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Living with Chronic Pain

Stricken with untreatable and unexplainable pain, writer Monica Bhide finds solace—and strength—in a fragrant cup of tea.

Heal
Cooking has saved me from myself many times. I have cooked through miscarriages, through broken friendships, through painful breakups, and through deaths.But today, my cooking therapy is failing me as the pain sears through my abdomen.I bend over the stove as I use my right hand to steady my wobbling body. The other hand reaches for my belly, as though touching the area will somehow make it bearable or miraculously make the pain stop.The pan on the stove is hot, the spices are sizzling, and I know they are going to burn. But I cannot move the pan away. My world begins to go dark. I clutch the stove. I close my eyes and hope, anxiously, that this is the last strong surge of pain. My heart hopes for a mild attack. My brain knows I have never had a mild attack.The nausea competes with the pain, but the pain is winning.“How bad is the pain?” my doctor asked on my last visit.Like a knife cutting though my flesh; like being in labor, only there is no baby at the end; like being crushed by a big truck.“It hurts a lot,” is all I could say.When the pain started six years ago, I was sure it would pass. Yet I sit …

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