I’m lying in bed late this morning, after being up all night racked with diarrhea, intestinal pain, cramping to the point that I can’t stand up straight, a painful levator spasm, along with bleeding and irritated anal fissures. Uh huh. I said it. Anal fissures are tiny paper cuts all around my rectum that, when irritated, rupture and bleed. I’ve had them ever since I was radiated 18 months ago and all it takes is one bad food choice to reignite. Likewise, I also have a levator spasm, a pulled muscle in my butt for which I’ve been prescribed 5 mg of valium to alleviate as needed. But I can’t find that bottle of valium right now. Dammit!
This hot mess is what happens when my food allergies erupt – proof positive that my food restrictions are not mere preference. I’m guessing that something in last night’s dinner with relatives had gluten in it – maybe the sauce had some flour? I actually had a suspicion before I ate it, and pushed back on my aunties, but they insisted it was safe for me. I should’ve trusted my gut – literals.
Instead, I’m hugging my knees in pain right now, and a bit angry and frustrated. Actually, a lot. I’m angry at myself for caving into the pressure of my dinner hosts pushing food onto my plate, and I’m frustrated that most people don’t take my food allergies seriously.
What I really want everyone to know is that my food allergies are due to the drastic cancer treatments that I’ve received – true for many of us cancer gangsters. They’re real. As much as gluten-free is trending, I’m not just trying on the latest fad diet to be difficult. My insides have changed. Not only that, but I’m in recovery, so the foods I eat are the important new building blocks for my body to reconstruct its health after having undergone three major nuclear attacks and numerous other assaults over the course of the last several years. The right foods can give me life and heal me, and the wrong foods can do real harm.
What I eat is serious. So, please don’t get butthurt if I can’t split a pizza with you. I’m just happy to be sitting at the table with my friends and relatives, regardless of whether or not we consume anything communally.
I do, however, still have personal food preferences – likes and dislikes – just like everyone else. I don’t like raw onions. It won’t hurt my body to eat them, but I might vom hard anyway. Plus, I care that the animals I consume have been loved and unadulterated by GMO, not only because it’s humane, but also because I find it extra weird to eat chicken breasts larger than my own. Cancer or not, everyone has their quirks.
Now, I know that comparing suffering is not energy well spent, but even with my list of banned substances, it’s actually not so bad for me relative to others. I only have a list of six major food categories that I can’t do. That’s nothing, compared to my friend and chronically illin’ gangster, Scott Leese, who walks around with a list of 40 banned foods.
No question – I’d rather be alive and chronically illin’ with food allergies, than dead with cancer.