It was a nightmare.

I just wanted to eat some grass-fed, organic cheese.  But we didn’t have any of the kind I can eat in the house: grass fed, organic, gluten-free.

I am not supposed to eat many animal based products – actually, it is debatable whether I am supposed to be eating any animal-based products at all, but this is a bridge I haven’t crossed yet during my recuperation from surgery.  The other night I just wanted some of that yummy cheese.  And we didn’t have it.

Oh, we had other cheeses – the kinds that I can’t have but anyone else in my family can decide to eat whenever they want to.  But that didn’t help me.  Marshall and Hannah started chowing down their crappy old  cheese.  But there was none for me – the person who wanted it more than anything else – and it really rankled my tail feathers.

The evening devolved from dinner into a spinning pire of curses and rants – mine.

It was pretty pathetic.  No one seemed to understand what I was trying to say.  I can’t drive.  It’s not like I can just go out and grab “my cheese” whenever I want to so I can eat it whenever I want to.  I can’t even get out of this stupid house without pre-planning the whole thing with someone else.  I have very little autonomy at all, as a matter of fact. It’s a real pain in the ass.

Okay, maybe not most days, but the other night it was a real pain in the ass.  I was so pissed.  And no matter how I tried to say it (and I used some real flamers, I’m sorry to say), no one in my family seemed to be able to understand that this had nothing to do with them or their needs or wants or abilities to eat whatever they chose – or chose not – to eat.

That night, it had everything to do with ME – what I should or should not be eating in order to create an anti-cancer environment in my body so that I can live a longer, healthier life; whether animal products are going to be okay for me or not; just how critical is going gluten-free going to be for me and my immune system functioning?

I’m sorry, but I have no clue what the answers to these questions are.  Neither do my doctors, frankly – their first opinion was to just “eat whatever you want to eat” – don’t do anything any differently.  I’ve learned very quickly that this is utter hogwash.  What I eat matters very much in terms of how healthy – or unhealthy – the rest of my days will be.  There are many scientific, food-based studies that bear this out – jillions of them.  Do I have time to read and process them all?  No.

So what am I going to do?

Two days before my surgery (which was two weeks ago today, by the way), I met with a nutritional counselor at Nutritional Solutions, a cancer consulting, nutrition-based company in Utah.  I need to tell you how highly unusual it is for someone like me to have the opportunity to have a meeting like this prior to having surgery to remove my brain tumor.  Most people get started with nutrition as it relates to cancer much later in the diagnostic process, so I count myself very lucky.

As a result of my counseling session, I was able to get nutritional supplements ordered so I could begin them as soon as I arrived back home from my surgery.  I want to be clear that these are NOT “alternative” treatments for cancer, but are very scientifically-based, well-researched aides for creating an anti-inflammatory mileau inside of my body to prevent my cancer from coming back.

I’ve been on these supplements – and I’ve changed my diet drastically –  thanks to you wonderful friends who have been plying me and and my family with all of the healthy foods I’ve learned about so far.  Honestly, I do not know what our family would do right now without all of your support and care, so that we can continue to figure out what is going to work for us as we move forward.  I am truly eating us out of house and home right now – but this is exactly what I need to be doing in order to figure out what is going to work for my body’s particular needs.

The next step is for me to have another meeting with my nutritional counselor, probably early next week, in order to “fine tune” my nutritional needs, figure out exactly why “gluten-free” is going to be so important for me, iron out my supplements now that we know I am not going to be having chemotherapy or radiation, and try to figure out whether going totally animal-free in terms of protein will be important – or not.

It’s a lot to deal with, no doubt.  

Now that everyone knows my “prognosis” it feels very much like everyone thinks “well, that’s the end of that.”  How untrue, from my perspective.  It is only just beginning now that my surgery is over.

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26 Comments on "The Wheels Fell Off the Other Night."

