Saturday, October 24, 2009

Food, glorious food

I've lots over 10 lbs in the past few weeks. It's a great diet: don't eat or be on a liquid diet for two weeks. You'll starve but the results are great!

When I first checked in to the hospital 26 days ago (yes, I'm counting) they wouldn't let me eat for 3 days because at the time we thought it was a gall bladder problem, and eating aggravated my pain. I was also getting lots of different tests that required me to not eat beforehand. In total it was more like 3.5 days and oh boy was I happy when they finally let me eat after that last test!

Then of course I was just on a liquid diet, but liquids are much better than nothing, right? Finally they moved me up to mushy foods - applesauce, mashed potatoes, and I decided ice cream could be included on the list because it melts, right? So it's still technically a liquid. Anyway, they finally put me on a full diet again, except of course for those pesky tests that require you to be NPO (= no food since the night before).

Then of course I started chemo, and all bets on food went out the window. Not only does chemo make you nauseous, but it changes your taste buds so that everything tastes different and most things taste terrible or vaguely metallic. Even water tastes bad, which is ridiculous of course because water doesn't have any flavor, but I can assure you, it tastes really bad after chemo.

The best thing about being in the hospital getting chemo is that you can eat whatever you want and you are actually encouraged to eat as many high calorie foods as possible. That means LOTS of ice cream! It's so funny because at some point I (an all girls) learn that you're supposed to minimize your calorie intake - don't drink juice because it's empty calories, only have ice cream once in a while (unless you are on vacation and then you can have it as often as you want, right Leesa?), eat lots of salads, etc. Well, when you're barely eating anything, people shove high calorie foods down your throat. The nutritionist keeps telling me to drink milkshakes (fine by me!), because water tastes so bad I drink a lot of juice, and I'm not allowed to have fresh fruits or veggies right now because I have almost no white blood cells (risk of infection from things that live in dirty soil that can carry bacteria). I'm stuck with milkshakes and ice cream and grilled cheese sandwiches. Tough life, right?

I have some foods that I always like to eat when I have chemo, usually my mom's homemade mac and cheese (awesomely cheesy), lasagna, and matzah ball soup (I'm Jewish, that's what we eat when we're sick). One chemo round I couldn't get enough tomato stuff - tomato soup, tomato sauce, lasagna, anything tomato-ey. This round I really haven't wanted any of those foods, except for matzah ball soup. I've been enjoying string cheese and grape juice. Kind of like wine and a good French cheese, right? Has living in France changed my chemo cravings?

I love being able to eat whatever I want without guilt for clogging my arteries and worrying how I'm going to work off the calories. I don't need to work off the calories! I'm still losing weight and they keep telling me to eat more. Keep supplying me with ice cream and I am happy to oblige. Really, if it weren't for the whole feeling sick thing, chemo would be awesome.


Zhu said...

You always make me laugh - love your attitude!

Indeed, it's not that often that we get to eat without guilt. The messed-up taste buds part sucks though.

I remember when I was a kid and I was sick (which was all the time!), I used to crave certain kind of food, and one of them was pizza with anchovies. Don't ask me why...!

However, I'm one of the few human beings on earth who don't like ice cream (it's too cold!!). When I had surgery many years ago and the nurses nicely brought me all you can eat ice cream, I cried. :-D

Kinzie said...

So, I must admit, I'm kind of feeling like a creeper because I don't remember if I've ever commented on this blog. But I found you from the assistants forum and I'm still reading and rooting for you. So, anyways, I just thought I'd say hi-- wish I could mail you some French cheese (which is sure to be millions of calories) but I don't think it would make it so well... But anyways, hello, and I agree with Zhu- your positive attitude is incredible and admirable. Keep writing!

Leesa said...

"Manga, Manga"... as any good Italian Nona would say to you... Eat up, girl!! I'm glad that you are getting to eat your share of ice cream!!! hehe!

