When Life Gives You Lemons… Cook Them.

My best friend (29 years old) has stage 4 colon cancer. Shhh, she doesn’t want anyone feeling sorry for her. But anyway, that’s the (month) old news. The new news is, she can never have babies. That’s right. Because of the location of her cancer, the radiation is, with little wiggle room, certain to kill off all the eggs in her ovaries. The cost of the procedure to remove them and store them for later? $15,000. Not covered by insurance. Only about a third of their annual income.

I know she’s heartbroken. I can hear it in her voice. What I can’t do is hug her or look her in the eyes while I promise that everything is going to be okay, because she’s in California, and I live in New York now.

So the more in my face concern: My puppy ripped out her stitches. You see, when she’s really excited (aka always), she does this thing where she doesn’t just wag her tail, but literally her entire hindquarters waggle with it. Adorable, but non-conducive to surgery recovery, so after stitching her back up, the vet prescribed her a low dose sedative to help calm her down. The downside? Now she’s super woozy, and needs help to eat, drink water, and pretty much everything else.

Leaves me stuck at home, absolutely happy to give my puppy the care she needs, but with not much else to do in the in between. And I certainly don’t want to spend my time mulling over how my best friend’s life is un. fucking. fair. (Sorry for the colorful language, but I feel it’s necessary to describe the extent of the unfairness in this particular situation.)

So I cooked today. Boy did I cook.

lunchAnd I played with my food. What can I say? Five years old at heart.

Ignore the boring old turkey burger, and let’s focus on these delicious, amazing, sweet little orange peppers I picked up at the farmer’s market last weekend. Oh, how I hope they have them again tomorrow! I will buy them all. All. The ones pictured above are filled with black beans, corn, avocado, salsa, and mozzarella, topped with green onions. Broiled for about 4 minutes until the cheese melted. But I also filled some with bacon, garlic, artichoke hearts, and mozzarella (didn’t have any spinach, or I would’ve tossed that in too), and they were absolutely delicious, too.

So that was lunch, and my puppy made pleading puppy yelps all the way through my cooking it, so I thought I better whip her up something too (see previous entries about her being S.P.O.I.L.E.D.).

Hello Puppy Pumpkin Cookies:

They smelled so good, I literally ate one.

So from a human perspective, I can tell tell you that these taste a little bland. But boy did my puppy gobble them up and then try every trick she knows (which is a lot!) to try to earn more.

Now, like my puppy, I am also on a gluten-free diet. And I have to tell you, I had MY  FIRST MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH TODAY. I mean, my first moment where I actually thought I could really stick with this long term.

If this doesn’t look delicious to you, it’s because you’re distracted by the
Tomorrowland plate it’s sitting on. I get it. I love Disney, too.

Meet spaghetti squash. I’d never had it before, but I heard it was a “pasta replacement.” Being a pasta connoisseur, I was highly skeptical. But… the flavor is pretty close. Kind of like a buttery angel hair. It’s the slight crunch that’s a little off putting, but I eventually got over that. You see, pasta is my weak point. But this… I could live with this. (Pictured above with chicken sausage, kale, onions, and garlic.)

I also made peanut butter chicken jerk for my puppy, and Halloween bark to mail to my boyfriend. I wasn’t joking about cooking all day. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t make my best friend’s cancer go away. It didn’t raise money to pay to have her eggs removed. And it didn’t heal my puppy. But surprisingly, it did make things better. Life continues, and that’s a good thing.

How  to Be Awesome Tip #9: Shit happens. Don’t stop living because of it.

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