Archive for December, 2008

November 8th

So they are slowley working me up to take in more and more boost, aka “food energy”. Seriously, just call it calories. I still freak out looking at the nutriction information-even though aparently it will take me 4,500-5,000 calories a day to stop weight loss. Eating feels so weird, and I am so over sensative to tastes and smells.

I ate solid food for the first time today and yesterday-even if its just a small amount I feel sick. I am not going to do that agaon for a while. I think I will stick to the boost for a few days…It’s easier on the stomach and it has become a “safe food”-I trust it and its steady amount not to make me gain weight. Its less work psychologically. Even though I know I will have to gain weight eventually.

My digestive track and my body are slowly responding, and it has been painful, very painful. Eating is painful on my stomach, and I often feel like I am going to throw up. Its emotionally and psychologically draining. It takes alot of effort to convince myself to get started, its sometimes easier when Im eating-but afterwards its both painful and an emotional/psychological battle not to purge.

Right now the thought or smell of food makes me naucious. I feel heavy and my insides are turning  and my mind is trying to race-my body responds with panic and I have to fight for control. If I were at home and I had laxatives or something to make me throw-up I would definitly have taken it- now the urge to exercise begins, the need to have it out, or to compensate, to burn calories is so strong…even as I know my organs have been dying for it for months.

I weigh only 95lbs and I fear gaining even one. I know right now its hard to stop the weight loss, to even get enough in me to keep me semi functioning, and I still fear food. I fear what I need to survive. Im scared to touch my stomach, to see myself naked, to see anything but my rib cage and pelvic outline. Im terrified of any bulge. Even though I know its simply passing through I want it out.

I know my digestive track is slow and that it will take a couple of days and it terrifies me. I want to starve myself until it goes through, even though I know there is a good chance it would kill me. I feel it moving, the gases, the bloating, the digestion, it both terrifies and relieves me. It terrifies me that those calories are entering my system, being sent through me, moving into my blood stream, terrifies me that some of it might be stores as fat. My heart is racing and irregular, my body is tense, my breathing shallow, and my chest tight. Im panicing, my mind is racing. I feel like I have to stop thinking. I have to breath deep to stop a panic attack. I try to take comfort in the fact that if its moving it will also come out-and my stomach will be flat and concave again. I try to focus on that, and tell myself it will be ok-I will stick to boost for a few days- this is still too hard yet. I take comfort in the fact that I will still be loosing weight, or at least not gaining it. I try to promise myself this. I know it will be impossible to sleep like this. I have to think about something else. I think I will listen to Micha (a nurse) and keep this journal with me- so I can write how I feel as I eat, and begin to get to the roots of this disease named anorexia. So here we go journal- you and me to recovery.

I found out the other day that when I came in I was so starved I was at risk of refeeding syndrom. Thats when your body has so little glusose or none, that a rush, or large amount of calories would cause insilin shock. So a nasal-gastric tube would have killed me-and I still have to be semi-careful. The risk has mostly run through though-it decreases majoryl after 5 days of slow “re-feeding”. Yet another reason why I went to the hospital. If someone inexperianced had dealt with me, they could have killed me.

I also met with the eating disorder clinic and know I will learn alot from them about both what I did to my body, and how it will recover. I think it will be fascinating.

When I first came in I found their goals so hard to meet-even with the threat of an n/g tube. I was so bad with it that they almost discharged me becuase they were unable to treat me. Dr. Roa stepped in on my behlaf and pointed out that I was in a critical place and medically unstable, and I could die. I’m so glad she did, and I turned around and am able to co-operate. I know the next few days will be hard. I don’t want to eat, I just want boost, but they will want some solid food in me too.

Right now I want to give up and go back to before, and starve. I feel so frusterated and mad at myself. I tried to move to fast and now Im discouraged and angry, and feel guilty and ashamed that I’ve eaten. I feel like a disgusting pig. It makes me want to be sick. I feel nauscious again.

Allison was given a homework assignment in which she had to record what she ate, how much, how many calories, and how much fat. It made me nervous, scared and angry. I don’t want young girls to be exposed to calorie counting-at 12, 13. They should not be worrying about that-its just a breeding ground for seeds leading to an eating disorder. I would not wish this on anyone. Someone needs to educate the schools, and school board about this problem-how they contribute to it, and how they can help prevent it. It makes me angry.

Anorexia is costing me my volunteering, work, this school year, job oppertunities, my physical health, my ability to move arounf and exercise, my emotional health, relationships, my freedom, my sense of independence, my ability to drive. Thats all gone, after just one week in the hospital. Who knows what else it will cost me. Its rediculous.


