21st Amendment Brewery

Dodgers fans in the house.

Ok, yes, I’m a day or two late with my blog this week, but trust me when I say it was worth the wait. We ventured off the beaten path…and rewarded ourselves with a day in San Francisco and a ball game. The Giants were playing the Dodgers, and C is a huge Dodgers fan so we decided to have a little fun for a change after my appointments. While we were there we took full advantage of the delicious eats the city by the bay has to offer. We asked the concierge at our hotel for a few recommendations and after walking around a bit we landed at a little microbrewery called The 21st Amendment Brewery. What a cute little pub, it had a great bar, nice atmosphere in the restaurant, with an open kitchen, and a great little outdoor patio. It would’ve been nice to sit outside on the patio, but it was a little chilly plus all the tables seemed to be taken out there. Inside was pretty cool though, and we had a great waiter – Alejandro.

Naturally we started with a couple of craft beers that went down pretty  smooth with our fried calamari, which was also delicious. Let me just back up a bit here: we had had a couple of not so delicious meals on this trip. Sunday night we ended up in some little Mexican restaurant that should never be remembered. Ever. And then our lunch on Monday – well, we actually got our money back because it was so bad. Thankfully everything we ordered at The 21st Amendment more than made up for the not so delicious food we had at those other restaurants.  The beer and calamari were a great combination to start off the afternoon. 

We weren’t even sure if we were going to order dinner, until we saw the menu. First I wanted to try the Fish and Chips, then I thought maybe pizza…. But when I saw that they had baby back ribs on the menu I was sold. C ordered the thin crust pizza, with pepperoni, sausage, tomatoes and basil. Oh my goodness! I thought for sure the ribs I ordered would be way better than the pizza, but I was wrong…. The pizza was the bomb! I don’t know if it was the cheese or the sauce that was so delicious, maybe it was just the combination of it all. I’m so glad the hubs likes to share. 

I can’t wait to try the Fish and Chips next time.

So…where to next?

Ribs…. finger licking’ good
The fried calamari

Bonus review: Coffee shop right near our hotel called Bravado. Bravado indeed. This little place was so cool. It was a coffee/breakfast place in the morning, and beer/wine/tapas bar in the afternoons and evenings. We just sort of stumbled into the place in search of morning cup of joe, but when I saw they had avocado toast, I had to try it. Oh man, am I ever glad I did. De-licious! So I upgraded my coffee to a cappuccino, and C had some sort of egg scramble with a latte. Good way to start the day for sure.

Latte love, cappuccino, and the last little bit of our coffee cake

The Cancer update

Well, obviously I’m feeling well enough to be eating like an olympic swimmer. After all the meetings and discussions with the doctors I/we chose to be brave and try the clinical trial. I’ve heard so many good things about immunotherapy, and it seemed like the only way I was going to get to try it was through a clinical trial. I had two options, of which I don’t really know the difference. For one of them (named trial #1) they wanted to do some genetic testing, and it could potentially take a little longer before I could start treatment, and I didn’t want to wait a minute longer. That’s how I made the decision to go with trial #2, an immunotherapy drug called Cerdulatinib. I started taking it on Monday the 15th of April, and that evening was the first time in months that I didn’t turn all red and itchy. It went to work pretty quickly.

At this point, we are tired. Fighting cancer is exhausting, and I’m one of the lucky ones, because I don’t even feel sick. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to do all this while feeling nauseous all the time. Right now it’s the weekly visits to Stanford that are wearing me out. I feel bad for even saying that though, because Stanford is saving my life. And in such a wonderful way – immunotherapy is definitely working for me. In June I’ll have another PET scan, so the Doctors can actually see what’s going on with the lymph nodes, but for now they seem pretty confident in the treatment just based on the fact that my skin and other symptoms have vastly improved.

Yes, every Sunday, we wake up, pack up and head to Stanford for appointments early Monday morning, and sometimes Tuesdays, appointments that can take up to 6 hours. When we’re done we head home (after we eat of course), always hoping to get out of there before rush hour. Four hours of driving is so much better than 5 or 6. The we get home, unpack, do laundry, and just try to get caught up with the chores around the house. Poor C heads in to work exhausted for the rest of the week – I don’t think he ever gets caught up on sleep….sorry honey. I’m starting to think the doctor who told me ‘no’ when I asked about going back to work was right. I want to get back to a ‘normal’ (what’s normal? I don’t even know) life so badly it hurts. So I asked the Doctors if I could go back to work, and that was a no. Dr. Kim told me to ‘take it easy’ right now. I feel like I’ve been ‘taking it eas’y for a really long time already, and I thought I was ready to go back to work. However, gyms and a compromised immune system dont’ mix very well, so they said no. 

