Food, again…

The strangest thing happened to me this week. This is not like this is the first time it has happened. As unhealthy as they are, for months I had a serious taste for the large lady finger pastries that you can get at Giant Eagle and other places. I pretty close to ate one a day. Earlier this week I had a whole package of them in one days time. I went to eat one yesterday and it tasted absolutely nasty to me. Thinking that might be a fluke, I tried another one today and had the same reaction. It has been years since I have had such a drastic shift in taste, although it has happened to me plenty of times before.

Food and eating have always been a potential source of great pain to me. As I mentioned in another post my refusal to eat noodles of any sort has caused me great strife in my life. I regularly hear people say things like “how can you not like pierogis” which in itself may sound like a harmless statement, but when I hear it repeatedly from many different people it begins to take the form of feeling judged. Yes, I am very particular about what I will eat because certain textures and tastes, and pierogi’s have a double whammy there, are simply unpalatable to me. For the longest time (about 35 years or so) I ate cheese based on color and texture. With the exception of eating nachos with cheese, I would NOT eat orange cheese for anything. And white cheese that was not solid, like romano and ricotta, I would not eat those either. I could not get past the color of the cheese.

As if the struggle with unpalatable food was not enough, when I was 15 or 16 I began having trouble swallowing. At first the problems were merely difficulty swallowing with nothing getting stuck. And then one day when I was 17 or 18 it happened. I was eating a hot dog, it got stuck and would not go down my throat. Luckily it got stuck below where the windpipe branches off from the throat so there was no threat of suffocating. My parents reluctantly took me to the ER where they pumped my stomach because they had no idea what was going on. The stomach pumping made the hot dog come out, but it did not answer what the problem was. I had an upper GI done a short while later and the doctor wanted to do an exploratory endoscopy but my parents said no. This would become a regular occurrence in my life, with the exception of the going to the ER. Most of the time the swallowing problem would last anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or two. The problems were always quite painful and caused me much anxiety over eating. When eating in public I always needed to know where the men’s room was in case I needed to go throw up the food that was stuck in my throat. Then came the day when I was in Seminary in fall 1996 when the swallowing problem lasted over night. The next morning I went to the campus doctor who had me to go a GI doctor who decided to perform an upper GI on me the next day. This was the beginning of many upper GI procedures which I would have over the next decade. It was not until my last upper GI in 2009 or 2010 that my GI doc discovered the problem. Not only was there a recurring stricture in my throat, but I also had an allergy esinophillic esophagitis which is most common in young men with environmental allergies. A simple steroid inhaler took care of the problems. But then I met Akira in 2014 who taught me how to reverse most of the symptoms simply by relaxing the muscles in my throat through prayer. Al told the major suffering went on for 20 years with out any real relief. I can’t tell you the amount of mental anguish and embarrassment the swallowing problems have caused me.

While food is a source of great comfort to many people, it is both a comfort and a source of pain to me. Shout out to me if you have experienced either, or both of the situations which I have described in this post.

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