Thursday, January 15, 2009

A love letter to my intestines

I'm not sure what I ever did to my intestines for them to hate me so much - for them to fight back, rebel and want to break all ties with their clueless owner. Perhaps they were tired of all the greasy digestion. Maybe the years of late night leftovers did it (who doesn't love cold lo mein in the glow of a 2 am television?) , or the third piece of ice cream cake I snuck straight out of the freezer, my fork puncturing the dark chocolate ganache with so much relish.

See, I love food. I will never be a thin girl (stretch marks be damned!) - but I don't care. I love the anticipation of preparing a meal that requires a slow day of cooking. I love the artistry of the presentation. I love the cook's spoils - the small bites I'd savor while idling by the stove.

My mother - bless her - instilled a love of food in me. This six foot woman would drag my sister and me into our small town's Vietnamese grocery store after violin lessons. To this day that image humors me - our big family overtaking this small store, and its equally smallish proprietors. We'd bitch and moan: "Mom! God! Why can't we have hamburgers!!!?!" or "You never let us eat anything normal!!!" And the woman loved her fish sauce (so ubiquitous in Asian cooking) and the groans would grow even more strained: "Mom, that smells like something Molly rolled in! Gross - I am not eating that!!" Molly was our dog (and yes, she rolled in her fair share of gross things that made us girls run shrieking from the room).

Food hasn't always loved me back. I wish it shared the same adoring passion I have with it. I've always had a sensitive stomach - rarely was a dinner out that I didn't excuse myself for the bathroom. And then a bit over three years ago I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. Crohn's is an autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive system - the immune system attacks the gastrointestinal tract causing rampant inflammation, pain, and all-over yuckiness (I added the last part).

I intend this blog to be, in part, a love letter to my intestines. When you get down to it, it's really not their fault, is it? They're victims, too, of my bullying immune system. So when I say this is a love letter - it's me, accepting my body as a whole - and working toward remission.

Crohn's isn't a glamorous disease - there are no freshly-botoxed celebrities championing the cause - and, well, it's just sort of...icky. It has to do with those bits and pieces that are societal no-no's in public: so yeah, I may mention my anus (in only strictly clinical terms, I assure you...well, mostly).

So....I'm sorry, intestines. We'll kick this shitty disease together (pun intended).

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