Have you ever experienced sheer panic?! I mean, stomach drop to your knees, heartbeat drumming loudly in your ears, spontaneous funk sweat, mouth dry as a desert panic? The kind where you are sure this is the end of your life. You are positive death is leaning over your shoulder talking about, “Gotcha!” and these are your last seconds on earth. I experience this every single time I eat, beets. Or red licorice. That’s right…beets & red licorice incite riots of screams in my home ricocheting off the subway tiles.
If you are laughing by my confession because you think I’m an over reacting drama queen, more than likely you have all your guts inside of your body. At least all of your large bowel. If you are laughing because you’ve had these moments too often…like last night, you are belong to the super exclusive club, “Hardly, Ain’t Got No Bowels to Speak Of!”and you understand my problem. It’s incredibly easy to laugh it off once you realize you aren’t bleeding out. But the force in which you scream out an expletive and for a loved one to come save you from death by IBD complication, comes from a place of true fear and anxiety. Waiting for the IBD ball to drop. Everyday you wait for the next flare up, rupture, fissure, cut, fistula, blockage. Sometimes they come. Sometimes they don’t. But everyday you wait. And when you look down to see bright red in the toilet bowl, it hits you hard. And for however many seconds it takes before you remember your dietary choice, you live in complete panic & despair. Is it really that dramatic? Yes. Here’s the thing the red coloring from the beet or the dye from the licorice takes over everything else in your small bowel, and turns it red. So you essentially look like your bleeding out. And I don’t care how long you’ve had IBD, a bowl full of blood is never easy to see.
Why don’t I just save myself the chest pains and stop eating beets & red licorice? Nope. Not gonna do it! I love beets! I love them! I love them roasted. I love them pickled. I love them juiced. I love them shredded. I love them dried. I heart beets with my whole heart and soul. And with the rest of the food I’ve had to give up or have to eat on a very rare, rare occasion, I’m not giving up beets. And the same goes for licorice. I love a good soft red vine during a movie. Or a slightly dried out one when I’m reading or writing. Twizzler bites keep me sane during long flights. Listen to me, Linda. Linda, listen…FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS!!! Ooookkkuuurrrrrrr!!!! They bring me more joy than they do panic. So they stay. Perhaps, though, perhaps I need to make some notes in my phone that pop up to remind me what is lurking in my intestines.
Sometime like, “BROOKE DON’T SCREAM! GIRL, YOU HAD BEETS!”