Sunday, April 30, 2017


Health is not static; it is normal to lose it periodically in order to come back to it in a better way. 


I feel lucky. Very very lucky.
-The passenger in the car that was maneuvered to the side of the road by my heart-attacked Lutheran ministering maternal grandfather who never permitted his children to use the word 'lucky'.

They also couldn't dance. Bummer. 


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It happened to me. 


There were two books I wanted to read. I put them into the amazon cart and it popped up with the news that if I spent only two more book pennies I would qualify for free shipping. Hmm, I thought. What do I really really really want in the department of forever? (I just re-read Harold and the Purple Crayon at work yesterday. The new book would have to be really really really good.) 

Went to work, and for some reason, I popped the title of book number one into the library search. It was there. I could not believe it. 

Book two. ON SHELF. 

Good Lawd have mercy, ya know? If they were any closer they might have bit me. 

Check your local listings.

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The Gilda's Club class is called Optimum Health-Preventing Cancer Recurrence and Having Optimum Health. It's three Wednesdays in a row. It used to be eight. It's run by a former orthopedic surgeon and a nutritionist except the nutritionist hasn't shown up yet. That bothers me not. I've never found a nutritionist who came close to visiting my reality. There's a pack of volunteers and they gather an hour and a half early to prepare the meal. I know. There's a meal. 

The first night was hummus and Roundy's variation of Triscuits which seemed strange because don't-when they talk about optimum health, don't they tell you you should only shop the edges of the grocery store? But we found later that these crackers were acceptable because they only had three ingredients. 

Next we had this carrot soup


Creamy Gingered Carrot Soup 

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large white onion sliced
3 tablespoons fresh ginger root-finely chopped
1 pound organic carrots roughly chopped
2 celery ribs-roughly chopped
2 large potatoes(yukon Gold) chopped
6 cups organic vegetable stock
Salt, pepper, Old Bay Seasoning to taste
2 cups Milk Alternative(Rice or Soy-We used almond)
Dash of Nutmeg-(Didn't have)
1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped(optional)

1. Place large stockpot over low heat. Add oil, onions, ginger root and sauce until the onions are translucent. Add carrots celery and potatoes and cool for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

2. Add vegetable stock and seasonings. Bring to a boil, Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until the vegetables are tender-about 30 minutes. 

3. Transfer 3/4 of the soup into a blender(remember it's HOT so take the stopper thing out of the top of the blender and BE CAREFUL.) Mix that back into the pot. Add milk alternative and nutmeg if you have it. Taste and adjust seasonings. Heat through over low heat. 

Serve plain or garnished with fresh parsley. 



And that was followed by this glorious salad. The reason we know it was glorious is that it was served on a paper plate? Still tasted really good. 

1 bag large mixed greens
1 bag spinach
1 bag carrots shredded
2 cans garbanzo beans
Chopped up broccoli (2 heads or 2 packs)
small tomatoes((2 boxes)
Sunflower seeds
Zucchini 2 medium
Chia seeds and walnuts for omega 3

Spectrum Salad Dressing Lemon Vinaigrette


And then dessert was cut up apples and pears. 

And filtered water to drink.(At the end-we were asked if we were hungry. Nobody was.) 

All the while-the retired doctor talks to us. He's friendly but he's kind of commander-ish. The purpose-fresh out of the power point notes-says they want to demonstrate that there are things you can do in addition to chemo and surgery and radiation. 

(Kind of contrary to what I was told on the exit of my first cancer surgery-if you recall-it was Go home and eat a normal diet. Right?) 

The side effects to the Gilda's Club program are as follows:
You will feel better.
have more energy
adjust your weight
sleep better
look better 
look healthier
and your other health problems will improve. 

There's a ton of talking about toxins. How can I sum this up for you. 1.Toxins are everywhere. 2.Stay away from them. 3.Get a spider plant for your bedroom. 

There. That's pretty much it. You're welcome. 

We did some meditations and some standing in place exercises and that was that.

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The second week, we walked into a warm room with some nice music on and the meal was humming along and it smelled so good. We were served some fantabulous spinach dip with gluten-free pita chips. The dip was SO good that the woman seated straight across from me took the entire bowl and dumped it on her plate. Oh yes she did. (I'll have these recipes for you soon if you want 'em.)

Then we had oven-baked sweet potato fries, an asian spiced sort of slaw and a handmade salmon cake. It was delicious. Really. I wouldn't lie to you. 

