There's just no way around it: Cancer is fattening. Or chemo is. Well, mostly spending a week with a friend going through chemo and trying to keep her weight up is thigh-widening. Fabulous, but fattening nonetheless.
It's really not Joy's fault. I mean, she didn't force me to eat the (organic) cookies or the soy/flax chips (with guacamole) or the shrimp burrito or to choose pasta for every dinner...but the one that involved fish and chips. At least she and I split that. It's not her fault I couldn't say no. No. But it's not like it was a level playing field. She gets the bonus of having a tiny appetite (chemo bonus?). I have the appetite of an Olympic athlete. If only I trained like one. Which is the other problem: Chemo and cardio don't really go together. Throw in a shot of Neulasta (to help her build T-cells) and you have bone pain on top of fatigue. So, a few laps around the block weren't really going to happen. Not like I couldn't go on a walk by myself. But that's so not the point. The point was to spend quality time with my friend going through the cure. And so I stayed by her side...and went toe to toe as we snacked my butt into oblivion.
Laughter might well be the best medicine, but it is total crap at burning calories. Seriously. Because we laughed a lot. A lot a lot. Not even Percocet could dull Joy's sharp wit. We were doubled over, catching our breath. And that requires a good deal of ab work. Shoulders, too. But I saw no results, other than laugh lines.
You would think that waking up at seven each day to help with Laddy's breakfast and make his lunch would help burn some calories, too. Nope. But I suppose I didn't have to eat the cut off crusts on top of my toast. Not literally on top. You know what I mean. The way-too-basically-simply idea of putting them into the trash didn't sit well with me. Thanks, mom, for tattooing all those starving kids in China onto my brain. Food guilt is child abuse, people. Piggyback rides and park playing aren't calorie busting either, FYI. But, it is fun.
My dieting discipline was something I seemed to forget to pack. Breakfast consisted of carbs. Lunch consisted of carbs. Dinner consisted of carbs. Dessert, well, that was chocolate, and that is God's gift to us. But it's full of carbs. And a bit of fat, too. That's not to say we didn't eat healthy. We did. But Joy can't have too much fruits or vegetables because her digestion is a bit sensitive. Sure, I could have gone to the store and bought some, whipped them up on my own. As a matter of fact, I did go to the store. A few times. And I made dinner every night. But that extra effort of chopping and washing and steaming...what was the point? I was only going to be there a week. We all deserve a little break, right?
Justifications must be full of carbs and calories, too, because when I got on the scale after returning home, I found four (FOUR!) extra pounds. Feck. Okay, I've already lost two, but I'm grounded until the rest are off. No more cookies or chips, and chocolate is to be used for medicinal PMS purposes only...and only in moderation. Control, people. It's a choice.
In spite of the pounds, I wouldn't trade an ounce for a moment with Joy, her hubster or adorable son. And let me tell you about how great my friend is:
A week after what we hope is her last chemo treatment, her hair is starting to grow back. You heard me. This after two IP chemo treatments as well. This coming from a woman who was moved to Stage IV. By the way, once they mark you at a stage level, they don't downgrade you. Sure, we know the statistics of ovarian you-know-what (that's the only C word I truly hate), but Joy is the fluke. Statistically, she shouldn't have gotten it. So, screw statistics. She is already thriving. She's one of the healthiest people I know. And I'm looking forward to the days when we are old ladies, doubling over laughing and wetting our Depends.