I continue on the raw food diet. I'm not perfect at it, but I do stick to it most of the time. I try not to be obnoxious about it, though I may have crossed a line last week.
I sat in the waiting room near a family of four. The father was in his late 50's or early 60's. He was joking about waiting so long to see the doctor that they probably had pajamas waiting for him. I looked up and laughed.
From there, the parents and I started chatting about the things most chemo patients share. He looked good to me, but shared that he lost 40 pounds so far. His wife told me that she was 59; I could feel her positive energy, as well as her disbelief that they were even here. His daughter and son, in their late teens or early 20's, sat next in the line of chairs, each occupied by a book or their iPhones while they listened to our conversation.
We chatted about the length of the appointments, the fact that chemo wasn't working for him, how we both hate the IV fluids they give for dehydration. She was more factual, though cheery. He tried to make light of it all.
At one point, the snack cart came around, filled with items that I used to think were totally yummy: roasted peanuts, Lorna Doones, potato chips, apple juice, V-8...I declined. The family members each took a few treats. They advised me, in a friendly way, that I should take what I liked and save it for later.
"Like we just said, you don't know how long you'll need to wait here."
In response, I blurted out, "I'm not doing sugar right now."
They all stopped; even the kids looked directly at me. They all had hope in their eyes that broke my heart. I recognized that feeling; I do it myself, looking for a "cure" that might be out there, something I don't yet know or haven't heard about, a lifeline.
After what felt like a long silence but was probably only a moment, the wife softly asked, "Did the doctor advise that?"
I wanted to reassure them. Even more than that, I wanted that look in their eyes to go away. Plus, what do I really know. I am trying everything I can do that feels right to me, but maybe it isn't right for everyone.
"No, this is something I'm doing on my own." It is true, but even as I said it, I wondered, should I share more information? Is this something that could help him?
Then the father joked, "Sugar will make you even sweeter."
Again, something I recognized. The patient telling a joke to make everyone else feel better.
It broke the mood and we chatted lightly again until we were all called back into our doctors' offices.
As I was leaving my appointment, I caught a glimpse of them in their doctor's room. Their mood was no longer light, there were no smiles, and I said a silent prayer for them as I walked away.