“What cake do you miss? Which would you most like to eat again if you could?” This is the question I asked Mum-in-law before I went shopping with a special idea in mind.
“If you could”. Mum-in-law is winning her war with the throat cancer. Its been a hard won victory and she has paid dearly along the way since her diagnosis over six and a half years ago. After her original operation to remove the enemy she was able to just concentrate on recovery, her body can recover at an amazing speed, her speedy healing is her superpower, but it does not enable her to grow back the parts of her throat which have had to be taken away.
The scars on her neck where glands were removed became hardly noticeable and she began to smile on both sides of her face again. After a while muscles in her tongue learned to move differently to help with eating and she began to get some feeling back in the severed nerve endings on the side of her neck. “Cake for breakfast” was again becoming a reality, granted they were soft cakes, custard tarts, cheesecake. But they were cakes none the less .
“What happened next gave us all a jolt. Mum-in-law got a sore throat and a couple of other all too familiar signs and symptoms. She went for scans and tests straight away and then waited… And waited some more for the results.
A couple of days felt as heavy as months, and then the results were finally given… it was announced that the cancer was back and after such a promise of a recovery, Mum-in-law was to have radiotherapy. This was a real jolt for Mum-in-law, but she found the strength to go on … Everything will be alright in the end, and this definitely was “Not yet the end“.
The Radiotherapy was horrendous enough for us looking on, quite selfishly on my part, I hope that I’m never able to really imagine what Mum-in-law went through, and survived to tell the tale. The one side of her throat was “nuked”, and her whole body filled up with poison , and for what seemed like an age, all we could do was look on as she turned into a wisp-like shadow of her former self until, finally, the news came that she was once again clear of cancer.
The battle to recover began. Mum-in-law needed to eat to provide the fuel to recover her strength, but how do you eat when your stomach has shrunk to the size of a walnut and your tongue has pretty much given up on you. “Mush” … little and often … not at all appetising, but necessary.
Gradually the amount she could eat became more substantial, and as some feeling returned to the side of her mouth and the rest of her tongue, Mum-in-law managed to eat a little more variety, but the extra weight needed to give her a fighting chance should another battle be needed just wouldnt happen.
Now if you were looking for help to diet, to shed a few pounds and maybe drop a dress size, I’m the last person you would ask to help… but if you’re looking for imaginative ways to increase the calories and pile on the pounds…I’m your man… or rather, woman.
Imagine a nice healthy smoothie, a combination of fruit and veg, ice and yoghurt, whizzed around in a blender and chopped smooth at high speed. Now imagine that smoothie with the ice and yoghurt replaced with ice cream, and the fruit and veg changed to chocolate … Once you’ve imagined this, your smoothie is quite literally only limited by your imagination.
Mum-in-law has been cancer free for four years now, there’s just twelve more months to go to reach the landmark of five years clear…. and the cake she missed most ?
Fresh cream apple turnover.