Monday, May 07, 2007

A Taste of Yellow

Margarita (polenta) pizza

A Taste of Yellow is a blog event hosted by Barbara of Winos and Foodies. A Taste of Yellow invites bloggers around the world to create a dish using yellow coloured ingredients. This is an official event in support of the Lance Armstrong Foundation's Live Strong Day to raise awareness about cancer and support cancer survivors, their friends and family.

My yellow ingredients? Polenta and Cheese to create a Margarita style polenta pizza.. (what a dull name..LOL). I actually came up with the idea after coming across Lara's lovely pan-grilled polenta with blood orange and basil relish. I've used Lara's recipe for the polenta, so if you're interested in the recipe, you can find it here on Lara's site, Cook & Eat.

For the pizza, just pile on your favourite pizza toppings and away you go! Let your imagination go wild...!

Margarita (polenta) pizza

As Barbara said, cancer knows no boundaries. It does not recognise age, gender nor the sort of bad health habits that you indulge in. I would also like to share with you today, stories of my family and friends who have survived this ravage disease and of one who didn't quiet make it.

The first time I learnt the true meaning of this savage disease was when I was about 14 or 15 years old. My grandmother (Mum's mum) was living with us and one day by accident, I walked in on Mum dressing my grandmother and caught a glimpse of my grandmother's chest. I was so shocked that I didn't even hear my mum telling me to leave. She had to get up and literally 'shoo' me away. I still remember that day clearly. I don't recall what my mum said to me but I can never forget the day I discovered that my grandmother had only one breast.

Later on, mum told me that my grandmother had breast cancer when she was younger (I can't remember what age). Back then (If I had to guess, I'd say it would've been in the 50's or 60's), unless you were really rich (and my grand parents weren't), you pretty much have no chance of getting good medical treatment. Especially, not in our little town of Ipoh. When they had finally discovered it, it was too late and all they could do was a mastectomy to stop the cancer from spreading. My grandmother survived it only to fall victim to stroke and dementia.

My best friend in uni had a cancer scare too. Twice. C's mum passed away from stomach cancer when she was about 8. When she was 20 she found some lumps on her breasts. They told her it was malignant. Just cysts, they're harmless. But they removed it anyway, just in case.. because of her family history. All was good, until I found out a few years after, that she'd found more of them. This time, the doctors told her that they may have to remove her breasts and then follow with a breast reconstruction using fat tissues from her thighs and buttocks. We joked that she could ask for a B or C cup depending on how much fat she wanted to get rid off.

A few months after C had her first cancer scare, we found out that another of our close friends D was diagnosed with lymphoma. He went into straight into radiation and chemotheraphy. Started shaving his head because he was losing all his hair. I still remember that how much hair he loss, the amount of weight he lost and how fine his hair became. I remembered J, his best friend telling us that he cried when he found out that D had cancer. I think I remember shedding some tears too when I heard about D because we all knew that the really sad thing was, D's dad died of cancer too. If I remember correctly, D's dad passed away when he was also around 7 or 8 years old. D survived it. Though he was told later on that if it returns.... well.. we won't go there.

We found out early last year that a couple that we knew who just got married discovered that the husband had a very rare case of nostril cancer. I'm not sure of the details but back then he was told straight up that he only had 6 months to live. I haven't seen him for sometime now, but I heard that he also survived the disease. Beat the odds and is now doing very well in terms of health. Go CS!

Last year too was the year we lost a member of our family to cancer. My dad's younger brother, was diagnosed with late stages of cancer in the lungs (which later on spread to his liver) in the middle of last year. He was a few packets a day smoker and was also a bit fond of his liquor. My grand mother (Dad's mum) was devastated and flew back as soon as she could to be by his side. My dad followed soon after. I heard from Mum that he was a fighter til the end. He passed away late last year, just shy of 55 (I believe).

I must admit that I become a bit of a worry wart sometimes when I find little lumps that I didn't think were there before. When I lapse into moments of reflection, I try to prepare myself for the worse, knowing the history in the family and knowing that cancer's such a silent disease. I can only hope that should I encounter this disease, I will be as strong willed as my grandmother, my friends C, D and CS and Uncle F.

Barbara, I can't imagine what you are going through right now, but know that my thoughts are with you as you go through this battle.



Barbara said...

Thankyou I-ling for supporting A Tatse of Yellow and sharing your stories. THe polenta pizza looks delicious.

sandi @ the whistlestop cafe said...

I posted a link to this on my own little yellow roundup...nothing like the great job Barbara did!
This pizza looks awesome~ I'll have to give it a try!