Did you know that when you are on vacation and you eat lunch very late in the afternoon... you can actually forego dinner and go right on to dessert (ice cream, of course) at around 8 or 9 pm when you start getting hungry again but you don't want to eat a whole meal! That way, you are actually "saving yourself" from all the extra calories that dinner would have put on.. and go straight to the good stuff (like Z&Z, for example) and NOT even feel one bit guilty!! It's such a great way to travel! Mira, you taught me this.. Well, at least I know that we were too full to eat dinner... except for the one time with the wonderful Italian resto!!!!
I had ice cream the other day with Alex.. he brought back a pink of HD caramel cream and speculos crumbs.. SOOOOO YUMMY!!!
Lindsey arrived and I have the ice cream maker in my possession... I want the first flavour to be cinnamon... not til we get back, but I'll post pics when I make it and will maybe sent you some via La Poste.. hehehe
Take care,

Alexandra said...

Mira! I am so glad you can eat real food again, and the matzah ball soup and ice cream do sound delicious. I hope those things taste somewhat normal to you? I really enjoy reading your insightful and humorous entries. I hope they are fun to write too! Um, obviously if you wanted to, you could write a book. Food for thought... Talk to you soon :)

au soleil levant said...

Zhu - glad you thin it's funny! Pizza with anchovies huh Well, to each their own! You know you can get toothpaste for sensitive teeth that will make your teeth less sensitive to the cold of ice cream or ice? Sensodyne is the main brand in the US.

Kinzie - thanks! I keep hoping some specialty food store that sells good French cheese will open around here. I'm sure it would be unbelievably expensive, but it would be worth it!

Leesa - I expect many reviews of all the delicious gelato and ice cream you'll be eating on your trip! Can't wait to hear all abou it, and about your ice cream experiments when you get back.

Alex - Glad you enjoy the entries! I know I owe you a phone call, sorry I didn't call you back, had a kind of rough couple of days, my stent is bothering me again. It's less amusing than food :( Will call soon.

Anonymous said...

mmmmm! yum, icecream. I hope at least you can taste the wonderful goodness of icecream, otherwise that'd be a huge pity. I agree with Leesa on the HD caramel cream and speculos - so yummy!

Anonymous said...

I also read this article today

If I was a child with cancer I think this Dr would be awesome.

Animesh said...

Nice. So does your hospital matron sing

"My milkshake brings all the patients to the ward"



au soleil levant said...

Kim - ice cream tastes mostly normal. I usually prefer to eat cold things during/after chemo for some reason, they tend to taste better than hot. That's a nice article about the doctor, sounds like a really good guy.

Animesh - what is a hospital matron? I wish we had singing staff, that would be cool!

Zhu said...

Let me correct that, I don't want any misunderstanding. I don't think your situation is funny, far from it. But I do like the way you tell stories.

As for the ice-cream, it's not that my teeth are sensitive. It's just that I like bread stuffs better, such as cakes etc. I'm not a candy person either. So I can have some ice cream, but it's not my favorite. And since it's not that healthy either, I just usually pass... so eat chocolate cakes instead.

au soleil levant said...

Zhu, don't worry at all, I was not offended. I purposely look for the funny in this and try to make jokes because it's so terribly unfunny and otherwise I would cry all the time. I'm glad that other people can laugh about it with me!

I don't really understand not being an ice cream person!! How is that possible??! I enjoy a good chocolate cake too... I just like sweets in general!

Anonymous said...

Found this news item today and thought about you!

Zhu said...

I think I'm just weird. Everybody likes ice-cream... or so I've been told!

I also hate peanut butter and pop-corn. Yet, I manage to not skinny. So unfair! :-D

(Hope you are doing okay, thinking of you)

au soleil levant said...

Kiwi - thanks! Saw another copy of that article yesterday, was very excited!

Zhu - Popcorn itself isn't bad for you, it's when you start adding the butter and salt and cheese and caramel or whatever else that makes it so junky. Otherwise it's a good low-fat snack. I guess I can excuse you for not liking three of my favorite foods....