The Spoon Theory, Fat Gills and the Food Police 

Wow. Looking at the title of this blog, it looks like a double bill for an alternative rock show. “Ladies and gentlemen, Fat Gills and the Food Police!!”  The Spoon Theory didn’t show. They’re known for that. That’s not really fair though, to have a non existent band not showing up to a non existent gig. I don’t think those guys deserve that. They are non existencley awesome. With that, an intro about non existence, let’s get started.

The Spoon Theory

The Spoon Theory was written by Christine Miserandino, who is the creator of a website called, which is the greatest name ever for a website dedicated to dealing with a chronic disease. Christine came up with the Spoon Theory when her friend asked her what it was like to have Lupus and be sick all the time. Christine was shocked by the question, considering that this was a good friend that had been around her and the disease and had gone with her to the doctors appointments.  She had also seen Christine go through the agony of the disease.

She tried to explain about the pills, and the aches and pains, but she could see that her friend just wasn’t getting it. So she went around to the different tables in the restaurant where they were eating and collected 12 spoons. She gave her friend the spoons, and then told her that is how many she got for the whole day. You see, when you suffer from a chronic disease, you only have so much energy and drive. So a spoon represented a task that she had to do throughout he day. Christine explained that it took a spoon to get up, another for showering, another for trying to put on clothes that would fit and be ok for that particular day, since Lupus sufferers have problems like swelling and pain in the joints. It took half the spoons just to get out of the house.

Christine’s friend, after looking down and seeing the spoons in her hands going away, finally started to get it. And that, my friends, is the best way that I’ve heard to convey what it is like to live with a chronic illness. You get a certain number of spoons, and you have to figure out how to use them. Some days, it feels like you have all the spoons you’ll ever need, some days, there’s only a couple of spoons in the drawer. And, some days, when you need a lot of spoons, you have to borrow from the next day, which totally wipes out the next day.

Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, lupus, chrohn’s and mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety disorders are just some of the examples of chronic disease. You look ok, but you’re definitely not ok.

On Wednesday, my partner at work called in sick with a sinus infection, so I was called on to do the whole schedule of work for the day by myself, a task I normally looked forward to. I love to work hard. After 9.5 hours, I finished the work. When I got home that night, I took Zoey for her normal walk while Holly made dinner. I ate dinner, and that was it. I was totally out of spoons. I went to bed around 8, watched a little tv, and then got back up an hour later to use the bathroom. I could barely walk. Pain shot through my feet and legs as I hobbled to the bathroom. Clearly, I had borrowed a few spoons from the next day. After I stopped crying,(gotta love Lupron and Xtandi for the spontaneous cry), I hobbled back to bed. I looked at my day on the health app on my phone. Clearly I over did it.

Too big a day. Waaaay too many spoons. 

This is something I am learning. I simply don’t have the amount of spoons I used to. I hate it, but there is nothing I can do. The medication I’m on is breaking me down.

If you want to read about the Spoon Theory, a link to Christine’s blog is here.

The Fat Gills

In the continuing saga of my body falling apart, I recently noticed little ribbons of fat that are now growing underneath my armpits down to my waist. Awesome!  I’ve decided to call these lovely new additions to my body my “fat gills” cuz they sort of look like something that would give me the ability to breathe underwater. I think that is where Aquaman has his. Great, now I have something in common with the most lame superhero ever. If only I could talk to fish like Aquaman, which, when I think about it,  is a completely worthless skill.

But, speaking of gills, if you believe in evolution and Darwinism,(and if you don’t, you could be arrested if you taught anything else at a public school), why don’t humans have gills? 71% of the Earths surface is covered in water, our bodies are 60% water, and some idiot determined that we are supposed to drink 8 glasses of water a day. You would think in the evolutionary process, when our distant ancestors crawled out of the primordial ooze, someone along the way would have said,”You know what?  I think it might be a good idea to keep the gills. They might come in handy.”

I have an idea. Let’s all swim as much as we possibly can, so eventually we can get our gills back in some sort of a reverse evolutionary process. Shouldn’t take more than a couple of thousand millinnia.  Everybody in the pool!!  Well, except for me of course. I’m not taking my shirt off. I have fat gills.

The Food Police

As a cancer survivor, I can say with a fair amount of confidence that one of the things that really is not helpful to any cancer patient is unsolicited advice on how to “get better”, like our whole journey with this dreaded disease is some sort of bad cold that can be cured with a superfood smoothie and some really awesome chicken soup. And the food police are the worst. Don’t eat sugar, don’t drink beer, eat lots of fruits and vegetables high in whatever the latest fad says is important. Good lord.

Look, I know I’m supposed to eat what’s good for me. I’m a big believer in “everything in moderation.”  Too much of anything, even good stuff, can be bad for you. This got to me the other day when my friend Mark Bradford wrote a blog about how he has problems keeping on weight. I won’t go through the whole thing, but the food police were out in full force. After reading a comment from someone that basically said Carnation is trying to kill us all, I wrote this:

I was really too kind to say how I really felt,  basically because it was on Mark’s timeline, and I didn’t want to be rude. But, really, to all the food police and everyone else that wants to give unsolicited advice on how to avoid cancer relapses and how to make your life better and wonderful and all rainbows and unicorns, I just have one thing to say, and I mean this in the nicest way possible:

(I decided to edit this part for Facebook. Let’s just say it involved doing something to yourself that is physically impossible.)

Having cancer is hard. Really hard. And if you don’t think we survivors don’t think everyday what we could have done to either prevent it from happening to us, or prevent it from happening again, you are sadly mistaken. We think about it everyday.

What we need from you muggles without cancer is a shoulder cry on, a buddy to have a beer with, a person to be with us that will hear the frustrations fly out of us without judgement, without trying to fix us. That is what we really need.

And, if I take my shirt off this summer to go swimming, don’t say anything about my fat gills. I am trying to reverse the evolutionary process.

Take that, Darwin.

Thanks for reading


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