Friday, July 24, 2009

Oy, vey ...!

I have just been told that "if chicken soup is the Jewish penicillin, then the fried egg sandwich is the Southern." I don't know how true that may be (either claim), but I do know this:
one egg, fried in real butter, salted, peppered, and flipped in between two pieces of toast spread with Duke's mayo and a swipe of French's yellow mustard
just went down easier than anything else I've seen pass Jamie's lips in the past week. And that includes Gatorade and Jell-O. I also have a fridge and pantry filled with the makings for jambalaya, taco salad, spaghetti & meatballs, barbecue chicken, hamburgers, Chicago dogs,
11 more fried egg sandwiches, chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, and big bowls of Cap'n Crunch. The same eight to 11 pounds have been dropping off and reappearing on Jamie's frame since round one of chemo. These stats are greeted by our nurses (and me) with equal disdain and excitement, depending on which side of the median they fall. I've listened to Tess and Wendy encourage Jamie to eat, eat fat, eat sugar, just eat and eat as much as possible. And I've seen his gills turn green when I've encouraged the same munching, but in the wrong moment. I entered this treatment adventure with many fears and very few preconceived notions. But, my biggest misconception and mistake was somehow confusing chemo with Cuervo, thinking that one would (or could) somehow build up a tolerance to the infusion of poisons much like one does to the ingestion of potent potables. Might have something to do with simple naivete coupled with wishful thinking. Might have something to do with a long history of feeling poisoned on random Saturday, Sunday (or Thursday ... or Tuesday) mornings and that being my strongest frame of reference to overwhelming and insurmountable nausea. Maybe. It could go either way. What I've learned -- and feel more than a little foolish for expecting otherwise -- is that chemotherapy, particularly the aggressive badass version assaulting Jamie's system, has quite the cumulative effect. It has not been easy to see my husband's vibrant glow and lusty appetite for the richly layered flavors of both well-aged steaks and Scotch disappear. It has not been easy to see his skin pale, his pace slow, and his cuisine limited to liquid protein and well-chilled electrolytes. It has not been easy to hear that although injections are boosting his white cell count, his red cell count is shot and anemia is unavoidable. So forgive my excitement over the menu items listed above. Forgive my embracing real butter, real eggs, real sugar, white pasta, whole milk, and a big ol' mess of all kinds of trans-fatty things for which I've learned substitutes. Forgive me if, along with the 10 or so pounds my husband keeps losing and finding, I've found a good five to seven that aren't seeming to budge right now. Forgive me, if right now, part of the whole taking-care-of-myself-so-that-I-can-take-care-of-others includes indulging my own cravings for the food that's earned the label of "comfort" for a damn good reason. You'll forgive me, because I have. (And -- when a little bit down the road, I ask for your support as I whip myself into a better shape than I started with so I can keep up with Jamie when his healthy ass is up and running again -- I think you'll give it to me.) That entire menu up there? The one that that looks like what Harold & Kumar would eat if they didn't go to White Castle? It all may not make it onto Jamie's plate over the next two weeks. But some will, and the idea of each of them at least sounds appealing to him. And that has me feeling more -- much more -- than a little verklempt.

1 comment:

  1. Scary stuff. Prayers for Jaime.
    I feel blessed I didn't have to do Chemo. It's not been proven to accomplish anything for my type of C. I have tests again this week. Keep your fingers crossed for me.


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