michael rees

when I’m free to eat

Added on by michael rees.

When I’m free to eat, I’ll eat crusty steaks; cranberry walnut rye toasted and coated with butter, sometimes honey, sometime lingonberry; shredded pork with apple junks; and anything with textures, rich delicious textures. A petite marmite. A red Chile stew with posole and pork. Some mussels in a rich wine and mustard sauce and crusty French bread. A pasta fagiole. A chicken Parmesan. Lasagna. A falafel sandwich. I know, these are mostly winter things but its the deep craving that I feel. I am not free to eat food based on some whimsy of appetite. This restriction shows me how I manage my emotions with food. 

A rich bourbonny cheddar grilled cheese with Dijon mustard on thick slices of toasted sourdough. Maybe include a broad slice of heirloom tomato. Deviled eggs. Popcorn popped in bacon grease (I know, right!). Italian wedding soup with tiny meatballs. Swedish meatballs with noodles and lingonberry on the side. Peanut butter and jelly with lettuce, spicy chutney, and thick slices of cheddar. Thick sliced smoked bacon with a chanterel mushroom omelet with pecorino romano and tightly sliced poblano pepper and onion.

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What can I eat now? Anything I can get down. i can’t taste anything accurately. Taste’s register is way out of range. Any kind of spice which asserts itself is inedible. Bland foods are best when I have something to wash them down with, either water or —GASP— boost or ensure. 

These aren’t the only things I can think of, strange though they are in proximity to one another. Its like I’m an expectant mother putting odd combinations together to solve an ineffable craving, full health. I labor to get through this travail and to give birth to myself anew. Except, I can’t eat any of it. Mostly, right now I can only get down boost or ensure or some generic brand of medical shakes. I feel like these drinks need their own special entry they are so awful; so sugary as to be cloying; so chalkey as to be obnoxious; so dominant as to be the very expression of corporate capitalism. And they stink. But they deliver 350 calories per 8 oz drink. Just what the medical military entertainment complex demands.

I can’t help but feel that this cancer, as curable as it is may not have the transformative aspect that so many do experience when they’re healing. Would I feel let down at not having that transformative experience? Not really, because, I’ll have my health. Something so mundane but so essential.

Note: I was recommended to read, Cancer as a Turning Poing: A handbook for people with Cancer, Their Families, and Health Professionals by Lawrewncxe Leshan. Its a generous workbook for people who would actively develop the metaphors of their illness. Oh and why not: Illness as Metaphor by Susan Sontag.