Let Me Eat Cake

Let Me Eat Cake
A Lump in the Road column I take my baking seriously. I actually harvest my own yeast and use it to bake bread. It’s a smelly, glue-like concoction that lives in the back of our refrigerator and draws lots of complaints from my family. I’ve taken it on vacations, smuggled it through customs and even had neighbors baby-sit it. After four years in the same plastic container, my husband pleaded with me at least to put it in glass. I think he secretly believes that the nasty goo somehow caused my cancer. During chemo, though, I just couldn't do it. The idea of assembling ingredients exhausted me. And I wasn’t sure I could endure the smell of raw flour without barfing. Even cakes and cookies, my mainstays, were out of the question. At the start of chemo, I looked at a calendar and tried to calculate what milestones would pass during treatment. What would I miss?  As I counted, I figured chemo would fall just before my 50th birthday. I’d be tired, for sure, but I was already planning my cake. How hard could it be? However, as my birthday inched closer, and with a few sessions of chemo behind me, I realized a lot more could go wrong than just being “chemo tired.” My first and second chemotherapy sessions landed me in the ER within hours of arriving home. After infusions, some patients – like me – get a condition called neutropenic fever. It happens when white blood cell counts drop so low that even the tiniest germ becomes a deadly threat. When it happens, it happens fast, and can
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  1. ellen scolnic says:

    great essay! happy birthday – start planning your cake for next year! If you’re a great baker, you can dream, clip recipes, invent and augment. You’ll have many years and many cakes to come!

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