October 9, 2011

IC-Safe Dinner and Art

So I binged a bit last night at the progressive dinner. I had a delicious mug of hot cider, a chocolate truffle, a piece of apple crisp, and a mini cheesecake with cherries on it. Yes, my weakness came upon me come dessert time. By the grace of God, I didn't experience a flare-up, but I still figured I'd play it safe in terms of tonight's dinner.

Beef tortellini in a zesty cream sauce,
Spring mix salad, and
Low acid orange juice drink

I say orange juice drink because it is not pure orange juice. Even though I bought Tropicana's low acid variety of orange juice, most people coping with IC agree that (if you can't live without things like juices and sodas) watering down iffy beverages can make them bearable. All juice is very risky because of all of the fiber. I added a cup of water to the juice, shook it up, and then added a few tablespoons of honey to avoid the watery taste. Not only is honey a soothing agent for the bladder, it also makes this vitamin-C-rich beverage perfect for fighting off sore throats this cold season.

Okay, now for the actual meal.

The salad is super self-explanatory. Finding an IC-safe dressing will be the tricky part what with all the soy and preservatives lurking in everything, but I'll work something out.

For the pasta sauce, I made a simple roux with butter, flour, and some milk. Then I added some parmesan and mild cheddar cheeses, as well as a little cream cheese. I seasoned it with roasted red pepper flakes, basil, salt, and black pepper. I then added some of Wegmans' great premade tortellini in the beef-filled variety (cooked, of course).

What a delightfully sun-shiney little autumn day dinner! "Sun-shiney" is one of my favorite adjectives, which is unfortunate in the light of the fact that I am an English major and it is not an actual word, hyphenated or otherwise.

Also, since my diagnosis, I have found several amazing websites and forums designed by sufferers of interstitial cystitis as resources and support groups. The most fascinating and captivating of these is Art for IC.

It's as if the site was designed specifically for people like me for whom art is such a part of our lives that it is our means of coping with life's difficulties. This website, which is cited as "A gallery of hopes, fears & inspiration shared by those living with interstitial cystitis," is completely breathtaking. While reading about the depths of suffering I have to look forward to was quite depressing at first, ultimately I loved knowing that I was not alone in my sickness. I'm not even alone as an artist dealing with sickness.

While the site is mostly populated by poetry and personal essays, there is some visual art featured. Most compelling are the various self-portraits depicting how artists see themselves in terms of the disease.

"Rage" by Melynn
"Impenitent, This Pain" by Janie Miranda
Here is a sample of the site's poetry:

By Marguerite Bouvard
Excerpted from the book The Body's Burning Fields (available on Amazon).

She looks back at me
from the mirror, paints
dark circles beneath my eyes,
brushes my skin with chalk.
She extinguishes the spark
in my glance, assaults me
in mid-air when I spring
through days, stripping me
naked, pummeling my landscape
with invisible mortar. I keep on
turning the pages,
walk down the street,
have dinner with friends.
No one can see her
but me. She makes me leave
the party while everyone
is still laughing and talking.
she is carving out
a blank space somewhere,
erasing my name.

I'm so grateful to have found this beautiful community <3. Maybe some day in the future I will write something to post for them.

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