them but I still felt very uncomfortable about my new shape and weight – it almost felt unnatural for me.

I would find myself in a shop looking at clothes in size 10 and 12 and thinking I would never fit into them.

I knew that it would only be a temporary weight and size as I was under strict instructions to build myself up.

When I look at those Levi’s now they remind me of how far I have come in my recovery and how looking like a mannequin just didn’t suit me.


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