Monday, April 4, 2011

#27: Eat (decadent) Solid Food

Nobody warned me that the 'difficulty swallowing' I would experience as a result of radiation treatment might in fact hinder my ability to consume solid food. The doctor described it as 'a sunburn on the inside of your throat', but it felt more like my esophagus had decreased to a fraction of its former size. The pain I endured when swallowing solid foods couldn't even be eased by 3 doses of liquid codeine a day. So, throughout radiation treatment, I was forced into consuming a liquid-only diet.

My chef-boyfriend challenged me during these four weeks to imagine what food I'd be most excited about eating again once treatment was over. I struggled a bit at first (how could I pick just one?), but as soon as he suggested it, I knew.

Peking Duck at Lai Wah Heen here in Toronto.

So this weekend, Mike, my good friend Clarky and I hit Lai Wah Heen hard. We ordered malaysian crispy rolls, peking duck (served in two out-of-this-world courses), sesame chicken and lobster and truffle chow mein. Each course left my mouth watering for more, though we drew the line at ordering the swallow's nest soup (don't ask or Google it).

But even more appetizing was knowing the entire feast would fit effortlessly down my now fully restored esophagus. I've always loved food, but I never knew to appreciate the simple act of consuming it.

If you get a chance to visit Lai Wah Heen, or indulge in any other decadent meal or rare delicacy, the experience will likely leave you grateful for your own ability to swallow solid food as well.

Because it's only then, when your senses are fully stimulated and totally gratified, that you can truly appreciate the experience, and accept how fortunate you are to have that moment.

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