Do you know what I’m eating right now? Blueberry yogurt. Not carcinogen-laden Yoplait Fruit on the Bottom artificially sweetened goodness, but plain yogurt. . .plain. . .with blueberries. . .and wheat germ. OK, stop laughing; no I haven’t joined the Dark Side and embraced the Gwyneth Paltrow school of macrobiotics, nor am I attempting to shed that little extra sumpin’-sumpin’ before the holidays. No, this new regime comes courtesy of my doctor; or as I like to refer to him, Dr. Downer McBuzzkill.
A while back I posted about my visit to the cardiologist as WebMD had managed yet again to convince me that my fatigue and general feelings of “meh” were symptomatic of everything from heart cancer to erectile dysfunction. As my heart appeared to be behaving nicely for once and yet I still felt about as energetic as a narcoleptic on Xanax, hi-ho-hi-ho, ‘twas back to the doc I go.
He started by doing some basic blood work to rule out the obvious things like anemia, leukemia, and pregnancy*
*Although ‘tis the season, the odds of yet another immaculate conception are pretty freaking rare, but I humored the man.
All we could tell is that “something was off” but Dr. House still seemed baffled, so he started burrowing through my medical records and randomly tossing out possible diagnoses. I swear to God, there was more random guessing going on in that room than Dyslexics Week on The Wheel of Fortune.
"Are you SURE you've never been a Columbian drug mule?"
Finally he stumbled across a random tidbit of data hidden in my files.
“Wait,” he said, “you didn’t mention you had mono a year ago.”
“Umm, well…yeah.,” I replied, wondering why I felt guilty for having contracted the Epstein-Barr virus.
“Was it bad?” he queried.
“Well. . .yeah. I mean, it was MONO.” Seriously, I don’t know how I could have forgotten those three months of hell. The short people and I had to move into my parents condo so Dad could corral them while Mom attempted to keep her sweat-soaked daughter’s fever below 104. I was knocked out so flat I made Sunny von Bulow look like Carrot Top after a quad-shot Americano.
“You DO realize that mono can permanently damage your liver and kidneys. . .right?”
Well, shit, I do now! Thanks, Dr. Kevorkian; as though the amount of grain alcohol I pumped through my system in the late 90’s wasn’t enough, now you tell me my little bout with ‘the kissing disease’. . .*
*Which I didn’t even get from kissing, so where’s the fucking justice there?
. . .has given me the liver of a Kennedy on Spring Break? Lovely. He then went on to ask about my current eating habits. I thought about lying, but my renal system was obviously waiting to rat me out, so I begrudgingly admitted that my eating habits were about as under control as Herman Cain and Bill Clinton at a Miss Hawaiian Tropics contest. I mean, seriously? You set me loose in a Starbucks or a Taco Bell and I’m happier than an autistic kid in a pinwheel store.
Suffice to say, after conducting a liver function test it was surmised that years of alcohol abuse + Epstein-Barr virus + eating habits of a frat boy on Spring Break = my liver is jacked-up, yo. So, the good doctor hooked me up with some ‘cleansing’ meds and prescribed a Spartan diet that would make a Carmelite nun’s look like All You Can Eat night at the Golden Corral.
Now, I am all about change. I love to try new things, and like a vampire (or Keith Richards) I thrive on fresh blood. But do you know how hard it was for me to keep a straight face while Dr. Killjoy von Douchenheimer blathered on about things like soybeans and cruciferous vegetables? I hate to burst your bubble, vegan.com, but all the Bragg's Amino Acids in the world are not going to make a flaccid chunk of tofu taste a goddamn bit like bacon. I get the whole animal rights thing (to an extent), but come on. I'M a goddamn animal; so who is there to protect ME from cruel and unusual punishment? Where was PETA with their placards and cans of paint when I signed my marriage license in 1997, or when the doctor suggested that I give up caffeine indefinitely?
Yeah, you heard me. No. Caffeine. Ever. Apparently caffeine (as well as meat, sugar, salt, and joy) will get your liver's ass kicked harder than Ann Coulter at an Occupy Wall Street rally.*
*Much love, Ann ((*fist bump*)).
So at present my diet consists of the following: raw or lightly cooked vegetables, raw organic fruits, raw nuts and seeds, small amounts of lean meat, little to no dairy, no salt, no sugar, no preservatives, no caffeine, no over the counter medications, and drinking so much water that if you jammed a tap in my stomach you could reenact the Tennessee Valley Authority project. Basically, this food plan is about as creative and inspired as the dialogue on your average ABC Family show, but if it’s going to help my liver regenerate like a starfish, let’s do it.
My immediate concern with this diet plan was how restrictive it was. Not because I thought I’d be strangling homeless people so I could lick the coffee from inside their change cups, but because I have a long history of disordered eating. I have been treated for both anorexia and bulimia and now that I am able to eat in a relatively normal (albeit non-nutritional) manner, the thought of putting restraints on my eating worries me that the bossy little food-bitch I’ve locked away will chew through her restraints and bitch-slap me back into submission. Moderation is not a word used freely in my vocabulary, so I am nervous as a whore in church that having restrictions on my diet will make me backslide into food obsession. Fortunately I know that my family will be watching me like a ‘tween at a “Twilight” marathon, so I feel relatively secure that they’ll ‘keep it real’ when push comes to shove.
So here we are. Day 4. The caffeine-detox headaches have started to abate; I no longer weep when I pass a Starbucks*
*Which is every five fucking feet in this city
And I’ve stopped fantasizing about stabbing puppies for their moist, juicy flesh, so I’d say that’s progress! As for my liver, it appears to be relatively well-behaved at the moment. At least it’ll have some kick-ass, hookers-and-coke-in-the-hotel-room stories to share with my kidneys and pancreas at the next block party; it’s good to know that at least one part of my anatomy is worthy of a VH1 ‘Behind the Music’ documentary.