A recipe for living with cancer.

Archive for June, 2013

My Mom had Faith

My Mom had Faith

 

I sit waiting for my Herceptin infusion and as always eavesdrop on the surrounding individuals.  I listen to the stories and there are so many stories.  There is a young woman in her thirties coming in every week for Herceptin and every other week for Taxotere.  A middle-aged woman sitting next to her has been coming in for Taxotere every week for six months and double doses.

 

The young woman talks about breaking this to her children for the second time….second time…children. She is bald and says the first time she didn’t lose her hair.  I can only assume that she is holding up as well as possible, the second time.  I think about the possibility of a reoccurrence rather regularly.  I am lucky to be post-menopausal and have a good prognosis but cancer is with me always.  I am reminded constantly with the discomfort of my expanders day and night.  During the day if I move the wrong way, reach, try to open a jar, try to toss food in a pan, I am reminded.  I am reminded with side effects, when I take my pills every morning –a headache, a hot flash or get totally winded walking up the small hill on Reynolds. I have faith I will eventually not think about this every day.

 

I am reminded when I think about my Mom and her cancer experiences.  There are two vivid images burned into my memory, one is of my mothers chest as a result of her radical mastectomy.  No breast, it was a concave landscape, scooped out with a few hills and valleys intersected by bright red, thick angry scars at random angles.  The second was of a little old lady after radiation, sitting slumped down and hunched over in her over-sized BarcaLounger.  Her shoulders folded in toward each other her chin on her chest, a gentle snoring coming out of her mouth.   Beaten and battered by treatment sleeping the sleep of the downtrodden.

 

The weight of the world hung around her neck on a gold chain.  On that chain were tiny gold balls and a variety of charms and items that held special meaning for Mom.  The most important was a small chai (Hebrew letter for life) charm that was her fathers. Over the years Mom would hold onto that charm, rub it and pray. I was never sure if her prayers were directly to G-d or her father.  But she felt a connection, a faith that her prayers would be answered.  She held on to that charm as she went through cancer.

 

Mom had a list of people she would pray for. Anyone ill or unhappy, troubled, were added to the list; the list ebbed and flowed, grew and shrank, got so big she would type it out and laminate it with tape so she wouldn’t forget anyone.  Additions and deletions, life and death, her belief that her prayers could somehow ease their pain, heal them, or give them solace.  Friends believed in her as well. They would call and tell her about people and ask her to put them on her list.  She has such faith.

 

Mom was not religious in the sense that she never went to synagogue, nor did she celebrate Shabbat, and as far as I could tell had no desire to go to Israel.  We celebrated the high holidays, Passover and lit candles at Chanukah. Mom had her own relationship with G-d and it did not involve religion, it was pure faith.

 

Mom held on to that chai more as she grew older. She recovered from her first bout with cancer and her second, she carried on and had faith and made it almost 20 years with cancer…she and I were and are very lucky.  I hope this young woman is as lucky and has faith in whatever she believes.  My Mom had faith and it worked for her.

Advertisements

To Be Brutally Honest…

I have had time to calm down about my lipid levels.  After two days of being a strict vegan, eating no sugary products (cookies) and drinking no alcohol, I have honestly looked at the last couple months and my eating patterns.  And I have to be honest with myself.  Yes over those months I have been getting back to being a vegan or veganish (a vegan who eats fish!) and yes I have avoided dairy most of the time.  But when we go out to eat I will often have a veggie wrap – it has cheese , or a salad-it has feta, sometimes parmasean, or cavitelli -made with ricotta -so there have been many times when the healthy vegetarian option I am eating has fat in it.  We stopped eating at Dinette, my Hubbie’s fav restaurant, because there was nothing I could eat there when I was being strictly veganish.  I once ordered one of their pizzas without cheese…oh my…cardboard.  So in the past couple of months we’ve gone back there and I’ve eaten the pizza with cheese, but only a little, HA!  What was going on?

I was entitled.  I have breast cancer and made it through chemo, surgery and radiation and — well, I deserve to eat some stuff.  I maintained my weight, was feeling great, so my cheating, if we can even call it that, was not only justified but helping me get back to a normal life.  My chocolate cookies may also have had a bit to do with my LDL and cholesterol increase.

