Cake and rage~

562337_10152215658810400_934829727_nThis is a piece of cake.  This is the piece of cake that Handsome Husband ate after his lunch yesterday.  Handsome Husband ate this piece of cake not while he was sitting at a dining table in a house, or at a restaurant, or on a sun-filled patio.  He ate it from a tray table that perched across his hospital bed.  Dinner dress was a green patterned hospital gown.  His hospital gown was accessorized by an oxygen tube thingy in his nostrils.  It helps calm the coughing and opens his airways a bit.  Which are, of course, compromised what with the lung cancer that is ravaging him.  It looms most largely in his left lung, though the right lung is also involved.  And this is the piece of cake that is the first piece of cake that Handsome Husband has allowed himself in two years.  This is also the piece of cake that I would symbolically stitch on a piece of material as a flag to wave defiantly from a pole.

Rage.  Rage and cake.  Yeah, those moments have happened for me.  Because Handsome Husband did everything right.  He hasn’t just eaten well in that he ate a balanced diet.  In these last couple years of travel, since his first cancer (our old friend Wilson), and the systemic fungal infection (is that what he’s had, or has it been a continuing growth of an undiscovered cancer all along?), he’s gone  sugar-free, gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, everything free.  We’ve spent thousands on supplements.  Really good ones, not the kind you get at most stores.  He’s always loved research, so, when presented with the challenge, he dug in to discover every frickin’ thing he could about being healthier in every way.  Mind, body, spirit.  And believe me, folks, eating well on the road is a tough proposition in any circumstance.  Eating in a truly healthy manner…well, its been a massive challenge and we never quite figured it out. But oh, has he made the effort!  Which brings me to my rage.

I woke up a couple of days ago-day 2 of his hospital stay, here at our rental, and went to the kitchen to make some breakfast that I didn’t feel like eating.  We’d gone out of here in a rush on the day he went into the hospital.  Making a trip to the ER is seldom done in an organized manner, is it?  So the special tea that he’d been drinking was sitting on the stove top.  Its’ a vile tasting tea, but it was going to help build his immune system.  A handful of various supplements were on the counter.  Almond milk in the fridge.  Healthy cereal in the pantry.  Organic, range-fed eggs in the fridge-and have you priced those things?  Really expensive.  And none of this stuff just happens on its’ own, you know.  The tea isn’t in a sweet little tea bag.  No.  It must first be soaked for 1/2 hour, then steeped.  Then sit to cool off.  And the eggs can’t be cooked in any kind of butter or regular oil.  It must be cocoanut oil.  Even olive oil, which is good for you, isn’t good to use as an anti-stick because of how it  breaks down or something when heated and that isn’t good for you. Whatever.  And, of course, he couldn’t have toast with that because he couldn’t eat wheat or gluten, and any breads that are gluten-free taste like crap.  Not that you can butter it anyways.  Or at least not with regular butter.  You can use almond butter, (have you priced that recently?)  No bread for two years either.   Two large water bottles occupied one full countertop.  Reverse-osmosis water. In a BPA free jug. All the metals were removed from the water, it was purified, etc.  The price on that is actually really good.  But carrying that 5 lb bottle around?  Try it.  The list is endless.  The results of those lists littered the countertops, left in a whirlwind drive to the hospital as Handsome Husband’s face crumpled under the pain he was experiencing.  From, what we know now, was the cancer.

I’m not saying my eyes actually turned red, standing in that kitchen, but boyohboy, did I feel a rage rise up inside of me.  Handsome Husband has denied himself so much in these last couple years, food-wise.  He hasn’t felt deprived, necessarily, but I felt deprived for him, as eating became such an intense research operation. I wanted to sweep every bit of all that crap off the counters, against the walls, everywhere.  Yes, dear readers, I was raging against…food.

