Be Not Afraid

Hurts So Good

There are a lot of things this post could be about, especially in light of my current situation.  But, before you start guessing, I’ll tell you:  it’s about Cheetos.  That’s right.  Cheetos.  (Crunchy, not puffs, to be specific).

I have never liked Cheetos.  I never even wanted to try one in my entire life.  Yet, during my first cycle of chemo I started having strange, intense dreams about Cheetos.  Finally, one night I made Mike run to the corner 7-11 to grab me a bag.  Placing that first beautiful, sun-kissed orange kernel in my mouth was all that I dreamed it would be.  It was amazing.

My relationship with crunchy Cheetos began that day, and has continued throughout the past three months.  Even when my side effects from the chemo are worst, and I have trouble eating other foods, I never waver in my devotion to Cheetos.

Unfortunately, this fourth cycle of chemo has brought the most painful side effects yet (mostly a wrecked digestive system and all that entails).  For the past few days, every thing I try to swallow brings intense pain to my raw esophagus.  Since I was starving and couldn’t take anymore chicken soup, my mom, Mike, and I even made a special run to the store for smoothies (I thought about trying Ensure but couldn’t bring myself to do it).  Yet, as we watched tv tonight, a familiar craving returned.  My appetite no longer satisfied by the chocolate protein smoothie I was drinking, I knew only one thing would do.  Mike made the all-familiar run to 7-11 and immediately upon his return I ripped open the bag of crunchy deliciousness.  The first Cheetoh I ate hurt so badly as it moved down my esophagus that it brought tears to my eyes.  Fortunately, the tears soon turned to joy.

Sometimes the pain is just worth it.


  1. Aunt Cathy

    Chuck’s mom loved the strawberry Ensure with ice. She drank that when she wasn’t feeling well from chemo. Love the Cheetos post! Hoping for some sunshine for you all this weekend! Hugs xo

    • Thank you for the tip, Aunt Cathy! Sadly yesterday was the last day I could take the pain of the Cheetos, so I tried the strawberry Ensure. It’s not bad with ice!!

      Hope you’re well, and thank you for commenting!

  2. Fr. Dan

    I think one of the real crosses in suffering is that it can steal away our hope and make us lose sight of the larger things in life. When we are really suffering, such as you are now, in an intense and acute situation, our horizons can become much nearer, such as “will I be able to eat my next meal and keep it down?” Even in the midst of this pain, God surprises us with little nudges and pokes, to remind us that we are here and God is here with us. Sometimes those nudges take the form of flowering lilac bushes in the spring, sometimes our favorite song on the radio, and, yes, sometimes even Cheetos (and I’m totally with you on the superiority of crunchy over poofy)! Thank God for Cheetos, thank God for hope, and thank God for you, Ali. Peace, friend.

  3. Joe McGinley

    When I read the title of this post I got really excited. I thought maybe you found a new love for The Coug. Haha.

  4. monica

    Ali, oh man this was funny. Every time i eat these i will forever think of you. I would suggest the fire cheetos but i think you should wait and eat those when you celebrate your victory over cancer! Im glad though that something is hitting the spot. xoxo- Monica

  5. Pingback: Who You are at One Year Old | Be Not Afraid

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