Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cooking for survival

I hadn't gone to my cooking class for several months in part because they had temporarily switched it to Friday nights but now that is back on Wednesdays, I will come. These classes, sponsored by Whole Foods at at the Cancer Support Community, formerly known as the Wellness Center and Gilda's Club, are taught by a nutritionist who is a 2 time BC survivor. The premise is that healthy eating may be beneficial in preventing recurrences. Recurrence rates are higher in TNBC patients that are obese. Obesity surprisingly is NOT a risk factor for recurrence in estrogen positive BC, surprisingly as fat cells themselves are a source of estrogen. I think I have read that in TNBC, it isn't the fat cells themselves that are the problem but the high blood glucose levels that sometimes go hand in  hand with the obesity that TNBC cells thrive on. Metformin, a diabetes drug, is being tried for TNBC successfully. Well my glucose levels are normal probably due to exercise so I am one of those rare fit and fat people. But I don't like this fat, not one bit so I am trying to change things.

Last night's topic: super smoothies. She tried combinations that I would never had touched. For instance: Green Slime: a mixture of spinach, kale, strawberries, pineapple juice and bananas. It looked very similar to a gross diaper I had changed just hours before. It actually didn't taste too bad. Some of the smoothies had flaxseed  in them making them taste kind of musty. Another strange combo: zucchini, cocoa, bananas and peanut butter. Still another (lean green smoothie) honeydew melon, broccoli, cucumber, mint and green grapes. Well everything was healthy but I hate cleaning out blenders. The noise of the blenders made it difficult to speak or listen.

There was a new woman there who just finished treatment for TNBC.  I really don't run into too many people with TNBC: just her and my neighbor (and lots on line). She understandably was very interested in ensuring that it won't come back and asked for what I had learned. Basically keep those Vit D levels up, glucose levels down and a baby aspirin a day. There was a huge study on nurses who had BC. Basically for those nurses who took aspirin regularly for any reason, their recurrence rates were exactly half. This was not a controlled study in which the aspirin levels were standardized. But I figure a baby aspirin couldn't hurt and as an extra bonus, cuts down on heart attacks presumably too.

Families of patients are welcome there too. One woman is nursing her husband who had throat cancer. The throat cancer is gone but the effects of the treatment are devastating. He can not swallow so he needs to be tube fed. He does not want anyone to see him so she can get no help. He has chased visiting nurses away. Depression also plagues him.

I had spent most of the day entertaining Maya as Naomi and my friend arranged for flowers and decorations. They should be pretty. I am trying not to get too stressed about this wedding. Main problem, we are very near capacity.

I've spent some time futzing about in my garden rearranging things. Even though by the end of the summer, my whole patio is under a canopy of morning glory vines, I rarely get any seedlings the next year. The few that I do are quickly gobbled up by the bunnies (they and cosmos seedlings seem to be the tastiest to the bunnies: they don't touch the cleomes) This year, I have morning glory plants all over the place. The bunnies have eaten a few of them but there are too many for them. Also, cleomes are taking over the place too. Seedlings have popped up in the cracks of my pavers. Steve believes that they will destroy the patio (not as much as ice and refreezing will) and wants me to kill them all. But not until I figure out what they are. Some are petunias, snapdragons, and zinnias but until I see flowers (which I finally did in the baby petunia case) I am not killing them.

One gardening mistake I am still mad at myself about is throwing away my tuberous begonia tubers. Steve saw the bag of them and asked if there was any reason I had clumps of dirt in a bag. He threw them out. One however has mysteriously sprouted in my front yard.

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