Friday, March 6, 2009

Waking Up: Luscious Tiramisù

For most of my last decade, I was a bony, trembling, emotionally volatile wreck. My heart was a jackhammer. My skin was a minefield. My mind was a vortex of self-hatred, self-destruction, and rage. After a night of chest pains so crushing and breathtaking that I thought I was dying, one blood test gave me my answer. I was severely hyperthyroid: the butterfly-shaped gland in my throat was pumping out twice the thyroid hormone my body needed, in defiance of attempts by my deranged immune system to shut it down. An interesting test involving radioactive material confirmed that I had Graves' disease.

What does all this have to do with tiramisù? Read on.

Coincidentally (or not?), on Wednesday I attended a lecture on weight discrimination, given by a (petite and slender) professor at my university. It was fun to hear her debunk the "obesity epidemic," and we the audience laughed as she amply illustrated its absurdity. Afterwards, I spoke with her for a few minutes about my experience with weight fluctuation and others' reactions to it (sick and thin=many "thin" compliments from women, not so many from men; healthy and heavier=fewer compliments from women, many more from men), she told me that she had Graves' disease, too. We shared our stories of misdiagnoses and recovery and laughed a bit together.

Three years ago today, I underwent a total thyroidectomy, putting my disease in remission and waking me from my long and dreadful nightmare. Because of the profound changes that took place afterwards in all aspects of myself and my life, this is a kind of second birthday for me. Tonight, my husband and I will celebrate with Chicago pizza, followed by tiramisù, my very favorite dessert. Each bite is another nail in the coffin of the Bad Old Days when I hated myself and, especially, hated and punished my body.

Rather than present a single tiramisù recipe, I am giving several links to versions of this truly divine and sexy concoction. Eat it, and see if you don't feel awake, alive, and happily sated.

Heavenly Tiramisù - many, many recipes
Finding La Dolce Vita - nicely illustrated
Cooking for Engineers - illustrations galore, plus a fun task chart (the "engineering" part, I guess)


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