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Founded by a daughter who’s been there, Daughters Like Us is an online resource center and community of support for women caring for their loved ones with cancer. Daughters Like Us strives to make cancer manageable through truth, love, connection and support.

Angela's story: Cooking for cancer

Angela's story: Cooking for cancer

Mention mom to anyone who knows her and I guarantee you'll get the same response:

That woman sure can cook.

It's a fact.

Mom worked in our family's restaurants her whole life. And when she's not cooking for customers, she's cooking for me.

At least that was the deal until cancer got involved.

Thanks a lot, cancer.

Suddenly I was the one in the kitchen. 

Suddenly meatballs, sauce and lasagna were replaced by more chemo-friendly dishes. 

"I'll have scrambled eggs and toast. Very light butter on the toast," mom said wearily from her giant brown chaise in the living room. Her head peeked out from under a fluffy comforter. 

It was the day after her latest round of chemo. This is when nausea would set in.

"Coming right up," I answered from the kitchen. The pans rattling as I searched for the one mom uses for eggs.

My eyes burned. I blinked hard.

This was mom's bible during chemo. It taught her everything she needed to know about what to eat before, during and after her treatments. She received it from the Cancer Center at Faxton-St. Luke's Healthcare in Utica, NY on her first day of chemo.

This was mom's bible during chemo. It taught her everything she needed to know about what to eat before, during and after her treatments. She received it from the Cancer Center at Faxton-St. Luke's Healthcare in Utica, NY on her first day of chemo.

I don't like this.

I'm usually the one on the chair waiting for food. Mom's usually the cook. I'm usually not even allowed near mom's stove.

Thanks a lot, cancer.

I whisked the eggs furiously. 

I don't like this.

I glanced at mom in the living room. A pink turban covered her head. Mom stared at the TV. 

I whisked faster.

The bread popped up from the toaster.

I jumped. 

"Remember light on the butter," mom called from the living room.

"Of course," I replied.

I put the eggs and toast on a tray and walked into the living room. Mom sat up. 

"May I have some ginger ale?" 

"Of course," I replied.

I made a list of items I needed to pick up from the grocery store. Another duty I'd now taken on.

Thanks a lot, cancer.

Ginger ale. Powerade. Coconut water. Eggs. Bread. Pasta. Green tea. Ham. Cheese. Crackers. Ginger chews. 

This was all mom could stomach in the days after chemo.

She requested eggs and toast, grilled ham and cheese, or pasta with butter. Nothing heavy. The meals had to be bland.

She drank a lot of Powerade and coconut water to stay hydrated.

"Anything special you want me to get for dinner, or for you to eat tomorrow?" I asked as I picked up mom's plate. Half of it still filled with food.

She shook her head, moving back under the comforter. 

"I'll probably just have some pasta with butter later," she said. Her eyes closing. 

"Of course," I replied.

I grabbed my grocery list and wallet.

I quietly closed the door behind me.

I don't like this.

 

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