I have been engaged in a gentleman’s duel with my reoccurring ulcer. We doff our hats and bow at the beginning of our battle. We hand our gloves, hats and walking sticks to our appointed assistants and step into to the field. My opponent unloads his weapons: headaches, nausea, vomiting and burning pain. I pull out nutrition, bed rest and herbal supplements.
The ulcer strikes first. He waited until I was distracted by external stress. A crafty move that never fails to work with me. I am reeling with pain. The first day of the biggest attack leaves me curled in a fetal position in bed.
After a 4 hour nap, I have just enough energy to drive to our local grocery store. I wander the store, hunched over my cart, staring at the blur of shelves. I have a ulcer diet list: potatoes, cabbage, oatmeal and yogurt. Each of these foods has a long history of defense against peptic ulcers.
I have a stock of blueberries, nettle and green tea at home. The blueberries contain pigment that increases stomach mucus which I am currently in short supply of. The green tea is high in antioxidants which, when combined with the nettles, reduce the histamine levels that trigger my gut-wrenching pain.
The tea is one of my most potent weapons in this duel. Alcohol and ulcers don’t mix which would normally take tinctures off my list. I can almost see the smirk on my adversary’s face as I reach for my herbal medicine kit. He’s gloating. He imagines the agony I will suffer after slugging back my usual dose of alcohol laden tincture.
Not this time, big boy. By putting licorice, marshmallow and chamomile tincture in the tea and letting it sit until it turns lukewarm, I have a medicine that will knock my opponent off his feet in just a few short days. First, the alcohol in the tincture dissipates in heat. Also, by allowing the tea to cool, it is rendered easier on a acid stomach than hot liquids.
Until then, I stagger through the aisles like a hungover college student. I hover by the dairy case. Yogurt? That’s a dairy product, right? This is the white food section. They color coordinate other aisles, why not this one?
A familiar round lid catches my attention. As I bend to reach for it, the ulcer sucker punches me – very unsportsmanlike. I grit my teeth. Two can play at that game.