Pre-cancer diagnosis I was pretty disciplined about not eating bread or other carbs regularly, just a couple of times a week. My husband loves the ritual of making toast every morning, including generous amounts of butter and jam, and I unfortunately just can’t eat that way on a daily basis, even though I always want to.

After my first chemo, my mouth was really uncomfortable and sensitive, and soft bread was one of the easiest things for me to eat. I had been warned that my appetite might not be great after my first chemo, but I didn’t know exactly what that would mean for me.

One rainy night a friend brought over a beautiful dinner that, at the time of delivery, I just didn’t have any appetite for. I watched the rest of my family eat her dinner and felt bad for myself, my sore mouth, and my lack of appetite. The dinner included a gorgeous loaf of homemade sourdough that my husband strategically set aside in a clear plastic bag for his breakfast the next morning.

I had insomnia that night, and at 2am I wandered back into the kitchen and found myself face-to-face with the loaf of sourdough. I opened the plastic bag and tore into the loaf, bypassing the crunchy crust and going straight for the middle. It was one of the most comforting things I’ve ever eaten, and I had none of the familiar white-bread-carb guilt. I spent about 10 minutes tearing bites from the soft middle of the loaf. It was the first thing I had eaten in days that I was really able to enjoy, and probably the best bread I’ve ever eaten. I felt surprisingly calm — maybe from the dopamine hit — but also so grateful for my talented friend who had baked it so lovingly for us.