I ended up staying longer in the hospital than expected due to some complications from the pain medicines. I feel like I’ve been in a battle. I’m physically weak but I feel mentally strong. It’s very difficult to walk around. I can’t bend. I can’t lift. I can’t pull. I can’t hug the way I normally do. But I know slowly I will be doing all those things again.
I started to write this post last week the day before my 2nd surgery. I will write more as the week progresses. I was scared. Really scared. I was going under anesthesia twice in three days. It was surreal checking in on my kids last night while they were sleeping. I remember the night before I went into my second surgery kissing them goodnight and wondering when if I would be back and healthy. Now I’m back home and things are almost back to normal. I never prayed so hard before in my life. I prayed to Mary, Padre Pio. I prayed for peace. I listened to my mother-in-law’s prayer she wants me to memorize one day. I prayed until the second my eyes closed as I went under anesthesia. I kept praying the same thing: that I would wake up and every thing would go fine.
April 5th. Today I am supposed to be resting and recuperating from my biopsy. I can’t sit still. I can’t lay on the couch all day. I wasn’t going to post on my blog until this weekend but I need to write. I am nervous. I’m so used to doing ten things at once (like probably you all are). My mother-in-law kept telling me to sit. My mom came by and was echoing the same instructions, “Relax, we’ll take care of it.” Truthfully, I didn’t feel physically that bad after my first procedure. I filled my pain prescription and didn’t have to take one pill. I just felt tired and a little nauseous from the anesthesia.
What was my day like before the 2nd surgery? I was waiting anxiously all day for the results of yesterday’s procedure. The oncologist was getting a rush result of the biopsy. When I first found out I would no longer be able to bear children, I felt a tinge of sadness. There were weeks when I kept thinking I’m too young. People in the doctor’s offices were telling me I’m too young. My own MD told me I’m too young. I have been blessed with two healthy kids. But all last year I was thinking, “Maybe just one more.”
I didn’t get a friendly voice and there wasn’t a hint of reassurance. All I got was annoyance to hear from me and, “The doctor is still in surgery. There is nothing for me to tell you and the other girls in the office will not be able to give you the answer even if the report comes through on the fax after I leave. Either way tomorrow you are getting a surgery and the doctor will let you know in the morning what kind it will be.” Rude and rough. I hung up the phone without the news I was waiting for. Without the comfort I was hoping someone working in a Cancer Institute could provide. I vowed to let the doctor know just how insensitive she was…after he does my surgery.
One hour later, I got my call. It was the kind doctor and he had good news that the biopsy was clear. All my fears were alleviated. I of course still have cancer, but it is isolated and this surgery will take care of it. There isn’t any chance the cancer has spread. I won’t need radiation or chemotherapy. I smiled and thanked the doctor for the good news. It’s been an emotional and stressful period in my life. Now it seems to all be coming to a conclusion.
My dad came to check on my today. He brought a gorgeous bouquet of flowers from his garden. He kept asking me if he needs me tomorrow at the hospital. Tonight I prepared my kids lunches for tomorrow. I labeled and put in baggies the snacks that go in their lunches with instructions in Italian for what else to pack for my mother-in-law. She still is shocked they don’t get delicious pasta and meatballs at school.
My daughter keeps hugging me and saying, “I hope you’ll be ok mommy. We’ll come visit you tomorrow at the hospital.” And I squeeze her tightly and say the same thing, “I promise I’ll be just fine. I promise.”
Teresa’s Crostata agli Amaretti
2 packs amaretti, each pack is 7 oz
2 cups cold espresso
Directions for the Pasta Frolla:
Pasta Frolla (Sweet Pastry Dough)
300 grams (10.54 ounces)pastry flour
200 grams (7.025 ounces) unsalted butter
100 grams (3.512 ounces) sugar
1 whole egg and 1 yolk ( 60 grams eggs)
In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour and sugar and process a
few times to mix together. Next add the butter and pulse a few times
mixture looks like wet sand. Add the egg and yolk and process a few
seconds more until the dough forms (this should be about 5-7 more
pulses). Be sure to not overprocess the dough.
Dump the dough from the food processor bowl onto a lightly floured
counter. Form the dough into a disk and chill in the refrigerator for
about an hour.
Put the flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse briefly to combine the ingredients. Distribute the butter around the bowl and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Add the egg and egg yolks and process until the dough just begins to come together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gather it together. Knead it briefly and shape it into a disk. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1hour, until well chilled.
baking the crostata:
Preheat oven to 325°F with a foil-lined large baking sheet on middle rack.
When dough is nicely chilled, remove from the refrigerator. Roll out the
dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap into a 13-inch round about 1/8
Spray an 11-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom with baking
spray (Teresa used a rectangular baking pan for this crostata). Gently wrap the dough over the rolling pin and place it over the
tart pan; release the rolling pin and let the dough fall into the tart
pan. Press the dough softly into the bottom of the tart pan. If some of
the dough breaks while you press it into the tart pan, that’s not a
problem. Simply piece the dough together. Press the sides of the dough
about 1/2 inch up the side of the tart pan. The rim of the tart should
be lined with a slightly thicker layer of pastry than the bottom (about
1/4-inch thick). Cut off the extra dough from the sides and keep these
excess pieces to make the lattice topping. Place this tart pan in the
refrigerator for about 30 minutes (or even longer if necessary) to
When the dough is chilled and ready to fill, remove the tart pan from
the refrigerator and prick the pastry bottom with a fork a few times.
You can see details of how to make and roll out the dough here.
Soak one pack of the amaretti in 1 1/2 cup of the cold espresso. Let the cookies soak a minute. With your fingers, drain the amaretti cookies a little and then place the soaked cookies across the dough.
Then dip the other amaretti cookies one cookie at a time on both sides and spread them out across the dough.
Keep dipping and spreading them out.
Add the remaining 1/2 cup of cold espresso to the tops of the cookies. If you dipped them well enough, you don’t have to add this extra coffee. Teresa noticed the cookies were a little dry. She always leaves a reserve of the coffee just in case a cookie needs a little more moisture.
Cut the remaining half of your dough with a lattice cutter. Make your strips and lay them across the crostata filling.
Bake on 325 F for approximately 30-45 minutes. You want the crust to be a nice golden brown.
Here’s my sweet dad and my father-in-law Domenico. My dad brought me those flowers from his garden the day before his surgery. He’s famous for his bouquets. Grazie Daddy!
I have mentioned many times how therapeutic blogging has been. It is therapeutic and it also brings me such happiness.
I want to say thank you again to my sweet friends Lindsey and Barb for their delicious posts that were on my blog this past week. Their posts brightened my blog and kept it a happy baking place. I will be back with some more recipes soon.