In the last two months I have perfected my vegan chocolate chocolate cookies (my son has named them “the cookie from heaven”).  And to be honest, I have eaten at least one every day for probably a month straight, some days more. One must taste test in order to ensure the product is worthy!  Even though vegan, there is sugar and a small amount of fat, but small amounts add up.  And sugar is one of the culprits that will increase LDL.

But how could I resist these cookies, part brownie part cookie and vegan ?

cookie

Or these my son made?

IMG_2225-1

Here is the recipe in case you’d like to try them:

Triple C-Chocolate Chocolate Cookies

or The Cookie from Heaven

In bowl of mixer Cream until fluffy

6 T room temp vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)

scant 1/2 cup white sugar

scant 1/2 cup brown sugar (scant just means don’t fill to top)

Add to bowl and blend:

4 T applesauce

In microwave melt:

1/2 cup dark chocolate (I use El Rey 70+%)

Add 1/4 cup good cocoa powder and mix directly into melted chocolate

Add chocolate mixture to bowl and blend well.

Add to bowl:

1 cup minus 1 T APF (all purpose flour) If dough to stiff, remove another T next time.

1/4 tsp baking soda

Blend and add 1 cup chocolate chips/chunks or bits.

Scoop a walnut sized ball for 2″ cookies.  Place on parchment covered cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes.

You want these cookies to be set but still soft in the center so depending on your oven it can take anywhere from 8-12 minutes.  This makes about 15 3″ cookies or 24 2″ cookies.

I have added extra white chocolate chips to the batter, also walnuts.  I love nuts and walnuts are so healthy and have good fat and not in a chocolate cookies would be even healthier LOL!  The cookies are very delicate when hot out of the oven but once they set they are between cookie and brownie.  They freeze well and taste yummy frozen too!  So to be brutally honest, I know why my cholesterol and LDL levels went up, but I sure enjoyed all those cookies along the way! Now, moderation.

But I Feel Good

Two weeks ago I chipped two teeth and visited the dentist. Then I woke up with liquid coming out of my ear and ended up at urgent care and the next day at the ENT. I had a hole in my eardrum and had lost some hearing.  They had no clue how it had happened, maybe it had to do with chemo, radiation, or all the coughing -allergies gone wild-who knows?  Falling apart bit by bit  but I felt good.
I finally stopped coughing (about six weeks), my allergies were better but still there– but keep in mind I felt  pretty GOOD.  I had my annual physical Tuesday with full blood work to check my lipids (everything looked good she said), and my Herceptin infusion and visit with the Oncologist on Wednesday. I see the plastic surgeon next Thursday and the breast surgeon the week after that for a general check and to measure my arms for lymphadema, and then just for sh-its and grins my colonoscopy in two weeks.  I feel great but to look at what’s happened in the last few weeks and all the appointments one would think I am falling apart piece by piece.
Finishing chemo was huge, radiation even better, but I am not done yet–but I feel good.
I am now taking the Arimadex (estrogen sucking drug for 5 years)  and have to watch for side effects: aching (apparently bad enough the Oncologist said CALL me immediately if this happens); menopause side effects may return, please no; increase lipid levels which I thought would be no problem until my blood work came back. Oh and bone demineralization which I will now be on fosimax to counter.  The side effects from that…I won’t go into those.
But I feel GOOD physically,mentally though I am a little annoyed, concerned and ferclemped and fa–mished.. Here’s a topic, fracking in southwestern Pennsylvania, talk amongst yourselves.  For all you SNL fans.
What is upsetting me is my lipid levels, they are HIGH.  After two years of being a vegan and bringing my cholesterol down 55 points to healthy and LDL to normal range…I am now 85 up on cholesterol and in the high range for LDL.  I have not been a vegan for the last year but didn’t think I’d been so bad,  For how high it is I should have been eating red meat, all meat, cheese, butter, ice cream, lobster, sugar, alcohol and a Big Mac once a week!  The annoying part in all this…Arimadex causes an increase in, you guessed it, lipid levels. I have six months to try my vegan diet to decrease my numbers again, get retested and see what’s what.  The caveat is — if they do not go down, then the question will be is it the Arimadex?
Then I will have to….oh never mind
I do feel GOOD!

Tag Cloud