Saturday, July 19, 2014

Nur's Turkish Spinach and Egg Dish G-BOMBS-nized and The Small C Part III - Ways I Coped

The Small C Part III -  Ways I Coped

I am not presenting any tips on how to cope with cancer in this post.  I just wanted to tell stories of how I coped.  Perhaps it might help somebody out there in the same situation to realize that your reactions towards events while you have cancer can be unpredictable at times and can range from being absurd to something deeply enlightening.   In other words one does not have to be heroines or heroes during this time but just human.

I found that I had cancer on a Monday in December.  I remember the next day on Tuesday I was home and, to my surprize, in high spirits.  I even cooked adobo, a Filipino comfort food and ate it with gusto. 

I met with my oncologist that Wednesday accompanied by my husband.   I not only bombarded the radiation oncologist and his resident with questions but interviewed them to death about irrelevant stuff.  I tend to do that when I am nervous.  I ask silly questions like where they were from originally.  Perhaps it was my way to help lighten up very stressful situations.

Dr. Greg Kubicek, my radiation oncologist, his resident and my husband, Bob.  I took the picture of these three during my first meeting with Dr. Kubicek since I found out they were all coincidentally originally from the Midwest.

That Thursday I remember going for sushi with my two daughters and I asked them a stupid question,  "Are you scared about what is happening with me" which was unnecessary to ask.  Again I was saying it jokingly but I noticed neither one wanted to look me in the eye.  I am not sure but I think I saw one of them with eyes a little bit glistening with tears.  But she was able to control it while the other who usually had a sassy comment did not say a word.  It dawned on me then that members of my family were as frightened as I was.   But I still continued to make light of the whole situation. 

When my son-in-law was at our house I jokingly convinced him to ask his mom to make me homemade pierogies and to tell her I have cancer so she cannot refuse.  I could not believe I was just making a joke of it all and neither could he.  This will not last however.  The harsh reality that I have cancer though at its early stage would finally sink in. 

How do I pray was one that I struggled with when I found out about my cancer. Through the help of my husband I was able to resolve this dilemma.

"I am very confused on how to pray",  I remember telling my husband.  "I really do not want to ask God to cure me.  That is not how I am used to praying.  I always pray to do God's will.  For me to ask to be cured of cancer is going against that." 

From him, I learned how to do both. This was what my husband said, "Lulu, this is how I usually pray.  'I know God that you want me to do your will but I just want to request if it is possible please help me ...' ". I know it was just a matter of rephrasing thoughts and words.  I also know it does not matter to God what I say since He or She knows what I mean.   Since I am complicated person I wanted to say the right thing even to an all-knowing God and this way of praying taught by my husband helped me.

I also kept everything much to myself even though I am known to have a life that is an open book.  I did ask prayers from members in my prayer groups and my husband's choir.   I did not tell anybody about my cancer except for a few in my workplace.  I did not announce it to my classes either that semester not until after I was done with the treatments in the middle of February.  They were in shock when I told them since I did a good job not to show any indicators I had cancer.  

I did tell my pastor, Fr. Tony, in the middle of a busy fellowship doughnut session in the basement of our church about my cancer.  I just learned about my condition and I was dying for prayers especially from a priest.  I came from out of nowhere when I approached him.  I abruptly and nervously told him I had cancer.  From his face I could tell he was taken by surprise but he regained his composure and he gave me the phrase that will help me the most through this episode of my life.  He said , "God will take care of you".  God has indeed done so and I am very grateful.  I have been cancer free for two years now. 

A Dish to Fight Cancer

I had a former roommate from Turkey named Denginur or Nur for short at the Buchanan Hall dormitory while I was a graduate student at Iowa State University.  She went out of her way to make a meal for me and her then boyfriend, Ahmed, consisting of a typical Turkish Spinach and Egg dish, macaroni and cheese and Kipper brand canned sardines which she carefully transferred to each of our plates.  It was not elaborate but with the limited cooking facilities we had at the dorm it was quite a feat for her to prepare this.  She chose these three dishes because they were her favorite among what her mother used to lovingly prepare for her back home in Turkey.

I tweaked the Turkish Spinach and Eggs dish to make it a more cancer fighting one.  I based the ingredients I added in my version on the G-BOMBS diet recommended by Dr. Fuhrman, who developed it to fight cancer, obesity, diabetes and other diseases.   G-BOMBS is the acronym for the following: 
  • G for greens
  • B for beans
  • O for onions
  • M for mushrooms
  • B for berries and
  • S for Seeds or nuts. 

I added to the traditional Turkish Spinach (which is the Green component) and Eggs dish, black beans, chopped onions and mushrooms to meet four of the six requirements of the G-BOMBS diet. When this powerful, anti-oxidant laden dish is served with toast spread with seed or nut butter and berries on the side, all six components of the G-BOMBS diet will then be met in one meal.   Here is the recipe of this dish.

Nur's Turkish Spinach and Egg Dish G-BOMBS-nized


  • 1 medium dized onion chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 cup of chopped mushrooms
  • 8-10 oz frozen cut spinach, thawed or you can use fresh ones
  • 1/2 cup black beans from a can, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 eggs


Heat a 10-inch non-stick pan on medium setting and once heated add the olive oil.  Once the oil is heated saute the onion, garlic and chopped mushrooms until the onion is cooked and translucent. 

Add the thawed frozen spinach, black beans, salt and pepper to the sauteed mixture and spread the contents throughout the pan and continue to cook until the spinach is heated through.  

Continue to heat the mixture and carefully break the eggs one at a time on top of the spinach mixture, cover the pan and allow the steam coming from the moisture from the spinach mixture to cook the eggs.  You can add a splash of water if you see the spinach mixture getting too dry.  You are done cooking when you see the egg whites turn opaque.


Serve with toast spread with coconut or peanut butter and strawberries or any other berries on the side. 


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