Baking with a Brain Tumor: A Timeline
I remember when baking was no big deal for me. I’d think to myself I want chocolate chip cookies. And, BAM! I’d start dancing around the kitchen with ingredients bunched up in my arms.
But life with a 6.3 cm brain stem tumor is a little different. I don’t get to really take moving around for granted anymore. I celebrate walking to the bathroom without a mobility device. I raise my fists in triumph when I empty the dishwasher. And I know I must sacrifice an entire day to the Spoon gods when I want to make my grandmother’s zucchini bread.
It’s totally worth the sacrifice, but it’s hard to adjust. I expect so much more from myself. Myself rarely lives up to expectation.
Here’s what I mean:
8:36 a.m. — Declare my intentions to make zucchini bread so that my husband knows what’s going down today.
10:46 a.m. — Empty and load the dishwasher to make room for baking shenanigans.
10:59 a.m. — Sit down in my recliner until I catch my breath and regain my balance. Hydrate.
12:04 p.m. — Read the recipe, grab the needed ingredients*, and put them on the counter for when I feel up to mixing things.
12:22 p.m. — Rollate myself back to my recliner and wait for my heart rate and breathing to return to normal.
2:14 p.m. — After a quick personal energy assessment, ask husband for help with 1.) getting out the food processer, which lives on a low shelf and is heavy, 2.) processing the zucchini, and 3.) washing the new loaf pans.
2:37 p.m. — Measure and dump ingredients in the bowl. Clutch counter top and wait for the kitchen to stop spinning.
2:38 p.m. — Sit down on rollator and take a break from stirring the batter because right arm is exhausted and left arm is just totally worthless here.
2:40 p.m. — Say yes when husband asks if you want him to continue stirring.
2:55 p.m. — Spread batter in pans while marveling at how your left arm shakes even though you are trying desperately to hold the bowl steady.
3:59 p.m. — Wonder how an hour has passed and the bread is ready to be yanked from the oven because you haven’t quite recovered from the physical exertion of baking a simple quick bread.
* My grandma never made this for us with raisins or nuts, and I have never added them. So judge me accordingly.