Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tropical Luau Cake and Pancreatitis

One month ago tonight, I was in my kitchen attempting to make a festive, tropical-themed birthday cake. It had been a chaotic day, and I had run out of time to even visit the cake decorating store. So I ransacked my cake decorating box, and made my very best effort at cake decorating in a pinch. Simultaneously, my poor husband was at various intervals writhing in pain on the family room floor. With each attack, I asked the same question – “Should I be taking you to the hospital?” And with each question, the same answer – “I’m fine honey. It’s just gas.” Choosing to believe him, I decorated on.
The following morning, tropical luau cake casting a colourful glow inside of my refrigerator, I drove my now obviously ill husband to the emergency room of our local hospital. What he had explained away as gas turned out to be something much more serious – a case of acute pancreatitis caused when gallstones completely blocked both his liver and pancreas. One month in hospital, one surgery, and a pretty rough road later, my wonderful husband is finally HOME. And boy, are we ever glad to have him back...
So in celebration of my hubby being home and on the road to recovery, a couple of lessons learned:
1)   When your husband is in sick or in pain, always assume that his illness or injury is significantly WORSE than he is letting on. It seems that men hate doctors and hospitals, and avoid them whatever the cost. My dear hubby sat at home while his pancreas began literally digesting itself, not wanting to be “that guy” who went to the hospital with gas pain. Down the hall from him on the hospital ward was a man about my husband’s age. He almost died of a ruptured appendix, and told his wife it was “probably indigestion”. Next time, I’ll err on the side of caution.
2)   With a little creativity and a few basic supplies on hand, you can throw together a fun and festive birthday cake even in the midst of chaos. I WISH I had never made this cake. Wish I had taken my hubby to the ER instead. But the cake was made, and taken to the party in my absence. And it, apparently, was a hit. So here’s the recipe, for you to make under what I hope will be much better circumstances…
Easiest Ever Pineapple Coconut Cake
I box golden cake mix, plus required ingredients
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 cup flaked coconut
Prepare cake mix according to package directions, then fold in pineapple and coconut. Bake according to package directions.  The result is a wonderfully moist, very tropical-tasting cake that takes almost no effort to make. A large bottom layer can be used to create the "ocean" and a smaller top layer to form a "tropical island". Decorate with any tropical-themed items you have on hand. I used some plastic palm trees and sharks and a couple of drink umbrellas, and encircled the cake plate with a couple of dollar store leis. What could be simpler!
Oh – and one more lesson “learned” (never forgotten, just refreshed). Oh my goodness, do I ever love my husband. In my totally unbiased opinion, he’s the best husband and daddy on earth. Is it ever wonderful to have him home! Welcome home, honey. We love you!


  1. So good to hear M is home!!!
    Love the cake idea too!

  2. Very cute cake. Thanks so much for stopping by and following my blog. I am returning the favor.

  3. Oh my goodness!! Poor guy!!!

    The cake looks yummy!!!!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.
    Michelle @ The Adventures of Supermom

  4. wow, your story about your husband sounds just like something that could happen to my husband, "no, i'm fine, i'll figure it out". why do they do that?! i'm glad he's okay now and home again, i can't even imagine what that must have been like (and, selfishly, hope i never do).
    that cake sounds delicious and looks incredible, i want to have a hawaiian-themed party for molly's 1st birthday, i'm totally using this idea! thanks for posting it!

  5. Following you from MBC. Hope you'll follow back! :-)

  6. Found you via mom bloggers club, and am your newest follower. Hope to see you by my blog too.
    I have 4 blogs, you can follow all 4 or pick the one(s) that best suits you.
    Twitter: tawna6988

  7. super cute cake! yum. your newest MBC follower. happy sunday. would *love* a follow back. you can find me at:

    lots of FUN giveaways... come by and enter!

  8. I'm following you from
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  9. there, i just made it!
    i stole a taste and it's so good, i think my party guests are gonna love it!