January 24, 2007 § 12 Comments
Halfway around the chemo racetrack I crashed and burned. A NASCAR wipeout without the roaring fans. So much for being brazen about tolerating rounds one through three. My fourth treatment was a slap in the face. I stayed in bed, under the covers, and in a cold sweat for close to four days. I was hideously achy to the touch and fearful that my DNA had mutated beyond repair.
As I faded in and out of a half-dozen movies, 3pm was no different from 3am. I imagined my health irreparably damaged. Wrestling with a decimated life, Sunday arrived on schedule. I was sure I had pushed my luck too far, and that this last pass of poison would undo me. I was wrong. A sweat-induced coma was averted and the ER would remain a TV program not my destination. My body repaired itself, again.
I thanked a vague god, and remain in awe of our relentless and resilient physical bodies.
Like my very best friends, my appetite came calling. At four in the afternoon, during act two of Cinderella as performed flawlessly by the State Ballet Theatre of Russia. While lithe ballerinas and their sculpted male counterparts soared across the stage in cotton candy costumes, I imagined seared tenderloin with cracked black pepper. I settled for some m&m’s. Post show we made a b-line to Whole Foods where I snatched ticket 68 and took my place in line at the meat counter behind still hopeful and rib hungry play-off fans.
One of these and one of those and an extra slab of that please.
My inner carnivore was on the loose. The goods from the butcher were all well and good, but I needed instant gratification. I sought sanctuary in prepared foods. Frannie ordered her usual, teriyaki wings. For the first time ever, roast beef called to me.
It wasn’t pretty, but this isn’t a fashion site so I will tell you just what we did in the grocery store parking lot a half-mile from home. We ate dinner, in the car, with plastic utensils, heater on, and a view of two choice handicapped parking spots.
That roast beef was a cure. Devouring iron infused juices I settled into the car, I took another bite of beef. Frannie offered up chicken wings. They did nothing for me. I had eyes only for the meat, a chewy dose of iron and protein.
For every bout of nausea or near-nausea there are the days after when cravings for food possess me. Forget the food pyramid old or new, I care nothing for balanced meals, I am eating foods based on cravings and apparently color.
This is my Color Me Diet.
My green days are made with broccoli and mesculun greens or mache with cucumbers.
Orange days are filled with yams and clementines, winter squash and carrots, possibly cheese.
Pink days are salmon filled washed down with glasses of pink grapefruit juice.
White days, cauliflower and potatoes, creamy soups and banana shakes.
Eggs straddle both orange and white. And, like the first bite of roast beef a runny egg or better, three of them can satiate me instantly days after treatment.
There are occasions when my diet is more Jackson Pollock than Ellsworth Kelly. Still, my food groups long to stay together. There are Fruit Days or Vegetable Afternoons. Last week I was overcome by a calcium craze; yogurts and cheeses and a glass of milk.
A 5 year old, at the sight of my bald and barren scalp said gleefully “you look like a baby”.
All this sleeping and eating and cell renewal, I think she nailed it on the head.