Thursday, December 4, 2008

Coming to Terms, and a Recipe

The past couple weeks or so have had me coming to terms with certain parts of this chronic pain mess. First, I'm pretty sure I would be diagnosed with interstitial cystitis, whether or not I actually have it: I pee frequently; it hurts every time; I have occasional urgency; my bladder hurts as it fills and it feels better after I go. Check, check, check, and check.

Plus, the kicker is that I started following the IC diet -- or I at least started avoiding the top triggers (fruit juice, tea, chocolate, alcohol, multivitamins...and my beloved peanut butter), and yeah, my symptoms got slightly better. For instance, if I drink a glass of red wine, I'll feel more urgency and movement-induced pain for a while afterward.

That's not vulvodynia as far as I know. That points more towards IC.

Of course, I still have the vulvodynia, I know that for SURE. And while I titled this post "Coming to Terms," I know that accepting that I benefit from the IC diet will only make me feel better. It's more that I'm coming to terms with not being able to eat peanut butter and drink orange juice.

Another thing I've come to terms with is that sitting around in jeans all day really is not good for my hooha. Big duh, right? Jeans don't immediately pain me, but when I wear them on my seven-hour school days, by the time I get to my evening class I can hardly stand to sit anymore. That crotch seam is in the perfect place to set me off.

So I switched to skirts -- yes, at the onset of winter. On the phone with the guy I'm kinda dating, I said I had worn a skirt that very cold day.

Date: What, do you have a screw loose?
Me: Yes.

Not a bad way to put it. I have a screw loose. Oh, that's going to be an interesting conversation, if we ever get that far.

But wearing skirts isn't so bad. I love my skirts. I have a ton of them and I hardly ever wear them. And wearing skirts means I'm free to acquire more skirts! More skirts! Maybe even from the thrift store!

And finally, the last coming to terms I've done is realize that though I may not remain vegan the rest of my life, this veganism experiment has changed the way I eat forever. Since I'm trying to get as many nutrients as I can without taking (possibly pain-inducing) multivitamins, I realized that eating grains wasn't going to help me much. They're basically pointless nutritionally relative to fruits and veggies. So I've gone without grains (no bread, pasta, rice, rice cakes), and it's been really, really easy, and really tasty. I eat like nine servings of fruits and veggies a day, plus some beans and seeds and nuts. It may not sound like much, but it fills me up, and I feel pretty good, too.

On that note, here's a recipe for the chili I made a couple days ago. It's not Promethean, but it's so very, very, very, very, very tasty (and spicy!).

Esther's Ugly Chili

olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped tinily
2 medium onions, chopped uglily
5 gigantic tomatoes, pureed
1 green pepper, chopped uglily
1 red pepper, chopped uglily
salt, pepper to taste
crushed red pepper to taste
white pepper to taste
cumin to taste (me = tons)
1 cubanelle pepper, chopped tinily
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped tinily
1 wrinkly orange hot pepper, chopped tinily
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 zucchini, chopped uglily
1 summer squash, chopped uglily

Cover the bottom of a large pot in olive oil and heat. Add garlic & onion and cook for a few minutes. I work from the top down, chopping as I go, and pausing to let it cook for a while after all the peppers are in and then again after the kidney beans are in. I work very slowly and then let it sit for a while once everything is in. The result is beauty (on the palate, anyway). Behold:

UGLY! But so mmm...

Hot peppers are another IC no-no, but I've actually felt incrementally better this week after all that Thanksgiving wine -- and the soy I shouldn't have eaten on Sunday. That was the worst flare I've had in a long time, all afternoon and into the night. I think I've finally proven to myself that avoiding soy isn't completely pointless voodoo! There might actually be a reason! Woo!


  1. I've been seeing all the hollywood types wear these loose-crotched jeans and I'm seriously considering looking into them because I have the same problem with the seam. I'm guessing they may be men's? I have no idea.

  2. I find thigh-high socks and/or seriously 1980s leg warmers work better to keep your bottoms warm during the winter...
    "Better" meaning, less likely to set off a flare than long underwear. Also, breathes better.

    But I have learned 2 things the hard way about thigh high socks & leg warmers:
    1. it's really hard to find thigh high socks and seriously 1980s leg warmers.
    2. I had no idea they were considered such a fetish item until I started looking for them.

  3. Lora, I think I know what you're talking about -- the wide-leg, high-waisted ones?
    Those look more crotch-friendly to me than the ones in my dresser, anyway.

    K, leg warmers! YES! I haven't spotted any seriously 1980s ones, but I like all of these:

    I wonder if the fetish is in part inspired by Jane Fonda...

    Oh, now I have fashion goals. Maybe we can start our own line of VVD clothing!

  4. The best chili I've ever had is very much like your recipe, with cashews and raisins. Sounds weird, but those additions were DELICIOUS.