A Little Something

by autumn on December 12, 2013

A Little Something || Autumn Makes & Does

Before we left for my first surgery, Paul decided that we should just pretend we were going to Murray’s. So we did. I was being grumpy and whiny and he just kept asking me what kind of cheese I was going to get. I picked a stinky one—one that I imagined might get him some looks when he sat with it in the waiting room—and we walked a few blocks down to the hospital.

Before we left for my second surgery, I was less nervous so we didn’t have to pretend that we were going to buy expensive cheese. It was the first snowy day of the winter, which was just right for me. Something I’m never really able to communicate well to people who didn’t grow up around snow is the way it quiets everything down. It quiets a landscape, even midtown Manhattan. People will just shut up and watch snow fall from the sky. I appreciated it that day.

I found out that I had Melanoma in mid-November, a particularly stubborn one—just like the lady it attached itself to—that would not go gentle into that good night. In the midst of the race to Thanksgiving and the cookie-strewn sprint to Christmas, I had no choice but to slow way down to live in this mess. The last thing I expected to feel was calm, but I keep falling into these odd moments of stillness lately. We had tater tots for dinner twice in one week and it was fine. I had to give up the podcast and all my freelance work and it was fine. I had to focus on taking care of myself and it was also fine. I had a little cancer on my face and, damn, do I feel grateful that it was fine.

I haven’t really been able to eat solid foods that well for a while, but I’m proud to report that this has had minimal impact on my calorie intake thanks to buttermilk panna cotta, peanut butter ice cream, and the aforementioned soft cheese. Consider this my official endorsement of buttermilk panna cotta as the best post-surgery food ever. I’ll be down south with my family for Christmas this year and I should be able to chew by then (SMALL VICTORIES), so I’ll have no trouble getting caught up on all the holiday eating and drinking that I’m totally behind on.

I can be private to a fault. My instinct is to retreat in times of crisis, but this time I wanted to put my highly imperfect holidays out into the world. (You’re welcome, Pinterest.) More than ever, this year I’ve felt overwhelmed by gratitude for the care, in its many, varied forms, that I’ve received—the little somethings that keep showing up and insisting that everything is not the worst.


Autumn Giles is the creator of Autumn Makes & Does and the co-host of the Alphabet Soup Podcast.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jason Shriner @ The Aubergine Chef December 12, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Feel better soon Autumn! I miss the podcast but you need to focus on getting better! If you need anything let me know 🙂


2 autumn December 12, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Thank you, Jason. That means a lot.


3 kaela December 12, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Oh, Autumn: I’m so sorry to hear! The C-Word is so scary (and hospitals and surgery so unnecessarily annoying/painful/irritating and scary). My Mom also has melanoma and has also had a few painful facial surgeries. Luckily (as I’m sure you know) melanoma is very treatable, but still: sucky way to launch your holidays.

So very glad to hear that all is well now and that you are on the road to recovery and enjoyment of holiday excess. Hope it is a merry one!


4 autumn December 13, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Yes, Kaela. All of those adjectives time ten! Thank you.


5 Casey December 12, 2013 at 6:13 pm

I am SO GLAD to hear the recovery is going well – and as a Doctor of Comfortology, I always prescribe tater tots for dinner. Eat often; unlimited refills.


6 autumn December 12, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Hahaha! Yes. Thank you 🙂


7 Art & Lemons December 12, 2013 at 7:49 pm

As I read this post, I felt that familiar stillness of snow when time stills and people surrender to it. I’m glad you’re able to embrace the tough stuff, put it out into the world, and find quiet moments of peace. Hooray for comfort (in all forms) and for getting better which I hope you do real soon!


8 autumn December 13, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Thank you, Nikki. I wouldn’t mind another snowfall or two sometime soon either 🙂


9 Aimee @ Simple Bites December 12, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Autumn, I’m sorry to hear of your struggles. It was brave of you to to share. Here’s to a full recovery. Much love. A.


10 autumn December 13, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Thanks so much, Aimee. Your warm thoughts mean a lot to me.


11 Courtney December 12, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Autumn, your courage in sharing this is inspiring. Eric, Clara and I are sending you lots of love.


12 autumn December 13, 2013 at 1:17 pm

You’re so sweet, Courtney. It makes me feel so good to have you three on my side!


13 emily December 12, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Take care of yourself. Eat those tots, that panna cotta. The podcast will be there when you’re ready. And the freelance work will return.

Thank you for being brave enough to share. We love you!


14 autumn December 13, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Thanks, Emily <3 Tots and panna cotta forever!


15 cindy December 12, 2013 at 9:59 pm

So glad to hear you are on your way to recovery, Autumn…and so awesome that you can still find some joy (panna cotta to the rescue!) and calm. I love the way the snow makes everything so quiet and still. It’s perfect for reflection. Happy Holidays!


16 autumn December 13, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Thank you, Cindy. I so, so appreciate it. I am totally picturing a little cup of panna cotta dressed up as a paramedic now. Because I’m kooky.


17 Isabelle @ Crumb December 13, 2013 at 3:00 am

Oh Autumn… I’m so sorry to hear about this bump in the road. Sending you big hugs and good thoughts.
May your recovery be swift, completely uneventful and full of panna cotta. xo.


18 autumn December 13, 2013 at 1:26 pm

International big hugs and warm thoughts are extra special. Thanks, Isabelle!


19 Kate @ Snowflake Kitchen December 13, 2013 at 5:09 am

I’m glad things are looking up, Autumn. And thanks for sharing – we should all be so courageous to reveal our true, uncensored holidays.


20 autumn December 13, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Thank you, Kate. And thanks too for your good timing 🙂 Your package of treats couldn’t have arrived at a better time.


21 Marisa December 16, 2013 at 12:46 am

Autumn! I am sending you boatloads of love and good, strong healing thoughts. I hope you have a quick, easy recovery.


22 kelly December 16, 2013 at 1:08 am

I am thankful for so many things:

1.) that you are okay and that you kicked that stupid melanoma’s butt.
2.) that you have paul to comfort you with fake cheese
3.) that scup knows just when you need to be loved up on and he does so in abundance
4.) that you took time to slow down and take care of YOU
5.) that you have buttermilk panna cotta and wine moments san straw >$<

love you & if you need anything, you better let me know! xo

p.s. I'm {selfishly} glad you'll be able to chew by the holidays because I hope to steal you post-holidays for oyster eating, whiskey drinking and kitchenaid giving <3


23 Nicole December 17, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Sending good thoughts to you, Autumn, for a speedy recovery!


24 JCG December 27, 2013 at 6:56 pm

Autumn, your posts always brighten my day. Thank you for everything you do to make gfree baking and cooking feel just as inspired and beautiful as eating with gluten.

Sending warm wishes your way for a quick and thorough recovery. Here’s to a new year of good health!


25 Maggie December 30, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Thinking of you, Autumn!


26 Yankee Kitchen Ninja (Julianne) December 31, 2013 at 7:02 pm

So relieved to hear that you are OK!


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