After coming out of a particularly rough emptying cycle, I feel as though I am dying. I am weak, spent, deflated, wanting to curl up in a ball of pain. I can get through this too, I tell myself. In ways it is good that I live alone because I would feel so embarrassed, panting with each movement, barely able to walk. At first I drink a child’s supplement because it has less sugar than those for adults. The intestinal cramping starts, but is less severe. It takes less time to lie on my side and massage my stomach until it passes or eventually calms down to actually feel relief.

There are foods that I have found I can easily digest, so I have a bit of one of those, just to get some nutrition. I feel a little stronger and I add another food that is a little more complex. I try to be patient with myself and take my time, because if I don’t, I’ll go right into another emptying cycle. I can’t let that happen, so I have to be careful. It is such a juggling act. Everyone is different and we each have our individual pallets to develop our preferences for taste. I have been ill for so long, I have come to see food as my enemy. I have found that watching these cooking shows and trying their recipes, have made me see food as something to be savoured and enjoyed.  I am finding that the “presentation” on the plate is very important, so I am experimenting.

I start feeling stronger and I take a long, hot shower and I shave my legs and condition my hair. Afterwards, I put on one of my fragrant lotions and I spray on some perfume on and usually get into my favorite night gown and robe. I burn my candles and I light some incense to help sooth my intestines, which feel raw and swollen. Sometimes I prefer a candle light bubble bath. For me, southern cooking is my comfort food. In my research, I have found how I can make those dishes with just a little twist or substitute and I can still slink back and enjoy. Even as skinny as I am, I have been known to unbutton the first button on my pants for some chicken livers, mashed potatoes and corn on the cob and maybe some cornbread. It might be magic, but comfort food can always be tolerated.

Historically, I know I have two weeks to eat those six small meals without trouble and get as strong as I can with a hopeful bonus of gaining weight. It still hurts when I eat, but it is a pain I can bear. That is when I put one of my aprons on and pretend I am on a cooking show, having to say yes Chef when I feel challenged by a cake that won’t rise fast enough.  Now I look at ingredients differently, such as an eggplant that I have cooked the same way for 30 years,but now I have a recipe for smoky eggplant served with….etc.. I am excited by all the possibilities. Before, baking was my thing, but now I strive for excellence. LOL

I am still being teased about my gardens. I have a cement patio that I have a plant holder on that you can put up to eight plants on. I also have two gourgeous lavender plants on each side. Taking care of them gives me joy because I am connecting with another living thing. Upstairs I have a gerainium, a lavender plant and a beautiful honeysuckle plant that has coral flowers. The hummingbird family loves it. I have a bench on my balcony and I just sit and watch the stars while I smell the flowers. I know I am alive. I can still experience the good. Hope fills my soul.

Take care of yourselves. I’ll write again soon.

Elaine