A recipe for living with cancer.

Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

The First Annual Mini Pour, and then there is Strep!

I totally overdid the last two weeks.  In some insane competitive portion of my being I did not like being a slug, all these women who work through chemo, take care of their children and then there is me.  I have nothing to do but sit back and exist through this chemo and there was this little voice inside my head that kept niggling at me: you have no one to take care of but yourself, you don’t work, you should be able to do more, others do more, come on, get up, move, accomplish something –so I did.  Two days after the infusion I was making Tom dinner, he was shocked, straightening the house, baking cupcakes.  I did this for four days and was tired and felt lousy, but I thought: all those women who work through the day, get home and take care of home, then collapse I can do this too.
I stayed at home for a few days while my counts were low, but not for five days like before.  I went out to lunch, I shopped, I did stuff and  I went to bed exhausted but feeling rather satisfied I was able to feel human again in some form.  The kids marveled, Tom was thrilled to have hot meals when he came home from work, all in all not to shabby.  Then came the days when I started to feel better, a bit more energy and that was when I made my big mistake, I decided to have a party.  Yeah, pretty dumb but I wanted to be normal.  Tom was against it, Miriam had to work the day before and day of the party so she couldn’t help as much as usual but I was determined.  I promised I would have people help, bring food, any food that needed to be cooked would be cooked that night by folks attending and everyone would help pitch in to clean up.

The issue was this was not an ordinary party where you decide what to have for dinner buy it make it, serve it and clean up, no this was different.  You see there is a fund-raising event here in Pittsburgh called the Steel City Big Pour-beer tasting, food tasting.  I’ve been twice and its loads of fun and this year I wanted to go with Sam and Cory.  The tickets are almost impossible to get but I REALLY wanted to go, it was the weekend I would feel great and it’s basically a beer tasting of about 15 different brewers locals and international, and food from about 15 local restaurants.  Each beer vendor brings an assortment and you can taste them all.  To get tickets you must get on-line on a specific day and time and hope to get into the queue fast enough to purchase tickets.   I set my phone alarm and was sitting at the computer 10 minutes before start time with the window open ready to go.  I kept clicking in and finally at 12:01 PM got in and was immediately told I was in the queue and would be helped as soon as I was next in line.  After 20 minutes in the queue I was not to hopeful, and at 44 minutes a message popped up saying “sorry we are all sold out”–what a RIPOFF.  Truth be told there are only 500 tickets total so it is really hard to get one and I guess this queue thing is most fair.

I texted Cory and told him what happened and how pissed off I was and he said…for $75 per person WE SHOULD JUST DO OUR OWN. Right I said, we’ll do a MINI POUR and it will be much better.  The rest is history…a mini pour at my house, with 7 or more kinds of beer and all kinds of food in appetizer portions.  Can you see where it totally went out of control?

We had our mini pour Saturday night, it was only seven people so I didn’t get totally crazy and invite 30, but with all the food we had we could have fed thirty!!  I planned, I shopped, I planned, I asked folks to bring beer and food and told them they would be helping cook, Sam was in charge of getting a beer assortment and Ellen offered to come help the day of and Miriam and Sam and the kids would stay overnight so they would clean up and help put stuff away the next day. See I can delegate…ha!

I did not vacuum, I did not go crazy cleaning, I merely straightened up and Ellen helped me with tables, ice chests etc…but it was the food that did me in, shopping, planning, prepping, and I did some cooking.  I went through the list of restaurants supplying tastings and began to develop my “better” list of goodies to go with the beer.  As this post is getting way to long I will just tell you what I had:  antipasto (thank you Ellen), salsa (thank you Judy), cauliflower ceviche on tostada (thank you Cory), homemade sauerkraut, homemade lacto-fermented pickles, fig crostini, chicken ban mi, fish tacos, two kinds of wings, rack of lamb, dry aged steak, homemade chocolate ice cream with baby fingers and cupcakes.  And here is a picture of most of the beers:

I had a blast, I stayed up way longer than usual — I ATE MEAT and it tasted really really good and I paid the price (not on the eating meat part although it was lovely and worth every bite, I am back to being more of a vegetarian than vegan) the next day.  I woke up Sunday morning with a sore throat and swollen glands, went to the Doc and I have Strep.  But you know what, it was worth it.  Family, good friends, good food, good time, what more can one ask for just on any regular day, let alone a day when you have cancer!

This was our first annual Mini Pour.  Next years will be bigger and better.

Thank you friends and thank you family for allowing me to feel normal again, I love you all very much.

A Red Gem in the Garden

This was a good weekend one in which I accomplished things, visited with friends and felt somewhat human. It started with a good Friday thanks to Miriam and the kids. They came over for a visit and didn’t make it past the garden and into the house for over an hour. Miriam noticed what a mess my tomato plants were and started to pull them out and she didn’t stop there. She pulled and pruned and cleared and cleaned, got garbage bags and stuffed and filled…and didn’t stop until she was satisfied she’d made a dent in the mess. And I got right into it with her, me, the tired, complaining, neck aching, eye watering mess that I was started cutting dead foliage and lifting up the crazy patchwork of raspberry vines that bore no fruit but spread vines throughout the garden.

Suddenly Zelda yelled “Grammie, whats that red thing?” I lifted a raspberry branch, a good four feet long and at the very end was a cluster of 40 or 50 little brown raspberry buds and one bright red gem hanging at the end. It was a perfect red ripe berry. In the gloom and morass of chemo therapy, here I was having a wonderful time working in the garden with Miriam, Zelda and Oz and we discovered a prize, a gleaming jewel not supposed to be there.

Zelda of course wanted to pick and eat it immediately, as did I, and I suggested she give it one more day to ripen actually hoping there would be a second for Oz. She agreed and we went on to finish our work. We cleared and pulled up four five foot raspberry vines each fell heavy with unripe raspberries hanging from the tips. We staked each up to rise toward the sun and hope they would be filled with red gems in the coming weeks. I felt alive again, a part of my life came back, I have been letting chemo overshadow who I am and what I love. Thanks to a red gem in the garden I am going to try to not waste days feeling awful or tired, but try and accomplish something each day and take control of the chemo instead of letting the chemo control me. I’ll give it my best shot anyway.

And our patience was worthwhile, the next morning, there were SIX ripe raspberries on the bush. I called Miriam and she brought Zelda over for a special treat, we each got a berry, Miriam, me, Popop and Zelda ate the rest. There were more this morning when I checked, so plenty for Oz and Sam too!

it’s the little things in life that can pull us up short and remind us to dig out of the morass of whatever it is we are bogged down in and smile and enjoy. How lucky I am that Zelda spotted the tiny red gem in the garden.

Tag Cloud