I was really happy to see my friend Amy Kaplan today. She called on Monday to say that she was going for tests on Wednesday and was making "rocket fuel" or Kinpira Soup, a strengthening macrobiotic dish (similar to Kinpira, but with water add to make a brothy soup. "Would I like some?" she asked. You bet I would!
So today, not only was I the recipient of Amy's Rocket Fuel Soup, but she surprised me with a whole dinner and flowers. She made me soup, Sweet & Sour Kidney Beans (which Amy said she made from my recipe), cornbread (from another friend, Carol Landry's, recipe), a beautiful pressed salad, and a couscous cake! I just finished my most delicious dinner and it was out-of-this-world great!
I first met Amy at my book signing at the Cancer Community Center in South Portland, Maine, in November 2006, where I taught cooking classes. She came with another friend of ours and cancer survivor, Phil Coupe. I later learned that Amy had colon cancer that had returned after conventional treatment. She had more chemo, but decided to adopt a macrobiotic diet and lifestyle as well.
I'd see Amy from time to time at different macrobiotic events, like potlucks and lectures, and in passing as we shopped at Lois' Natural Marketplace (Scarborough, Maine). We'd often stop and chat. I could tell that she was staying with the program — she had the macro "glow," even while on the chemo. She amazed me. She was certainly giving it her all. And I was sure she would get well.
I asked Amy today if I could share her success story. She's a little shy but kindly agreed.
From the beginning, Amy was determined to make this work for her. She decided to go for it, and she hit the ground running. She started reading every macrobiotic book and cookbook she could get her hands on and cooking and eating three healthy meal a day, based around a whole grain, which includes many vegetables (including sea veggies), beans, soups, good-quality pickles & condiments. She took cooking classes, had regular consultations, and educated herself.
Since starting her healing journey three years ago, Amy — with help from her very supportive husband, Michael — hasn't looked back. She traveled to Becket, Mass., last year to complete a Level 1 course of study at the Kushi Institute. And now she has completed Level 2. Both are month-long intensive courses in macrobiotics. Amy can't say enough good things about the Kushi Institute, and she's very grateful to its dedicated staff. (She enjoys visiting the Kushi Store while she's there, too!)
When Amy came to visit today, she was her usual cheerful self. But she was especially happy as she had just received results from her doctor that her scans and various tests for the follow-up of her cancer looked great (sigh of relief). Her cancer has stayed in remission. A great accomplishment considering it had metastasized to her liver and lung! Amy intends to stay healthy and I feel she will — she's taken total responsibility for her health.
For fun, Amy loves to skate and has been doing this for six years with lessons from the masters. She also enjoys walking and is sometimes joined by her almost 90-year-old mother — who joined her in the macrobiotic diet in the past year!. Amy also has two college-age sons close to the same age as my kids, so I'm guessing we're within a few years in age, but Amy looks quite youthful with her pixie grin and slight stature! She's gorgeous.
Amy says she'd like to teach macrobiotic cooking to small groups of people in the future, or teach one-on-one cooking lessons to others trying to regain their health.
Now for the show and tell. Below is the wonderful and delicious food Amy brought me tonight. Mmmm. It was to live for! I may go snack on another piece of cornbread. Thank you, Amy. You made my day! I'm very grateful for your food and kindness. (For scientific information on diet and colon cancer, please visit Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine's The Cancer Project.