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I have breast cancer.

Those four words you never hope to say. I was going to blog about taking a forest bath, but that will be another day, today it seems less important. I realize a food blog hardly seems like the place to make this sort of announcement to some, to others they will fully understand that this is exactly what a blog is about. It is about relevance and transparency. It is a window into my world. So here it is. Maybe some of you have thoughts to share with me? This is all new territory. The word alone is scary. I have a family history of cancer so you might imagine that I would not be surprised to learn this news. But things happened quickly. Only a few days after a biopsy I received the crushing news. To have to tell our children was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. But for now I move out of my long term planning mode and into ‘one day at a time’.

I am scared. I am bewildered. I am confused. I am angry. I am clearly a ball of emotions. I will fight this out, just need to find my new footing. I didn’t quite see this coming. I hoped it never would.

My mother- I worried about her a lot. To have to tell her this was heartbreaking. Time and time again, she proves she can motivate through this. We have very different spiritual beliefs, but we are similar in that our convictions are strong and we rise to any challenge without blinking an eye. I am in constant amazement at how much she can crush these situations. I am in good hands with her and my husband leading the charge on those days when I can’t.

My husband- for him the news was something difficult to comprehend at first. He remarked, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me, you eat healthier than almost anyone I know.’ My thoughts, ‘Go figure!’, the odds were just not in my favor. Well, not entirely, when you take the lump sum (no pun intended) there are many positives about my diagnosis, as those closest to me point out.

But the irony of being diagnosed with breast cancer, during breast cancer awareness month has not escaped me. The little ‘gift’ bag that the diagnostic center gives me upon every visit is well…thoughtful, just not what the newly diagnosed wants to use. It is a reminder of life going haywire. I plan to give them away. They are beautiful, just not for me right now.

My kids- well they cried. We all did a bit. I tried to be strong as to not scare them further. We’ve lost too many we love to cancer over the last few years. I reassured them that I have a great team of people behind me on the medical side, as well as personally and that I plan to live as long as GG (my paternal grandmother). Trust me, at 102 years old, should I be lucky enough to live that long with a good quality of life, I will be very happy indeed. We all shared a laugh.

I will find my humor in this situation. I will find my strength. Even since I drafted this post less than 24 hours ago, I have been overwhelmed by the out reach from my family and family of friends – calls, texts, emails. I know that this is NOT a death sentence, it is a set back. It is not going to be easy as my father reminded me, “Accept the help you need – we are here for you.

Until I can’t blog, I will blog. It is my go-to therapist and opportunity to share thoughts about the randomness of life. For now, I am thankful for all that are around me. I will surrender to help, love, family and community. I may even invite in a few guest bloggers.

I realize that across many parts of the world it is hardly the season for watermelon, but living in California, in a drought, it seems that the season for these fruits is lasting a bit longer than usual. So since everything in my life feels a bit unusual, I thought why not post it. This beautiful blend of juices evoke the taste of those long nostalgic summertime days. Happiness in bowl. And right about now the quest for happiness is definitely on my menu.

watermelon refresher gabri

Watermelon Refresher


1 round small seedless watermelon (4 cups needed)

3 limes; 2 juiced, 1 for garnish

1/3 cup light coconut milk

½ cup coconut water

dash of salt

1 TBS maple syrup (optional)

chocolate shavings (optional)

vodka, gin or tequila (optional)


Slice watermelon in half and using a spoon scoop out meat.

Note: To be able to use watermelon rind as the bowl to serve your watermelon drink, it is best not to remove melon to far down in your ‘bowl’ and to make the scoops you remove look aesthetically pleasing. Leaving a small pink ¼-inch boarder of watermelon around the rim is recommended.

Arrange on a parchment-lined backing sheet or in the largest container you can fit in the freezer. If layering watermelon, separate layers with parchment paper. Freeze for approximately 4 hours.

Drain off any excess juices collected at the bottom of the watermelon bowl and set aside. Cover the watermelon halves with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use. Chilled bowls are the best because once the juice has been devoured, there is melon to eat! Remaining juice can be used to supplement coconut water or just enjoyed on its own.

Remove watermelon from freezer and add to a blender along with lime juice, coconut milk, coconut water, salt and maple syrup (if using). Blend on low until smooth and creamy. If the mixture has trouble blending, add a scant amount of coconut water or alcohol; too much liquid will make the consistency too thin. If making a cocktail adding and blending ice into the mix is a nice touch.

Taste the mixture before serving and adjust as needed:

-Creaminess = more coconut milk

-Brightness = more lime

-Sweetness = more maple syrup

Serve in empty watermelon rinds or chilled serving glasses. Garnish with a wedge of lime and a sprinkle of chocolate shavings.

Makes 2 large portions. Leftovers can be put in popsicle molds and frozen minus the lime garnish.

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14 Replies to “Watermelon Refresher & A Dose of Reality”

  1. WHAT THE HELL?! I am totally behind you. You are so strong – cancer will soon find it messed with the wrong person.

    My dad lives with cancer (not breast, obviously), and gets treatment in Greenbrae. While I’m sure you have great resources, if you have any questions that he can help with, just ask.

    I’ll be thinking about you lots! Kick ass, Gina!

  2. ? Hugs to you and your family Gina. You are one strong woman that I look up to. I will be thinking of you and praying for you?.

  3. Hugs to you and your family. You are such a strong woman that I so admire. Thinking of you and praying for you??.

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  5. Oh Gina! I had the SAME experience- having surgery in October. I’m on the other side now, when you are ready and have questions PLEASE call. I’ve got some great cancer fighting cook books- lots of ginger! They are yours if you want them:) You’ll get through this lil setback. There are lots of us in your corner:) Thinking of you. Xoxo

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