Early morning

We need to be out by 6:30 so we can get his labs by 8:00 am in Sacramento and then clinic is at 8:30am with the NP. I think we will be out quicker this time.

  Speaking of labs my numbers came back with another increase:( So Kappa is at 25. Lambda went down to 11.3 but with that, the ratio went to 2.25. It’s still not alarming numbers and only slightly over high normal but it is a trend for sure. High normal for the ratio is 1.65 so .6 over. I’m sure my doctor is not worried at this point and I see him next week so we can talk.

Anyway, this is a good lesson for me to not obsess and just know treatment will resume at some point. I’m actually proud of myself for not being too nuts about it.  I guess that’s a good thing?

After clinic, I’m going to the gourmet store called Corti brothers. When we first moved to California in 1975, we would shop at the other Corti bros location. I had just started graduate school at Sac State and we practically lived in Sacramento. We were living in Foresthill(the same area we’re in today but not the same direction) and I was driving down 2-3 times a week. Back then there was little traffic on I-80 at night and during the morning.  Now any time of day I -80 is crazy. Anyway back to Corti Bros. So when I was at Kiwanis house and shopping over at Save Mart, I looked over and saw the sign for Corti Bros.  I wasn’t planning to go in till the person who owns the RV said ‘Hey, you should go into Corti Bros. ” So I did and first, the deli is amazing and I discovered they have the French ham I have always wanted to try. Of course, I thought I’d have to go to France but no, here it was. It was amazing. Since I do love cooking and food, it’s a fun store to look around in. Today, I’m getting some olives from their amazing olive bar and some special burger blend for 4th of July.

All in all, it should be a good day!

 

It’s Nice to be Loved- Such WONDERFUL Friends

We were stunned at the outpouring of help and love from our small social circle.

Firstly, Richard McM appeared with a wheelchair for Dom and built a wheelchair ramp from our Kitchen down to the Living Room.

He returned the next day to “tweak” the ramp and remove our Master bathroom door and knocked out the door frame.  Such a great help.  We love you, “Big Rich”!!!!
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Secondly, a family friend from Newbury, Ohio insisted on sending us a Transport Chair.  Someone had done it for her, and she wanted to “Pay it Forward”.  (I promised her that I would do the same).  Wouldn’t you know it-  Amazon delivered a beautiful new transport chair just 2 days later! I’m able to lift it easily.  I’m keeping it in the hatchback of my Eclipse.

So very thoughtful.  We LOVE YOU, Rondi!
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Shortly after this, Dom ordered a Burn Barrel.  Dennis and Cheryl picked it up, cut the bottom off of it and set it up for me.  THANKS, guys!  We LOVE YOU!
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Then, last week, Wendy and Bubby literally FILLED my refrigerator and freezer with oodles of food.  Red Beans/Rice with Sausage, White Beans with Ham, Chicken and Dumplings, Dirty Rice (better than Popeyes!!!).  Into the refrigerator went Crawfish Pasta Salad and delicious Potato Salad.

Bubby is returning soon with a friend to remove the cap off of Dom’s pickup truck.  I can’t see out the rearview mirror and don’t trust myself driving that big thing with side mirrors.  What a GREAT help you have been to us!  Many THANKS!
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WHAT WONDERFUL FRIENDS WE HAVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Simple Eating

In this journey of minimalism, I’ve wanted to expand past the decluttering and streamlining things to food as well. Not so much decluttering that area but eating simpler and eating the same foods weekly to simplify menus etc. We do eat pretty simple but for some reason, I want to even more.

I’ve always bought bulk foods, rice, beans, etc since the 1970’s. Even soaps, detergents, canned goods etc because it’s easier for me and simpler to buy bulk and then not have to think about those things for 6 months. Back in the 1970’s we’d go out to a place called Mother Truckers by Ananda. Mother Truckers is still there and does a brisk business. Ananda is still there although many changes have occurred. It’s still a spiritual community based on Yogananda Paramahansa’s teachings. Anyway, we’d go out there, which was about a 2-hour drive for us, and get bulk shampoo, honey, etc.

