changeling times

trials and tribulations of eclectic chicken

Feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee December 30, 2012

Filed under: cancer,home stuff — eclectic chicken @ 10:46 am
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I understand food is difficult for many people undergoing chemotherapy… it takes away your appetite, it makes food taste weird…smell weirder.

It’s very much a case of a little bit of what you fancy does you good…. it’s just finding something to fancy.

The whole food thing is exacerbated for me as my diet is so a)restricted by my ulcerated colon andb)bound up in the neurosis of knowing if i choose wrongly i’ll end up lying in vomit followed by a trip to A&E.

In the ten days following my second lot of chemotherapy I lost about three quarters of a stone. A combination of not fancying anything, vomiting, dehydration and surviving on hospital food. It’s a lot of weight… and its weight I know I HAVE to make back up before I go round the cycle again… I can’t afford to lose a big chunk of weight each time.

My appetite started to come back whilst the blood transfusion was dripping into me (maybe it was donated by a fat lass in Burnley).. I was eyeing up the tupperware boxes of snackerals and treats the family of the lady in the next bed had left to tempt her. She also had cloudy lemonade and lime squash and I had terrible cravings for citrus sucky sweets… it was a close thing that I didn’t sneak over under the cover of her snoring and denude her stash. It was only the thought that dragging my blood stand over there would wake her that stopped me. (…and of course a perfectly formed moral code).

Having turned down a corned beef sandwich from a distance of a couple of feet becuase it smelt so rank – I know I have to approach food carefully.. and if food arrives in bulk its scarily off putting. As is cruising a supermarket looking for things I fancy. It’s total overload.

First day back at home I fancied a bit of turkey (mais oui!) through trial and error I found a few thin slices on a plate brought about devourment… the whole plateful of remaining turkey made me panic… and a plate of turkey cut into mouth sized pieces and arranged daintily on a plate was also passable and made me laugh and feel like a well loved ‘proper’ poorly person. (thanks Annie).

Luckily I recognised an urge for cheesecake… non fruity… just plain; boxes of new york vanilla cheesecake just seem to disappear as I breathe them in…. its cake – but its cheesy. Its cheesy but its cake…. and its got shitloads of calories and its cold and damp as a foodstuff – which for some reason is also very attractive.

So I’m eating… avoiding the roughage, seeds, skins etc… aiming high calorie… and spending my time trying to channel gastronomic inspiration and still hoping (against hope) that small attractive meals will arrive on my lap at regular short intervals (preferably carried by entertaining company or monkeys in jackets as I’m rather bored).

I suspect sooner or later I’ll have to get up and make myself my second lot of buttery toast of the day instead.



Seeking comfort September 15, 2012

Filed under: cancer,home stuff,thinks — eclectic chicken @ 4:00 pm
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I’m seeking comfort this afternoon as I’ve been in pain pretty much all day.

The dog (recovering well but still not chipper) and I have spent most of the day on the sofa, reading, snoozing, and trying not to lick the operation site…. (me the first two, Lucky the latter two)… its definitely one of those days I’d like to comfort eat…. buttery crumpets, crisps, cake, a bacon sandwich perhaps.

But of course I can’t.

To try and escape the pain I thought snuggling into a warm bed would be pleasant… but my bed becuase of my back isn’t like that… it’s a hard bed. It’s not snuggly and my duvet and blanket are utilitarian as that’s what I like at night.

Mmmmm…. a big squishy bed, with plumpy pillows galore and a tray of comfort food.

Maybe in bed whilst I nibble my way through my goodies I could watch some comforting tv…. a familiar film.

But the pain is a tad too distracting for that.

Still…. I have a stack of new library books… and that’s what’s filled the day so far…. still… reading would be much more pleasant with the occassional square or chocolate… maybe a bowl of gathia mix.

…or a hug.

Hugs are always good… they can fill the void that potato cakes and bourbon creams cannot.

But a hug is probably as likely to happen as someone appearing on my doorstep with a fatless trifle this afternoon.

When pain is ongoing it drains you, physically and emotionally…. today I want to be small and curled up warm on the sofa, to have the telly on in the background, a good book to read and someone to bring me things to eat that won’t make the pain worse.

I want a Saturday afternoon circa 1976.

I want to be comfortable.


Not a gall bladder post..oh no September 12, 2012

Filed under: home stuff — eclectic chicken @ 3:30 pm
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Yesterday I ate cheese…blue cheese…a small piece and an oreo cookie.

This proves my pain memory is less than a month long.

I thought there was a small chance of it being okay – I used this argument to myself stood in front of the cheese section in the co-op. ”

I have no gallstones” I told myself… “that’s good” I replied “becuase I’ve really missed cheese and am going without dairy products apart from a bit of zero fat plain yoghurt that I don’t much like anyway”

I nodded…studying the fat levels of various cheeses.

