Lent and Mardi Gras

lent and mardi gras

When my various treatments begin, I will have to give up a lot of things. I’ll have to give up hot/spicy food when I’m on chemo, because it will upset my stomach. Also caffeinated coffee. Also fatty foods. Most of all I will have to give up alcohol, because it would both irritate my throat (which will be irradiated five days a week) and interfere with some of the medications. One of the Comprehensive Cancer Center people told me the other day: “We’ve tried accommodating people with alcohol, and it just doesn’t work.”



Good goddamn!



My friend Joanne said, in response to this: “Pretend it’s Lent.”



This is excellent advice. Lent is forty days (not counting Sundays), roughly the period of my chemo/radiation therapy. People generally give up silly things for Lent, like chocolate and popcorn. I will be giving up my beloved curries, and hot sauce (which I put on pretty much everything!), and my evening drinks (which calm me tremendously).



But the treatments haven’t begun yet. I probably won’t start them until mid-October, once my feeding tube has been installed and my dental work is done and my facial swelling has subsided. (When you undergo radiation for throat cancer, they make a mask to hold your head in exactly the right position. If they make the mask before my dental work, or while I’m swollen, the radiation won’t be directed accurately.)



So I now have approximately three weeks of no rules at all, before the treatments begin. Three weeks of Mardi Gras.



And what happens during Mardi Gras?



All hell breaks loose.



I have had curry three days in a row now. I drink nightly. I’m eating ice cream as I write this.



When I begin the treatments, I hope they prescribe me a lot of soothing medication, for Partner’s sake and my own.



Remember what Bette Midler said to Kramer on “Seinfeld,” when she wanted her black-and-white cookie:

BETTE: Get me one of those Black and White cookies.

KRAMER: Yeah, all right, yeah…. (hangs up) They don’t have any. But don’t worry I’m going to get you one somewhere.

BETTE: Good. Because if I don’t get a Black and White cookie I’m not going to be very pleasant to be around.

KRAMER: Now that’s impossible.



O I assure you it’s possible.



Happy Mardi Gras!


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