Now co-ops are everywhere or Whole Foods and you can great bulk items.  I can even get Lundberg organic brown rice at Costco in a 12 lb bag. I can get a 10lb bag of sugar and there’s honey in large jars. I don’t use as much honey anymore so we just get a smaller jar.

I still get 10 lb bags of rice and beans and store in glass jars.  I use to buy the 25 lb bags but that was more than we’d use in a reasonable amount to time. I even have some of my original gallon jars I had from the 70’s. I use to go around to the restaurants and ask for their old pickle jars, mayonnaise because you couldn’t really buy the gallon jars anywhere.

I use a weekly menu that’s simplified to some extent but I’d like it to be more so. Maybe as I get older or further in this minimalist journey, I just don’t want to think about things like what extravagant meal do I want to cook. I want my food choices to be simple.

I like wearing the same clothes and keep my colors to black, white, gray and occasionally deep purple or navy blue.  So with food, I want to have fewer choices so I don’t have to think about it.

Our weekly menu looks like this

Sunday- BBQ or roast something ( need to refine this)

Monday- pasta something ( this can be mac and cheese,or lemon spaghetti, or ?

Tuesday- Taco Tuesday ( really anything Mexican)

Wednesday- Sorta whatever day ( this is the one I need to work on)

Thursday- crockpot something,  usually pinto beans or black beans Then we add tortillas, avocado, salsa,. If its soup in the winter fall, bread along side.

Friday- homemade pizza

Saturday- This turned into sammie Saturday. A simple sandwich of some sort.

I want to work on what foods we’re eating. We like and eat a lot of beans and then I usually use the rice cooker to make organic long grain rice for the week.

Some chicken, tofu, a little beef and a little fish (not too often).

Breakfast is always eggs/toast or bagel/yogurt/fruit

Lunch is a salad or leftovers or 1/2 sandwich

I just don’t want to cook extra fancy stuff too much anymore. I do love cooking and trying new recipes, but I still want a base to work from.

Eat More Fruit and Veggies

Seems like I am always on a quest to make better food choices, but “will power” gets in the way. As the holiday season approaches, what better time to TRY to commit to eating more fruit and veggies. We all know processed food, way too many grains, and tons of sugar are the staples of the American diet, and I am the first to admit I love to bake and sweets are my greatest weakness! But I am reading, learning from others, and trying to change the way we eat, slowly but surely. The Paleo lifestyle makes alot of sense to me, but actually making the change is difficult, so we are taking baby steps. My mother is insulin diabetic, and with EZ’s compromised immune system, we need to give ourselves every advantage by making better food choices. There, I said it, now I have to be held accountable. I’m not saying there will never be another Monkey Bread in our future, but we will try to do better on a day to day basis. 
My niece, Sarah, is an excellent cook, or should I say chef, and she has started a blog that can really encourage anyone who wants to make a change in what they buy and how they eat. She is especially vigilant about what she feeds her children, in order to establish better lifestyle choices from an early age. Her blog is called My Paleotastic Kitchen. I encourage you to go take a look at what she has to say.  In the meantime, here are a few things we have enjoyed lately. Have a great weekend everyone, and eat more fruit and veggies!

 P.S. Contrast these foods with many of the new offerings at the NC state fair here in Raleigh this week:  Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joes, and deep fried Red Velvet Oreos.We will NOT be sampling these…heart attack waiting to happen!

 

Fattypuffs and Thinifers

I have always had issues with self control, and my weight has suffered as a consequence of that. For as long as I can remember, I have always been a heffer. I am less of a heffer than I was once, but a heffer I still am. Worst still, I am an immobile heffer. They are the worst.

Since last August, as well as the other stuff that I have had to come to grips with, I have dealt with fluctuations in my weight as a result of whatever treatment I am on. In the grand scheme of things, my weight is far, far, down on my list of where I should be directing my attention and concern, but I worry about my appearance and when I am in a position where my weight has increased as well as the diameter of my thighs, it cannot help but sit heavily on my thoughts. I am waddling.

