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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Too Much Cheese- Oh Please.

Stauffers Mac and Cheese. It comes in a box in the frozen food section of the grocery store. Its something I know all too well.

If you had have asked me to eat it about a year ago, I may have vomited just thinking about it. But tonight, I'm nauseous, I'm hungry, I need to eat something, and Stauffers Mac and Cheese is all I want.

I hate what it represents, but I need to eat something.

When I was in Transplant, and maybe even before during the first round at Sick Kids in Toronto, (I can't remember) I was only allowed to eat and drink a few things. I refused to eat the hospital food. I still do. It repulses me. I could only drink Aquafina or Dasani water. Those are two brands that are pasteurized and with my compromised immune system in transplant, I had to be so careful. It was awful how strict they were. I couldn't have someone bring me McDonalds or Wendys if I wanted it. Foods had to be cooked to kill anything potentially harmful. When I say potentially harmful, I mean only to me. Not to an average person with an immune system. This really limited my options. This is where Stauffers and Cup O Noodle comes in. I would eat it for every meal. In fact typing this now, cup o noodles actually sounds pretty good.

When I'm out of the hospital, I can't touch these things. They remind me of chemo, and nausea and feeling terrible. They represent me being sick. So tonight, it hit me, I am sick, again. I was laying on my couch rolling around in pain, starving but having no appetite. While my mom went through a horde of options, none of which sounded appealing, I could taste Stauffers mac and cheese in my mouth.
"Mum, I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think I want Stauffers."
We hopped in the car and off we went to the grocery store.
"Are you sure babe?"
I couldn't believe it either. Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE Kraft dinner, but its not the same thing. Something about Stauffers, and my stomach on chemo- it just works.

When we got home, I popped it in the microwave. I was too hungry to wait to cook it in the oven. The smell reigniting the feeling of being in the hospital. Taking me back to that place, where this was something I wanted, I needed because nothing else would do. As I stirred it, mixed emotions floated through me.
You only eat this when you're sick. You only want this when you're on chemo. You're really sick and on chemo.
Its amazing how the simplest thing can reignite a feeling. A smell, a song, a touch, can take you right back to a moment that its so real you actually feel like its happening all over again.

For me, the smell didn't ignite the nausea or fear of being back in the hospital, because I am sick again and luckily not in the hospital but in the same mindset. We loaded up on the Stauffers; meatloaf, Salisbury steak, lasagne, noodles and meat in meat sauce. None of which sounds appealing to me, but when I'm nauseous and hungry - will be all I'll want. It will be interesting to ask me in about a year, when I've beaten this and am back to eating normally, healthy, how I feel about Stauffers, because I bet I'll be repulsed. Until then, I'm finally going to bed with a full tummy.

Its weird because last night a family friend brought my dinner, tortellini in a tomato cream sauce that was incredible, but my stomach wasn't having it. It's official, the chemo effects are taking action, I can only stomach Stauffers. Yay. Chemo tomorrow... lets do this. Its number 4 out of 6. Although they've added more radiation, I have yet to find out if they are going to add more chemo. The only plus side to this, I've finally lost all my pooter hair! YAY for never having to get a bikini wax again, or heck I hope its permanent. See, there's always a bright side ;)


  1. I recall you being able to stomach the "grape martinis" while in the hospital last time. I can't actually remember the flavor...but I do remember you walking up and down the halls with your pop or juice poured into your martini glass. Yup...whenever anyone asked what you were drinking, you'd reply "a martini" as though everyone staying in the children's hospital drank their jusice from a martini glass. :)

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