Nausea is not for the faint of heart.
And sometimes I really think my heart is faint, I mean quite wussie.
I am just about one week out from my first infusion of chemo cocktail (I'm taking to calling these cocktail parties - and there are six of them in total - the last of which is on St. Valentine's Day).
These last days have been a mixture of feeling sick, but not sick enough to, you know - feeling sprightly and able to vacuum (what evolutionary principle is at work there?) - and spending the entire day under a quilt, on the couch, waking up only long enough to see Barefoot Contessa bbq'ing pizza in the Hamptons, then suddenly Giada slivering up zucchini before her night at the symphony, while I shift the cats' bodies aside to see the screen.
Steve likes to call my tv viewing preferences the Stirrin' and Nailin' Channels - which is entirely true. But I don't care I keep saying, I'm sick. The ultimate argument topper. I get the remote whenever I want.
But something started happening yesterday - I started feeling almost normal again.
I roasted vegetables.
Steve said he'd pick up vegetables on his way home, to have with our leftover roast chicken. But I couldn't wait. I felt good enough after making it through five hours of a workday, so I dug through our baskets, our crispers, to see what lurked there - out came potatoes, carrots and some leeks.
They were tired, grasping for their last bit of glory, their balance of life tipping closer to the compost bin than the roasting pan. But for all their faded colour and limpness, they were headed for as much glory as I could impart.
I sharpened my knife, smiled a grin for me, and started carving. I felt so at home again.
By the time Steve came in to shelter himself from the dark and the wind and the threatening blowing snowflakes, the house was filled with the deliciousness, warmth, security.
Sure. Cook with love. You know I believe that. But it's sorely tested by nausea.
The nose knows and is linked by a superhighway of senses to the stomach. I can't stand the smell of frying bacon right now (and it's the one smell that vegetarians have told me could convert them into omnivores). On the other hand, I love the taste of smoked anything - cheese, sausage. I also lusted through two oranges the other day, and then devoured pasta that I smothered in fried garlic, olive oil and fresh parsley.
In this world of nausea that teases me, the way through it is lust for food. I eat. That is glorious.