Living with chemotherapy induced Peripheral Neuropathy

 

Three years ago I was diagnosed once again with breast cancer.  I had a mastectomy.  After surgery my treatment was oral  Exemestene – an anti-cancer hormone treatment not normally given to woman over eighty years old.      Two years of Exemestene and  the many serious  side-effects of this drug became so debilitating, the quality of my life so miserable,  I made the choice to stop treatment.

One of the unpleasant  side effects was painful burning and numbness in my feet and legs at night.  My feet became numb and I was having trouble walking, climbing stairs, anything relating to balance.  It was diagnosed as peripheral neuropathy.   I received little help from the oncology neurologist other than  suggesting  adding a B Multiple supplement  to the vitamin supplements I was taking.   This was the beginning of my extensive research on treatment of chemotherapy induced peripheral sensory neuropathy.

Courtesy Google I researched many North American  sites reporting positive results treating  people with  type two Diabetes with large amounts of Vitamin B 12 and Alpha laporic acid (an antioxidant, ) but little information on chemotherapy induced neuropathy.    The information I required was found  on Dutch and German medical sites.    I discussed the decision to add  vitamin B12 and alpha laporic acid to my supplement regime  with my family doctor and my nephrologist.

It has been just three months since I started taking B12 and alpha laporic acid and  I have been able to sleep with less burning pain.   Physiotherapists  gave me exercises to strength my feet and legs and  improve my balance.  Periperal Neuropathy weakens the muscles.   I’ve made major changes in my diet with  emphases on fresh fruits and vegetables and protein.     The  Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy is an excellent source of information.  But, it is important to be your own advocate.    Do extensive research and question everything.  And most important to discuss your choices with your family doctor and not self diagnose.

On the most positive note  –  my research has improved the quality of life for my younger sister.  She has type two diabetes and  had never been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy.  She discussed treatment with her physician and after adding vitamin B 12 and alpha laporic acid to her vitamin supplements  she ended years of suffering and has  absolutely no burning night pain in  her feet.

It is not my nature to be so open about something so intensely  personal.   Cancer has been my unwanted companion for eleven years.  If this experience helps just one person  that is what this post is about, and I will have made a difference for some one.

https://www.foundationforpn.org/

https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/peripheral-neuropathy-risk-factors-symptoms#1

 

 

 

 

 

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IT’S MAGIC. ZUCCHINI ‘S TUMBLE INTO YOUR BASKET AND BECOME ZUCCHINI RELISH.

This morning’s garden expedition is zucchini hunt.    The zucchini has an uncanny ability to hide its slender form under large, bristly leaves.   It masquerades as part of a thick stem.  The unsuspecting gardener turns her back and before you can say ratatouille  it becomes  a behemoth of a vegetable.

There is simply nothing more glorious than canning the bounty of your garden.  The heady fragrance of spices simmering in vinegar.  The chop chop chop sound as your knife flashes its way through mounds of vegetables. The wonderful feeling of accomplishment as you tuck away the jars of produce to enjoy in the months to come.

This recipe for ZUCCHINI RELISH is deliciously tangy and sophisticated  accompaniment for hot dogs, burgers, and any cold meats that require a little zing.   Slip over to the place I cook up wild and wonderful food.  Click on ZUCCHINI RELISH  and let the magic begin.  Bon Appetit dear friends.

THAI RED CURRY CHICKEN WITH GARDEN FRESH GREEN BEANS . . . an exotic summer creation.

The dog days of August.  Hot, gritty,  rift with boring burgers.   Chicken masquerading as burnt offering.      Over-done steaks.  Our heart and soul cries out for something different.  A little exotic.     A culinary creation that has your taste buds crying for more.  This is  answer to end of summer doldrums.  THAI RED CURRY CHICKEN.  It’s a doodle to make.  The recipe is easy to double.   And best of all one of the star ingredients is at its best right now –  garden fresh green beans.

THAI RED CURRY CHICKEN does have a lovely story.    An important gentleman of my long acquaintance had a friendly running competition with a visiting  surgeon.   It was all about who could prepare the most outstanding dinner.    He dished up this dish and the surgeon from Boston declared him the winner.  That a creation this delicious goes together so easily takes it out of the ordinary and into the superb.  A definite four stars.

THAI RED CURRY CHICKEN WITH GREEN BEANS is simmering away in MRS.BUTTERFINGERS kitchen.

