Can Wilted Spinach Salad Be a Celebration of My Cancer Journey?

January 14, 2018
This post is brought to you by Walgreens and SheKnows Media. The opinions and text are all mine.
  
To all those dealing personally with a cancer journey or with cancer in your family, I wish for you the peace of a positive outcome.
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Wilted Spinach Salad image


Can something as simple as eating Wilted Spinach Salad be a celebration of beating cancer?

Well let me tell you, in my case it sure was.

See, I am a proud cancer survivor who successfully battled thyroid cancer 17 years ago.  During my cancer treatment, I lost the ability to eat one of my favorite foods ~ salad.  Regaining that ability and once again being able to enjoy one of my favorite foods after treatment completion was indeed a true celebration of defeating cancer.

Because truly, sometimes it's the simple things that hold huge meaning.

I'm honored and proud to be here today to share some of my cancer story with you on behalf of Walgreens cancer support services, and to share information about the Walgreens specialty pharmacy services available to those dealing with and managing your own cancer journey, or that of a loved one.

Pharmacies can play an important role in a cancer journey, and thankfully, Walgreens offers cancer support services.  At Walgreens cancer specialized pharmacy, pharmacists have completed additional training specific to cancer and are therefore prepared to offer trusted support to cancer patients ~ whether that be in the form of filling cancer medications, providing cancer education information, helping prepare for and manage treatment side effects, or even working to help find a way to better afford cancer medications or help lower co-pays.  Walgreens is there to be a trusted partner and resource throughout the cancer journey.

I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the age of 30.  And to say I was shocked is a very gross understatement.  I don't think the word "cancer," especially in relation to our own health, is one we're ever truly prepared to hear.

My cancer discovery process began during my annual physical that year.  My physician decided my thyroid felt a little enlarged, and wanted to send me for an ultrasound.  No concern registered for me at this point, and I gave the potentially enlarged thyroid no thought at all.  I had been feeling a little more tired than usual, and had been gaining some weight with absolutely no life-style changes to warrant it.  Honestly, I felt good hearing of a possible enlarged thyroid because I thought this could be the answer to my tiredness and weight gain.  I was thinking this was probably just a little thyroid issue that needed to get straightened out, and all would be fine.

After my ultrasound, I was sent to see a specialist.  Naively, I still wasn't the least bit concerned.

At the specialist appointment the doctor did a quick exam, looked at me, and said very matter-of-factly, "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 at that moment, but here's the doctor's next statement, in a very kind and compassionate tone:

"The thought that this could be cancer never crossed your mind, did it?"

Indeed, it had not.


Wilted Spinach Salad photo

Now I could go on and on about the thoughts and feelings I had.  Or about the state of shock each of my friends and family members displayed in hearing the news.  Or about my treatment, complications I experienced, a longer-than-expected hospital stay, seemingly endless blood draws and scans, or about my recovery.  Or, about how my diagnosis and recovery gave the me courage to leave a career in which I was unhappy.  Or even about a second scare I had 10 years later with possible ovarian cancer that, praise God, turned out to be benign tumors.

But to make quite a long story short, I'll just say, I was not alone on my cancer journey.  And for that, I am immensely grateful.  I was fortunate to have family and friends who poured out love and prayers, a selfless Mom who was by my side as my caregiver every step of the way, more than capable doctors, and services like Walgreens cancer specialized specialtypharmacy to offer tools, education, and cancer support.  Without that support, my journey to recovery would have been infinitely more difficult.

I'm proud and immensely happy to say I am a cancer survivor and I am 17 years cancer free.

I am thankful for fabulous and talented doctors and pharmacists.  I am thankful for the discovery of treatments to fight and destroy cancer.  I am thankful for medical research that has produced life-sustaining medications.  And I am thankful for supportive care from trusted partners like Walgreens for guidance along the cancer journey.  Without all these, I wouldn't still be on this Earth.  

I am thankful for every day.

How to Make Wilted Spinach Salad Image

And truth be told, I am thrilled to be able to eat salad again.

Prior to my cancer treatment, I ate a salad every day for lunch.  And when I say every day, I do indeed mean every single day without fail. 

Due to side effects of my cancer treatment, for several months my stomach just couldn't handle eating salad without becoming upset.  I tried many times to eat one, but the inability to enjoy my favorite food just became a frustration and reminder of my cancer.  So I stopped for a long time.

So yes, when you get that "all-clear" report after cancer treatment, something as simple as eating a wilted spinach salad can indeed be a very welcomed celebration of beating cancer.  


Because sometimes it's the simplest of things that hold huge meaning.  

To all those dealing personally with a cancer journey or with cancer in your family, I wish for you the peace of a positive outcome.

Making Wilted Spinach Salad with Bacon Image



Wilted Spinach Salad
(Print recipe)
Ingredients
  • 12 to 16 oz. fresh spinach
  • about 3 T. slivered red onion
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked crisp & crumbled
  • 1/3 c. white vinegar
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 2 T. granulated sugar
  • 1/8 to ¼ tsp. pepper
Directions
  1. Place spinach, onion, tomatoes, and mushrooms in a large salad bowl.
  2. In a microwaveable container, combine vinegar, water, sugar, and pepper; whisk with a fork to mix together. Microwave on high until boiling.
  3. Immediately pour hot vinegar mixture over the spinach mixture. Toss. Sprinkle crumbled bacon over the top.
  4. Serve immediately.


How to Make Wilted Spinach Salad with Warm Dressing Image


This post is linked with Weekend Potluck.

5 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I too am a cancer survivor, bowel cancer followed ten years later with breast cancer. There are a lot of us about, all trying to get on with our lives, and having fun while we do. I really enjoy your recipes and will try your latest salad too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jenny! And thank you for being a reader of The Kitchen is My Playground. Congratulations on beating cancer ... TWICE.. Yes indeed, there are a lot of us survivors around, and you know, I don't think we share our positive stories enough! We should shout from the rooftops to celebrate, don't you think?

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  2. I will love your wilted spinach salad, it looks delicious! I eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits try to maintain a healthy life style. Congratulations on being a 17 year survivor! Thanks so much for sharing your post with us at Full Plate Thursday. Have a great week and come back soon!
    Miz Helen
    20 Year Breast Cancer Survivor!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Congratulations!
    Your awesome post is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. I just pinned it to our Featured board and enjoy your new Red Plate! Thanks so much for sharing with us and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love a wilted spinach salad! It looks beautiful! Pinned. P~

    ReplyDelete

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