A New Loss

My heart is broken from yet another loss in our family.  We lost my cousin to cancer on Sunday and we are all devastated.  I apologize for not posting a new excerpt today, but I wish to mourn this great man.  Rest in peace.  I love you.

Death is the time we learn to appreciate all our gifts, remember the better times, and forgive the unthinkable.  When will we learn that life is precious, and that is our gift?  When it’s too late and we’re all gone?

Patricia

Fire and Water

Waking in my own bath of sweat was strange.  What was happening to my body?  During chemotherapy, some nights I would awaken in a pool of sweat.  My body drenched like I walked out from the heat of a fire, and the bed soaking from the water that put it out.  My nightgown clung to my damp skin.  “What the…?”  I tried to keep quiet not to awaken my husband who had to work the next day, but he usually slept soundly.

I enjoyed the heavy, layered blankets on top of me when I went to bed, especially since my operation because I’m always feeling chilly.  Between December and April it was quite cold for me in the house at twenty-two degrees Celsius, where my husband liked to keep the temperature.  Without any fat to protect me from chills, even wearing an extra sweater wasn’t enough.  I’m still very sensitive to anything less than twenty-four degrees, since the fat never seems to absorb in my tiny body.

I did hear from other patients that they too would be awakened drenched in their own body fluids, or that they have become more affected by the cold.

 

For someone special:

… waiting for the sunshine to hit your face, sprinkle particles that will protect you, take away your suffering… and still hope for a miracle – like the one I received.  I love you.

Some Like It Hot…

Maintaining or gaining weight was all up to me.  What I could eat would be learned by trial and error.  Over time, reactions to foods would change.  I wasn’t gaining any weight, and it was tiring having to eat constantly.

I find that percolated coffee resembles dirty water, but I developed a taste for espresso – a drink I never took a liking to.  Not too many Italians will pass up the brew.  Although the aroma is pleasant, I still don’t always fancy the taste, unless it’s well sweetened, to remove the bitterness of the bean.

Now I’m up to a half-espresso from the cup my husband and I share.  He’s starting to make a second cup for himself.  “You were disappointed when we went out the first time, and I told you I didn’t drink coffee.  Now you want to take it away from me.”

We laugh.

My taste buds now cry for stronger sensations and flavours, but the patterns of likes and dislikes are ever-changing, so I’m always learning and adapting.  I adore caramelized onions and cooked onions in general;  whereas before, I push them to the side of my plate.  Even the bitter rapini greens are interesting to my palette.

 

Looking at the bright side of all the confusion with my eating habits, it is exciting to add new flavours to my menu.  We should all try new things – you never know what you’ll discover.

Patricia

 

 

A Pinch of This, A Dash of That

I was in contact with the nutritionist several times throughout the first few months, more often prior to chemo.  During my follow-ups with the radio-oncologist, I would head over to the nutritionist’s office, only a few steps away, for some new ideas.

She tried to help me get extra calories, over the ones I would receive from the feeding bag.  Protein powder mixed in with my soups, meal replacement drinks, and high calorie foods were her favourites.  I used the powder only a few times in my sweet potatoe puree soup, but not in my drinks.  The sandy texture took away any appeal from the food I already didn’t have a taste for.  The meal replacements were awful – my palette savouring only chemicals.  They were also filled with lactose, which I was now allergic to.  So those were left out as well.

My taste buds were more intricate now.  Recognizing only the chemicals in processed foods, they became unappetizing.  I managed homemade soups and fruit from baby-food jars prior to chemo starting, but once the treatments began, I was too nauseated to eat.

The doctors and nutritionist made it clear that getting as many calories as possible was important prior to chemo commencing.  My surgeon told me, “Eat whatever you want.”

They all made it seem so simple, but it was far from that.  Even the patients I mentor express similar difficulties.  They have fear about trying any foods, and how much they can eat in one sitting.  There was also the lack of feeling a need to eat, since recognizing hunger was no longer there.

If I wasn’t nauseated, I ate what I remember enjoying prior to surgery.  The quantity was my concern, and the frequent vomiting and blockages were not helping.  I had to learn what and how much was acceptable by my new anatomy.  With the new restrictions, and the constant nausea, I soon realized that I was on my own to discover what works.

A Foggy Christmas

It was almost Christmas, and it would be the first one I’d celebrate in my new home.  It was a shame I was fighting for my life, instead of enjoying the beautiful holiday.

My mother was living with me, and I wasn’t able to go out, so my family gathered at my house, as opposed to our usual dinner at my parents’.  Very few memories of the celebration stayed with me, but I do have a recollection of hooking up my feeding bag as the night progressed.  I didn’t want to have it run the entire next morning, so I was forced to walk around with the pole, ticking included.

The liquid entered my intestine a drop at a time.  The tube that connected the bag to my jejunal feeding tube was consistently cream-coloured, the colour of the liquid.  The occasional air pocket didn’t indicate any movement, nor did the amount left in the hung bag.  The drops that slowly fell from the bottom of the bag into the top of the tube was the only sign that would let me know the liquid was moving.

I was in bed before any one left our celebration.  It wasn’t that I wasn’t appreciative that my family was there, but I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer.

 

Welcome to 2017!  Wishing you and your family the very best of health, peace, and happiness.  Show a little kindness, share a little cheer, and help those that need you.  Here’s to hoping you’ll all continue reading too!

Patricia