I decided early on in this fight that I was going to use food as medicine. I mean, after all, I’m relying on my doctors to do their share. I can’t just passively sit here and hope for the best, right?
I started educating myself. How can I improve my odds and stay as healthy as possible, dodge as many side effects as possible and KILL THOSE cancer cells. I was woefully unprepared. I haven’t ever been really sick. I thought I had been, but I was mistaken. Boy, was I! But then I tried this dish. Julienne of Brussels sprouts, walnuts toasted in olive oil with roasted garlic. Sea salt, a tiny sprinkle of balsamic. Aahhh…heaven. Fast, healthy and delicious.
I needed to start reading. Learning. Studying. Asking. The only problem with that, is the shit was hitting the fan faster than I could dodge it. When you hear news this bad you sort of get tinnitus of the brain. There’s a ringing; monotonous, constant and sinister. You know the sound track? The girl is walking down a long, dark hallway, there are doors, there’s someone there, we know that, the soundtrack is one long, whining,low down,viola note. That’s what I heard for days. All that bad news and the drama, the surgery, the shock, the disbelief. The soundtrack from a shitty horror movie. You start to wonder ‘Wait wait wait, am I the smart girl with the pony tail who makes it out by killing the monster with a cleverly crafted coat hanger or am I the slutty bimbo with the tube top and the flashlight with weak batteries?’
It’s not like me to wonder.
I sort of lay there in the hospital for 10 days or so, recovering from my tinnitus and crafting my coat hanger. Trying to come to terms, which I REALLY did not want to do, NO TERMS, with what the next step was. I was all for avoidance. I mean, think about it. The dumb bimbo keeps going down the hall. She heard a noise. Could it be Larry with the bong? Lets go see.
Really? I don’t think so.
I would be more inclined to turn around and run away. So mentally, I did that. Now don’t think I’m a coward or that the pony tail girl is either. We have the right idea. You pick your battle, you find the high ground and you get your coat hanger ready.
I explained to my family that I needed time to pick my battle. I asked them not to talk to me about odds, statistics, facts or treatment. I needed to find my high ground and too much information was bound to bog me down. Now I just needed my weapon. My own little coat hanger.
I have a wonderful brother, Martin, married to a smart, sassy lady named Lora. When they heard about my diagnosis there was not a days hesitation. They sent me a Green Star Juicer. The super deluxe model. Lora included a book by Kris Carr called Crazy Sexy Cancer-isn’t that the best title ever?-and her DVD and her Crazy Sexy Kitchen book. My co-workers bought me Cancer Fighting Kitchen, my Mom got me Clean Food. It seems my coat hanger was at hand.
Food is medicine.
I cut out most refined flour, all refined sugar, all preservatives, food coloring, dairy, most gluten, corn, most non organic vegetables and fruit, prepared or frozen foods, meat (because I can’t afford grass fed or organic meat-but I’ve been eyeballing our laying hens out in the yard in a very unhealthy way lately) I stopped drinking anything with sugar or artificial sweeteners, I stopped imbibing hard liquor-not that I drank much at all but I vowed to stick with a glass of ale or a glass of wine socially. I gave up dessert!
Except on chemotherapy days. There is a theory out there that refined sugar ‘wakes up’ cancer cells, allowing the poison -oops, I mean the infusion-to do its work more effectively. It postulates that by NOT eating healthy just for that one day, by waking up the cells you’ve effectively put to sleep, it helps kill them. And I get an eclair. So I love the idea, but is it right? I asked Dr. Thrall and she said if they knew that, if they could prove anything at all about cancer related nutrition, she would have told me herself. Humph…doctors. On the other hand, she said, I was totally on the right track, eating healthy was just smart as hell, none of that crap I cut out of my diet was HELPING me get healthy, so go for it.
I took that to mean that having an eclair was okay once a week. It wouldn’t kill me, but it might make me feel better. My coat hanger turned into an eclair. Or could it be juice? I’d rather have an eclair but…
So, here I am, the soundtrack of my life is from a horror movie and yet, I don’t feel like the tube top girl anymore. Well, at least not often. I have my own weapon, I fashioned it carefully and I’m hiding at the top of the stairs. Just try to get me…