Saturday, January 8, 2011

Baby Arugula, Fennel, Blood Orange and Olive Salad

Fresh Salad Ingredients!
Yesterday marked the 10 day mid-point of chemo round two, and to say that round two was easier than round one, would be a enormous understatement.  The 10-14 period is when the white blood cell count is at the lowest, and is when you go visit the oncologist for a a check on those counts.  After a finger stick (I applied the anesthetic cream to my port for naught I found out), the blood tech milked my reluctant to bleed finger like a cow for several minutes,  until she coaxed enough blood out for the test.

My oncologist checked me out and actually hung out for a bit while the results were being processed (she usually flies in like a bee, alights briefly, then moves on to the next flower).  Someone asked me this week how I would know if all the treatments worked.  So I asked.  The answer: "We don't".  There is no blood test, or exam, that says "Congratulations, we poisoned the heck out of you, and there's no cancer here".

She also confirmed that you have demonstrate your worthiness of getting the Neulasta shot by doing the exact thing it's supposed to prevent, which is crash like the Hindenburg.

My counts were good, and I was declared in good enough condition to head into round three soon.

How did it go post number two?  The first couple of days, more or less normal.  By the weekend, the fatigue set in.  Fatigue is not normal tired. Fatigue feels like every ounce of energy is vacuum sealed out of you, leaving an empty, motionless husk that takes considerable effort to move.  When that sets in, the appetite goes, and nothing sounds appealing.  Showering seems like a monumental task. You aren't really moving anyway, so an every other day schedule works.

After a few days, the fatigue loosened it's grip, and I just felt kind of low-grade crappy.  I exercised at home and didn't go out at all most of the week.  If anything sounded remotely appetizing, I ate it.  One day a cheeseburger sounded good, another a plain baked potato.  Eggs are the only thing that I can consistently count on, and thankfully, you can scramble a couple in a matter of minutes.

Thursday I had a bit of cabin fever and a sudden craving for mall bourbon chicken (!).  So I made a brief visit to Barnes and Noble, then swung by the mall for my fix.

Friday, I put on make-up and real clothes (still have eyebrows and eyelashes so far) to go to the doctor, and figured why waste that effort, so afterward I had lunch with a friend (I was actually hungry - really hungry!), and we did a bit of shopping.

Which brings me to the point of this post, that pretty selection of fresh food stuffs.  Vegetables and anything remotely resembling fresh items had long been absent, and I was looking forward to dinner.

I got a nice little piece of fresh grouper:

Grouper from Kate's Fish at West Side Market
I opened a bottle of wine.  I had a tiny glass when a friend stopped by this week, but for the most part, wine doesn't hold much appeal.  I was hoping this lovely bottle I brought back from my favorite Finger Lakes winery would do it, but it was just meh tonight.  Maybe tomorrow.

Dry Rose from Red Tail Ridge

Baby Arugula, Fennel, Blood Orange and Olive Salad

1 small pkg of baby arugula, rinsed and spun
1 quarter of a fresh fennel bulb, shaved thin on a mandoline
1 blood orange, peeled and sectioned
1/4 c. pitted kalamata olives, chopped
Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano
White Balsamic Vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Saute the fennel in a bit of olive oil until slightly softened; set aside.  Arrange arugula in salad bowl, top with fennel, orange, and olives.  Drizzle with vinegar and oil.  Season to taste.

The salad turned out great.  You could leave the fennel raw, but I wanted to take a bit of the edge off, so I sauteed it, then let it cool.

Baby Arugula, Blood Orange, Fennel and Olives
The fish however, was a disaster.  I pan roasted it, but I totally overcooked it, and even worse, I made the stupid mistake of not immediately putting the Stay Cool Silicone Pot Holder by Trudeau (Random Colors) on the skillet when I took it out of the screaming hot oven, and you guessed it, went to grab it.  Fortunately I only got a tiny blister on my finger for my stupidity.  I don't really have spare white blood cells to fight self inflicted infection.

So I was a little rusty in the kitchen, but I am looking forward to getting a week or so back in there before round three.  Bon Appetit!

1 comment:

  1. Your oncologist sounds light years ahead of mine (who worked very hard to never see me; even leaving the country in the midst of my chemo!). Glad to hear #2 was better. And for what it's worth...my eyelashes didn't fall out until chemo #4. In chemo that's what counts as good news! ;-)

    (In the not as good news, yeah, wine never tasted good through chemo...but um, tequila will cut right through. So allow me to suggest a margarita!)

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