Before we go any further with our story, I think it’s important to take a look at what our lives looked like pre-diagnosis.
When Andy and I were first married, I wasn’t the world’s greatest cook. We ate sandwiches 3 nights a week, I cooked once or twice (usually some form of pasta), and we filled the difference with eating out and leftovers. As the months went along, I stumbled across the amazing world of food blogs and my cooking skills improved dramatically. It turns out I’m a pretty good cook!
Andy is somewhat famous for his devotion to a sparkling green liquid called Mt. Dew. His love of the Dew is so renowned that a friend once brought us Mt. Dew cake as a special treat. In the manner of true transparency (and past a little embarrassment), Andy would easily go through 4–6 two liters of Mt. Dew every week. He drank them and I bought them—it was a vicious cycle.
In May of 2010 I lost my job. Once the summer months cooled, I turned to the kitchen to fill my time and keep busy. I would turn out days’ worth of shepherd’s pie (with fluffy mashed potato topping), chicken n’ dumplings, macaroni and cheese, beef stroganoff, stuffed cabbage, and the list goes on. Weekends were full of biscuits n’ gravy (one of Andy’s personal favorites), pancakes, eggs, and lots of cookies.
We hunkered in for our long winter’s nap starting in September with the help of pounds of lovingly made home-cooked food. And even though we were dealing with a reduced monthly income, we still found the funds to eat out on a regular basis using the excuse that we needed quality time together (apparently over nachos and fried beans).
I can remember the day Andy informed me he was denied for life insurance and the reason why. I took a look at the chicken pot pie I had sitting in the fridge and knew that things had to change.
It took some time, but I’m happy to say, our weekly Mt. Dew budget is now our weekly apple budget. My home cooked meals are still delicious, but significantly lighter—even in winter. Who said you can’t enjoy salad when it’s cold and rainy? We still eat out, but it’s with much (much!) less regularity.
We found that we were feeling lighter and enjoying life together more than ever before. We started to actually talk to each other. Not chat around mouthfuls of take out in front of the TV, or in a faux-leather booth at the Mexican place down the street. But actual “how was your day” type of conversation.
It didn’t happen immediately, and there were definitely some hunger pains as we swapped the mashed potatoes for roasted broccoli. But God took our desperate situation and turned it for good as only He can.