Today I’d like to welcome Cheryl Norman, a fabulous fellow Turquoise Morning Press author to my blog. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month Cheryl is here to share her personal journey with breast cancer, her book about eating for recovery and a tasty recipe. Thank you, Cheryl!
Breast Cancer and Comedy
Breast cancer is no laughing matter, but I decided to make it one. Diagnosed in April, 2010, I approached my chemotherapy, radiation, and drug treatments with humor and optimism. My father taught me that laughter is good medicine, and I greeted my treatment journey with a smile instead of tears.
Much of cancer treatment was a pleasant surprise. My chemo lasted about five months. Thanks to advances in medicine, I never got sick. Instead of wasting away, I gained weight. The only thing I lost was my hair. I finished chemo fatter than I’d ever been in my life! Could have been my constant craving for vanilla ice cream . . .
Cancer is scary, but I refused to be afraid. I asked my husband to keep me laughing, and he took my advice to heart. He bought me a collection of Abbott and Costello comedies, and we watched them instead of the nightly news. I’ve since learned there was a terrible oil spill in the Gulf during that time, but I was blissfully ignorant. We watched comedies only. No depressing or serious input allowed. Friends sent me funny cards and e-mails, and they followed my blog (Laughing All The Way, via CaringBridge). I strongly believe it’s easier to support a patient going through a health crisis when you can do so with humor. My friends and family made the experience fun.
Following chemotherapy, I began the first of thirty-five doses of radiation. It was during this time I began to write a cookbook for lazy cooks. Working title, the Lazy Gourmet, the book targeted patients like me going through treatment who had no energy to make healthful meals. My husband, who had tried cooking for me, heated a mean frozen dinner. He nuked an excellent hot dog. And that was the extent of his culinary skills. He accused me of writing the cookbook in self-defense. (The book eventually was released under the title Recipes for Recovery, which I hope has more market appeal than the Lazy Gourmet.)
I’ve reached the 2½ year mark now as a survivor, and I celebrate every clean mammogram. If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, be encouraged by my experience and stay positive. Check out ComedyCures.com, an organization sharing my laughter is good medicine philosophy. Professional comedians post daily jokes for cancer patients.
Joking aside, do those monthly self-exams and annual mammograms. You have a one-in-eight chance of having breast cancer in your lifetime.
Cheryl Norman celebrated two years as a cancer survivor in April, 2012. She is the author of romantic suspense novels, including the Mustang Sally series RESTORE MY HEART, RECLAIM MY LIFE, and REBUILD MY WORLD; also RUNNING SCARED and the upcoming RUNNING OUT OF TIME. She writes cookbooks, including RECIPES FOR RECOVERY. Visit cherylnorman.com for more information.
Whole-wheat pasta is a powerhouse of nutrition. When you combine it with spinach, you have a nutritious, high fiber super dish!
1 10 oz. pkg. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
¼ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1 cup cooked whole wheat Rotini pasta
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Sauté the spinach in olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook for 2 minutes.
Add the seasonings. Stir.
Add the cooked Rotini and toss with the spinach.
Remove skillet from heat, top with the Parmesan cheese, and serve.
Yield: 2 servings
Variation: Any short pasta will work in this recipe (i.e. fusilli, farfalle, ziti) as long as it is whole wheat or whole grain. If you are gluten-sensitive, try rice pasta.
From Recipes for Recovery by Cheryl Norman ©2011
To purchase Cheryl’s recipe book please click HERE.