As somebody who never weighed themselves, the constant stepping on the scales I get in the hospital, means that as well as feeling losses and gains on my jeans, I see it on a screen. Before I had cancer, my image of people with cancer, the stereotype I mean, was a pale, bald headed person who looked a little malnourished. I never associated ‘fat’ with cancer. I get the impression, that a lot of people think like this too, regardless of whether they admit to it, because I am constantly being told how well I look, and I think my girth goes someway towards this impression (and hair growth). In the clinic, I see many people who fit my old stereotype and I always wonder why I do not look like that.

I suppose, I did have more to lose in the first place.

In the initial stages of my treatment, it would be fair to say that I lost my appetite. I was not interested in food. Eating became something that I had to do, rather than something I wanted to do. Others would have to remind me that I had to eat, for I did indeed, have to eat. Not feeling hungry was alien to me. Never in my life had I ever experienced that sensation, and as a result, as one would expect, I lost weight. I lost two stones, though the majority of this was in the first month and two weeks of hospital, may explain some it. I appreciated the side effect.

On PADIMAC, I couldn’t really understand the concept of steroid cravings, I had them occasionally, but because my appetite was suppressed, I assume by the doxorubicin, it did not make that much difference. If I gorged one day, the next day I would forget, unintentionally, to have a meal or two. I remember in the lead up to Christmas, I decided to give in to all my glutinous desires, for my transplant was scheduled in February, and anticipating some weight loss there, I literally, stuffed by face. I know I did because I wrote a blog about it. My want of sweet goods and meat fat, did not do too much damage however, because come February’s dose of cyclophosphamide, I managed to lose some of those pounds I had gained.

How things have changed…

And then, I did not have a transplant and instead, I started VDT/VTD, with its steroids, thalidomide and fatigue. You put those three factors together and what you get in return is a 10kg weight gain in four months. It may be even more, for my short term memory is questionable. I am not surprised by the gain. I am lazy, mostly be default, and I am almost always hungry, which, I am afraid, I give in to. When I am not hungry, I am tired and if I do not want to be tired, something sweet will carry me for an extra few hours. In short, my inner self is always telling me to eat. I suppose, because I have been so focused on my treatment, I thought that it really didn’t matter if I had full fat milk or cream or cheesecake or tin of corned beef as a snack. I really have been a gluttonous pig. A dirty, fat, gluttonous pig.

Clearly, I am somewhat fixated on my weight gain, well, as much as I can be given my current circumstance. I probably could have exercised some more self control. My fixation has grown after the person trained in ladies’ bits and pieces made reference to it on Wednesday. She shamed me because I was right to be shamed.

As I have discovered thus far, a change in treatment, means a change in appetite. I figure, if I am going to shit out my immune system, I might as well push out a few pounds as well. It is wrong to think of a transplant as an ‘easy’ way to lose weight. I do not think anybody can say it is easy. A transplant is not a diet, I have been told that by the Medically Trained People. I did not purchase clothes in March anticipating the transplant diet and then get annoyed that I have not yet been able to wear them. I am not worried that I will now not lose any weight. No way. Not even. I would never be that vain.

In three weeks time, I may wish that I did not have the poopy side effects, but right now, if I have to have a transplant and I have to have cancer, my self esteem may as well benefit from it. Right? Surely? It’s only fair. My soon-to-be-bald head demands it.

EJB x

P.S. And yes, I have made full use of my hospital waiting time today and a train journey.

Iron Deficiency Anemia

If you struggle with iron deficiency, and are not a meat eater, I can tell you a quick way to get 50% of your daily iron in one shot.  This is how I do it. For breakfast, prepare one serving of cream of wheat.  Add to it 2 ounces of fresh strawberries.  Make sure to Read More →

New Year’s Resolution – Healthier Eating

No doubt about it, I love to cook, take pictures of food, and try new recipes. I am especially attracted to desserts! Pioneer Woman recipes are some of my favorites, and it’s no secret she loves to use sugar, heavy cream and butter. As 2013 approached, I decided it was time to tame the sugar monster a bit and attempt to prepare healthier dishes. How better to do that than Whole30, “an original program designed to change your life in 30 days…a short term nutritional reset”. Thirty days to eat real food; nothing overly processed with ingredients you can’t pronounce. Not only would this be good for me, but I knew EZ and my mother would benefit from it as well. I liked the structure and thought, “Thirty days…I can do this!” So I began it on January 2nd, and much to my surprise, I did it and I liked it! (I am not a nutritional expert by any means, and I understand this may not be for everyone, but feel free to read about it and decide for yourself.)