The treatments are working, and I’m so very thankful about that. What an answer to prayer! And what a relief that the rash and itching have gone away. I have noticed that when I eat too much sugar or get too tired the rash returns, so I try to stay away from sugar – and ‘take it easy’. I also had a low platelet count at one of my check ups so that next week I made sure to eat foods that would get that up – steak, lots of dairy, bacon, sausages, and lots of green leafy veggies. Basically a keto diet. I’m not complaining about that. 

Actually, I’m just so thankful that God has blessed me so much with an army of prayer warriors, and these great doctors at Stanford. What a blessing!

to be continued…..

Adventures in food

The Fish Market

Lobster Tails

The Fish Market, as the name implies, is actually a market where you can buy fish as well as a great restaurant. They have some fabulous looking lobster tails, salmon, crab legs, and I think even rainbow trout. I got some pretty good shots of all the great seafood they have for sale if you wanted to cook at home. If it was me buying fish for an at home fish fry, I would definitely be adding some of their clam chowder to my purchase. It’s that good. 

The Fish Market is on El Camino Real in Palo Alto, one of the busiest streets in Palo Alto. Last year when we first started coming to Stanford for appointments, we ate at some random lobstershack in Redwood city, and it was really good, but what I remember is, driving by all the restaurants on this street and thinking…. Oh wow… we are in trouble now. How are we ever going to have the time to eat at all those places? And they all had lines of people out the door, so we just knew they were serving excellent food. 

We chose the Fish Market this particular Monday night because we were both craving clam chowder. My personal preference is the New England clam chowder, in fact, it’s the only kind I’ll eat. It was pretty tasty – creamy and thick, with just the right amount of clam bits in it. Exactly the way it should taste – piping hot perfection. 

We started with the clam chowder, and followed that with an appetizer – the warm crab & artichoke dip. This is what I call a heavy appetizer, almost like a meal. Creamy and cheesy filled with artichoke and crab pieces, and it was served with crispy slices of French bread. There was nothing left on that plate, let’s just put it that way. 

In case you’re worried about my cholesterol, you know because of all the creamy, cheesiness I’ve mentioned here, that seems to be one problem I don’t have. Well, I mean, they haven’t tested my cholesterol, and I’m not suggesting they do just yet. One thing at a time.

For our main course I had Fish and Chips – Greenland cod Fish and Chips, and my partner in food had the Pacific Prawns and chips. I don’t know which one was better. The Greenland Cod was absolutely amazing. The fish just melted in my mouth, and the batter was light and crispy. The French fries were pretty tasty too, I just try not to overdo the French fries. Those Prawns though – wow. They were absolutely the best prawns I’ve ever tasted – they almost tasted almost like lobster tail, like buttery kisses on your tongue. We both took pictures of the food, but only after we started eating – oops. It was just so delicious, and we were hungry lol. And honestly, the pictures don’t do it justice. 

While we were sitting there enjoying our delicious dinner at the bar, there was a woman we could see having a heaping plate of crab legs. Isn’t it crazy how you can be eating your own delicious dinner and still want what someone else is eating. They did look pretty delicious though. Maybe next time….

So, of course we’ll be back here next week….where will we go next time?

The Clam Chowder
Artichoke dip
This is what happens when its sooooo delicious….
He wanted to be in the picture 🙂

The cancer update

The cancer update..… Well, after my meeting with Dr. Meyers it was clear that this wasn’t just a false alarm. Because that’s what I thought. I remember walking from the parking garage to the Doctor’s office (it’s a long walk) telling Chuck “we’re going to get in there and he’s going to tell us it was all a big misunderstanding. There is nothing wrong, the dermatologist’s nurse just misunderstood what the dr. said, etc.” But, no. The cancer was back, or hadn’t been all the way gone. So, he suggested chemotherapy again and then another bone marrow transplant. This time from a donor, preferably from a sibling. When I had my first bone marrow transplant, they harvested my own stem cells, then after they gave me some really heavy chemo, they gave me my stem cells back. And I remember thinking… won’t those stem cells be contaminated? I guess there is a reason why they do it that way first. It’s supposed to be a much easier process for the body to handle. But…. now I get to do it again, and it will be a longer process. First we have to kill any present cancer cells before we can even get to that.

I was scheduled to receive chemo (something called Romedepsin) by the end of that week, I think that was at the end of March. But then…I got a call from my local oncology nurse saying that they had gotten an email from someone in Stanford telling them not to give me chemo just yet, because I had been approved for a clinical trial – praise God! It was all a little confusing (and scary) for a day or two, because it seemed like nobody knew what was going on, but then everything got straightened out. They didn’t want me to have any chemo before I saw the clinical trial doctors because they wanted me to be clean, as in no treatments, when they first met with me so they could see exactly what they were dealing with. 