“it would be a shame to suffer from brittle bones because I’m afraid of eating a little bit of cheese” I continued.

I bought some bleu d’Auvergne and to offset my saturated fat intake stuck some quinoa in my basket too… and some brown rice…. and some tinned kidney beans for good luck.

I know I shouldn’t listen to myself in moments of cheesey weakness… but my god it was good. I crumbled it sparsely on a wedgeof  mediterranean bloomer (ignoring my suspected wheat intolerence….after all its only suspected by me).

I didn’t use any butter.

It was possibly the most gratifying sensory experience i’ve ever had….no…no thats not fair…. but it really was good.

I decided as I don’t have gallstones and as I’m becoming neurotic around food I’ll just eat healthily, sensibly… so slipped an orea cookie in my pocket when I wasn’t looking and made a quorn chilli to make the brown rice feel loved and wanted.

Hmmm…at bedtime I felt a bit strange…. a sort of painful sensation…. so I quietly (being in a house full of people happy to tell me ‘I told you so’) drugged myself up with left over medicines from Ipswich A&E and went to bed.

Two in the morning I decided more co-codomol would be a good idea if i could get out of bed.

Six o clock I got out of bed…. went all funny and buzzy and cold and sweaty and the darkness started coming in from the sides….so I crawled back to bed and laid there shouting help for a bit.

The boy and Jane arrived simultaneously…a sick bucket followed (not needed) and I think at that stage I was expressing my pain levels via the art of mime whilst concentrating on breathing.

Jane rang an ambulance again, told them it was a gallbladder attack and they started relaying questions about my pain.

Being in another room… now the bathroom… it was hard for my mime act to be seen, the cold floor felt nice on my face and I mustered enough breath to shout ‘get off the fucking phone’.

I’ve now decided the emergency services are shit for gall bladder problems, especially hypothetical gall bladder problems… the pain was passing anyway and I’d much prefer to lie quietly on the floor than listen to Jane argue the toss with the ambulance service.

Anyway…. long story that I should have cut shorter as its a recurring theme…

I went and saw a different GP today…. I thought the swelling I can feel inside me, that feels a bit like a squash ball and three other doctors have decided was probably an inflamed gall bladder, might benefit from another medical poke and another doctor to write on my notes that its possibly my gall bladder – even without the stones.

But no.

Todays doctor told me your gallbladder can’t get swollen without stones ( disagrees with her and quotes 19 out of 20 cases are caused by stones.

I should go home and eat small sensible low fat meals… cheese should be ok in moderation…all things in moderation and keep it simple.

My bowels were probably struggling with my restricted diet… have some fybogel too.

I left feeling puzzled…

and a bit bewildered.

But with no desire to go home and eat a small sensible cheese salad sandwich at all.


Taste of childhood. June 23, 2012

Filed under: home stuff — eclectic chicken @ 10:04 pm
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I had a bit of a strange day yesterday and came home with the urge for a Vesta meal.

I’m not sure I’ve eaten one since i was about twelve… but I definitely needed one last night… so as Jane was off to Tescos I asked her to get me one.

Beef chow mein with crispy noodles.

I was so excited… the deliberation over which were the soft and which the crispy noodles (printing on packets too subtle).. the pouring of water… the stirring of stuff… the frying of the noodles.

The boy and I had eaten most of the crispy noodles by the time the ‘chow mein’ had cooked..and they were good…crispy and noodley.

The chow mein, however, was pretty foul.

Bore no resemblence to anything else I’ve ever eaten by that name.

But then… Vesta made its name with its ‘meals for one’ in the 1970’s… such things were almost space-age let alone ‘foreign’.

At that point in our house you could pretty much tell what day it was by what was for….oh…. I was about to say supper and then remembered as a kid meals had different meals.

Until my mum went back to work when i was mid junior school we all went home from school or work and had a proper cooked dinner…. then tea at night.. the supper was a drink of highly coloured and sugar saturated squash and a biscuit to help me sleep.

No wonder I got confused by my first real rub up against the middle class when my (eventually to be) ex-husbands parents invited me round to meet me and have supper!!!

Anyway…you could tell what day it was by the food…with some seasonal adjustments…like a scarcity of dumplings in summer and the introduction of salmon loaf (how to make a tin of salmon serve 8) and cold sliced egg salad.

My mother was a good plain cook… well..when i say ‘good’…..

rissoles, liver and onions, boiled mince with a bit of bisto in, potato and meat pie with a suet crust, belly pork, stew and dumplings, sunday roast served VERY thin and then again cold on Monday.

Rice was for puddings…macaroni too.

I believe people did attempt foreign delicacies at his time… my friend jon has a childhood meal he recreated for me once called ‘sweet and sour spam’…. but not at our house…oh no.

