My daughter is distraught at the thought of her mother being cut into—or perhaps it’s simply fear of losing the one rock in her life. She insists on cooking dinner for me. Tomorrow, no food is allowed, and at four p.m. the purgation starts. That means tonight is my last bit of gustatory fun—for a bit, in my mind; possibly forever, in her mind.

She’s terrified I won’t get through the surgery, although that part is not nearly so scary for me. I’ve had surgeries before. Admittedly, this is my biggest: a hemicolectomy, an appendectomy, and a hernia fix. Then there’s the added fun of an epidural. But no, what bothers me most is the prospect of the doctors’ finding a gut full of cancer—that’ll put a monkey wrench into my works, all right.

I’m still getting used to the feel of the word “cancer” in my mouth. I’m not ready to have that word there permanently. It would mean vast changes in diet, a curtailed life, and a short horizon of time. So perhaps this is indeed my last supper free in a possibly cancer-free life.

I remember my three-year-old serving her parents tea in bed, her face screwed up tight with concentration as she balanced a huge tray down the hall. I prepare myself for anything.

Prawns in garlic and ginger, fresh greens, mashed potatoes with the skins, and a nice white wine. A little dark chocolate., all served with filial love. Who could ask for more?

Tomorrow morning’s the last time for pure, smooth, French-pressed coffee. No food, all day.

If you must get cancer, make it colon cancer. Coffee, chocolate, wine—they all supply butyrates and will join those from all that miso and yogurt you’ve been swilling. Run, glucuronidase, run!

Food served with love is the best medicine.

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