Thursday, October 20, 2011

Squish Squash..

Growing up, my mother had us on the rotating system of  4 cans of vegetables: peas, corn (with creamed corn and mexicorn thrown into the mix if on sale), wax beans, green beans. The only vegetables in this system I would eat were the beans and those I would eat with no pleasure.The other two, I would hide in the palm of my hand and then flush or store somewhere to be disposed of later (tough when we had the extremely disgusting creamed corn). Salads were fresh tomatoes, celery sticks, ice berg lettuce and carrot sticks. Occasionally we would have corn on the cob (now this I loved but the canned corn had a very funky taste that induced nausea in me). There was a whole world of vegetables out there that I had little exposure to.

As an adult, I have tried to expand my narrow little world. Vegetables that I enjoy a lot: cauliflower, spinach, artichokes, chard, broccoli, fresh green beans, fresh baby peas and peppers of all sorts. Vegetables that still cause a gag reflex: beets and asparagus. Vegetables that I could take or leave and generally leave: squash, Brussels sprouts, turnips, parsnips, endive. So yesterday when the subject of the cancer survivor cooking class was cooking with squash, my instinct was to stay at home.

I understand the nutrition in vegetables and why especially cancer patients  should include as much and as many of these in their diets. I have been trying to do this but without much success. I went anyway and vowed to eat anything put in front of me no matter how repugnant I usually find this vegetable.

The menu

Butternut squash  and apple soup topped with Greek yogurt.

Spaghetti squash casserole with tomatoes, pesto and Parmesan cheese.

Pumpkin raisin oatmeal muffins

All tasty and I had seconds when I could. I will try, try to incorporate these into our home menus.

I do enjoy this opportunity to connect with other survivors. A lot of us are BC survivors. A new twist: one of the lymphoma survivors had a tumor found in her breast recently. But it turned out not to be breast cancer but a completely different type of lymphoma than she previously had. Fortunately, not a very aggressive type and easily treated. Some people there are supporters of other family members with cancer. If I didn't need to be reminded how hideous of a disease it can be, a woman described her husband with throat cancer, now in remission. But the throat is now a mass of scar tissue so he can not swallow. There is nothing to prevent saliva from going into his lungs(no more epiglottis) and causing pneumonia and gagging except from consciously spitting it out as it forms, tough while he tries to sleep. He is fed through a feeding tube and is totally miserable.

Similar cancers in men and women seem to strike places that don't seem analogous. For instance prostate cancer and breast cancer. The same BRAC1 gene in men leads to prostate cancer and in women, breast cancer (along with ovarian). Prostate cancer seems to strike just as many men as breast cancer does with women. Most of the time, both are hormone fed. Breast cancer sadly is about twice as deadly however.

From my class last night, a stranger connection between a women's cancer and a men's cancer was highlighted: HPV (human papilloma virus) is linked to cervical cancer in women but throat cancer in men. So strange. Hopefully that Gardisil vaccine will make both a thing of the past.

Strange coincidences have been happening lately: one of the woman there last night said she was from Belarus. I went home and looked on my statcounter: someone had visited my blog from Belarus (a new country: woo-hoo for this weird collector) around the same time she was speaking. A few weeks ago, I was reading The Help, a novel about a novel set in the imaginary town of Niceville. I was thinking that was a silly name but during the night, someone from Niceville, Florida had visited my blog.

This morning I was thinking that all this internet outage crap was a thing of the past as I have had uninterrupted service for a whole week. The moment that this occurred to me, you guessed it, an outage.

I ran in pouring rain this morning. But it was calm so I wasn't cold. I did have to stop to brush off my glasses as it was difficult seeing through all the droplets. The polypropylene shirt, so good for keeping me warm while wet, isn't very good at wiping off rain.


krisa said...

Wow- right now i am making squash dinner rolls, threw the ingredients in my bread maker to mix, knead and rise. Later, I will form into dinner rolls and bake. One way to eat squash:)

Debbie Emery said...

Hi Sue, I just found your blog from a link on Debbi Chapmans blog. I'm thrilled to see you are still blogging years after your BC treatment. I am just out of radiation last month. Other than our farm blog , we raise alpacas, which has been sadly neglected during this I call the "lost year", I started blogging the moment I was diagnosed. You can find me at

So envious of your stay in Italy. Are you close to fluent in those few weeks? I imagine the BC got in the way, and five weeks probably wasn't enough.

But what I found most interesting, not having poured over your entire blog yet, is your mention about still trying to be better about what you eat due to your cancer history. Why is it so hard for us. I too struggle. I do need to find some sort of support group or survivorship program. Actually, I just read a out one in our local newspaper, one out on by the same cancer center I use, but one I've not been informed of by them. Guess I need to get on the phone right now and ask about it.

Stay strong, eat your veggies...



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