Real Life: Cherishing What Matters
4 Minute Read: Brain cancer, motherhood, holistic medicine, food as medicine, writing as medicine, passion project, self-care.
For this Real Life post, I wanted to showcase an interview I shared earlier this week. It’s a long one, featuring Caroline Wright – an author and cook living in Seattle with her husband, two kids, and a terminal brain cancer diagnosis.
Caroline was writing her third cookbook in 2017 when she was diagnosed with having a glioblastoma. She was given a year to live.
Her diagnosis brought drastic changes to her lifestyle, including the foods she cooked and ate. It also brought her life and work into sharp focus. That work is full of passion, inspiration and hope. The full post covers:
The foods she cut
The foods she loves
What she’s drinking
Her transformed approach to writing
Her transformed approach to self-care + movement
How motherhood is woven into her story
How her work offers hope + healing to others
It’s worth the full read. But if you’d like highlights, here are a few:
“My illness – an aggressive brain cancer diagnosis, a glioblastoma – came on suddenly, as diagnoses can, and entirely disrupted what I thought was my healthy life. I was 32 with two little kids and a rising career as a cookbook author. It made no sense to me and I had no clue where to start, so I examined every possible element of my life and questioned how it served me.
I made a sudden and consummate effort to shut down, to get totally silent with myself, and listen. I knew I had no idea what was going on inside my body, but as I stripped away distractions, I learned how untrue that was. My body was smart and strong, smarter and stronger than I had believed. I just didn’t have an idea of how to listen to it at first. My journey with cancer involved getting out of my own way and being gentle to the instincts that were already there.”
"I immediately cut out major backbones of my career [as a food writer and cook] at that point: sugar, chocolate, gluten and even grains in general; not to mention some other personal favourites like pork and coffee.
I honestly thought I was walking away from my career, and I did – from that version of it, anyway. But I also know that it doesn’t matter after what I’ve been through. I’m just enjoying today, my family, and making projects that inspire me. And I’m so grateful for every last bit of it because I am very much aware of how precious it all is."
"When I was bald during my treatment for nearly a year, I used to say that people don’t walk up to a bald lady with a big scar on her scalp to talk about bullshit. My cancer gave me this opportunity to open up and get real and I ran toward it, buoyed by the community that embraced me that way."
"I write with my two sons in mind ever since they were born because being their mother inspires me to be true and good in ways I never thought about before they arrived. I love them in this big, crazy way that truly has no bounds, and writing for them makes my work kind of crazy and limitless, too. Food inspires me, my children inspire me, and writing is a kind of love language I’ve used my whole life to translate the world around me, so it’s only natural I mix it all together; now I’ve just come to a place where I put it all out there for anyone to read.
I’m in a place now, surviving a cancer I’ve been told would kill me, where I know that planning for the next step is a false comfort. I’m done “producing” my story (second instinct for me at this point, I guess), wanting it to be perfect or digestible for someone else. So I don’t – I just keep writing."
"Because I’m here today, too, I’m very invested in helping others – both patients and their children – who don’t have a voice and struggle to find hope. It’s always there, I really believe that, but it lives inside of you so only you can find it. I think that’s part of my “mission” now, too. I wrote a book for my sons while I was sick about my undying love for them; it’s called Lasting Love and comes out next month from Rodale Kids, a division of Random House in New York. I hope it gives families facing the loss of a parent the kind of hope it gave mine."
I’m honoured and grateful to share Caroline’s words + spirit in this space – please savour them in their full form here. Also, some…
Recipes + Links
The prettiest salad. I love the addition of edible flowers (and the story of where they came from).
Primal + keto made easy. This looks like literally 90 percent of my meals (with variations, as I'm mostly veggie lately). I consider other things...but really just want this, most always.
Parenting around the world. Check Iceland’s geothermal pools + blizzard swims!
Trouble with gender-neutral pronouns? Practice. It’s not that hard.
Does a sugar detox work? Here’s how it went for one Washington Post reporter. And I think you already know my answer.
P.S., What are you doing with this one precious life? xo.
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