So Vesta gave me my first taste of chinese, indian and spanish cuisines… totally inaccurate…. but a chink in the meat and two veg wall my childhood built around me.

I’ve tried to explain to my kids ‘just’ how different food was then… how narrow the range.

I remember my first olive at about 16. (the same night i was introduced to saki, lentil loaf and Hampstead pubs)

My first chinese was a business mans lunch, three courses for a set amount in st Ives in Cornwall… my sister took me when i was about 12. I’m pretty sure the first choice was prawn salad or soup… the pudding iced-cream… but I’m sure here was something chinese in the middle.

Until i met my husband I didn’t know how to peel prawns…or that pheasants were for eating.

Compared to my daughter born 19 years ago…whose favourie snack was olives… who sat in a restaurant at about 3 and ate mussels..

the foodie world is a totally different place… but is it all good?

I always remember my grandma telling me to eat seasonal and eat local… to her, i think it was a very holistic thing that the place that grew you must grow the food most ideally suited to you. A way of thinking that predates families moving willy nilly round the country.

When we used to holiday up in cumbria where my grandma grew up she’d tell me where to go and find watercress growing to take her some back… that and local honey.

A fusion perhaps of trying to refind her ideal diet, but also to regain the tastes of her own childhood….

its a bit sad that the taste of my childhood is a vesta meal*…. that sort of epitomises why there was the whole foodie swing back towards my grandmas way of thinking.

I’ll have to ask my daughter what she remembers as the tastes of her childhood.

*its probably as much a taste of rebellionism as childhood as it was never something served up as a family meal…but a treat that had to be asked for.


Healthy hols. November 16, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — eclectic chicken @ 9:27 pm
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It took me two minutes exactly from the bottom of the 199 steps to the well placed collapse-upon grave…. a long walk on a windswept beach, picking up pebbles and dodging the waves and then of course 32 steps to the top floor toilet in the house. (there are other toilets but I’m taking my step training seriously – or was until Annie worked out on paper how many times I’d have to go to the toilet to make 199 steps or thereabouts – at which point I poured another glass of wine and decided it wasn’t a suitable training method as for every 32 steps i climbed I’d have the respite of coming down before re-ascending).

All in all a lovely day..and what with that and all the yummy healthy food Annie makes- (she’ll never convert me to vegetarianism but she can make me eat double helpings of pretty much anything she cooks) I think this could be a fairly healthy holiday. I’m pretty sure the exercise will be outweighing the wine and chocolate and cakes…and….

…well…. I feel another 199 steps coming on.

The other thing I’m getting plenty of which I suspect I need is sleep. I so need my sleep…. eight hours preferably… nine in winter when the hibernation urge is upon me.

The place we’ve ended up in has four bedrooms, twice as many as we expected to have and when we arrived we each very sensible took a bedroom on the first floor… each with its own en suite dontcha know.

But then I re-explored the top floor, its all slanty floors and ceilings, wood and beams and painted blue and it feels like being in a ship… so I moved all my stuff I’d just unpacked and took a smaller room.

It means I have a floor to myself… and a bathroom too.  It also means that when I lie in bed at night with my window just ajar (the way I like it) I can hear the wind and the waves and in the morning the gulls and the chugging of the boats pootling out of harbour…. above my bed is a skylight and when the clouds are blown away I can lie and look at the stars.

I’m hoping it’ll rain whilst we’re here… because if theres anything I like more than the sound of wind and waves  it’s the sound of wind and waves and rain on a window…. its worth losing the stars for….well only on a temporary basis.

They’re also the sounds of childhood… okay not the waves or the chugging fishing boats but I grew up in the wild west (west coast of Lancashire – Blackpool to be exact) but the sound of wind and rain and seagulls make me feel at home… feeling like a child brings its own comforts… and comforts and sleep, windy beaches, good food, and not forgetting good company bring their own sort of healing.


Eat more pies. September 11, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — eclectic chicken @ 12:02 pm
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Thats what Jane is…. angular…my shoulders are rounded…on hers the skin goes from bone to bone.

I don’t think she eats enough….not enough to fuel the growth of body parts with a high fat content. So this morning i asked an important question.

‘Which is more important being thin or being female?’

Which upset her.

She can spend months examining her breasts for growth and asking me to check her arse and maintaining the body of a barely pubescent aspiring anorexic.

Or she can up her eating…. excercise to keep the bits toned she wants to tone… but see if we can kickstart some curves and squidgy bits in all the right places.

And later…she can always lose weight again… she’s lost 4 stone (ish) in the last eighteen months or so….

I think her body is trying its best…there are curves where there were no curves before…and breasts are definitely breasts converted from moobs… there just isn’t the fuel to make anything else.

Having female hormones raging through your body MAKES you hungry… that’s your body telling you something.

Take note…. eat!

It’s worth a try.



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