Food For Thought

Food can mean more than just nourishment. It’s a way to share family time, share stories, meet up with friends, and even have fun with it. Making messes while cooking together or the occasional food fight just adds to the multiple ways we enjoy food. Food can even bring back certain memories. I remember cooking with my grandmother for Thanksgiving and then enjoying that meal with our whole family. Preparing food with my husband is a nice way for us to share time together after a busy day. I also remember acting like a kid and having a food fight in a restaurant with some very wonderful people who have been taken far too soon.

And I also remember the meal my daughter Crystal and I shared to celebrate her getting through her first cancer treatment without effects, or so we thought.

The first treatment

That first chemo treatment was a day of apprehension and promise. We didn’t know what to expect, but the hope of a cure gave us the ability to dive into the unknown with hope and trust in the doctor whom we had only just met.

We had to travel about 2 hours to get to the city and had a little fun walking through the streets, taking in the sites, and making fun videos. I was hoping all of our antics were keeping Crytal’s mind off the inevitable, but of course, that was impossible. Then we finally got to the hospital and time seemed to stop. Blood work, visits with the doctor, back to the waiting room where, eventually, we are taken into the infusion room and it starts.

After infusion

Surprisingly, the treatment seemed to go well. Crystal takes a few pictures to show that the 1st of 12 is done. The infusion took a bit of time, but Crystal was upbeat through the whole thing. When we were done, she was hungry. There was a place she wanted to try as a celebration of 1 and done, so off we went.

We ordered and got our food, but before we had finished, the chemo effects set in. Crystal became pale and ashen. We left, tried to get a cab, but ended up having to walk back to the bus station. Then we had the 2-hour ride home. It was awful, mostly for Crystal, but for me too as there was nothing I could do to help her.

Memory triggers

We made it home fine and although we had many scares over the following 11 treatments, Crystal is fine now and has been cancer-free for 3 years. The point of the story is her meal, which was a chicken dish, along with the smoothie she had before the treatment, these are foods she has not eaten since. Just the thought of these foods brings back memories and the feelings of nausea she felt that first day of treatment. It’s amazing how certain things can trigger both the good and bad times we’ve had in our lives.

A happy ending

Once Crystal realized some of the foods she ate prior to chemo turned into foods she no longer could stomach, she either didn’t eat prior to treatment or ate hours before, so she didn’t associate the food with nausea she felt from the chemo. As far as eating after chemo, she never did again.

The chemo wiped her out almost immediately after the infusion started. She had a rough year, but she has come out of it stronger, more determined, and believe it or not, happier. Although some foods are off her plate, maybe for good, that was a small price to pay to hear the words, no sign of cancer.

Wishing you health and happiness.

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