Monday, December 31, 2018
Saturday, December 22, 2018
Peace to you this holiday season, whatever your traditions, and may your days be filled with light and hope.
Friday, December 21, 2018
This stew is packed with cruciferous vegetables and, on the face of it, sounds too healthy to be good. But it's actually delicious. I make it in a crockpot and just layered everything in, in order.
Mediterranean Cabbage Crockpot Stew
· 1 red onion, chopped
· 1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
· 2 garlic cloves, crushed
· 3 carrots, scrubbed and sliced into rounds or half-rounds
· 2 russet potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into quarter rounds
· 1 box baby kale
· ½ lbs red cabbage (1/2 head cabbage), cored and chopped
· 1 bay leaf
· 1 T cumin
· 2 t paprika
· ½ t coriander
· ½ t turmeric
· 1 t dill
· 2 T ground flaxseed
· 1 large can crushed tomatoes
· 1 box vegetable broth
· Zest and juice of one lemon
· ½ C fresh dill
· Sour cream or olive oil
1. (Can caramelize onions first by suateeing in olive oil with the garlic)
2. Layer onions, garlic, potatoes, kale, and cabbage in crockpot.
3. Add bay leaf, spices (and salt/pepper if desired).
4. Top with tomatoes and broth.
5. Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours.
6. Add lemon zest, juice and dill.
7. Add a dollop of sour cream (or a drizzle of olive oil).
Sunday, December 16, 2018
Thursday, December 6, 2018
I think, at least on an unconscious level, people delight in the stories of someone who lived a healthy life and then was struck down by disease anyway. It fits our rough sense of justice about people who think (we believe) that they making superior decisions. It doesn't even matter if the person is just doing the best they can to take care of themselves - it still irritates people. The long distance runner who drops dead of a heart attack in his 40's, the vegan who finds they have dangerously high cholesterol, the thin person who develops Type II diabetes. See? See??? And, conversely, everyone knows the stories of the centenarian who attributed their longevity to cigarettes and whiskey. And who doesn't want to think the statistics don't really apply to themselves? But even knowing all that about how people operate, there was something about that offhand jab that rankled. Over the next day, I brooded about it.
By that night, I was unable to sleep much. And I woke up sunk in a misery I can't even quite describe. I've worked really hard to stay away from the "why me?" questions and not to indulge in self-pity over my cancer. But I started yesterday morning wondering if living an active life and eating a healthy diet are all in vain and if there was any real point in continuing to try. Any of it - diet, exercise, endocrine therapy, visits with the oncologist, follow-up tests. I spent all of that morning and most of the rest of the day lying in bed, tears flowing like a freaking water faucet had been turned on, and feeling nothing about my life except despair. Not scared, just lacking any motivation to get up and keep moving forward.
I know - it's not what you typically read here, is it? Well, I'm sorry. I'm human and I think I got kind of a raw deal. At every step of the way, since I was diagnosed, things have been worse than anticipated. From the sad-sounding young radiologist who called to say he was very sorry, they weren't expecting it but found invasive cancer, to the breast surgeon and medical oncologist who were both certain I would not need chemotherapy, to waking up from my reconstruction surgery with a foot that no longer worked, to the podiatrist who thought the damn thing welded to my tibia would instead be an easy free-floating lesion to remove. None of this leaves me particularly optimistic about what's ahead for me.
Don't get me wrong - I've spent too much time talking with people in the same boat to think I've been uniquely targeted or that other people haven't gotten an even worse deal than I have. Women who have young children at home or who wonder if chemo will destroy their chances of having children at all. People who were diagnosed with cancers that had already coursed through their bodies, setting up camp in their liver or bones. It could always be worse. I know that. But somehow, that's not where my head is right now.
If you're looking for inspiration here about the upbeat person who kept a great attitude as they beat cancer to the ground, I'm not the one to provide that. At this moment, all I know is that I have painful implants where my breasts used to be, a port that protrudes from under my collarbone and hurts when anything brushes against it, and a throbbing ankle I can't put any weight on. Last year I was active and vital and happy, and now a bald, mutilated, crippled reflection stares back at me from the mirror. I don't know how the fuck I got here. Maybe I'm not far enough out of active treatment to feel remotely healthy. Maybe, when I can walk again it will seem different. Maybe if I'm lucky enough to have a period of time without a recurrence, I might start feeling some hope. I'm working on it. But the next time someone suggests to me, even indirectly or in jest, that their own decadence protected them from cancer while I chose the fool's route, I might not be so gracious in my response.
Saturday, December 1, 2018
So that ridiculously useless walker they sent home with me after my mastectomy is now my best friend. I've already become pretty adept at hopping with it, in spite of the post-chemo leaden thigh that's having to support me. I took the Percocet as prescribed and discovered that I have not magically become able to tolerate narcotics. I woke up Saturday morning with a migraine and broke a walker-assisted land speed record getting to the bathroom before I got sick. It's ibuprofen from here on out, which means I am learning to tolerate the throbbing pain that happens whenever I get up. But it's not often - I was told no pressure on my foot and that I was allowed to be up no more than five minutes out of any hour for a full week!