I am fed up. A year post-transplant, I’m still dealing with aches and pains, fatigue, counts dipping, and wondering when I’m ever going to feel “normal” again. I’m fed up with articles proclaiming This Food Will Give You Cancer. I'm fed up with articles claiming preventatives and cures for cancer through diet. As someone who took care of herself, ate a mostly vegetarian diet, exercised, meditated, and STILL got cancer, all of these articles make me crazy.
Like most living creatures, I love to eat, and I take great pleasure in preparing and consuming food. If this past year has taught me anything, it’s that life is too short to obsessively try and avoid things that might, or might not, give you cancer. I believe in eating a balanced diet, and beyond that… Enjoy food! Enjoy life!
Despite all this, I still believe in food's healing and restorative power. In the past week, I’ve had three meals to remind me of this fact.
1. Jewish Penicillin
After coming down with a cold, our lovely friend Paula made a giant batch of “Jewish penicillin,” chicken broth cooked over 18 hours. I’m telling you now, that stuff has magic powers. All I know is, my counts were low on Friday (low enough for my doctor to order a transfusion and another bone marrow biopsy for the following Monday), and after two bowls of delicious, flavorful broth (with some veggies and noodles thrown in), my counts were heading back towards normal. Magic.
2. Thanksgiving Test Run
The aforementioned Paula, and her husband Neil, (whom we may not have gotten to know if it weren’t for this whole cancer thing) invited us around for a “test turkey” in preparation for Thanksgiving. It also happened to be the anniversary of coming home from hospital after the transplant, which felt even more significant than the anniversary of being diagnosed, or the transplant itself, because, Hey! I’ve survived a whole year!!!
We dined on a gorgeous turkey with homemade cranberry sauce and gravy, roast veggies with homegrown rosemary, and to polish it all off, homemade chocolate ice cream. With candles on the table, wonderful company, and delicious food cooked with love and care, it was the perfect way to celebrate one year out of hospital.
3. Fancy Dumplings
After learning that my counts were high enough to not need a transfusion or a bone marrow biopsy, Aaron surprised me with a Monday lunch date. We went to Red Farm, a fancy dim sum restaurant on the upper west side, and oh the food we ate! Skewers with duck, grilled lychees, and fried lotus; assorted “pac man” dumplings served with a tempura sweet potato on a bed of guac; lamb dumplings with miso, apple and tabasco shots; and the soupiest soup dumplings I’ve ever had. I’m drooling just thinking about it all. Grilled lychees, where have you been all my life?!
So, I’m fed up, but at least I’m well fed. Bring on Thanksgiving and the festive season, I’m ready to eat and celebrate surviving a whole year on this crazy trip!
This blog contains
rehearsal & show diaries.
For other writings,
Breathe, Just Breathe
For a chronological journey through every movie musical ever made, check out