Archive for February, 2010

Ok. so.

You should know how to make this.

Spinach Salad.  I used to eat this at a restaurant in Brattleboro Vermont called the Shin La.  It was a Korean owned place that had started as a sub shop, with only a couple of Korean items on the menu.  These few items were met with such enthusiasm, that pretty quickly the owners abandoned subs and went whole hog.

When we newbs in Vermont first had this it was a revelation!  Figuring out how to make it was a total “um.. duh!” moment.

Here’s how:  Steam some spinach.  Dress with toasted sesame oil and soy sauce.  Top with toasted sesame seeds.

More long winded:  Steaming spinach is easy.  Rinse the stuff in a colander, whether it needs it or not.  Let it drain, and then dump the whole thing into a big pot.  Don’t add any water!  Whatever is clinging to the leaves is perfect (that’s why you rinse it even if it’s prewashed!!  Get it?).  Turn on the heat, and cook uncovered so you can keep an eye on it.  Turn with tongs or hands as needed.  It will shrink massively.  Once it has all turned darker green pull it out and dunk it in an ice bath.  You can rinse it in cold water if you’re too lazy for an ice bath, but it’ll be much yummier if you shock it (ice bath is easy too..  you’ll never go back.  Big bowl of water.  Now crack a tray or two of ice cubes in.  Tada!).  Once it’s properly cooled, pull it out and squeeze as much water out as you can.  Break up the spinach ball you’ve made and dress in a bowl (roughly equal parts oil and soy).  Top with toasted sesame seeds.  You can add some diced scallions too if you like.

Try it.  It’s one of those great dishes that is MUCH more than the sum of its parts.

More to come.  Now that I don’t have cancer, I think I might make this a cooking blog.

It has been nearly two months since my last confession.

I went in to the hospital yesterday for a regular endoscopic ultrasound check up.  There was some confusion about whether they’d be going in from the front or the back.

“what are you here for”

“endoscopic ultrasound”

“through the mouth, right?”

“I beg your pardon?..  I thought you said, ‘through the mouth’”

“yes?”

“NO!”

“Oh..  that’s what it says here..  let me make a phone call”

She came back smiling, “you’re right..  it makes sense now,” and started writing “EUS, PER RECTUM!” all over the paper work.

“Thank you..  through the mouth would have been an awfully long way to go!  Where are you from, dear?”

“Haiti”

My heart sank.  She had just come back from two weeks down there helping with the relief effort.

All is clear.  I’m not sure how long that makes it.  There was never really a day when they said, “it’s official.. as of right now, you no longer have cancer!”  Suffice it to say, this marks another period of time in remission.

I wrote to a good old friend the other day and had to acknowledge that I’m running into some physical/emotional issues in the aftermath of this last year that are far less concrete than the disease itself.  I’ve heard others talk about this.  When you’re in treatment, you’ve got something solid to work on.  You drag yourself out of bed and show up for your appointments.  That’s about all anyone expects from you, and if you’re able to do more than that, you’re a hero.

Once cured, I think the expectation is that you should feel such relief at being ok, that nothing can stop you.  Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s ALL small stuff after you’ve been through THAT!..  right?  It doesn’t really work out that way.

At the beginning of the summer I told my older brother that by september I’d be back to normal.  He said “bullshit.”  In just the last month or so, I have finally felt well enough to start exercising in earnest again.  I’m running three or four times a week.  Short runs..  mostly 4-5 miles, with a longer run (7 or 8 miles) every fourth or fifth run.  It sucks.  I’m not really making any gains.  Or at least it doesn’t feel like it.  My body just isn’t recovering in the way I’m used to.  When I’m in the woods and have to jump over a log or something, I have to really think about it, like my body has forgotten how to do this stuff, and I’m afraid of what will happen when I come down on the other side..  some sort of yardsale.   There are some theories about how this works.. about parts of the brain that get re-programmed for other things when you’re in treatment, and neurological damage from the chemo and all that..  cold comfort when you’re about to crash and burn because of a little root on the path.  I thought I was CURED!

The emotional part is even stranger.  I’m supposed to be feeling gung ho and upbeat, and happy to be alive.  Of course I AM feeling those things in an intellectual way.  But I’m also feeling tired, unmotivated.. depressed!  WTF! I guess this is the sort of pathetic phase of the process.  It’ll pass.  Complaining about it almost feels like being a rich person who complains about how money can’t make you happy.  “Buddy!  I believe you’re right, but I’d love the opportunity to prove it!”

On a brighter note!  Glen’s new bike will be in the New York Times style section tomorrow (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2010/02/03/fashion/20100204-codes-slideshow_7.html).  It promises to be a photo that puts Fast Boy Cycles in a slightly different light than you may all be used to, but a great opportunity for me.  Many thanks in advance to David Coleman at the times for contacting me and including me in the story.

Finally:  Sending out good JuJu for M’s mom who is having a bone marrow transplant today.  Please keep her in your heart and mind.