Anna food

“Are you okay?” Ian asks for the hundredth time as we sit quietly in a Paris bistro. A day earlier our dinner had begun with a happy sense of anticipation. Sadly, it had ended with Ian trying to explain in french that I was sick because I had cancer. I had made it outside but only to the front step before I puked all over myself and the entrance.

I was horrified. Ian was horrified. The restaurant had given us a complimentary bottle of champagne. The food had been delicious. This was my first trip to Europe. I was supposed to be having the time of my life. I needed this vacation. I wanted to feel new again. This was supposed to be a vacation from cancer. Sadly my stomach had not complied. To be honest it hasn’t complied since we found the three new tumours in my brain.

Lately food has been my biggest struggle. The pressure associated with eating makes me want to run and hide every time there is a meal. It feels like I’m walking on a tight rope. A meal is no longer just a meal. Now when I eat my mind starts going a mile a minute.

“Will this taste funny?”
“Will I be able to swallow this?”
“Will I throw-up again? “

Europe is known for having amazing food, but I was so afraid of throwing up that I had to stick to what was familiar. This made me feel like I was letting Ian down by forcing him to eat at restaurants that served North American food. I also felt like I was letting myself down by not immersing myself in the culture.

I know in my head that this is a side effect stemming from my recent whole brain radiation. Still I struggle accepting that I am ill. In my heart I can’t cope with the idea that I am no longer an average girl, living an average life. I just can’t believe that its in the realm of possibilities that I could die in a year.

I am someone who clings tightly to independence and personal freedom. The more I hold on, the more my cancer starts to sway my emotions back and forth. One minute I’m facing my reality and the next I’m clinging to who I want to be. Its seems that when I least expect, challenges get thrown my way. My experience with travel and food is one of those unexpected complications. The food that is meant to be enjoyable becomes a land mine, unpredictably going off at any time.

Categories: Stories

7 replies »

  1. I don’t remember how I came across your blog, but it happened one day a few months ago and in one sitting I read every single entry. You are an amazing writer and I’m blown away by your honesty and realness. I was diagnosed stage 3, in my early 30’s, while pregnant. Fast forward 16 months and I have a happy and healthy one year old. Even though you don’t know me, I want you to know that I think of you often. You have a beautiful family and I love the legacy that you are creating with your words.

  2. Thank you for this. So glad you are so courageous to just get up and go … to Paris. (I could have guessed it was Paris as a lady is smoking in the bistro!) It takes courage to go and do what you want to, what you can do despite concerns (knowledge?) that you will be served a reminder of your illness. Still, you do succeed albeit (OK maybe not ideally) in doing things you really want to do. My best thoughts are with you. Hope you do have the time to do many more things you always wanted to do. Best wishes.

  3. We went to Europe recently and the food was hit and miss (we would just stop wherever when we were hungry, so we had some interesting places with this method). I hope you at least saw some great sites! Europe is an amazing place to visit, it is also a very exhausting trip.

  4. Metastatic breast cancer had changed my relationship to food, too. Chemo changes my taste buds so that familiar food and even water tastes funny, chemical. And I have mouth sorted that makes it difficult to enjoy certain foods.
    Oh and did I mention my round the clock opioid patch that brings my pain to an acceptable level and also suppresses my appetite?

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