 

AUGUST IN PARIS . . . AND SWEET BASIL IS ON THE MENU

It is August and there are those Parisians who flee to damp, cold stone houses in Brittany, or gritty, sticky beaches in Cap Ferrat.  I have escaped to my little house in Paris ( une petite maison).  The ceilings soar to cool heights.  Linen curtains billow and dance at tall windows.  The floor in my kitchen is ancient stone pavers.  It is cool under my feet. And it keeps the baskets of vegetables and bottles of wine at just the right temperature.

I always spend August in Paris.  August is when friends, from distant cities and exotic climes, appear at my door.  The Tin Man and Augustine appear first.    The Tin Man’s birthday is Bastille Day, and after several weeks of trolling vine yards and forgotten villages they visit  Paris.    This evening my Paris friend Theadora  and Resa of Toronto’s  West Queen Street, will dine.

There is a market at the end of my street. I tuck a basket under my arm and  early so very early  I follow a truck washing the streets of night memories,  I shop for tonight’s dinner.  Looking for basil from Provence.  It’s highly perfumed, piquant, tiny-leaves are the best for a brilliantly flavoured sauce and for tucking into salads.

I am in my kitchen  pounding and turning basil with a pestle in a large marble mortar.   It’s for a light basil sauce.  In the heat of summer it is an answer to almost everything.  I use it as a sauce for pasta (tonight’s dinner).  I glaze it on pizza along with tomato sauce.  I’ve paired it with poached fish.    And lavished it the most traditional way as pistou in a Provençal vegetable soup known as  soupe au pistou.

The recipe is simple.  More so if your kitchen boasts a food process. Into your processor  you place four fat garlic cloves peeled and halved , a half teaspoon of fine sea salt, four cups  of loosely packed of fresh basil leaves and flowers and process it to a paste.  I sometimes include a generous handful of Italian parsley leaves.    Then with the machine running you slowly pour six tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil through the tube and process again.  Taste for seasoning and the transfer it to a small bowl.   Stir before serving.  You can store this covered and refrigerated for three days or frozen for up to six months.  Bring to room temperature and stir again before serving.  You will end up with two-thirds of a cup, or about twelve one-tablespoon servings.

Chilling in a well-used silver ice bucket are  several bottles of vin rosé from the south of France.  Edith Piaf sings about lost loves.  Theadora arrives arms loaded with treasures from the flea markets  –  vintage fashion magazines.   We hear the high heeled taping of  scarlet soled shoes on the stairs.  Resa has arrived.

The night sky has turned pink.  Candles gutter and sputter.  It has been an evening of companionship, deep discussions,  frivolous fanciful dreams, laughter and a few tears.  It has been an August night in  une petite maison (my little house in Paris)

 

 

WHEN LIFE HANDS YOU A BOWL OF CHERRIES MAKE CLAFOUTI AUX CERISES (cherry clafouti)

One has a rather small window to make this classic French dessert.     It’s a bit of a waiting game.  First you wait patiently for the first of the dark, sweet cherries to make their grand appearance.    I shop almost daily in our lovely, quiet and delightfully old-fashioned village.  We have a wonderful locally owned  grocery store in Ladner.  JARRY’S feature local and regional products.       I have been buying shiny, ruby red cherries every day for a week or so, and today the cherries were deeply rich and sweetly ripe.   This is where the waiting and tasting game pays off.  The cherries are perfect for  clafouti.

Clafuti is a crepe like batter poured over cherries and baked in a very hot oven.  There are many recipes for this seasonal dessert and they are all variations of melted butter, flour (not much) a bit of sugar, several eggs , milk and ripe, plump cherries.   It is traditional to leave the pits in the cherries.  It adds to the flavour of the clafouti.    Just  remind your guests about the pits.

This very, very French dessert is easy to whip up and pop into the oven about two hours before you want to serve it.   At the last minute I dust it with a little icing sugar.  You can serve it warm or cool.

The recipe  for  CHERRY CLAFOUTI  awaits you in MRS.BUTTERFINGER’S kitchen.  Bon Appetit dear friends.

 

 

 

SUFFER LITTLE CHILDREN, AND FORBID THEM NOT, TO COME UNTO ME: FOR SUCH IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.

 

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to break free,

the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. 

Send there, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.

  I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

 

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

(The text of this sonnet by Emma Lazarus is mounted inside the  Statue of Liberty)

(The text  “suffer little children” from King James version of the bible  Matthew 19:14)