I’ve just finished my fourth breakfast

I’ve just finished my fourth breakfast.

It is 11:30 a.m. I had steel cut oatmeal with walnuts and cinnamon. An hour later I had a hard boiled egg on flat bread. At about 10:30 I had 10 crackers with leftover salmon sprinkled with dill. Just now, more salmon, only 6 crackers this time, but with a side of reheated scalloped potatoes.

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“Eat like its your job,” my nurse Brian instructed. Hey, I’m just doin’ my job! It is week 2, of course, of my chemo regime. I write down what I’ve eaten in my log, and bask in knowledge that I am employee of the week.

If eating is my job, last week, week 1, I was a slacker, an unmotivated and ill-tempered employee. My burps disturbed my office-mates. I, in turn, complained that their smelly lunches made me nauseous. I was an anti-nausea-pill popping fiend; preoccupied with the location of the bucket, the status of my bowels.

The human relations rep was no help. He kept putting food in front of me expecting me to do my job, disappointed when I didn’t. His demonstrations of previously unknown cooking prowess failed to motivate me. He threatened probation, threatened to call Brian. My adequate fluid intake was no consolation.

I plan to confront Brian on Friday when I go for my second chemo infusion. He’d told me days 1-3 would be good days: steroid-fueled, high energy, low nausea. They were not. Days 4-7 were supposed to be the bad days, where I would feel “just eh.” Really? “Just eh”? I’d thought, I can definitely handle 4 days of feeling “just eh.” Only it was a lie. There is no “eh” in “constipation.”

I plan to ask, “Oh really, Brian? How do you expect me to work under these conditions?”

I’ll contest my job description and demand that he let me work part-time (i.e., week 2). I’ll use my productivity log from week 2 to convince him. I’ll spend the next few days logging what I eat and planning what I’ll say. But first I need to think about what to have for lunch.

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