6 Jan

Yesterday my kids and I were hanging out together, enjoying the last few days of Christmas break — going out for lunch, movies, that kind of stuff. As I drove us out of the restaurant parking lot after lunch, my 14-year-old son referred to me as “J-home-dog.” Seriously. I don’t even know what that means. He usually just calls me Mom.

“Did you just call me a J-dog?” I asked him. Glancing in the rearview mirror, I could see his smile. “No,” he said. “I called you J-home-dog.”

Oh. Just when I think I have this parenting of teen boys all figured out, I get called a J-home-dog. Funny thing is – I’m pretty sure it was a compliment…

We had just finished eating lunch at the restaurant where, for the very first time in 5 years, I had actually eaten some lettuce. A lot of lettuce, in fact. Call me a coward if you must, but the truth is that I have lived the past 5 years in fear of accidentally swallowing a leaf of that stuff. You have no idea how scary lettuce can be when your body refuses to digest it.

You see, when Tamoxifen (my cancer treatment drug) is properly metabolized, it destroys the enzyme necessary for digesting chlorophyll-containing plant foods that have participated in the photosynthesis process. Okay, it’s maybe a bit more complicated than that, but the point is that I absolutely could not digest lettuce (or cabbage or green peppers and such) while I was taking Tamoxifen.

It could have been worse. Tamoxifen could have destroyed the enzyme necessary for digesting something of vital importance like, say, chocolate. So I’m not complaining. But after 5 years of strict lettuce restriction, I found myself looking forward to finally eating some of the green stuff. And since I have been off of Tamoxifen for a few months now, I decided that I would be brave and order a salad for lunch.

I’ll admit, I felt nervous taking that first bite. But then I couldn’t resist all those fresh, crisp lettuce leaves. I hardly even bothered with the dressing. I mean, who would have thought that eating a salad after all these years could be so enjoyable? The waitress probably thought I was crazy. But my kids understood. Especially my 14-year-old.

So go ahead and call me the J-mom or J-home-dog or whatever. Because that’s me — the fearless mom who after 5 years of cancer treatment had the courage to order a salad and eat it. Every last fearsome leaf.


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