A recipe for living with cancer.

Anticipation is a multifaceted word.  It can be filled with the joy or excitement of an upcoming party, concert, vacation, something wonderful you’ve been waiting for or working toward.  Or it can be filled with uncertainty, fear, foreboding, resentment while waiting to take a test in school, or hearing whether or not you got the job, what the cost of your car repair will be or the results of medical tests.

The anticipation of chemotherapy is in a class of its own. How does one prepare for chemotherapy?  I prepared by reading everything I could get my hands on and rereading it a couple times.  Well that sucked!  All that did was give me an anxiety attack.  Knowing ahead of time I will be nauseous, fatigued, vomiting, lose my hair, have my nail beds darken, can’t go out in the sun unless I look like a character from Dune, and a number of other unpleasant things I won’t go into, just sucks.  It’s not like I can avoid it, or accidentally forget it, or change it or wuss out and just not go.  What to do…ah, go to Pilates, then shop!

Pilates gives me one solid hour where I turn off my brain and focus on individual muscle groups and breathing as dictated by my instructor.  Sounds a bit like a cult but oh what a great cult.  Approaching 60 I have more core strength, arm and leg strength then any other time in my life.  When I was a runner I did have great stamina and leg strength, now I have an overall strength that hopefully I will maintain throughout my therapy.  The tech in the MRI room was shocked and amazed as I lifted myself up off the table, push up style, to transfer onto the gurney.  She said, “well you don’t need any help!”

Shopping another cult.  This was actually grocery shopping for things I thought I might want to eat after chemo.  I am going to do my best to remain a vegan throughout this ordeal, but if I need to eat some eggs once in a while or some yoghurt so be it.  But I did stock up on Rice cheese, field roast hotdogs, fake meat slices, tempeh in a few forms, organic chickpeas to make hummus without garlic, organic pastas, organic rice and chocolate.  I am a big believer in the positive benefits of chocolate.  Actually I am just a raging chocoholic fulfilling a need!  So that was at the East End Food Coop.  Then I went to the regular bad grocery store.

Hi, my name is Barbara and I am a diet soda addict. I first started drinking DP (diet pepsi) when I was 16 and I am now 2 years dechemicalized.  Two years ago, maybe three now, I gave up diet soda.  Aside from the amount of money it cost, the number of cans I needed to recycle, and the amount of room it took up in my cabinets, the stuff is toxic– just chemicals and water,  who needs it.  So like my vegan diet, one day I just up and quit cold turkey.  I went out and purchased (shopping addict too?) a soda stream and didn’t look back.  I consume on average 1 litre of seltzer a day  some days much more.  No chemicals, artificial color, flavor, just fizzy water. 

For chemo I did go out to the regular grocery store and buy Diet Pepsi, Fresca and some Ginger Ale, just in case and some Nabisco saltines.  I hope the metallic taste from the chemo doesn’t screw with my taste to much, I hope I don’t hate all the foods I love, I hope I don’t want to drink the DP and Fresca, I hope seltzer tastes tomorrow just as good as it does today.



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