He’s done what he was supposed to do.  He balanced acidic foods vs whatever the hell else it is you’re supposed to balance, built up his immune system, rid his body of the sugars that feed cancer, detoxed the metals.  Exercised, did strength-building, meditated. All the fucking things he was supposed to do.  That we’re all supposed to do.  Its’ been an absolute fucking struggle to learn and do it right, and do it on the road, with few to no cooking facilities.  But bygod, he did it, because he’s nothing if not intent and determined.  And he isn’t one to rage about this, never mind anything else.  He’d say well, he’s healthier now for it, going into this cancer.  He’s probably right.  On that particular morning, I was the one who was raging.  Yeah, I probably have food issues.  I mean, what balanced-mind person with a healthy relationship to food wants to get a heat seeking missile and demolish any and everything that smacks of, well, being healthy?

Its’ all normal, I know this.  I need a target for this helpless feeling. Well, I’m having my revenge, people!  By god, I’ve actually had a few diet pepsis.  With aspartame in it.  I didn’t add aspartame to it, but we all know that’s the sweetener in it.  And I’ve eaten some milk chocolate.  Not that dark cocoa crap.  And I’ve liked it.  Take that, you dastardly….something!

When presented with the cake on his tray, Handsome Husband looked over at me and said “Ordinarily, I’d let you have this piece of cake.  But, you know what?  Fuck it”.   And he ate it all by his own self.

Rage against the machine, man.

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4 thoughts on “Cake and rage~

  1. I wept and I smiled some reading this, Alison. I love how you wear your heart on your sleeve – and use your writing ability to express it all.
    Ken was telling me when Chuck worked at P&S on base he was diagnosed with high cholesterol. Instead of using those crappy statins (Crestor, Lipitor, etc), Chuck was determined to do it by diet. It works, but it takes a lot of conviction, determination and will power – virtues, the both of you are blessed with immensely.

  2. Know this, and maybe find a little comfort in it. I’ve eaten healthy for all of my adult life. I started buying my own organic foods as a teenager, a time when Ken was addicted to Diet-Pepsi and eating thing marked low fat but that were filled with all sorts of crap. (He went organic/ free range when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer) As a result my children have benefitted because they have both grown in a house hold of whole foods, even when Granna told them that organic was gross. I’ve learned countless lessons about living and loving from Dad. I also learned how to overeat, and emotional eat from him. With all the extreme stress I’d been under I unconsciously turned to that, much like your biological kids learned your food coping behaviors, sweet and picky at an early age. Where I’m heading here is in no way to invalidate the intense emotions you must be feeling over doing everything right. Why? Why when he, we, have done everything we should have done?! You should have. I was at a breaking point when you guys showed up for your stay over the summer. Seeing dad exercise the same kind of dedication, strength, and commitment to his eating habits that he has in other areas of his life helped me stop emotional eating. I stopped reaching for food out of frustration and overwhelm, and sadness. I started circuit training on trails as an outlet for anger. If my Dad, who was about to turn 60, who I’d been trying to get to eat healthy for decades, and who had recently survived cancer, who had reinforced these eating patterns for years was setting the example, paving the way while under duress- I COULD DO IT. And I have. I never could have done it other wise. Never. He was my inspiration. He taught me a negative coping mechanism, and then then as I struggled to move away from it with little effort but his presence, he taught me a positive coping mechanism instead. It has been a gift and a blessing that has changed many facets of my life. Emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually. It is a gift to my children too. NO GOOD DEED, NO GOOD INTENTION, NO CLEAR ACTION IS EVER, EVER IN VAIN. We always touch life somehow when we do what is right.

  3. Don and I were just talking about this last night. About the diet part and how he has stayed away from sugar because that is supposed to be the main fuel for cancer and how he was taking turmeric because that is supposed to eat cancer itself….and yet here he is in bed with cancer. WHAT THE HECK????? I’m glad he ate that cake. I hope he gets another slice tonight. Maybe I’ll just bake him a cake and ship it out there. Yeah. Doesn’t THAT take the cake.

  4. Alison, I feel your rage and your pain. As healthy as one may try to be, sometimes its just not up to us. I lie awake at night wishing my husband didnt eat so much causing a fatty liver and subsequent nonalcoholic cirrhosis and now liver cancer. I take some blame for buying the food that he overate even though I never pushed second helpings. What will be, will be.

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