The Cure: What we can learn from chocolate cake


I used to be a closet control freak and it almost killed me. A turning point in my life was when I was falling the f-ck apart in India (land where you can control NOTHING no matter how hard you try) and realized that I needed to let go. I had to. No choice. No time to get used to it. And part of what helped me was chocolate cake.

Here’s an excerpt from my memoir, This Is How I Save My Life:

“At the request of one of the sisters (nurses), I had given the staff at Nutech a list of foods I could and could not eat. On the could list: protein and veggies. On the could not list: every- thing else. Over the past years, my brain has been pro-

grammed with messages like dairy is bad because it causes inflammation, sugar feeds the Lyme bacteria, and carbs are evil. And while maybe some of that has truth to it, being ridiculously strict about my diet only causes me more in- tense stress. And now, unstoppable hunger.

When Dr. Shroff saw the list, she came to my room with it and asked, “But what about your healthy cells? They need some sugar. Dairy is not bad for them. Carbs are okay in moderation! Each night, you can have a small amount of red wine and chocolate. You need some pleasure too.” All I could think was, Are you trying to kill me?

It isn’t until I am squatting on the mud-smudged gro- cery store floor that what she said begins to sink in. My whole existence for years now has been dedicated to “kill- ing” Lyme. I have built my entire life around Lyme disease, the one thing that I don’t want. What about the rest of me?

“Mom! Look!” I scream as I hold up a box of Kraft mac and cheese that was wedged between a bag of lentils and a box of basmati rice.

“Oh my Gaaaaawd, babe!” She runs over in disbelief. I keep digging and soon find a packaged chocolate lava cake, the kind where you add hot water to the plastic tray full of batter and it magically puffs up into dessert. It’s inflatable chocolate cake, and it’s a frickin’ miracle! Where is the genie granting me these wishes? There is nothing

GMO-free, organic, or natural about this food jackpot, but I am thrilled!

Clutching these boxes as if they are solid gold, I rush them to the register and pay a total of 200 rupees, or three American dollars. I have only a tiny bit of guilt about the quality of this food, but even that will be obsolete soon. The perspective I am about to gain is priceless.

What if, in my furious effort to find the cure, I have been missing something critically important all along? There is no question that I need these stem cells to work for me. There is no debate that I need my legs and my health back. And no one would argue that I also need to stop bursting into tears and get my act together. But until that happens, what if I also need something that has been completely within my reach all along? My own permission to save myself any way I can. What if I loosen the death grip I have on my own life? What if true faith means grab- bing on to whatever you can in each moment, and letting that be enough to carry you on? What if there are a hundred opportunities to save your life every single day? And none of them look like the cure, but actually are essential fragments of it. What if everything that came before now did not seem like healing, but was a tiny step toward it? And what if today, when I can’t change any of my circumstances, I can save a little piece of myself WITH THIS INFLATABLE CHOCOLATE CAKE?”

It taught me that it’s up to us to loosen the death grip on our own life. That when everything is spinning out of control, there are a million ways to save your life and your sanity every single day.

You can read my whole story in This Is How I Save My Life, but the gist of this part is that chocolate cake is amazing and the sugar in it won’t actually kill you. It might just help save you.

What are the little things you do to save your life and sanity every day? Please please them and use the hashtag #howisavemylife. I wanna see my other options in case the store runs out of cake. Ha. for more on the book. You can get it on Amazon, here:

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