We looked at Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory food pyramid.  We learned a strategy for being hungry. Drink a glass of water and do a meditation. Huh. 

One of the interesting things he said was about motorized wheelchairs and how they do more harm because they remove the struggle of walking which is necessary to keep the body functioning properly. 

There's a guy involved in this who is a retired physical therapist and he presented the idea that exercise is necessary during the whole cancer ride which-in retrospect- makes absolute sense to me now. There's another guy who used to be an army cook. He plunked the spinach dip in front of me(before the lady across from me snagged the whole bowl) and said: EAT. 

I think I'm in love. 

And Wednesday is the last episode. 

Stay tuned.

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Been trying to branch out food-wise and one week we picked up a pack of jicama. I've had it before and I know it's hard to cut and I have exceptionally shitty knives which never really mattered to be before except now I take this blood thinner stuff and every once in a while I think-hey dumbass, you gotta stop taking chances-like the last time when I dropped the giant knife straight down in the direction of my foot and you had to see me hopping. 

I didn't know what you're supposed to do with it except maybe dip it into something? So I scored some guacamole and I was chatting with the lovely hispanic child/checker at Super Tony's he didn't know what ginger was and I didn't know what to do with this jicama so he kinda nearly laughed at me and said, no. Guacamole is not for jicama. Jicama needs lime juice and chili powder.  

Oh.

This week I am standing corrected.

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You don't know about my handcrafted gummy bears do ya? Yeah well. Gelatin is supposed to heal the gut. Or so I'm instructed so, instead of eating a bowl of gello-which I don't think I'd ever do, in this odd twist of events I thought it'd be fun to make my own Gummies. 



Uh huh.

The first ones? I used a juice called Red from Trader Joes. It tasted exactly like shoes. I permitted myself to dump them out because scientists are allowed to make mistakes. Really. Red was disgusting.

This next batch is made of fresh blueberries and lemon juice and honey. 






They taste better. Not great but way better. We've agreed to eat at least three a day until I try the next ones. I'd like to make a sort of a ginger/tumeric/coconut milk one next. I've made friends with coconut milk. 



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There were people at one of my jobs and they were acting exceptionally squirrely until a woman I work with informed me that Mercury is in retrograde until May 4th. Well, This made the day so incredibly entertaining because we anticipated that people were going to be out of their minds-what with the planets playing pool with their realities-so, we were all ready for them with our gracious hilarity knowing they were off their rockers through no fault of their own and I dunno. Maybe that information might help you too. 

If not? Make Natalie's cookies

I performed mine completely in a ziplock bag. 






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Thursday, April 13, 2017



So. Did I go home and eat an entire cake? First a story. 

Okay so. I go to this water aerobics class, right? And now, I'm older and wiser and before the class, I go up to the instructor and introduce myself. No big thang. Just being polite. Or whatever. 

She's a funny person so she smiles as she points at her left foot and says she's broken something in her foot so she won't be joining us in the water. Ooh says me. Okay. 

So the class starts and there's all that jaboinking around in the water. This class was actually hard-core and way later I found that it completely kicked my ass (no, really) but I digress. We're almost at the end of the class and she distributes noodles and she instructs me(because everyone else was a regular)that I should sit on the noodle with more of it behind me than in front of me and then use the barbells-one in each hand, and then I'm supposed to get my feet up out of the water. 
Not to worry. I made a drawing. Ish. 

My left thumb-no extra charge. 

So okay. There's (a younger and lovelier)me intensely concentrating trying to get all those things happening at once. One hundred percent pure focus. And looking at the teacher and I'm doin' it and I'm thinkin', yeahhhhhheh heh heh I got this.

Yay me. 


And I look over to everyone else in the class and they've got BOTH their feet peeking out of the water. I was trying to follow the instructors lead exactly and do that whole thing on one foot. 

Oy. What a maroon. 


So no, I didn't eat a cake that day because while I felt like maybe some of my invisible boundaries had been violated? I realized this conversation about food wasn't coming from a place of criticism at all. It's just a method of chat. An exchange of information. And I guess I can live with that. 

But look how easily you can get the wrong message just because you didn't set down your baggage and you're focussing on something completely different. It's kinda frightening, isn't it. 

Two days later it was Portillo's Fifty-Fourth Birthday and they had their extremely famous cake on special for 54 cents and I was driving by and I had the time and I brought a piece home and we shared it-over time. 

I'm not shooting for perfect. I'm going for better. 

