Cancer Treatment is Almost Over: How I’ve Been Doing

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I realized with a start that I’ve been wearing a head wrap for seven months now. It’s also the same length of time that I’ve been undergoing chemotherapy: it boggles my mind.

I was so heartened and startled at the response to my cancer story that I posted last July. I honestly didn’t expect the outpouring of shock and support. I received numerous emails, mostly from people I didn’t know – cancer conquerors – whose single sentiment was: “Thank you for putting into words what I didn’t know how to describe.” The post went viral, it’s the single, most-read post on DCF now. Thank you for taking the time to read it and for rooting for me. It was a story that I had to tell.

chemo photo

After my first four chemo cycles done every 3 weeks, the ones whose savage after-effects I detailed in my cancer story, my oncologist transferred me to a new protocol. I now do weekly chemo sessions but on a much reduced dose. Because of this, I have more days of wellness, and I can’t tell you how good it feels to feel good after feeling bad for so long.

Neil's Kitchen (1)
Because the medicine is gentler, I’m able to enjoy my food better now. After chemo one day, my childhood best friend, Marge, takes me to one of her favorite places, Neil’s Kitchen. I give in and enjoy the very innovative, almost quirky Sinigang Paella with Grilled Pork Belly.

Neil's Kitchen (8)
And of course Marge and I demolish dessert, the Fried Suman with Mangga and Chocnut, a textural synergy of sweet on soft. Mmm.

Costa Coffee (1)

All throughout my cancer treatment, my Bin and I never give up on our weekend coffee runs. One Sunday, he takes me to Costa Coffee. I have the much-lauded drink, the Flat White, but frankly, I find it under-extracted and watered down. The Mocha fares better. Nice place though, conducive for solace or chilling with friends.

Dean + Frank (1)

Another weekend, we go to Frank & Dean. Heard of this place yet? Named for Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, this is a full-service restaurant that’s open as early as 7am, one reason I like it here. The coffee served here is by Yardstick, decent but of course it’s better at Yardstick. Having said that however, do have the doughnut at Frank & Dean, and ask for it to be heated. More like fluffy fried bread than anything else, one bite makes mess of placemat and shirtfront. Lovely! I also like the Sour Cream Banana Pancakes here, very soft but with bite. Next time I want to try their popular Fried Chicken with Waffles.

Having weekly chemos lends a regularity to my days. On Mondays, I have a blood test and Tuesday is chemo day. Wednesday to Friday is devoted to resting, exercising, and when I’m up to it, seeing friends. It warms my heart to be taken out, my occasional foray into the outside world. Though I’m on hiatus, I’m very much up to date on the new restaurants and whatever else is going on. It’s interesting to me to view all this buzz from a distance especially since I was so involved in the food industry before my diagnosis. I admit that I’m envious of everyone’s energy and that you all can enjoy sashimi and ceviche. All raw food is forbidden for me as well as being in crowded places. I also still cannot get used to wearing a face mask – sometimes I feel like it’s a choice between breathing (mask off) or suffocating (mask on).

Since I haven’t updated DCF since July, I obviously haven’t been up to writing or even taking pictures. Getting well and healing, especially from cancer, is my full-time job right now. Today I feel the call of the computer, so here I am writing this post. But I’m unsure of how much to reveal – I certainly don’t want to drag anyone down with my heavier thoughts. But my reality right now is serious and heavy, and I’m mulling over how to move forward from here.

T+C feature2 Oct 2015_edited

The good news is that October is a huge month for me. See the photo above, a shot from Town & Country’s Breast Cancer Awareness issue out now. Yes, later this month, I’ll complete my last chemo cycle! You can bet I’ll be writing about that momentous event here.

So this is me for now just in case you were wondering how I was doing. Thank you for your well wishes and your prayers. It means more than you could know. It’s been the toughest, roughest year of my life but I can already feel the warmth of the light at the end of the tunnel and I know that this Christmas will be the best one yet.

Hear from me soon, and in less than three months, I promise.

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