Sunday, December 24, 2006

Trespassing In Eden

Eating is no longer the simple pleasure it once was. Trying to keep myself well nourished has become a major ordeal.

Since I started chemotherapy, I'm repulsed by most of the foods I used to enjoy. Don't even say the word omelet to me or I'll barf all over your shoes. Also, I'm staying away from restaurant food now on account of the germ factor. (If you've ever worked in a restaurant you'll understand why.) But worst of all, I'm forbidden to eat fresh fruit. In fact, I'm not supposed to eat any fresh uncooked fruits or vegetables at all. Those bacterial outbreaks on lettuce or spinach or whatever that have made headlines recently would stand a pretty good chance of killing me in my raw-gutted, immunocompromised state.

And yet Sweet Baby Jesus, I would happily kill for a fresh, crisp salad right about now.

So anyway, I have confession. Today I am going to treat myself to a beautiful piece of forbidden fruit. I've bought myself one delicious sweet fresh ripe juicy locally grown seedless satsuma. The peel will come off easily, without contaminating the edible bits inside. It's been ten days since my Neulasta shot, so my neutrophil count should be fairly respectable. My gut ulcers are as healed as they're going to get during chemo. And man would it ever suck to come this far and drop dead from scurvy. So: I'm going to eat it.

You know, when I was small my mother used to tell me stories about how as a child she was always delighted to find apples and oranges in her Christmas stocking. I remember thinking that fruit was just about the lamest gift ever, and how pissed I would be if Santa ever left me produce instead of F.A.O. Schwartz.

So what can I say. I was a stupid jaded kid. Thank Dog, cancer has made me a fruitier person. Today, I gratefully risk my life for one single piece. L'chaim!

All I want for Christmas


Blogger belledame222 said...


When my mom was on chemo, I remember she was also repulsed by a lot of things she used to enjoy, and developed a taste for others she'd been indifferent to. Bland dairy products like cottage cheese, especially. At one point she said it was not entirely unlike being pregnant, which isn't something i'd expected to hear.

Can you not wash lettuce in extra-special de-bacterializing...uh, something? Yeah, I'm a big help...

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A girl's got to protect herself against scurvy!

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kim Chi. Kim Chi is salad; why not. And what bacteria could live through that.

Scrub your orange Liz.

7:08 PM  
Blogger Trasi said...

May it only nourish you, and delight your taste buds.

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband had the same sort of changes in taste when he was getting chemo; some were permanent, while others - both likes and dislikes - reverted when he was done.

I hope your satsuma was delicious.

10:17 PM  
Blogger Suzanne Horn said...

I've been a fan of yours since you wrote that living in Louisiana meant having a tree in your living room didn't necessarily mean it was Christmas.

I think you are an amazing and courageous woman. I've been following this blog for a few weeks since I heard about it from Regan's. You are in my thoughts and prayers for a complete recovery. There must be a book or a screenplay in here down the road. Until then, I will be following your progress and holding out all good thoughts for you.

Suzanne Horn in Glendale, CA

11:39 AM  
Blogger Carny Asada said...

If one of your gym rat friends is using L-Glutamine to increase muscle mass, you might want to borrow some: it also helps protect your gut from the effects of chemo.

Thinking of you, hoping you'll be eating fresh food soon.

11:39 PM  

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