Daze of My Life: Growth, girth or guilt
Daze of My Life
Growth, girth or guilt
By Kenneth B. Lourie
Boy, am I proud of myself, or guilty about my purchase, or concerned about my weight! I don't know. Ergo the title. I have three competing emotions in-head. And what did I do to cause this emotional - and literary - rift? I threw away some uneaten - and perfectly good - chocolate cake before its time (and by "time," I don't mean its expiration time, I mean; before the usual time it takes for me to have eaten it in its entirety). Was I forced to do this because my wife, Dina, found out about it and its hiding place? Not this time, so far as I know, anyway, and hopefully she won't ever know about it unless she reads this column which if I'm lucky, she won't (the stars sort of have to align for her to read one of my columns; it's not that she doesn't want to, it's more that she doesn't want to read what she already lives).
No, I threw away this "perfectly good chocolate cake" because it was lousy. However, chocolate cake being lousy, generally speaking, has not been reason enough, in the past, for me to toss it. Typically, I would have eaten the entire cake and then made a mental note about not purchasing the item ever again. Moreover, I would have finished the cake (dessert/chocolate/sweet) almost as if it was my responsibility/duty to do so. Whether it was for a lack of willpower (lack of taste; that's Dina talking) required since I had already spent the money (and thanks to my mother's admonitions, we don't want to waste food or money; thanks, mother) or a total lack of concern/worry about my physique and/or the nature of the things I was putting in my mouth/stomach, I would not have given any of it a second thought. Well, maybe a second thought, but certainly not enough of a thought to have prevented me from eating it. That was then.
Now, things are different. Now, I'm Kenny with cancer. And Kenny with cancer is somewhat different than Kenny with cake. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm still happy to have my cake but, as a cancer patient who has modified his eating habits in an attempt to dissuade cancer from moving and/or growing in his body, I'm less inclined to eat it. And so, not eating that cake or throwing away that cake - before it was stale or dropped on the floor or after something had been spilled on it, which would have ruined it for me; typically, the kinds of reasons which would have previously led to its not having been eaten - is a monumental, seismic-type shift in my consuming passions/tendencies.
However, to be honest, I'm not sure if it was growth (mentally); in that I've learned a few things about cancer and sugar (among many other facts and feelings) which is, that eliminating sugar from one's diet is a good, make that excellent, pursuit. Or perhaps it was girth, as in vanity, as in I don't want to gain back the 30-or-so pounds I've lost in the last 18 months and return to my previously normal shape-that-wasn't-very-ship; I'm not lean, exactly (or mean) but I am a little lighter on my feet (on anybody else's, too). Or maybe it was simply guilt, a combination of growth and girth. I know what I'm supposed to eat (fruits and vegetables, organic when possible) and what I'm not supposed to eat and/or to avoid/minimize (everything else, basically), but I have needs - and wants, and I do the shopping. Nonetheless, I am still drawn to cake/cookies/candy/ice cream. However, I don't buy that stuff nearly as much as I used to (who could keep up that pace?). Still, doing without sometimes doesn't help either, emotionally and us cancer patients do need our emotional support.
I suppose I could compromise/rationalize and just buy a little/eat a little. What harm would that cause? I don't know, really. But there does seem to be a relationship, maybe even a cause and effect (if you believe the literature) between cancer and what you eat. As a result, I am betwixt and between - like most cancer patients, I'm sure.
Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.