TFTT: Turkey For the Turkey

Thanksgiving might be my most favorite day of the year. It is a day when I can eat/feel most normal. (Cancer issues notwithstanding.) To assure that this day would indeed satiate my savage beast, I changed/rearranged my chemotherapy infusion interval so the feast would not occur on the first Thursday following my previous Friday infusion but rather 13 days hence — on the second Thursday. This will, if my most recent pattern follows — going on for nearly two years now, enable me to eat/have no eating issues (other than the many non-cancer related ones I’ve had/maintained my entire life) whatsoever relating to my chemotherapy and enjoy the day — and night without any challenges other than buckling my belt.

Not that I look the least bit undernourished, but I don’t eat like a normal adult either. Heck, I don’t eat like a normal child and I’m not referring to whether I eat using silverware — which I do, or hold silverware more like an “entrenching tool” (“Firesign Theatre”) which I don’t. If I had my druthers, I’d order off the children’s menu. That’s not to say I’d be properly-mannered sitting at a Downton Abbey dinner, but at least I’d know enough to select my silverware from the outside-in and likely not embarrass myself in the process; that is until I return every portion back to the kitchen untouched. And therein lies my problem.

I don’t like anything. I eat the same things over and over and over again. I don’t view this as a problem, more like a continuing opportunity. To say, as I often do, that I eat 10 things, might be hard to digest, but not for me. In addition to not eating much variety, I won’t try anything, and if I am compelled to do so, won’t do so in front of anybody, that’s for sure. If I don’t like the food’s appearance, texture, color, smell, description, lineage, heritage, place of origin, birthplace, where it’s been, with whom it’s been, even its name and general unfamiliarity, I won’t touch it “with a 10-foot Pole. Stretch Polansky, tallest Pole I ever saw,” (to quote Hawkeye Pierce from a long-ago M*A*S*H episode).

Not that this juvenile behavior has stunted my girth. Hardly. But it has narrowed my “confinement beam” (“Star Trek”) so to speak. I eat a lot of very little. Thanksgiving however, is the lot of which I eat. Not so much the desserts, which are usually a variety of pies and such which generally don’t interest me (and besides, unlike the turkey, I’m stuffed after the meal) but the main course: white meat turkey, potatoes, “stuffing/filling/dressing”, gravy (nowadays), vegetables, hot rolls and even cranberry sauce. If there’s anything I’m leaving off my plate, it’s probably not on my short list. And when it comes to my eating habits/choices, as you’ve presumably come to read, it’s an extremely short list.

Fortunately, for me and my peculiarities, we have almost always spent Thanksgiving at family or friends; all of whom are extraordinarily capable in the kitchen and given our close association over the years, wellacquainted with and somewhat amused by my food issues. Never more so than when my wife, Dina’s cousin, Gary makes a big production of pouring himself a glass of milk at the table. Nevertheless, I’ve always felt a welcome addition and never uncomfortable (although sometimes I’ve eaten at the children’s table).

I wouldn’t say I’m counting the days until Thanksgiving; I already did that weeks ago when I made the decision to change my preThanksgiving infusion date to Nov. 11th from Nov. 18th, but I’m certainly monitoring the calendar very closely. My oncologist regularly encourages me to find quality in my life. Thanksgiving is quality — and quantity — I value in my life, and I’m damn lucky to still have it


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