There was a moment of immense sadness last week. Days where I collapsed onto my couch, and the only thing I could stomach was cereal. A friend had to come over with a bag of groceries and a pot of quinoa salad to sustain me, and I nearly fell into her arms, grateful, heartbroken. All because I can’t imagine a life without my Sophie. The cat who has always been my constant, who saw me through me getting my life together, who tussled with me on the carpet and lunged for my hand with my paw when she was frightened.
The prognosis is severe. The ultrasound discovered a benign growth adjacent to heart, which is large enough to engulf it. She also has a hyperactive thyroid, kidney stones — all of which aren’t the root cause of her severe lost, but certainly don’t help her comfort. What’s telling is the fact that her stomach and intestines are extremely dilated, unnaturally so. Essentially, they’re not functioning the way that they should, not absorbing nutrients, eating her from the inside out. Sophie may have cancer, but she’s too frail for an endoscopy or for a biopsy (more conclusive in detecting cancer, but not completely conclusive).
So I have her on the Cadillac of expensive medication. Twice daily I give her medicine she hates. She writhes when I hold her down, and I weep and weep, and tell her that I’m trying everything I can to make her better. Because she needs to get better. Every day I pray for a miracle that the drugs will work, make her stronger. Pray that I don’t have to put her down in 10 days time.
So until then, I busy myself. I bake cookies, make soups, consult at brilliant agencies and companies who want me to breathe life into their brands. I write recipe reviews, I see friends, I do yoga, I read. I try to live my life as quietly and rich as I can. I try to breathe some of my energy into her. So that I can fill her up with it. So that she can come back to me again.
Thank you all for your amazing comments. It’s been so hard for me to respond as I’m still sorting through all of this, but please know I’m reading them and giving you a mighty PAW PUMP.
INGREDIENTS: Recipe adapted from Joanne Chang’s Flour, Too. Read my review of her cookbook on Medium!
2lb/910g carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1inch/2.5cm chunks
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
3 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 medium fennel bulb, eliminate the leafy greens and thinly slice the bulb
3 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
2inch/-5-cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
6 cups/1.4L vegetable stock (low-sodium)
1 small Granny Smith or other tart apple, peeled, halved, cored and diced
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Pre-heat the oven 400F/200C, and place a rack at the bottom of the oven.
Spread the carrots on a baking sheet lined in tin foil. Drizzle them with 2 tbsp of the olive oil and sprinkle them with thyme, 1 tsp of the salt and 1/4 tsp of the pepper. Roast the carrots for 35-45 minutes, or until tender. Roasting tends to bring out the natural sweetness of carrots, which adds such a lovely depth of flavor to the soup. Once done, set aside.
In a large pot (I use my dutch oven), heat the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium/high heat. Add the onion, celery, fennel and garlic, and reduce the heat to medium, stirring often with a wooden spoon for 6-8 minutes. You want everything to soften and for the onions to be translucent. Stir in the ginger, add the roasted carrots and stock, and bring to a boil. Add in the chopped apple and simmer for about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
I have an immersion blender, which is the greatest invention known to mankind, so I’m able to cream this all up in a single pot. However, if you don’t have an immersion blender, breathe it out. Transfer batches of the soup to a blender and blitz away until creamy. Then grate in some fresh nutmeg, serve with buttered bread (not vegan, I guess), and kick back.