As you can tell, this blog is all about matters of the heart…
My Parents raised me to believe there are two types of people in this world: Those who eat to live, and those who live to eat. My family has always firmly fitted into the latter category with our Decembers full of Christmas food planning and with us regularly looking for new things to try.
I have to admit that I am completely obsessed with food and eating. There’s always something out there to try or imagine eating, and anyone who has spend more than bout ten minutes will say it’s my favourite topic to discuss. Actually they would say that I never stop banging on about it. I spend my days thinking about how to cook recipes, or where I can get the food I can’t cook myself.
Food is bit of a difficult subject when it comes to cancer treatment. It is so essential to keeping strength (and spirits) up but most regimes don’t exactly encourage feasting. Weight loss is one of the most common side effects, and with the wigs available these days one of the most visual.
Loss of appetite, sickness and taste changes has been and remained one of my biggest ongoing concerns throughout this journey. When I was told I could lose my taste buds I was honestly appalled. Food actually cheers me up, so being told I may not be able to taste it for several months seemed unnecessary and cruel! Thankfully I didn’t experience too many taste changes during my first treatment, I only went off chocolate. Seeing as it was Christmas, my siblings were certainly glad as they got all I was given!
Transplant was a bit of a different matter. Mainly because it somehow took me from being a teen foodie to totally obsessed. 4 weeks of either being unable to eat or having only food from ‘the muck truck’ (as a friend used to say) has changed me. Those long weeks of mouth sores and sickness mean I now want loads of food, great food, nearly all the time. I definitely drove my parents to almost insanity watching cookery shows in isolation (still do) because they couldn’t possibly see how discussing food, looking at menu’s, planning meals or just daydreaming could be at all comforting to someone so restricted at that time in eating. Each to their own I guess, and I am certainly one out on my own! There is nothing worse than feeling physically hungry but being physically unable to swallow even water…
I wouldn’t say that I have experienced terrible side effects taste wise….though my mum would definitely say no good has come of my new love for sausagey picnic products! I just don’t know what it is, I’ve always liked a cocktail sausage or sausage roll, but generally being a lover of quite exotic and fresh food would only ever really eat them at you know, picnics or kids parties….my love for scotch eggs is also quite something else!
Let me shout it from the rooftops though- food is vital to getting better. It will keep your strength up, a healthy weight makes you less susceptible to infections. If nothing else, we all have certain foods that just make a bad day better. For me that’s a takeaway Bao from my favourite gourmet takeaway, for some that’s a pot noodle. Each to their own.
If you’re currently on treatment, and want to take an aspect of your care into you own hands, eat yourself better. That’s not going ‘raw’ and eating only linseeds and blueberries by the way, but stuffing yourself silly with a variety of great food to help you thrive through treatment. It’s hard but by golly, I’ve seen the difference it makes. Calories vs. Cancer. Flapjacks are recommended, always.
Here’s to being a foodie, being ‘food happy’ and treating yourself. I’m certainly food happy right now after a feast from the ever delicious, mastercheffy Hokkei. A delivery from them to the hospital always brightens up what may have been a long and frustrating day (as today was!) and I’m quite sure squid had never entered here previous to me ordering from them! Mmmm salt and pepper squid…..
So that’s a slight introduction to me and food…..there will be much more to come. The next few blogs are all going to be centred on my stomach. After all, I am on a rather hefty dose of steroids!
Next time be ready to hear about the nemesis of all inpatient foodies….The hospital food trolley!
*dun dun DUUUUN*
(As always, I’d love to hear your recommendations to do with food, of any sort! I want restaurants to visit, if you know of any particular good ready meals, unusual foods that should be on a foodie bucket lists….just if you have something to say about food, tell me! Also, if you are a producer or owner of any foodie business, please know I’m always up for a visit*hint hint*)
So I’ve been back in hospital. Bleh.
Possible appendicitis, just what I need right? On the upside I’ll be having my Hickman line out soon!! No more tubey Em…. yeah, it is pretty gross.
So as of 1.13pm I am sat in TCT Cardiff, waiting to hear if I am going to have my Hickman line out today, with the lovely Beatrice and our very nearly matching hats, spending our time discussing names for our lines. Hector was the favourite (!)
Been in since Saturday afternoon, meaning I’ve been in hospital for 4 nights- 3 of which I was the only patient in! How odd. I ended up playing board games with the nurses, which was pretty cool!
On the good side, Beatrice found out today that one of her brothers is a stem cell match for her! YAY!
Funnily enough though she has two brothers, and didn’t know at first which one is the match…….slightly awkward, but just amazing!
Also today, I gifted our very first thing as a part of RemissionPossible- an earwarmer/headband! Though they aren’t ready yet we hope to get the gift boxes up and running soon!
So the other thing I’m going to talk about today is Look Good Feel Better. I went on one of their makeup workshops last Tuesday, and as promised on the last blog post I’m going to tell you all about it.
Look Good Feel Better are an international charity providing beauty services for women and teenagers with cancer. They aim to make ladies feel good about themselves and how they look, seeing that is one thing that changes dramatically during treatment- I know I look really different now! The whole ethos is that is you look good, you feel better, both about your look and in yourself.
The makeup workshop I went to was at Velindre Hospital, and it was me and my friend Jade who went (unfortunately no one else went, but that is a whole other story 😒) and we were treated like stars! Because it was just the two of us, we got to chat to the volunteers, and have our makeup done by the ladies, instead of follow in their lead, as usual with LGFB. What I loved about the volunteers was that they all had a close experience with cancer, one of them having had Breast Cancer, and the other two having had close friends and family battle- they all kinda KNEW what it was like, they had seen the effects first hand and it meant they did their job so well. I can’t really explain the difference it made, perhaps it was the atmosphere, it wasn’t like they felt sympathetic, like so many people do, didn’t feel sorry. They are ANGELS.
The BIGGEST thing about LGFB and the thing that made me totally amazed were the goodie bags. In fact they are so amazing they shouldn’t be referred to as goodie bags. Maybe ‘amazingly treaty super beautiful makeup goodie bags’ would fit the bill. Just about. Honestly, they were exactly what I needed, all new makeup (all of mine had gone off and a bit crusty during 4 months of basically no use) tips on how to do it
in the best possible way, tips for a pretty sickly looking face, for new eyelashes (YES they have grown back) and not-quite-there eyebrows.
This (as we will now call it) ‘amazingly treaty super beautiful makeup goodie bag’ contained all the make up I could want, from gorgeous brands as well as skincare products from equally amazing brands. The 12 step guide to putting all the makeup on is just Brill, I would recommend anyone to download it off of their website, not just people having treatment. (some of the makeup was Chanel, Bobbi Brown and Clinique! Still totally amazed!)-
Anyone interested in helping LGFB can help in a very easy way, without having to give any money! You can help Look Good Feel Better by recycling your used inkjet printer cartridges. All you have to do is visit http://www.therecyclingfactory.com/lgfb and request some envelopes, which you just pop the cartridges in and send off in the post! Doing this is effectively giving a donation to the charity, without you having to give any extra money.
If you do support LGFB in this way, please keep us informed!
Their website is http://www.lgfb.co.uk
Keep smiling! 😄