This past Tuesday, my parents sat cuddled on the couch intently tuned into CNN’s election night coverage. With their prediction sheets in hand, they shared insights about US politics, debated emphatically, and marked off States as Democratic and Republican as the votes swirled in. Although arguably the biggest follower of the election in our family over the last few weeks, my Mom’s attention was strangely divided during the breaking-news event. Part of her heart was entangled in my Dad’s arms and part of it was love-struck by Barack Obama; but the vast majority of her attention was centered around a large, juicy orange.
I wish I were joking but I have caught my Mom in this predicament a number of times over the last few weeks. She has ditched my Dad at bedtime for an orange; her face has lit up noticeably not at the sight of me, but at the bag of oranges in my hands after grocery shopping; she has postponed lunch dates so that she can indulge in an orange before leaving the house. My mom is officially in a secret love affair with oranges.
Sadly, oranges have not been my Mom’s only tease over the last few months. Since starting chemotherapy, she has engaged in intense relationships with Wholenut chocolate (conveniently only found in the UK), milkshake, Baskin Robbins’ chocolate chip ice cream, sour cream and onion potato chips, hot dogs, popcorn and most recently, sushi.
Her relationship with food has been an interesting one throughout treatment. Foods she once craved are now intolerable; scorned lovers that have been relegated from their once higher-than-life status to outcasts unworthy of making the cut. Foods she had disliked for years have suddenly peaked her interest and our grocery bill. Meal times in our home have never been more interesting.
Cancer can be a difficult journey at times. But when I catch my Mom in the living room at midnight devouring an orange, juice flowing down her arms, her face a complete mess, I can only sit back and laugh. Cancer can have its funny moments!