At this time two years ago, I weighed 186 pounds. It wouldn’t have hurt me to lose about 10 of them, so that’s what I did. By April of 2020 I was down to 176 even though I hadn’t intentionally done anything to lose the pounds. I had developed cancer but I promise you faithfully, that was not done on purpose. At the doctor’s office last Thursday, I weighed in at 152 despite the fact that I’ve been consuming over a case of high-calorie/ high-protein nutrition shakes weekly and trying to eat fattening food for more than the last eight months.
The doctors, nearly a dozen of them, are all noncommittal as to what could be causing the fairly rapid weight loss, but they all agree that it is “concerning”.
The most likely culprit is the prostate and bone cancer medication I’ve been taking since last August, but nobody wants to make any changes in that because it is working so well. It isn’t curing anything but it has brought the cancer’s progress almost to a complete stop. Unfortunately, it has also made my appetite nearly non-existent. I only eat because I feel like I absolutely have to force something down and usually that involves a mind-over-matter internal struggle.
If I so much as hint that I might like some particular food, Loretta will rush right out and get it. She worries as much or more about my weight loss than I do. If I said I was craving caviar, she would find a can but I actually hate the thoughts of the stuff. On the other hand, I thought pickled bologna might go down easy. I’m still eating on a half-gallon jar of the stuff, heartburn and all, that she promptly found. Armour Star chili-beef hotdog sauce was yet another easy find. Okay, it was also heartburn city but it went down easy along with three fat wieners on both occasions. Fresh baked salmon was yet another easy find and there’s not a restaurant anywhere that can fix it to suit my tastebuds as well as my wife does.
Then I suggested Hormel’s pickled pigs’ feet and we both started striking out. I’ve loved that stuff ever since I first discovered it at the late Minnie Blair’s little country store in the head of Blair Branch in the 1950s. It’s not for anybody even thinking about going on a diet or dealing with cholesterol issues, but remember that I’m trying to gain weight and health problems are not among my major concerns when it comes to stuff I can actually eat.
So one afternoon last week we stopped to visit our old friends, Adella Stevenson and her daughter Sue, in Lancaster and I started whining to Sue about the fact that we’d looked in over half a dozen stores where they ought to be and couldn’t find pickled pigs’ feet. She told me I probably wasn’t looking hard enough and we let it go at that.
Later that night, Sue called Loretta to tell her she had found the pigs’ feet and they were the same Hormel’s brand I loved more than 60 years ago. The store only had three jars and she had bought me two of them.
The next day we drove from Berea to Lancaster to pick them up and I ate well over half a jar at one sitting when we got home. I could easily have polished the rest off on the spot but decided I didn’t really want to have another stroke on the spot. I’ve since polished off that first jar and ready to start the second.
We will go back to Stanford for the third one if I live through it. I really can’t tell if I’ve gained any weight but I have sure enjoyed trying.
Columnist Ike Adams is a Letcher County native, raised at Blair Branch near Jeremiah.