Life is Sweet
This weekend marks a momentous anniversary for me: last year, on September 21st, I received my autologous stem cell transplant for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and finally (knock on wood) kicked the stupid cancer to the curb. Last year at this time, I had no hair. My eyelashes were gone. I was confined to my “private room” on the transplant floor at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. I couldn’t eat (mucositis was setting in. This was probably one of the worst parts of the whole experience for me.) I was trying my very hardest to make the best of the situation: piping my room full of music I love, playing Scrabble with my mom, joking around and smiling as best I could, focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. It was my way of dealing with a situation that I had never imagined myself in, but that I was determined to get through as peacefully and with as little distress as I could.
One year later, life is so sweet: I am living in a place I love, with my husband whom I adore, doing the things I love to do, feeling so completely happy and healthy it makes me grin from ear to ear! I’ve had nary a cold or sniffle since the transplant — amazing. Our life is moving forward, finally, after two years of being stalled in a situation neither B nor I ever expected or wanted to be in. I know — beyond a doubt — that I could not have gotten here without all of the love and support that my family, friends, co-workers and even acquaintances surrounded me with…nor without the wonderful doctors and nurses at Sloan.
So, I made dessert. Chocolate Orbit Cake, to be specific. Nothing like a dark chocolate flourless cake to celebrate the sweetness and richness of life, right? The recipe is from none other than the ice-cream-and-pastry-chef-author-and-blogger we all love, David Lebovitz. There are only four ingredients: chocolate, butter, eggs and sugar. It’s like the little black dress of desserts: simple, elegant, classy. Dress it up any way you like; berry sauce, crème anglaise, ice cream, whipped cream, a dusting of cocoa powder, chocolate shavings — all would be delicious accessories. Eat it cold from the fridge, and it’s like a dense, fudgy brownie. Eat it at room temperature and the soft, silky texture melts in your mouth.
I’m sending a slice of this out to everyone who wrapped their support and love around me during my cancer experience like a warm blanket around my shoulders. Thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. And, to all of you readers who have taken an interest in this little bloggity blog, who have taken the time to comment and share your enthusiasm — a slice of this goes out to you, too!
I thought this might be a nice time for me to officially say “hello,” too, now that I’ve been blogging and writing to you for the past 9 months: it’s very nice to meet you!
me with my trusty Reisenthel tote at the Ithaca Farmer’s Market, by my favorite local honey stand.
And, I’d love to hear from you, too! I know some of you might be a little hesitant to comment, but really, I’d love it if you just said hello. I’ve so enjoyed sharing recipes and photos with all of you over the past year, and I’d love to know who’s out there reading. Are there any recipes you’ve particularly liked? Anything you’d like more of?
Oh, and one more thing. I kind of can’t believe I haven’t mentioned this yet. Guess where I’m going this upcoming week? I’m shipping off to a 5-day Boot Camp at the CIA! That’s the Culinary Institute of America, not the government agency, folks. I am so, so, SO excited. It was B’s gift to me, to celebrate my one-year transplant anniversary / upcoming birthday. (Yes, he’s a keeper, all right!) I’ll be there Monday through Friday, and the days run from about 6am-8:30pm, so I’ll be super busy during the week but loving every minute of it, I’m sure. And, of course I’ll be writing about it when I return, so stay tuned!