On 01.02.02, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Too late for surgery, I had chemotherapy, which failed. In May the chemotherapy was changed and I was soon in remission which was celebrated and welcome and lasted nine years - until October 2011. There was progression in 2011 so more treatment was indicated and I am now back in partial remission. But I'm not only a cancer patient - I also enjoy my family, walk my dogs and am learning to draw and paint. Life is good!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Look what came for dinner!

Stop laughing, I can hear you all the way over here! I finally found ONE tomato to pick from my Topsy-Turvy collection. There are several others but, as I've been reporting for days, they aren't nearly ripe yet. This poor thing was about two inches across and the best we can do so far this summer. I turned it into a BLT and savored every morsel.

"I'm never buying another peach from the supermarket, " Steve was fuming as he hurled a half-dozen mealy peaches from Safeway into the chicken pen. Rocket and Co. were delighted, they love fruit. We, in the meantime, are becoming locavores. We have excellent farmers' markets around here - two in town - where you can sample first and look the grower straight in the eye and ask what went into the product.

When people are traumatized it is common to see some sort of effort to take control or responsibility of the situation. "It was my fault," battered wives tell me, "I shouldn't have said/done/thought as I did." When I first saw an oncologist after receiving my diagnosis, back in January 2002, I was as totally traumatized as anyone would be when learning that you've probably just seen your last Christmas. "Was it my weight?" I asked. I'm not huge, but am as overweight as one-third of our nation, according to the numbers reported last week. I was actually surprised by his response. "The research is mixed on that," he began. And then he launched into this story, a parable, if you will.

"I have an apple tree in my back yard, " he began. "Every apple has a worm in it. But I would rather eat the apples from that tree, cutting off the bad spot, than eat the shiny apples in the grocery store." He went on to speak of our contaminated food supply and all the pesticides we unknowingly consume. A dietician suggested that I use organic dairy products to avoid the hormones since my cancer was hormone sensitive. I've been faithful to that.

I can't say that I immediately did everything right, changed my ways and ate only from certified growers. On the contrary, I'm the one who, as recently as last week, drove home from an Overeaters Anonymous meeting and stopped by Jack in the Box for a hamburger and chocolate milkshake. I talked myself into believing I was being thrifty, I had a freebie coupon so my total bill was only 87 cents. I had other internal speeches too -- I'm abstinent as long as I adhere to 3-0-1 (three meals a day, zero snacks, one day at a time) and this was my lunch, however lacking in nutrition. So perfectionist I am not. But I'm working on it. I've lost 23 pounds in the past 14 months and I walk almost daily. My goal is to improve my nutrition, choose foods more carefully and stare down that farmer who stands behind the "Organic" sign. It won't give me actual control over my cancer, but it may give me a sense of control, which is sometimes just as good.

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