Day +125, Monday

Photo of the Day: later afternoon/early evening walk with Andy. We braved the windy cold and windy dark and enjoyed 4 miles at Fletcher Park. It was nice to connect, hold (gloved) hands, and talk.

I received a bit of a surprise, earlier today. I was changing into a long sleeved shirt, in effort to stay warm for either 1) grocery store run or 2) hike. The hike sounded much better, but I knew that stores would get progressively busier. And yes, I realize that I can pick up my groceries after ordering online and its not a big deal – but is it weird that I miss & crave that interaction? Like, even going to the grocery store during off-peak hours is a thing. The other day, I found myself standing at Target and reading alone in a side isle for 20 minutes – when was I last in a book store? Library? And yes, I bought the book (Nomadland by Jessica Bruder, which coincidentally just won the 2020 Golden Globe for “Best Film”). It’s a wonderful read.

Anyway, as I was putting on my shirt, I happened to glance down and notice armpit hair!?! I was a bit taken aback, and even ran to the bathroom to confirm. Yep – there it was, emerging for the world – or just me – to see. But it makes sense – the hair on my head seems to be growing faster and faster, it stands to reason that the rest of my body hair would follow suit. One of these weeks or months, when my skin is less dry and I’m feeling that it’s just time, I’ll break out a razor…but I’m just not there yet.

My weekly grocery shopping went well and quickly – Aldi first, followed up by Ingles for anything that Aldi didn’t have (typically about 4-9 items). I only violated my list with a splurge purchase of Jordan Almonds. But they looked so good…and they were. Plus, almonds are healthy and my NIH Team said they would be good for me.

I think my B12 results from last week have affected how I’ve been thinking about food choices. Vitamin & Mineral Deficiencies typically develop over a long period of time, and while I went into my transplant healthy and following an 80%-ish Paleo diet, there’s only so many reserves my body will have available before it runs out. The easy thing for me is to eat pasta and cheese every night – but the further I move post-transplant, the more I recognize how that’s not ideal 100% of the time for my body. So for the past few weeks, I’ve done my best to reintroduce foods that worked with my system pre-transplant, including tonight’s meal of salmon, tomato, romaine and corn tortilla wraps with homemade Caesar dressing. (YUM).

Chopping the romaine! I loved the progression of color.

This was actually a really big – like a HUGE – deal for me. For the first 4 months post-transplant, I really tried to stick to the “CookPeelBake” philosophy. So tonight’s dinner, with lettuce and tomato felt very very wrong. But I did my research, found a safe way to kill bacteria (3 parts water + 1 part white vinegar solution. Soak all produce for 10 minutes, and then re-rinse with water). And per my NIH discharge notes, nothing indicted that I couldn’t eat foods like this – only that I had to take extremely special care in washing and prep. OK…so far, so good….dinner was 4 hours ago, and I’m still doing alright.

And I’ve gotta say – it was also one of the most delicious and satisfying bites of food I have ever had. The crunch of fresh lettuce, sweetness of the tomato…Andy laughed and I think I nearly fell off my chair.

Right before that first bite.

So, today was a big deal – I’m grateful that I had the courage to try something new and (relatively) harmless. It’s not like I’m eating raw cookie dough (tempting) – just being extra precautious with my food prep. If that’s what it takes to both enjoy more meals like this and slowly get my B12 levels up, well, OK. And I realize that I’m likely going to need to be on some sort of Vitamin B supplement which is totally fine – I’m already taking Vitamin D – but that’s a choice I want to make with my doctors and clinicians after getting their input. But if I can do something in addition to help my body heal post-transplant, like eating a more balanced diet (as long as I can tolerate it), then I will.

Tomorrow is low-key. I’ve got a lab draw at 9 am and a return doctor’s visit to hematology at 2:20. It’s really not a big deal as I can get in a hike and finish the batch of cookies I started to make this evening. I told a friend that I would drop some off post-appointment. And for the life of me – I have never ever made so many cookies. Ever. I’ve got the Pan Bang Smash recipe memorized, ingredient ratios and all, and there’s just something so satisfying about mixing everything together and creating something delicious.

I know, I know – my baking has all the workings of a terrible Hallmark movie (which I love), minus the dilapidated Bed & Breakfast, failing Christmas Tree Farm or corner coffee shop in financial turmoil. Plus, I’ve got a wonderful person in my life already – one who was happy to endure cold temps and roaring winds for 75 minutes, holding hands during an evening walk. That’s love.


In the summer, these fields grow corn or tomatoes. In the summer it’s also warm.

  1. Reading about your dinner with crunchy lettuce and sweet tomatoes made me smile and silently yell HOORAY! I’m glad you can finally eat something you have always loved, and have had to give up since the transplant. Thanks for the tip on a good read. We’re almost done with our current one. ❤️


  2. Happy to see you diving into vegetables. The food on the table looks healthy and delicious. Great progress!


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