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More Gilda's Club stuff coming up. Lawd willin' 








Saturday, April 8, 2017

Cake


One fine day, I was at work and there was a whole lotta cake. It was fancy and it had gold sprinkley things on it and it was surrounded by even more attractive(if that's even possible) cupcakes with even more gold sprinkley things and all of that was surrounded by a tiny string of electrified tiny white lights. It was a thing to behold. The lights especially. Woo.

So cool to be alive now, isn't it? 

I was putting my coat on to leave for the day and the birthday person said something like, Wow I'm so impressed that you didn't have any cake. 


Huh? thinks me and now my brain is slowing down-you know like when you've slipped on ice and you're starting to fall-and I'm realizing that she's now leading a tiny group of three other people in a round of applause(swear to god) for me because I didn't have any cake. 

Uh-huh. 

My eyelids are starting to blink in the slowest of motion which-if ya really knew me-is the sign that I am trying to process a reality that is beyond my current scope of belief. (Kinda like when Trump took the tiny states of the east coast one after another. I thought they were kidding. I absolutely did.)

My lids open and close like the wings of a helicopter that's lost power. 
Fwoomp.                   Fwoomp.                        Fwoomp. 


I'm uhh tryin' to, ya know uhhh, just uhh tryin' to eat a little bit healthier er sump thin' I manage to sputter out, but my head has created a Polaroid of the group and I've already decided I'm not going to know this group of people for very long/any more. 

Today there were glazed doughnuts and nobody lost a finger snatching a half dozen from the wrath of my jaw. 

Just FYI. 
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I had my first official massage in forever. I get them-what is known as-fo' free-but I couldn't seem to find a connection with a person mature enough to handle my fragile state of mind. Does that make a bit of sense? "Don't go to a cheap dentist", said my friend Kevin when I lived back in Queens. "You only get one set of teeth. Ever." It's kinda like that.  

I didn't want some overzealous/just beyond high school kid driving a fork lift over my scalenes or this one woman who offered to massage my gigantic scar into Neverland. I kinda like my scar. It reminds me where I've been. I forget all the time until someone decides to remind me. 

Anyway, we got a new grown-up(woohoo!) massage therapist who is going to school for acupuncture and somehow we got talking about cupping and then this Gua Sha thing and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to try it. Until it was time for me to get on the table. Then I was really worried that it might hurt. A lot. And the blood thinners. That worried me too. 

Welllll guess what? It was delightful. She used the edge of a Chinese spoon and she (lightly) worked my back and my arms and my legs and everything felt really warm and nice. Now about two hours later, my head almost fell over because I was so tired but I'm definitely going back for more. I might even learn it. It's that cool. 

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Ages ago, my Mah's neighbor ladies had a monthly Bunco game and I do not think she ended up attending regularly if at all and the quote was something like, "I don't even see people I want to see that often." 

And like all things Mom, I'm beginning to understand. The cooking thing we've been doing-man, it is SO time consuming. The shopping, the cooking, the investigating. I know it adds up to the balance your life is supposed to have. Like you SHOULD give that much time to your food. It will repay you ten thousand times over. The option is making an ass print on top of a piece of never-ending white paper coming off a roll at the end of the exam table, ya know? (Don't go there, gurl. I'm telling ya, the clothes are not even remotely attractive. Especially the socks.) But I feel like I am getting further and further from the Work I Actually Want To Be Doing. 

The strangest thing is I keep seeing things. All through the medical stuff. Every day at the library.  

I was sitting in a hot tub(you feel sorry for me now, don't you?) and I looked to my right and there was a face staring right at me. It was made of two pieces of wide webbing that secured the chair that sinks people who can't do stairs right into the water. It looked exactly like a guy with a mohawk and a goatee and a not-smiling mouth who was getting tired of waiting for me but I got the message: the pictures are not going to stick around forever. 

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We came across a Cathy cookbook on the donation pile of the library. Shockingly sexist in it's moronic- ACK! He Hasn't Called Me Back and It's Been 12 Days Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies-recipies. (Holy Mutha of Jayzuz did I actually live through that time? BPH(before purple hair)don't cha know.) But yeah, I did and what goes along with that, is a lifetime of criticism about ones weight whether it be up or down or leaning towards New Jersey and so, when a group of co-workers-no matter how well-meaning they might have imagined they were being-puts their hands together on behalf of your non-cake-eating-self? Your next move might be out the door. 

As my friend's shrink would put it, you can't not know anymore.