Standing by the kitchen table, the cold pizza in the carryout box looked and smelled so good.
On my way home from a local consulting job, I had picked up a pizza at a local variety store. (Here in Maine, that’s how we roll.)
Pizza is normally not one of my favorite food groups, but I was running late, and I knew my husband would appreciate the unexpected treat. The smell of it was tantalizing as I drove home. Once I arrived home, I got ready to go back out to the movies while my husband ate his pizza.
The movie was great.
The smell of popcorn brings back pleasant memories, but not something I find I can’t resist, so I didn’t feel deprived as my husband munched down on a large bucket of buttery flavored popped kernels. However, I hadn’t eaten before we left so by the time we arrived back home, I was hungry. I was hungry enough that I was about to let my defenses down. My husband had left the pizza out on the table, and it was the first thing my eyes set on.
Just one bite. One bite.
I opened the box and pulled out a slice. “What are you doing!” my husband fearfully exclaimed. “If you eat that you will be in so much pain.” “I know,” I responded. “But I’m so hungry. It smells so good. I have to eat it.”
I took one small bite.
There are no words to describe that moment.
So much of the time we eat food and never give it a thought. We don’t think about the taste specifically or the texture as it travels around our mouth as we chew and swallow.
I hadn’t had solid food in 18 months. My life at this point in my food journey consisted of vanilla ice cream (carefully screened to have only 4 ingredients – cream, sugar, vanilla, and eggs), a few choices of freshly juiced vegetables, raw eggs, and raw milk. As I chewed my first and only bite of pizza, I could feel the sharpness of the crust. The flavors screamed through my senses like a freight train with an important destination.
It was the first time I recognized food as an emotional, all senses experience.
My ecstasy was short-lived. Having food in my mouth initiated what were now familiar symptoms. My abdominal cavity expanded with bloat, burping ensued, and the undeniably excruciating pain took over. Crying and crying I got ready for bed. Took my pain medicine. My night was done.
You may be thinking, well, she knew what was going to happen. Why would she eat something that would cause such distress?
Because when you have an issue consuming food, especially after decades of eating anything you wish, you can’t immediately learn that food
Or so it seems.
Your heart and mind still remember the pleasures of spaghetti sliding down your throat to your stomach without incident, leaving you with a feeling of comforting satisfaction. You take for granted that pancakes and bacon are going to nourish your body in ways you might not understand completely, but it doesn’t matter, they taste good. Your eyes see vegetables and meat and remind the brain that meat and vegetables are good for you. Ignore the guy behind the curtain telling you otherwise.
Was that one bite worth the pain?
I don’t know. We all have those times when we do foolish things and wonder why we did them. I know when I was curled up in a ball, riddled with pain, it didn’t feel worth it. And having been a caregiver many times, I know how hard it is to watch someone suffer, and there’s nothing you can do. So that part I regret – that someone had to see me suffer and I was in a sense, the cause of it.
The movie we saw was “Miracles from Heaven” (2016). It’s based on the true story of a little girl with an incurable digestive disease. Her mother takes her to doctor after doctor in search of a cure until finally the mother is told to take her home, there was nothing more to be done. Some of my friends had seen it and told me I should see it. They said it was my story. In most ways it was. An extraordinary miracle occurs.
My healing could perhaps be considered miraculous. It has come with determination, tenacity, and faith.
In the next installment, I’ll share how I’m creating healing.