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Life ... It's Why We Cook.

Detour complete; Back to Living 
Oct. 7, 2010 7:21 pm 
Updated: Nov. 1, 2010 7:02 am
Here’s a link to Dan Lepp’s page at Caring Bridge.<

Southern Gma has posted an update for her bestest littlest friend, Kira Glock<
The radiation treatments ended Monday so the healing processes can begin. The symptoms that need to disappear are the "sunburn" on my face, bleeding ear lobe, very tender mouth and bad taste buds. When I received my discharge from the cancer center, I was told that the "sunburn" would be gone in ten days or less, the ear lobe will heal quickly now that there will be no more radiation to irritate it, the tender mouth will be healed in ten to twenty days and the taste buds may begin to heal in thirty days and should be back to normal in ninety days- maybe. (Some patient’s taste buds never returned to normal.) I can be patient with everything except the mouth. Brushing my teeth and swishing mouthwash are very painful, right now. Flavors like spearmint and cinnamon cause a burning sensation and menthol (like cough drops) will put me on my knees.

I have said a few times that the dosage of radiation I received was light. I have reported painful or uncomfortable symptoms as my treatment was progressing and have wanted to impress upon the readers that a person needing higher dosage would be far less comfortable. When you find out about somebody in radiation treatment for oral cancer, remember this blog and be sympathetic to them because they will likely be in greater pain than I experienced.

Also, at discharge, I complemented the physician in charge of the cancer center for having such a knowledgeable, efficient and sympathetic staff. I intend to put all my thoughts into a letter to the cancer center expressing my gratitude.

On November 5, I have to return to the cancer center for re-evaluation and a CT scan. On November 12, I go to UofM Medical Center for my last post surgery evaluation and find out the course of the rest of my life.

At this point, I would consider my cancer experience as complete, unless something happens.

I had a hankering for old fashioned mustard pickles like my mother used to make. I have everything except cucumbers and pearl onions. I decided to not buy cukes and the pearl onions were $3.99 for four ounces! I won’t pay that! I’ll use shallots instead, and (as a bonus) I’ll dehydrate the tops for salad topping. I have the recipe brining right now and tomorrow I can finish it.

I’m going to make some Latvian Pickled Pumpkin tomorrow, also. The last time I made these they didn’t get to the jars. I was told to just put them in a bowl in the refrigerator. Six quarts gone in seven days. (The kids were home.) This time, I’ll make a huge batch with nobody around so (maybe) I can get them on the shelf..

I found some Zucchini at a road stand and caved in to my impulse to make some Zucchini Relish. This will need to be a big batch also, because the kids will go crazy for it and will want to take some home with them.

