A Few, Little Changes....
Okay, maybe not so little…..
Hello my friends. As you may have noticed, I have not been around very much this past month. I was trying to get my TMJ pain under control, and then trying to figure out why I have GERD and really horrible sore throats; and then a few E/R trips for severe pain later …..I found out that my cancer has come back. Even though I went to all my appointments, and saw all my doctors and had all my scans, my cancer is back, and it might be serious.
It’s scary, and I’ve been spending the last ten days processing what it means, not only for myself, but for my husband, our families, our friends, our dogs—all of it.
I was supposed to be spending time in the desert, helping my 88-year-old mother after a nasty fall, but instead I’m at home, gobbling pain meds and trying to rest and drink water. And not totally freak out.
I’ve already had several appointments this week with various members of my team at Stanford, including a PET/CT scan, a meeting with the the lovely doctor that is (was) going to coordinate the “esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) with PEG placement”—or basically a feeding tube (through the stomach, as opposed to the simple nose tube); and yesterday’s was the biggie: the biopsy (or to be more precise: a laryngoscopy).
The biopsy had to be done under general anesthesia due to the mass’s hard-to-reach nature. I was only out an hour, and my doctor got a moment to talk with Cody while I was waking up. We won’t know more until all the tests are analyzed, so hopefully early next week.
In the meantime, I was contemplating shutting down Tofu Bunny, at least temporarily, because if I can’t eat any time soon, what good is it to have a foodie blog?? But after talking with some friends, I’ve decided to keep it open, and write about what’s going on in my life. Because vegans get cancer. I wasn’t vegan when I was first diagnosed with cancer three years ago (I was vegetarian) but regardless, I’m vegan now, and it happens—vegans get cancer. So let’s talk a little bit about wha this vegan is dealing with.
First off, I need a feeding tube because between the TJM (which lead up to my diagnosis), and the immobility of my tongue, chewing became nearly impossible. I’m somewhere between 99-100 lbs, and on me, that is not healthy, so a feeding tube in necessary. I had one three years ago when I had radiation and couldn’t eat, but the nutritionist tried to pump me full of this disgusting (and very non-veg-friendly) formula, but my body reacted poorly. This time I understand to only pump in a small amount several times a day—so my system can get used to being fed again. The dismal part is that due to the back up at Stanford, I need to go to my local hospital (again), and that’s where I had the painful PEG surgery three years ago, and the well-meaning, but uninformed nutritionist. When I met with the doctor from Stanford earlier in the week, they were like freaking angels in comparison—and were going to prescribe me with a plant-based formula! They were actually familiar and totally willing to hook me up! I can still get it myself, thank goodness, and there seem to me many more options now than just three years ago (or maybe we just didn’t look closely enough??). Back then I used vegan Orgain, so we still have that option. And I need the dang tube, so I’m just thankful that I’m getting it today.
Two nights ago, Cody jetted off to Costco and brought me home some supplies as you can see below. We are stocking up for the upcoming “journey.” I can’t imagine going through this without him. Having cancer is pretty fucking horrible, for countless reasons; but it’s nearly just as hard on the care givers, only for different reasons. While I’m hiding in the corner with a hoodie pulled over my face shaking with pain, all my poor husband can do is hold me, and offer me coconut water and lip balm, or simply let me be (sometimes the best option). He drives me everywhere—including the 1-2 hour drive to Stanford several times a week.
….Anyway, I’ve gotten a bit off track here; and I could go into so much more, but let’s stop here for now. What I’m trying to say is that I hope Tofu Bunny can return to vegan food one day. But for now, it might be a little bit more like Tofu Bunny’s Vegan Adventures in the Hospital. Or with Cancer. Or just …Random Vegan Adventures.
Thanks for listening my friends. More to come.
Up top is Cody & myself in front of Standford Cancer Center in Palo Alto.