If you would have asked me 5 years ago what I would do if– hypothetically– my kid was to have cancer, I know exactly what I would have replied.
“Easy… I’ll pretend it’s not real just enough to keep my sanity. I will compartmentalize cancer as a separate entity and keep it away from myself and my family. And when it’s over? Then I will leave it behind and never look back.”
And you know what? That’s exactly how I tried to handle Joel’s cancer for the first week.
As far as I was concerned, Joel’s leukemia could keep it’s ugly self at the hospital– it would not invade our home.
Within hours of diagnosis, Joel and his brothers received more cards, hats, toys, stuffed animals, you name it’s, than I ever would have imagined. I faithfully brought them to the hospital every day and let Joel sort through and read encouraging messages from children he’d never met.
He felt so loved.
All the while, in the back of my mind , I fully planned on throwing it all away when I got back to the house. I know that must sound pretty horrible of me… But, like I said, I wanted home to stay the way it was. I wanted cancer to not cross our threshold and feel welcome in our home.
It took me all of one load of cards hovering over the garbage can to realize this is not my story to erase… this story belongs to Joel. It will be his to do with as he pleases.
And so, with angry tears, I began the first “Joel’s Cancer Box.”
Throwing away any physical evidence that Joel had been sick wouldn’t change the fact that cancer came and joined our family that week.
That was over four years ago. Joel has been finished with chemo for 16 monts and remains cancer-free.
So that leaves us with the question, “What happened to leaving cancer behind and never looking back?”
Well, we’ve sort of done the exact opposite of leaving it behind. Yeah, we actively seek it out.
Last week, we flew allllllllll the way across the country to attend cancer camp in Maine… for the second time.
Why? Why do we stay in the cancer world?
This last week at camp, surrounded by cancer moms and dads, young adults who survived childhood cancer, and kids who are currently fighting cancer with grace and dignity, I realized exactly why I can’t leave it behind:
I love them.
That’s it. I just love them all.
That’s why we stay.
And while I’m here in childhood cancer world, I’m going to write a cookbook. Yep. It’s a small niche to try and reach, but it matters to me.
So over the next months, I’ll be sharing bits and pieces of what is to come! For now, I have this amazing teaser picture from my beautiful and talented friend who is the force behind Leslie Meadow Photography. She so generously agreed to take on this project with me and add the “special something” that is going to make this cookbook something cancer families can enjoy looking through together.
“How to Feed a Superhero” will have all of the recipes that carried our family through cancer, plus so many more that have supported Joel’s growing body through recovery!
This chocolate chip cookie recipe represents what the thrust of the recipes will be about: simple, real, nutrient-packed, kid-friendly foods.
To your kids (and honestly, your own taste buds), these are just some yummy chocolate chip cookies. However, these cookies are loaded with iron-rich cashew butter, whole grain flour, and sweetened only with pure maple syrup.
Because every bite counts when your body is fighting a war!
- 1 1/4 C whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 C cashew butter
- 3/4 C pure maple syrup
- 1/2 C butter (slightly colder than room temp)
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 C mini chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F
- Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment or a handheld electric beater, mix together the butter, cashew butter, egg, maple syrup, and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
- Add in the salt and baking soda and mix until well incorporated.
- Using a big spoon, gently stir in the flour until ALMOST completely combined.
- Add in the chocolate chips and gently stir until evenly dispersed.
- Drop spoonfuls on batter onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Bake 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
- Let cook on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to a rack to cool.