My grocery items looked way different than they used to:

Here is a fitting description from Whole30 of what I needed to do for the next 30 days:

Your only job for the next 30 days is to focus on making good food choices. You don’t need to weigh or measure, you don’t need to count calories, you don’t need to stress about organic, grass-fed, pastured or free range. Just figure out how to stick to the Whole30 in any setting, around every special circumstance, under any amount of stress… for the next 30 days. Your only job? Eat. Good. Food.

It’s pretty simple…no sugar, dairy, grains, MSG, alcohol, sodas, white potatoes, or legumes. That means your grocery cart will be filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, quality meats and seafood, eggs, good fats, nuts, and sweet potatoes. And no weighing for 30 days…it isn’t about the weight as much as it’s about how you feel when certain things are eliminated from your diet. One thing I know for certain…I felt better and was so proud of myself for being able to say no to certain foods, regardless of what people around me were eating. I never thought I could have that kind of self-control.

Below are some of the meals we made on the plan:

After the first 5 days or so, the hardest thing to do without for me was creamer in my morning coffee. Just couldn’t handle it black, so drank mostly apple cinnamon tea. For the most part we didn’t feel deprived, fruit never tasted so sweet (my favorite dessert became grilled pineapple), we loved the beautiful color of fresh fruits and vegetables, our stomachs and appetites shrank, we didn’t crave sweets, no more acid reflux, bowels became very regular, and we all had more energy. After the 30 days I had lost 9 pounds and EZ and my mom lost pounds as well (they weren’t as hard core as me). I have kept the weight off and lost an additional pound or two, even having some dairy, sweets and grains occasionally. It has definitely helped me think about what I buy and what I put into my body, and I am still making much better choices for the most part. I am probably going to do another strict 30 days soon, just to keep from opening the floodgates of sweets, dairy and breads again. Anyone else have healthier eating and/or weight loss as a New Year’s Resolution? Would love to hear how you are doing with it!

 

Yum yum sauce

A friend recently introduced me to a small fast food restaurant called Tokyo Express. Seriously, I could eat there every day.  At least twice a day. Tokyo Express is in a strip mall off the main drag.  It’s a small place, nestled between a tobacco shop and a beauty supply store.  I never went there Read More →

Here’s to 2013!


Happy New Year everyone. It has just occurred to me that for those very superstitious people out there  it is going to be a very long year especially if they have to write down the shortened date on a daily basis! Luckily I’m not superstitious, but I am ever so slightly apprehensive about the milestone birthday which will arrive in June. 

As we start a new year with a nice fresh diary (actually I haven’t got one, I forgot both diary and calendar) I am resolute that I won’t be “fat and fifty”. So I will try my best over the next few months to lose a bit of weight and get into a reasonable shape. It won’t be easy, as I’ve mentioned before, my relationship with food tends to be rather chaotic, food to celebrate and food to commiserate, either way it is always the unhealthy stuff that makes it to my plate. I need to be in a permanent state of neutralness! I’m a total food addict. 

After the success of Thinning Thursdays two years ago I realised that having to report back to all my blog readers (real or imagined) spurred me on to actually lose weight each week for fear of the shame of reporting a gain. So I hope you will all indulge me and allow me to take up valuable space in the blog-o-sphere with my dieting anecdotes.  I might even post some really lovely recipes for low fat healthy meals including home made burgers and coleslaw (home made too), low fat Southern fried style chicken (baked in the oven) and of course my butter nut squash and  bacon soup. Tonight it is a healthy chilli con carne, the only argument will be how spicy to make it.