Thursday, August 13, 2009

Paper Gown Book Club #1

Hey Guys,

I've decided to add a new aspect to my blogging - book club time! I got the idea after reading Kairol Rosenthal's blog Everything Changes and deciding that I really, really wanted to read her book. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to run out and get it yet (I'll be heading out to Barnes & Noble in Kenwood tonight!) so I'm going to write about an interesting book my mom passed on to me. Now, for those of you who don't know, my mom has had cancer (more on that in another post...) so she's a fantastic resource for any advice or questions I might have.

As I've written about before, I've had a lot of issues with my diet since starting chemo. I've got tons of dietary restrictions, and those mixed with the nausea and mouth sores makes a skinny girl even skinnier! I know that might sound appealing, but trust me... skin and bones is NOT an attractive look. Anyway, the with all of the diet problems, my mom dug out this book for me: The Cancer Recovery Eating Plan, by Daniel Nixon, MD. Dr. Nixon is a Folk Professor of Experimental Oncology at the Medical University of South Carolina, as well as a consultant with the American Cancer Society.

Now, I was a little skeptical at first - the book looked pretty dry, and it's also fifteen years old (published in 1994). I was also extremely skeptical about the part about "Folk Professor of Experimental Oncology." Usually I shy away from anything that tells me to use alternative-type medicine to cure my cancer. But then again, that advice usually comes from aging hippies in vintage shops, not popular books written by accredited medical professionals.

As I started the book, my skepticism lessened - especially when I came across this one particular quote: "Your goal is to eat adequately without feeding the cancer." That really struck me. Dr. Nixon makes the very important point that so many cancer patients are so absorbed with just trying to keep on weight they don't stop to think about what they're actually putting in their bodies. This hit close to home for me, because I've been struggling with the same thing. Before I was diagnosed, I was used to eating mostly organic, local foods from farmer's markets. After my first chemo, I was so nauseous that the only thing I wanted to eat was Kraft Macaroni (SpongeBob or Pokemon shaped, please!), which, I'm sure only made me feel worse.

Dr. Nixon dedicates chapters to specific types of cancers (such as breast, colon, and others), with dietary suggestions for each type. Unfortunately, he also lists Hodgkin's (along with NHL and Leukemia) as non-diet related cancers, which kind of made the book moot for me, but oh, well - I still learned something! And at the back, he wonderfully puts recipes high in "good fats" but low in "bad fats" - perfect for someone like me, who is trying to put on healthy weight - not just any old kind of fat. In addition, there's a "Get Healthy" menu at the back - helpful for jump starting a new healthy eating lifestyle.

All in all, I enjoyed the book. It was a little dry - I don't always have a lot of patience for mainstream books with too much medical jargon, but this one wasn't as bad as it could have been. I learned a pretty decent amount about how cancer is effected by diet (even though MY cancer, apparently, doesn't have anything to do with diet) and that was good to learn for the future.

Let me know what you guys think! Also - Book Club. Good idea? Bad idea? I feel like I need a little something else to do to fill my time before I (hopefully!) start classes at the end of September.

Next, I'll definitely be reading Kairol's book Everything Changes - click on the link at the beginning if you want to grab a copy and read with me! I'd love to get some discussions going.

I'm also open to suggestions! I'm going to try to lean towards books for YAs with cancer, but I might throw something else in the mix every once in awhile, just for a little surprise :-)

Talk to you soon!

Lots of Love,


  1. You know I love a good book discussion, Lauren.

    PS so you know I'm on a food kick lately and you and i love our organic shit. Have you looked into joining a CSA? You should.

    Mucho amor!


  2. Another book you might like is called Sweet Love. It's about a woman whose mother fought cancer and it is starting to come back. Her mother, wanting to right a wrong from the past, signs the daughter up for cooking lessons to get her back together with a childhood love. It's a heartwarming story :) My mom made my sisters and me read it.

  3. @ Tyler - YESSSS I HAVE! i'll probably join one as soon as i'm some place for an extended period of time. by the time i'm back at the apt, it'll be too cold for farming...

    @ Holly - thanks for the recommendation! i'm definitely going to look that one up :-)

  4. Hey Lauren! Thanks for commenting on my blog and allowing me to find yours! I think the book club is an awesome idea! And I'm going to pick up the Cancer Recovery Eating Plan.

    I had the opposite experience. I packed on 70 lbs during treatment. Also, NOT a good look! ;-)

    Hope you are having a great week!

  5. I was told my cancer (leukemia) wasn't really affected by diet, but I've gone completely organic and I do a lot more cooking (well I don't have a job so I may as well LOL). It does make you feel good! But don't feel badly about the mac & cheese - when you're not feeling too hot, you should eat whatever you can just to keep the weight on. I went through that phase of eating basically noodles and olive oil for a week because that was all my stomach could handle, but now I make up for it with yummy good-for-you food. It all evens out. :)