Saturday, March 01, 2014

The feeding tube and the desire to pound orange juice

See this here egg?

Egg

We'll come back to it later. It's important.

I've more or less accepted that I'll be getting all nutrition through a tube in my stomach from now on, which means I can't take in anything that's not liquid and lump-free.

And now that I'm essentially Nil by Mouth 24/7, of course I want to consume everything that even remotely comes close to my head. Of course.

I get obsessive over particular foods. For a while I had a huge craving for really chilled fresh apple cider. We had some in the house so my mom could try it. The fact that I knew it was there, waiting quietly in the fridge for someone to take the whole bottle and just chug it (me? Is it me?? Oh ...it's not) was almost painful. I felt like Allie Brosh during her Cake episode.

And then it started to go all fermenty, so we threw it out. And the problem seemed to fix itself: no more craving.

Until the orange juice.

The apple had been the last thing I'd had to drink as a "normal" while I was in hospital (actually a delicious JP Licks' apple sorbet freeze). So at least I had some idea where that craving had come from.

But the orange juice had no similar origin story. And yet here I was, fixating on glasses of OJ in magazine ads, or staring at the pitcher of bright juice on the TV family's breakfast table, all but wanting to run onto the soundstage and yell, "What's wrong with you people? You want to let this go to waste??" before grabbing the jug from a surprised TV mom and pounding the entire thing.

This time, I thought, I'll be smart about it. Rather that ignoring the need altogether, I'd meet it head-on.

I got a 6oz box of Tropicana and a straw. I curled up in the only position in which I can reliably drink water without it coming out of every orifice (on my side, curled in a ball). I started to drink.

Hm. Is that all there is to juice?

Yep, somehow the fantasy of orange juice had far outweighed the reality. I even tried squeezing a fresh orange, to see whether that made a big difference. And while it is markedly better than the pasteurized stuff, it's still OJ.

Obsession over.

After thinking about this a lot, I've worked out a way to approach the cravings that deals with them more effectively.

Think about your own history with food. You must have a Platonic ideal that comes to mind when you think "donut" or "steak" or "wine." Why is that pie from that diner in Maine the best ever? Because you'll never have another like it.

And you can go through life with the knowledge that it's probably still available, and probably will be just as good, even if the context and situation are different. Or maybe it's the diner you'd always stop at on your way home from the weeks' vacation, so it has a special meaning.

Which brings us back to the egg at the top of the page. This was the dessert at the much-described three-hour lunch at Club Allard in Madrid, a meal that, in itself, will never be topped. The egg's outside shell was made of chocolate, carefully painted with metallic paints. The white was coconut and the yolk was mango.

It was one of the greatest things I've ever eaten in my life. And I'll never eat it again. But it that reason to complain or become obsessive? Of course not.

I just need to apply this thinking to every sandwich, piece of chocolate, slice of cake, banana milkshake and plate of cheese I come across.

Wish me luck.

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23 Comments:

Blogger Natalia García said...

Prima eres otra cosa...... una campeona, miles de bendiciones y hay que seguir orando por un gran regalo del Padre del Cielo.

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't imagine. But you can and that's the key. I do wish you luck.

8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot eat a lot of foods I like. I wonder if others appreciate that they can. With your blog, maybe they will. Thank you for writing. I think your honesty about your experiences is admirable.

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

acarIncredible story. Thank you for sharing. Don't lose your sense of humor!!

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am new to Boston and just read about you and your blog. When I tell people why I can't eat or drink or taste the way they do, they tell me they have never heard of tongue cancer, as if it's a poor excuse. Now I can change their lives by telling them to read LimeyG, a woman whose imagination is more sensory than their reality. Thank you for your grace and eloquence.

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hilarious and heartfelt. Thank you for sharing your journey. Sending positive thoughts to you....what a fierce and fiesty warrior you are!

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As wonderful as good food is, your writings are better -- brightening the world with joy of life and love in a way that will last for a long time. Thank you, and here's one more person beaming luck-waves at you 24x7.

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my first time on your blog and I just want to say "Come to the dark side! We have cookies, and everything else nommy, and you can stay as long as you wish!"
-Your interwebs admirer

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Liliana said...

Wishing you luck and continuous travels with and through your thoughts. Thank you for sharing them so we can accompany you and ourselves in the reality / possibility of such journey.

I'd like to create a glass bead and send it to you. Something that you will hopefully not want to eat but will want to keep for travels of a different sort.

Let me know if you're open to this and e-mail me liliana@lilianabead.com

Thinking of you, your significant other and your family & friends

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tremendous blog, your story is inspiring, thank you so much for sharing it. I hope to have your courage one day when I need it.

- with love from another Carolyn who loves food and also calls her boy Boy!

4:50 PM  
Blogger Kim A. said...

Just read your story in The Globe. Your spirit is remarkable. I've been dancing with the cancer beast for the last 9 months...sometimes it helps knowing that there are others out there who KNOW this "waltz," right?
Stay strong.

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a 55 year old man and after reading about your incredible battle today in the Globe all I can do is cry for what you have had to endure. I am glad you are being taken care of in such a caring way. I wish terrible things like this never happen. I am not sure I have ever read about anyone so strong and living life to the fullest everyday.

7:35 PM  
Blogger Jayhawk Fan said...

You have given us a glimpse into your soul and it is beautiful. Thank you for sharing with us your struggles, your love story and your bravery!

7:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too went through oral radiation. Every day was a new scary battle. The mask. The bolting to the table. The darkness and the noise-swish and swat I named them as the machines circled my head. Please know I am thinking of you always. Blessed be.

8:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with all my heart. Such a blessing to read it from your words and our experiences with this life is all about this concept of what we can have more, instead of what we have. Way too many mental obsessions over the best wine, chocolate, ice-cream, sex..I am so happy to find your blog and you have touched my heart.

12:07 AM  
Anonymous Sylvia said...

Thank you for sharing your story with the Globe. I'm going to pin it up on the bulletin board (I'm old school). Your courage & humor, both inspiring. Makes me think of my eating...shouldn't waste any bite...appreciate every morsel. with love to you & Diego, from a stranger

6:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read your story in the Globe and felt compelled to contact you, As a fellow foodie I can't begin to understand how tortuous this must be but I much admire your strength and humor . Thank you for reminding us all how lucky we are to have the enjoyment of savoring food. God bless your good hubby and know good thoughts and prayers are sent your way.

8:31 PM  
Blogger Diane Scinto said...

I just read a wonderful tribute "Eat, Drink, LOVE" in the Boston Globe written by Bella English. I only wished that I had known about your blog earlier. Please know that your story becomes our story.You are helping so many people with your willingness to share your struggles, strength,and humor. Thank you! -Diane

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Mim said...

I am praying for God to give both of you tremendous amounts of strength & courage as you walk through this very difficult time.
 “May the Lord bless you
and keep you;
The Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
The Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”
Numbers 6:24-26

5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog made me think about life, loss but most of all love. God bless you and your incredible husband. I will never forget you.

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

aaaaah yes, and you'll always have that memory
and that in itself is wondrous....chocolate, mango, Spain.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Saul Wisnia said...

So true about those meals you'll never forget. The sea bass in Maui on my honeymoon. The rainbow trout in Kentucky while driving cross-country. May all your cravings be filled, Carolyn, now and forever. You deserve it.

2:00 AM  
Blogger suzie sims-fletcher said...

Ah Carolyn - what is the first food you ate on the other side?

Did they have DUCKINA CAN waiting?

Thank you thank you thank you.

9:49 AM  

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