Finding Beauty

After moving into the house in July – just before being diagnosed, Isabella was only twenty months old.  We set up her bedroom with her new furniture, including a double bed with side rails – so she wouldn’t fall off.  She was already out of her crib and loved her big bed.

In the morning, I would head to her bedside to kiss my sleeping beauty, before going downstairs.  As my mom would hear me, she would get out of bed to help me out.  If my dad had spent the night, they were usually already downstairs having their coffee and breakfast.

My mom always tried to get me to eat breakfast, but the nausea was too strong.  On the rare occasion my nausea had subsided, a few bites of toast with butter were a pleasure.  I only drank water or juice, and herbal tea became more frequent when plain water didn’t taste good.

For about a year after starting chemotherapy, I couldn’t stand the taste of tap or bottled water.  It would have to be boiled and flavoured, and who felt like doing that.  It happens still that I have to stay away from water.  It tastes as though it was mixed with bile or some thing awful like that.  The taste just doesn’t seem right.  Maybe the change comes from my own mouth now that chemo affected my taste buds.

Isabella would call out for me.  The beautiful sound of her sleepy voice carried through the house so sweetly.  I wanted to run up the stairs to pick her up and squeeze her.  But I could barely get off the couch.  My mother rushed to her to help her off the bed and down the stairs.  My heart jumped with joy when I saw the happiness on my baby’s face as she headed toward me.  My mother sat her next to me.  Isabella’s hair, once it finally had some length, curled in every direction, and her big dark eyes glared at me like I was a queen.  I still couldn’t believe she was mine.


Find your strength that can get you through the worst, because in most cases, there is an end to our pain.   We just absolutely need to find a way to get there.  


Finding Fullness

My nausea was still very strong, so eating became challenging post J-Tube, especially since I was now required to eat six to eight small meals each day.

Discovering what I could eat took months, and once I figured it out, things would change.  I had to keep trying foods, like meat, nuts and ice cream, until they didn’t disturb me any more.  Eating frequently made it necessary to vary my diet, since I would get fed up with certain foods.  Quantities also changed.  Ice cream went from none to almost two tablespoons, without having the runs.

I always loved food and enjoyed cooking, until my life became just about eating.  My passion for learning new recipes allowed me to create my own over the years.  Gourmet cooking was less appealing after cancer, because I would be too tired to eat it after preparing it.  I dream of having a chef – even for one year – so I could just eat great food and gain weight.

When I finally began to have the rumbling in my belly, I would also get a headache to accompany it.  It’s an awful feeling – like some thing is eating you from the inside.  Now I understand how necessary it is to eat so often throughout the day.  The digestion is instant, unless I eat a heavy meal, like beef or Fettucine Alfredo.  Certain foods require that I lie down for two hours or so, to sleep off the draining digestion.  I could feel uncomfortably full one minute, and weak and starving the next.  Wherever I go, water and snacks come with me.


We never touch people so lightly that we do not leave a trace.


A Tug And A Pull

So what will I do all day since I won’t be eating, working, cleaning, or even cooking?  I wouldn’t feel hungry in the morning because of the twelve hundred calories I had just received overnight.  It took a year and a half before I even recognized hunger.  After my surgeon removed my feeding tube, following an infection about eight months after the operation, I ate because I knew I had to keep up my weight, not because I felt like it.  Since it no longer felt natural to eat and I didn’t feel the need, it was rather difficult having to think about food.

One morning, during a regular visit by the nurse, she had told me I should go to the emergency to have the tube area checked because it was leaking a greenish-coloured liquid – a sign of infection.  It turned out that my surgeon was in the hospital that day, and he came to see me in the emergency room.  He asked if I wanted to return on Monday to have the tube removed, “Or I could do it now.”  I couldn’t tell whether it was a complicated procedure or some thing simple.

As he stood over me, I hesitated and looked toward Mariano.  “Well, how will you remove it?”  My inquisitive mind wanted to be in the know before I decided what I would do.

“I just take it out.”

“What about the hole?  Won’t it leak?”

“It will just close on its own.”

Amazingly, the body heals itself.

“…Ok.  Let’s do it now.  I don’t want to come back.”

Before I knew it, there was a burning feeling in my belly as soon as he pulled out the tube.  It’s a good thing he didn’t warn me before he yanked it out.  My muscles were much more relaxed not knowing what was coming.  I wasn’t expecting it to be done that second;  and, for it to be so quick and simple.


Have a wonderful day!  And thank you for continuing to read…