Sunday, 29 April 2012

Day 4 - 6th Chemo Cycle - Quinoa Salad Recipe to fight Thrush

Last night I had trouble going back to sleep after taking my ondansetron (anti-nausea medication) at 1:30 a.m.  I tossed and turned as I couldn't shut my brain off.  This is the side effect of the prednisone.  It gives lots of energy and creates insomnia.  On top of that I was plagued with night sweats again.  While I couldn't sleep, I was pondering what sort of foods I could eat that wouldn't encourage the growth of thrush (oral yeast infection).  So far I've been able to keep the thrush at bay.  I discovered that if I drink water with lemon juice, it helps to stop the thrush from progressing.

I found out in my fifth chemo cycle that eating fresh strawberries and cantaloupe help deter the yeast from growing. I read on Friday (2 days ago) that apple cider vinegar is better for preventing thrush and that other vinegars actually encourage the yeast to grow.  On Friday, I also read that milk (the lactose sugar) encourages the yeast to grow but that no-fat unsweetened yogurt is full of the good bacteria that combat thrush.  Since thrush showed up  in my 4th chemo cycle, I've learned that tomatoes, carrots, ginger, garlic, onions, celery, peeled cucumbers, green peppers, apples in small amounts are all good to eat and don't add to the thrush.  All this information was swimming in my brain while I couldn't sleep last night.  So the next step in my reasoning was, "What kind of salad dressing can I make?".  Most salad dressings contain the vinegars that encourage the thrush to grow.  So I had a whole conversation with myself mentally.  "Why not mix together some plain no-fat unsweetened yogurt with apple cider vinegar?"  "But will that cause the yogurt to separate?"  "What spices can be added?"  "Sugar can't be added."  "So let's cider vinegar originally has apples which makes cinnamon a possibility."  "Then what about cardamom?  This is an eastern spice that is used in sweet apple pie?"  "Since there could be celery in the salad what about celery seed in the dressing?"

Then I thought about eating a quinoa salad. Quinoa is a grain that is grown in South America and is full of protein, lowers cholestrol and is not heavy on the stomach. It is cooked like rice and then can be used in a cold salad just like rice. So as I couldn't sleep, I thought about what vegetables I could mix into the quinoa salad.

Finally I fell asleep.  Much too early, it was time to get up and have breakfast so that I could take my prednisone so it doesn't affect my sleep at night too much.  I had my breakfast and went back to bed.  I fell asleep immediately and then woke up late in order to take my ondansetron.  The nauseous feeling woke me up a half hour later than I was supposed to take the last pill.  So up I got running for the medication.  I don't know if I've mentioned how much I hate taking pills even before this whole journey began in January.  After I take the ondansetron, I always need to stay upright for about 1 hour so that it settles and my stomach isn't rolling.

This morning after taking the ondansetron I started looking up quinoa and thrush on the computer.  I wanted to see if quinoa would contribute to the thrush or if it is allowable to eat.  I was so excited to find out that quinoa is one of 3 acceptable grains/carbohydrates that can be eaten when you have thrush.  Just this small activity combined with being tired already, exhausted me and so back to bed I went.

When next I awoke, it was time for lunch.  I had a little bit of leftover turkey chili which was very mild.  Now that I was awake and fed, I was excited to experiment with making the salad dressing that I had thought about during the night.  It was a little tart because I can't add any sugar or sweetness to it as this would encourage the yeast to grow.  So I used yogurt, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, cardamom and celery seed.  My husband cooked up the quinoa.  It's just like cooking rice with a 1:2 ratio (1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water) for 20 minutes.  I diced up celery, tomatoes, peeled cucumber, green onions, green pepper and apple (skin on).  I also included some whole blueberries.  I mixed it all together with the quinoa and then added enough dressing to moisten the dish.  I let it sit for 2 hours so the flavours could blend together well.

Again, this burst of energy drained me and so I laid down and read a book for the rest of the afternoon.  For my supper, I put 2 romaine lettuce leaves on my plate.  I used the romaine leaves because I had also read that they are good for thrush.  I then put the quinoa salad on the romaine lettuce leaves and rolled them up.  I thought it turned out very well but my taste buds may also be off.  Anyway, it worked for me.  The quinoa salad was light on my stomach and helped to settle it.

Tonight, I've watched a preview program on the Relay For Life event on June 1-2.  After watching it, I'm sure it is going to be a very emotional night.  The program showed clips of last year's Survivor's Walk (which I will do this year) and also clips of the Luminaries which line the track.  Luminaries are bags with messages in memory of family members or friends that have lost the battle to cancer.  There are also luminaries with messages in honour of survivors.  They have a Luminary Lighting Ceremony at dusk.  I hope that I will continue to have the emotional strength to get through the event.  I struggled just to watch this program tonight.  As my husband pointed out, I will be surrounded and supported by my team members which will help me get through the night.  I will also be supported emotionally from afar by my family and friends who have donated to me.  I'm looking forward to the event and I'm just glad to be able to help raise funds for research and the programs that support cancer survivors.

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