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Castle Point Court
Glen Allen, VA 23060


Garth Callaghan

Napkin Notes Dad





The Napkin Notes Blog

Food Glorious Food

WGarth Callaghan

From Oliver, the musical:

Food Glorious Food

Is it worth the waiting for?
If we live 'til eighty four
All we ever get is gru...el!
Ev'ry day we say our prayer --
Will they change the bill of fare?

One of my biggest challenges while undergoing cancer treatment is something many of us take for granted: eating.

I have no desire to eat. The medicine suppresses my appetite. The medicine has altered my taste buds and most of the food I could eat tastes like wet cardboard. (Well, I am guessing. I am NOT a wet cardboard gourmet!) I used to love to eat spicy foods. I would eat at Thai restaurants and would shake my head when the servers offered me "American Hot." I wanted more heat! Now, if I eat anything that is higher than black pepper on the Scoville scale, I cry in pain. It's like putting shards of glass in my mouth.

I have a list of enjoyable foods that becomes smaller and smaller each day.

  1. Applesauce
  2. Red grapes
  3. Bananas
  4. Shrimp
  5. Cream of Wheat
  6. Strawberries
  7. Costco frozen yogurt parfait
  8. Green beans
  9. Pears
  10. Pineapples
  11. Egg Drop Soup
  12. Shrimp Fried Rice
  13. Various cereals and milk
  14. Homemade chicken soup
  15. Arnold Palmers (Iced Tea mixed with Lemonade)
  16. Eggs, but not scrambled. (Scrambled eggs fell of from the list a few weeks ago)

That's it.  Sixteen things that I look forward to eating.  Sheesh!

On top of the food and eating issue, my stomach is often upset. My intestines and colon aren't all to happy, either! So, why would I eat? The whole process is problematic! I really don't have much incentive to eat.

My wife, Lissa, is very focused on my nutritional and caloric intake. She can magically tell when I haven't eaten enough and appears out of nowhere with a snack or food. It's eerie. I know one of her tricks. My lips turn purple when I am not feeling well and that's one of the signs that I really should have eaten already. Honestly, if she's not there to remind me at times, I would skip eating until I passed out.

I've lost about 34 pounds since my surgery in October. I have lost 25ish since I started my meds in mid-February. The good news is that I really should have lost that weight anyway! I wouldn't necessarily recommend this method, but it is what it is.

I think this might be what some pregnant women feel like. Some foods look and smell completely disgusting to me. I actually had to leave the house once when we were making Turkey Burgers. How sad is that? My favorite foods - they are completely off of the list. I miss peanut butter. I miss salad.

Why am I sharing this? I am sharing this because I actually look forward to eating from my limited menu when I am hungry! It's a blessing to have this food. I will never take food for granted for the rest of my life. 


A special shout out to Little Szechuan Chinese Restaurant on Staples Mill Road in Glen Allen. I get Egg Drop Soup from them 3-4 days a week! They are directly responsible for a major amount of my caloric intake and I am eternally grateful! If you live in RVA, you should go eat there! Tell them I sent you!