I think I’ll even try a recipe from Mrs.C "pumpkin Butter Cake" lotsa sugar, lotsa butter, lotsa calories to make lotsa me!<
Oct. 8, 2010 3:21 am
Mike, congratulations on the end of your treatments! I hope all your "symptoms" return to normal, and may your taste return quickly! I've never even heard of pickled pumpkin - what is it and what do you do with it?
Oct. 8, 2010 5:00 am
Good morning, Mike, and so very happy to hear you're at the end of this episode! Hopefully, your taste buds will return to normal but it could take months and be very gradual. I know someone that takes hyaluronic acid (pill form) orally to help the healing process of skin. Perhaps you could ask one of your doctors if this is indeed helpful as the tests on HA are incomplete at this point. Have a joyful weekend and many thanks for the reminders about our other two cancer patients.
Oct. 8, 2010 6:13 am
Congrats on this journey being almost over! Hope the mouth is back to normal for what I consider a good time of the year to sample all kinds of goodies-Christmas. Pickled pumpkin? I didn't know you could. How about a food blog about it? I'd love to see it! Dehydrating the shallot tops, hadn't thought of that either-thanks for the tip!
Oct. 8, 2010 7:17 am
Thanks for the update Mike.Glad to here the treatments are behind now. Will you be joining us in Las Vegas?
Oct. 8, 2010 7:47 am
Mike, so glad the radiation is over! Thank you so much for the update!
Oct. 8, 2010 9:39 am
Hi, Mother Ann! Cat Hill said about the same as you. I'll write a post about it pdq. (Before pumpkin season is done.)
Oct. 8, 2010 9:48 am
Thank you, Lace! My face wasn't nearly as sore this morning as it was when I retired last night. I didn't muster enough courage to brush my teeth this morning to know how my mouth is. My daughter suggested I use baking soda. I think that may be the answer for my mouth. As for Dan and Kira, somehow I attached myself to their illnesses and want everyone to remember them. Southern Gma and Cindy Lepp are quite busy and it is difficult for them to keep everyone in touch. Their updates on Caring Bridge are difficult enough for them to keep up so I've volunteered myself to post threads to their updates.
Oct. 8, 2010 9:55 am
Hi, Cat! I will make a post about the pickled pumkin.
Oct. 8, 2010 9:58 am
I remember the posting about LasVegas, mauigirl, but I fail to remember the dates. I cannot make it anyway. Thank you, though.
Oct. 8, 2010 10:00 am
Thank you once again, Nurse Ellen!
Oct. 8, 2010 2:31 pm
Again thank you! I'm really curious like Mother Ann. Is this regional food? I grew pumpkins for the first time this year so I can not wait to see the blog!!! Get better daily!!!!
Oct. 8, 2010 10:09 pm
Hi, Mike, it's me again. I do hope you get your tastes back, and toeeth brushing and mouth feelings back.It is rough as I have not been the same in those areas for three years, but mine may very well be that about a year after the radiation I had to have a parathyroid out(we have 4) as it was reaking havoc leaching calcium from my joints. It all helped me lose my appetite, which I didn't mind, but now my thyroid's going to slumberland, which we knew that would kill itself as I got older, so I will start using more recipes w/ less calories,more protein(beans done 1,ooo delicious ways,pancakes,yes?) From your genuine interest in others, your love of food and the many ways to do it tasty, I suspect you will give your immmune system,your creative juices,reverberated taste buds, family,Mi.friends and Medical redeemers tantalizing smells, flavors and tastes that will thrill their buds&chews. And what will you get? A shot in the reminder that you are alive and appreciated, and though you've climbed many mountains,forded the streams, you've followed life's rainbow, and so you've gotten your dream.Sometimes we're slower,maybe have a little more pain, but we sure do know alot more, and what we CAN do, we sure docount it as winning the game---OF LIFE !!!
Oct. 9, 2010 5:48 pm
Hi Mike: I hope things start to settle down and you will be able to enjoy foods again. I am sure that the mouthwash was probably very evasive and harsh, glad that is over for you, I hope you begin to heal. Your canning recipes sound wonderful, enjoy making them.
Oct. 9, 2010 7:32 pm
Am&Ad's Gram, It was a long haul. Thanks for stopping in!
Oct. 9, 2010 7:36 pm
Hi, Janet! The external areas are healing quickly, now. The interior of the mouth remains tender. I do feel modest improvement, though.
Oct. 9, 2010 8:45 pm
Glad to hear the radiation's over and things are heading in a good direction. Take care!
Oct. 9, 2010 9:39 pm
So glad to hear about your treatment termination Mike! It brings tears to my eyes for your pain. Soooo happy you are healing and getting the rough patch behind you:)Just wondering, does the vinegar in the pickles not bother your mouth? Have a nice weekend MIke God Bless:)
Oct. 10, 2010 8:14 am
Hi, Patty Cakes! I can feel my face getting better several times a day. (Kinda fun!) I feel improvement every morning but I still cower at brushing my teeth but I do it. Vinegar is a mysterious reaction. Cider vinegar doesn't bother Distilled vinegar stings- but it is tolerable. Am I wierd, or what?
Oct. 10, 2010 8:15 am
I certainly will take care, Magnolia Blossom! Thank you! And... BYD!
Oct. 10, 2010 3:00 pm
Hi Mike, thanks for sharing your good news. I wonder if brushing and rinsing with salt would be less painful for you until you heal. I think it is a wonderful thing that you have taken on updating us about Danny Lepp and Kira. Thanks again for sticking with the blog - I know you had second thoughts, but you really have educated us in a way that we can relate to. Glad you are on the mend.
Oct. 12, 2010 8:00 pm
Mike-so glad to hear that your treatments are over & you are on the mend. I hope things continue to improve quickly for you & this phase can be put behind you & the that you can enjoy all the holiday foods coming soon! This cancer thing & all the treatments can really send folks for a "loop" , but it is nice to know when someone has a positive outcome w/out too much damage. So glad to keep seeing your blogs here! You are an inspiration~Thanks Again!
Oct. 13, 2010 6:22 am
Thank you for the suggestion, BSM! I have felt healing happening almost hourly. My mouth remains very tender but is tolerating the motion of the toothbrush. I have been using baking soda successfully and following that with ACT! mouthwash (no alcohol) which is the most painful part of the oral hygien. I have not baked the bread recipe you sent to me because all cheese has been emphatically rejected by my tasters.
Oct. 13, 2010 6:27 am
HI, Goodeats! I certainly hope most of the problems- especially taste- return before the holidays. I have been fortunate to have experienced only minor affects from the treatments. The doctor and nurses at the cancer center were very pleased with how few problems I developed.
Mrs. C 
Nov. 1, 2010 7:02 am
Hello, Mike! I am catching up on my reading, and your blog was the first to read! Did you try the pumpkin Butter Cake? I have not read your latest blog, so I will, right now!
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Mike Harvey, daPITA

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About Me
At age 16, I began cooking when my mother was injured in an accident that kept her off her feet for five weeks. At first, my repertoire was fried hot dogs with pork and beans, boiled hot dogs with macaroni and cheese or pizza from a box. After a couple weeks of this, my younger brother was the first to protest and demand variety and my dad was quick to support him. That was my first cooking challenge, learning to plan a meal. About that time, mom returned from the hospital and from her bed, began teaching me things like roast beef, fried chicken, stews and all the sides and trimmings. In 1967, I married and my wife designated herself as the cook and this continued until 1999. It was then that I (voluntarily) began cooking again. At some point, I realized that I was having fun and began searching for recipes that were more challenging and interesting. I found AR and used it's recipes for a long time before registering and later becoming an active member.
My favorite things to cook
Soups. How can I go wrong? They are a great way to use up leftovers and those veggies that are approaching the end of their usefulness. They are always an original recipe. Roasts and steaks are favored, also. Getting the right "doneness" and choosing appropriate sides for a tastey and attractive meal is a continuing and always evolving menu.
My favorite family cooking traditions
If creating impulsive menus and recipes is a tradition then, (I guess) we have a tradition. A new tradition is developing. I have a fruitcake recipe that, I believe, is near perfection. I make it just before Thanksgiving so it is aged enough for the Christmas/ New Year holidays.
My cooking triumphs
Without a doubt, my own recipe for a Reuben Sandwich. It has been a demanded item for many years and I shared it in my AR blog.
My cooking tragedies
Too many. I have been able to throw them out and have something new before my wife gets home. Most of the time, anyway.
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