~ Paula at Frosting for the Cause
My sentiments exactly.
I originally shared this post on September 23, 2011, over at Frosting for the Cause, a year-long baking adventure to raise money for breast cancer research.
1. The Frosting for the Cause site most likely won't stay up and running forever. The site administrator, Paula, funded the site's hosting through year-end 2012, but isn't sure it will stay up beyond that point. I therefore want to 'preserve' the post here within the 'walls' of The Kitchen is My Playground.
2. I am so thankful to have my life as I have it today. I am thankful to be able to say that I have been successful against cancer. I am thankful to be able to celebrate the anniversary each year of my day of being declared *cancer free.* At this point, I am now approaching my twelth year cancer free. And so, on this day before Thanksgiving, I thought it was the perfect day to share with you here my personal cancer story.
I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving! To all of those dealing personally with cancer in your family, I wish for you the peace of a positive outcome.
When Tracey was thinking of a name for her blog back in February of this year, she only had to put two of her loves together to come up with her title. The Kitchen Is My Playground came easy to this Grade One teacher who, when not enjoying her students both in the classroom and while playing in the school playground she has a lot of fun herself in her own personal playground, her kitchen. Readers like visiting Tracey’s playground too and delighting in her habit of obsessively collecting recipes so that she can try them, change them and create anew. ... I’m delighted that Tracey is here today sharing her story and recipe with us.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥When I read that one of the requirements for becoming a participating “Baking a Difference” baker was to write about a person in your life touched by cancer I thought, “Oh. That’s easy. That would be me!” Got that requirement covered pretty easily. I’m honored to share a little bit of my personal story here at Frosting for the Cause.
I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer when I was 30 years old. And I was shocked. Absolutely shocked. And that’s probably a very gross understatement. My thoughts: “What?? Me????? At 30 years old?” The discovery process was kicked off during my annual physical that year. My physician decided that my thyroid felt a little bit enlarged and wanted to send me for an ultrasound. Okay. No problem. This really didn’t even register much of a concern with me. I had been feeling a little more tired than normal, had been gaining some weight with absolutely no life-style changes to warrant it … “Ahhhh,” I finally thought, “maybe this is why! I just have a little thyroid issue that needs to get straightened out.”
Well, after the ultrasound I was sent to see a specialist. Okay. Still no problem. I was thinking, “Now I’ll have an even more knowledgeable person to help with my situation.” Still not concerned. (My Mom, on the other hand, was starting to freak out. Though she kept her freak-out to herself. I remember her offering to come to the specialist appointment with me, and me thinking that was a little odd. I was a big girl, after all, and had been going to my doctors’ appointments all on my own for quite some time!).
At the specialist appointment the doctor did a quick exam, looked at me, and said, “There is definitely a growth of some kind on your thyroid. It could be cancerous, so I would like to do a biopsy. If you have time I can do it right now, or we can have you schedule a follow-up appointment.”
I have no idea what my facial expression looked like, but here’s the doctor’s next statement, in a very kind tone: “The thought that this could be cancer never crossed your mind, did it?”
No. Nope. Never. Not once. Are you kidding me?!!!?!!? I’m only 30!! Cancer??? Me?? Hearing the c-word is never a great experience. Hearing the c-word in relation to your own body and health is surreal.
People who know me well will not be at all surprised about my response to my doctor. I very calmly said, “No, that had not crossed my mind. Can I drive after the biopsy? If I can, let’s do it now.” See, I’m a get-‘er-done kinda gal.
I could go on and on about the thoughts and feelings I had, about the treatment, about complications I experienced, about the recovery, about how this gave me the courage to leave a career in which I was unhappy, about a scare I had just this year with possible ovarian cancer (the tumors were benign, praise God!) … But to make a quite long story short I’ll just say, I’m proud and immensely happy to say that I am a cancer survivor and I am cancer free. In fact, last month marked the 10-year mark for me … and I have a totally clean bill of health.
I am thankful for fabulous and talented doctors, I am thankful for the discovery of treatments to fight and destroy cancer, and I am thankful for medical research that has produced life-sustaining medications. Without all of those, I wouldn’t still be on this Earth. I am thankful for every day.
In celebration of being 10 years cancer free, I’m sharing one of my favorite cupcakes with you today.
These little beauties are decadently rich and delicious, combining two of my all-time loves – chocolate and cheesecake. I don’t know about you, but I adore each one separately, so think that whoever came up with the plan to put them together in a single cupcake is a genius. Truly, he or she deserves an award.
It’s hard to believe, as delicious as these cupcakes are, they’re so easy to make. First, mix up a simple cheesecake batter with some cream cheese, an egg, a bit of sugar, and some mini chocolate chips. Set that aside.
Next, mix up a really easy chocolate batter.
Spoon some chocolate batter into cupcake liners, and then top the chocolate batter with a heaping teaspoon of cheesecake batter.
Bake them up and then (by far the hardest part!) let them cool. I love how the cheesecake just peeks out on the top, but then is a really big ol’ hunk of cheesecake when you bite in.
These cupcakes are absolutely fabulous just as they are at this point. But to make them even more yummy and decadent, top them with some cream cheese frosting. Why not, right? Don’t we all love things even more yummy and decadent?? So go ahead and whip up some tasty cream cheese frosting.
Pipe that tasty frosting onto the cupcakes and then finish ‘em off with a tiny dusting of cocoa powder.
Now go ahead, dig in and enjoy. You know you want to!
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Source: Cupcakes and frosting adapted from my Mom
1 c. cream cheese
1/3 c. sugar
1 unbeaten egg
1/8 tsp. salt
1 c. mini chocolate chips
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. cocoa
1 c. water
1/3 c. oil
1 T. white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
Cream cheese frosting:
3 c. confectioners’ sugar
5 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 oz. cream cheese, cold
½ tsp. vanilla
Cheesecake center: Combine cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar, egg, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Beat well. Stir in mini chocolate chips. Set aside.
Chocolate bottom: In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cocoa. Add water, vinegar, oil, and vanilla; stir to combine.
Line a muffin pan with paper cupcake liners. Fill each cup 1/3 full of chocolate batter. Top each with a heaping teaspoon of cream cheese mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes. Makes 18′ish.
Cream cheese frosting: Beat confectioners’ sugar and butter with an electric mixer on medium-slow speed until well mixed. Add vanilla and cream cheese (all at once); beat until cream cheese is completely incorporated. Turn mixer speed up to medium-high and beat frosting until it is light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Be careful not to overbeat, as the frosting can quickly become runny if overbeaten. Chill frosting for about 15 minutes. Frost cooled cupcakes. Sift a small amount of cocoa powder on top.
Store cupcakes in the refrigerator.