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Jewel Reed

Fran…. There is so much activity when you are in the hospital! Reality sets in when you get home, start new routines and have time to process all that has happened. It can seem surreal and overwhelming.
I think your feelings are ok and normal.
Just close your eyes, relax and feel all the love and positive thoughts being sent your way. Give your Hannah a hug. Tell her I can’t wait to see her sweet smile. Jewel


Fran, so no chemiotherapy? Very good!!
As to the diet. I tend to have high blood pressure. The doctor told me to get rid of salt. The next moment I came home I boiled potatoes without salt. And I manage. Just had to get used immediately not wanting a “pill life sentence”. The pressure is much better !
Hope you’re not busy eating the fridge out all the time as your last post was over a week ago 🙂


Hello Fran — I’m glad to read your responses to comments. PLEASE don’t forget to keep reaching out and telling us what you need. If it’s just comments to posts, so be it, but you know we will rally ’round and try to help in whatever way possible. Perhaps it’s time to come out and say what Marshall needs, or what Hannah needs, or your folks? Sometimes even the strongest supporters need some help, too…and I suspect they would be the last to ask. Thinking of you.


Cristina (Nassif Kotmair)
Cristina (Nassif Kotmair)
Dear Fran, reading your posts has been so uplifting! You have been in my thoughts and prayers more than you could ever know I am so very glad to know that your surgery was such a success and that you haven’t lost that beautiful sense of humor and spirit throughout all you have endured. You are one tough lady! What an example you are to your daughter! I know you feel blessed to have your family and friends but you must know how blessed we all feel to know you and have our lives touched by you! I don’t need… Read more »
Kathy Erskine

Thinking of you, Fran! You deserve to get grouchy, so no worries about that. I love that you don’t have to worry about radiation or chemo! We are still behind you and rooting for you with all the changes you’re making. Gluten free is really not that bad, having been doing it for 7 years or so. I will help you.

Lynda Myers

Even the wheels coming off is just one more step in your journey forward. As you’ve said before, the only option is to go through it since you can’t go around it. It takes a while to settle in to those life changes, and it probably wouldn’t hurt to have some of the “other” cheese every once in a while just to get you past a rough patch. Maybe the 80/20 rule would work for you? 80% eating your best diet and 20% living it up a bit?

I missed the prognosis, but am glad it seems to be good.


I feel your pain. Let Rose and I know if you need a cheese fix again and we will get you some organic cheese.

Ted Hollifield

Fran, just want to let you know that I’m still thinking of you and including you in my prayers during your recovery. Now that we’re here we can acknowledge that recovery is probably the hardest part. So hard. Keep it up. Wheels come off; that’s why it’s an expression. You’re doing great!


Bought some eggs at ALDI. The carton stated that it was made from 100% reclaimed paper and that the hens from “Goldhen” we’re not given growth hormones and fed on grains from local farms. To top that, when I opened the carton, it had an inscription inside “This is the Day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it” Psalms 118:24.
Good for GOLDHEN!!!
Good for ALDI!!!

Oh, dear Fran, the nutrition field, nowadays, is mind boggling. Take for instance pregnant women: they can not eat this, they can not eat that… I had five pregnancies, resulting in five healthy deliveries and equally healthy children, and I ate and drank anything I wanted, and, like me, millions of women did. I understand your concern and frustration. That would drive me nuts! I always pray that I don’t have to observe any diet, because, even though I don’t eat a lot, any restrictions on my freedom would bother me tremendously. But, like some of your friends tell you,… Read more »

Did you get your cheese? I’ve read a 200 page book on nutrition for cancer recovery by Ralph Moss. I’ve summarized my findings if you’re interested in them.

Pat Laurenz

Hang in there Fran. Hopefully it gets easier. In the meantime it’s perfectly ok to have a pity party once in a while. You’re doing great. Luv ya

Nicole Clarke
It is hard to change your diet overnight. The biggest problem for me has been trying to determine what can take the place of the many foods I’ve pitched. (Less of a problem for me personally, more of a problem when I take the whole family into account!). Baby steps really can help reduce the stress of it all and help you find balance. I liked Mark Bittman’s approach in Food Matters (eat like a vegan until dinner time, then eat what you want), and apparently his newer book, VB6: Vegan Before 6:00pm, is very good. I also liked Dr.… Read more »
Nancy Black

Fran, I am sure that All of this nutrition information is so overwhelming. I can tell you from experience that what seems overwhelming today will become a habit tomorrow. Baby steps will still take you far if you are headed in the right direction and keep at it.

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