The Slow Cooker

I just could not be without my slow cooker. So long as you have the ingredients you can just throw everything in and leave it to cook while you do something else. If you’re going out and you don’t trust the slow cooker to behave whilst unattended you could still cook something delicious over night if you are home. 

Today I am making celery soup. I bought ready trimmed celery, such a cheat I know but a great time saver… I will chop it roughly, add an onion and the pea juice I saved from last nights tinned peas. The onion can just be peeled and cut in quarters. To that I will add a cup of boiling water. 

I give everything five minutes in the microwave to make sure it’s hot to begin with and then I will just leave it to cook in the slow cooker all day. 

When I am ready to dish up, the celery and onion will be soft and mashable. However, if anyone needs it super smooth, I can blend it in seconds with my stick blender. 

If you know anyone who is back and forth to hospital and you’re able to offer them a home cooked ready meal I can guarantee they would be grateful!

Let’s be clear about Childhood Cancer and takeaway food

Childhood cancer is NOT caused by lifestyle choices in the way that some adult cancers are. 

Unless you are a paediatric oncology dietician, please do not tell an oncology parent what their child should or should not be eating. 

When a child is on treatment there are some foods which should be avoided due to the risk of infection. The list is similar to the foods that pregnant ladies are advised to avoid. 

What a child on treatment does need is to eat something; anything not on the excluded list, but something with a  high calorific value. Their food of choice is most likely to be a fast food takeaway late at night. It is least likely to be hospital food at a time set by the NHS. An oncology child will eat when he or she wants and not when you think it will be convenient, and if you miss that window of opportunity, it may be a long time before they’re hungry again, and vital calories are missed … calories their fragile bodies need not only to help the healing process, but so they can continue to grow. Don’t forget, these children are fighting for their lives!

Being a child with cancer isn’t much fun either, and often the treat of a takeaway may be the most pleasure they have for a while.

As an oncology parent it is natural to carry a certain amount of guilt. We do not need [well meaning] people to add to it by telling us that our child’s cancer could have been avoided, or will be made worse by our choices for our child. 

Thank you for reading this. I hope it helps if you need reassurance. The purpose of this blog is to raise awareness and offer support. Please feel free to comment and share. 

The end is just the beginning

I keep in touch with many families of children with cancer, and we all support each other. But, how would you support someone when you have no experience yourself?

There are some very good blog posts on other sites, but I think the two most important things are;

Even if you don’t know what to say, it doesn’t matter if you say just that… “Hi, I don’t know what to say [because I can’t imagine how you feel], but I’m thinking of you” is a comforting message, and it allows the person to then elaborate if they wish.

The second, and possibly most important message to get across is that the end of treatment can be the best and worst time, and some families don’t want to celebrate. No more chemo is the START of a very long road that doesn’t always lead to recovery, and can be very frightening for some, so don’t just expect that the flags will be flying.