Fifteen Months After Cancer: Fearless & Feeling Like Myself Again

It's been fifteen months since I finished chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

I definitely fall into the camp that believes what doesn't destroy me makes me stronger. I continue to feel healthier than I've ever been -- thank you Kris Carr and Post Punk Kitchen! -- and am enjoying life more than ever.

However, as I've recovered, I've felt strangely unlike myself in two key ways. First, I no longer had my old (BIG) hair. Second, I no longer had my ability to eat or drink anything I wanted to.

Though it turns out I can pull off short hair (here I am in August of 2012), I didn't really feel like me with that hair.

Now, though my hair isn't nearly as long as it used to be, it's long enough that it gets blown over in the wind and has a life of its own. In other words: I'm back to feeling like my hair is my own. 

As for food, I used to take pride in the fact that I would try any dish put in front of me, a la Anthony Bordain or Andrew Zimmerman (of the Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods show), and drink any spirits no matter how high the proof (absinthe, anyone?).

After finding out that certain foods would greatly increase my risk of cancer recurrence, I realized I needed to change my eating habits. But where would I be without my identity as a fearless eater? There was no way I was going to become a boring eater. Well, it turns out there was a different way for me to be fearless with food: I learned to cook.

When I got sick, we'd recently moved into a house with an amazing kitchen. Before that, living in Berkeley and San Francisco made it easy to walk five minutes in any direction and get any type of food we desired, so there was no need to cook in cramped apartment kitchens with electric stoves. But in a gorgeous kitchen with a gas stove and plenty of counter space, I was already tempted to learn to cook.

It turned out that cooking from scratch was easier than I ever imagined. Granted, it's not fast; it's quite time consuming. But who knew that cooking could be so much fun, and that healthy foods could taste so absolutely amazing? So now instead of being someone who will try any food, I'm someone who can cook up any dish I feel like eating -- and have it be both delectable and good for me. Not too bad, as trades go.

And yes, I do all my writing in the morning so I have time for leisurely cooking in the evening.

Mixing the ingredients in a wild ride salad. 

Homemade vegan butter with a cashew base.

Homemade raw chocolate.

Our greenhouse in the backyard.