Cancer is Crap: The Restorative Powers of Veal Scallopini
Rethink is proud to republish the original blog posts of Leanne Coppen first featured by Chatelaine. Leanne passed away in 2011 from metastatic breast cancer and we are honoured that her friends and family have allowed us to share her words here on the Rethink blog.
APRIL 11, 2010 · 10:34 PM
My husband and I went to a movie today! Yes, as in a movie in a theatre! With actual popcorn! Up and out and enjoying ourselves like a normal couple on a Sunday afternoon – how great is that? And then out of the dark theatre and into the sunny, breezy spring air, on a hunt to satisfy my latest craving: veal scallopini! (It’s almost always Italian these days, but even I was surprised by the veal.)
Needless to say I had a great day. I am feeling much better, and for that I thank the vino (relbine.) Although a glass of Barolo would have been nice with the veal… I’m as happy as I am relieved, since I had thought that by last night I’d have seen a bit of an improvement, but didn’t, and began to worry. In fact, I was feeling so unwell last night that I made the mistake of introducing a new painkiller into the mix and ended up sweating and hallucinating on my bed for three hours. Nothing too evil, just some white ostrich feathers waving at me from the bedroom ceiling, but still, who needs that? And unfruling white ostrich feathers? That’s not even my hallucination — surely it belongs to my daughter’s very fabulous choreographer godfather. (Obviously from now on I’m sticking with Big Daddys. We understand each other – I follow the ‘script, Daddy takes the pain away, and no ostrich feathers on the ceiling.)
Once I emerged from my bad painkiller trip, the worry was still there: maybe I wouldn’t get the bounce-back this time like I did from chemo last week. I wasn’t really feeling the energy come back like it did two days after chemo last time and I began to fear it wouldn’t happen again, that perhaps it had just been the excitement of Detroit and all the hope we felt that had somehow infused me with a perception of improved health …
It was a depressing thought. But sometimes, when it’s been nothing but painkillers and lousy sleeps and gasping for breath it gets really hard to believe that it’s not always going to be that way. That it’s not always going to suck that much. I started to wonder how long I could sustain it, because the only time I wasn’t feeling miserable was when I was asleep, and that only ever lasted three hours at a time. Those nights can be long, and the thought kept returning, If this is how it’s going to be, how long can I possibly last?
So now that I feel the return of my energy, I’m embracing it – but also trying not to burn out. Trying, if I can, to store it up so I have some chutzpah in reserve for the next nosedive. It feels so good to feel almost normal; it makes me think/ can do this. Whatever comes next, as long as I’m not doomed to be a bed-ridden vegetable for all my days, I can do this. I can come back from this, find a way to beat back the cancer, get it out of my lungs, breathe again, and get my life back.
Seriously, that’s what a matinee and some Italian food can do for me. Imagine what I’d be like if I got into the champagne?