Broccoli and Potato Chips

Madeline K | Patient |

When I was younger, 9 or so, my mother always made me eat my broccoli – whose mother didn’t, really. “Be sure to eat…

all of your broccoli,” she’d say, looking pointedly at the mass of greens still left on my plate. One day, with an admirable amount of logic for a 9 year old, I said, “You bought the broccoli, it’s yours. So you eat YOUR broccoli.” I pushed the plate towards her. Consequently, I still lost that broccoli battle. “You WILL eat this broccoli, because it’s healthy.”

Broccoli is very healthy, I admit, but can the same word that’s used to describe the nutrient rich vegetable called broccoli also be used to describe the feeling when I am strong and victorious after being weak with cancer and chemotherapy for so long? Can the word “unhealthy”, that’s used to describe the high fat high carb potato chip, be used also to show how I felt in the hospital? Sick, hairless, barely able to stand?
When I was hospitalized, the last thing I would compare myself to was a potato chip, although I could attest to the fact that I am alive right now because of broccoli – well, that and modern medicine…and friends…and family…
What I’m getting to here is that “healthy” not only describes broccoli, but also the feeling when I am at my strongest – when I feel that myself and all the cells in my body are at peace. There were times when I was sick that I felt healthy because I was surrounded by family, friends (and potato chips), with the feeling that I was beating the disease.
So, eat your broccoli. It’s good for you. But remember, the feeling you get when you are victorious, when you feel strong, when you are surrounded by loved ones, is healthy.

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