The next Monday we were back at Stanford to meet with the clinical trial doctors. I’ve personally never seen so many white lab coats in one room. There were, I think, 7 doctor types, and one photographer. Yes, you read that correctly. A photographer. When you have skin issues, they want to get photos of what’s going on and possible progress of the disease or treatment. Ugh….so yes, I got to pose in my underwear in my pasty skin mottled with red spots…Whatever. As long as they can fix this situation I guess it’s good to have before and after pictures for comparison and research.

to be continued…..

You can’t see it, but my shirt says: Killing It. I’m killing cancer, Killing it.

Adventures in Food – The Melt

Do they call it The Melt because the food melts in your mouth? Or because of all the melty cheese and juicy sauce? I mean these hamburgers are off the hook. Juicy – check. Loaded – check. Flavor – check. 

This time at The Melt, I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich with sweet potato fries (I LOVE sweet potato fries). The hubs had a hamburger with French fries and a chocolate milk shake, with a side of Patty Melt for that extra shot of protein. 

I’m not gonna lie – every time we come to Stanford for my appointments we treat ourselves to some deliciousness at one of the great eateries in Palo Alto. The restaurant possibilities are endless in this neck of the woods. From asian cuisine to Italian to traditional American fare, there is literally something for everyone. For two people who love to eat like we do, it’s kind of like a little slice of heaven. 

While I was in the hospital last summer for my first bone marrow transplant, my poor husband was on his own out there trying out restaurants. One day he came to the hospital (he was there for me EVERY DAY) all excited about this hamburger joint in the mall right across from the hospital. The best hamburgers he’d ever had he said. I was thinking: Oh really? Do you think they’re better than the sad little burger the hospital serves? Do you? I’m like 100% sure they were better than the Stanford Medical Center attempt at a gourmet burger. When I got out, and as soon as I could eat restaurant food, the first place I wanted to go was The Melt. My very favorite thing to eat is a really good burger. And this place did not disappoint. So super juicy, and meaty, with the perfect pickles, lettuce, sauce dripping down my fingers to my wrist and onto the tray. YUUUMMMMYYY!!!

Well, this spring  I found out I get to come back to Stanford (see Cancer Update), and also back to The Melt. This time I ordered the Spicy Mission Chicken Sandwich. It had avocado, sliced jalapeños, pickled onions, pepper jack cheese, and some spicy ketchup. MMMmmmmm…. So delicious 🙂 and of course my personal favorite – sweet potato fries. Chuck had a MeltBurger combo (fries and a shake) and a Patty Melt. Everything had plenty of cheese on it – and the fries were from real potatoes of course and they were dusted with salt and parsley. 

Overall we gave this place 4 stars, as you can see we finished our sandwiches… and we finished those fries too. When it’s this good you don’t leave anything behind. 

We’ll be back in Palo Alto next week, where will we go next?

The Cancer update

I want to keep everyone up to date on my cancer treatment, and my progress, but I don’t want to only talk about my cancer. I want this to be mainly about the awesome food in and around Palo Alto. 

For the last year of so I’ve been a patient at Stanford for my lymphoma. I have a nasty strain called angioimunoblastic T-cell lymphoma. I went through the usual treatment – something called CHOP (chemo), followed by a bone marrow transplant. I was really lucky, the chemo hardly made me feel sick; and even the bone marrow transplant didn’t seem like it was that bad. I mean – you go to the doctor ALL the time, and there are a lot of shots involved. But I had no bad reactions. EXCEPT for the time I got pneumonia. That was a little scary – for my family especially. Sorry family. I will be more careful from now on. 

In February I had my 6 month post transplant appointment. Everything looked really great, my blood work results looked awesome. BUT….. I told the dr. I had been having a rash since the middle of January. It would flare up in the afternoons, and every morning it was gone. So strange. He didn’t know what to make of it, but had me schedule an appointment with the dermatologist at Stanford and a PET scan.  

Two weeks later I was in the dermatologist office, with a whole team of people examining my skin. She was immediately suspicious that the cancer was hanging out in my skin. I didn’t believe her, and I was completely unworried when we left. She took several biopsies from my skin, and I thought that was just to be safe. Less than one week later, they called me with the news…. My cancer was back. I said some not so nice words to the nurse who called and the next day we were back in Stanford listening to Dr. Meyer’s confirmation of the news. He had a plan – more chemo or possibly a clinical trial and eventually another bone marrow transplant. 

to be continued….