My Life in the Psych Ward

On my fourth day in the Hospital I was transfered to the psychiatric ward of the hospital, where I would would be dealt with by a team of experts including a nutricionist, 2 psychologits, 2 pychiatrists, nurses, my doctor, and occasionaly the staff from the eating disorders clinic.

It was not until I entered the psych ward that I found out how lucky I was to be alive. At the blood sugard levels I was functioning on, I was lucky not to have slipped into a coma and suffered permanent brain damage, or death. On the amount and types of laxatives I was taking, I was lucky not to have bled to death internally, destroyed my organs, or put myself into shock. Not to mention the dyhdration. Its very likley that if I had been left another few hours, I would have died.

It was also mentioned that a feeding tube may need to be used. My body was eating itself, and they were not sure I could last much longer (they still arn’t sure how much longer I can last on my current intake). What was not explained right away was that I was too high a risk for refeeding syndrom to do it right away, and that nutrition needed to be introduced slowley, or my body would go into shock.

By this point in time I was absolutly terrified that I would die…and even more terrified that I was going to get fat.

Hello Hospital, Hello Home

That night I passed out when I got up to walk into the kitchen, and was unable to stand up, or situp, or really even talk. My mom tried to get me to take in a tiny bit of boost, but I was unable to. My rituals, and fear of calories prevented me from getting in even a tablespoon. It became quite obvious that I needed to see a doctor, and soon.

The next morning I went to the hospitals walk in clinic, had a checkup, and a doctor filled out a referal form for me. He took one look at me and told me and my mom I was burning protien, my body was canabalizing itself. He also told me I was dehydrated. After the intake he told me mom to take me over to the hospital for IV fluids and nutrients.

Sitting in the waiting room I began to loose more and more strength. I couldn’t walk on my own, and my mom had to carry me in once my name was finnaly called. They did a bunch of bloodwork. They hocked me up to an IV and gave me two bags of saline. Once my bloodwork came back a nurse rushed in and pushed the largest suringe me or my mom had ever seen into my IV line. She told us as she did it that it was pure glucose. She said something about my blood sugar being 2.1 and left in a hurry to get more blankets as this was really going to hurt. She was right. My arm burned, and I could feel all my veins burning as the glucose made its way through them. My body swelled and I was shaking. She upped the drip, told me to stay still…and that I would be discharged shortly. Someonementioned that if I could not get anything down to come back the next morning.

About 12:00 the next day I was back in the hospital waiting room, once again passing out. This time it was a little more serious. The first Nurse came in with warm blankets and another IV. Then there was the mchine hooked up to measure my vitals, then the first ECG. The first round of bloodwork was processed fast, and the attentending doctor called my physician at home for a medical background and asked her to admit me ASAP to any ward that would take me. Shortly afterwards another round of ECGs, bloodwork, monitoring, nurses and blankets cirilated through. Then I was being wheeled to the second floor into critical overflow. I couldnt walk to the washroom on my own to the nurses and my mom took turns carrying me. Soon the doctors autherised a change in IV bags to one that included glucose and nutrients instead of injections. That burned worse. I remember screeming and crying….and the nurse who was smart enough to bring hot towels to heat my blood and the glucose so my body would accept it more readily. I will always be thankful to her for that.

About 2 hours later it was time for the next round of bloodwork, ECGs, and tests. It was at this point I began to realize this was probably going to be more than an overnight observation and began to worry.

At this point in time it had been 8 days since I had eaten anything. My family was becoming worried that we had not gotten any answers back from anymore yet, and nothing was been done. What we did not know at the time was that the hospital has no idea what to do with me, and needed to contact specialists in order to find out how to proceed. So we waited.

A day or so later I met with a psychologist and a psychiatrist. It was then that I hear the first news about my medical state. My heart was beginning to slow and give out, and my other organs were damaged. They were still trying to figure out if I should be treated as a medical case, or a psychiatric case. They said I could come to the psych ward when I was stable, or I could continue to be treated on a medical basis. What I didn’t know is Dr. Roa had already made that choice for me. She had also decided that if I did not eat soon, I would be tubed.

Enter Mom

Calling your mom and asking for help is probably one of the worst feeling for someone as independent as me, who really does not want to admit the need any help, from anyone. I felt abit like a failure. Ontop of that I was terrified about what she would think of me. What happens if even my own mother hates me?

It turns out my mom had a pretty good idea that I had a problem, and unbeknownst to me had contacted an eating disorders clinic. On a trip to Deluth she had noticed that I became extremely aggitated, and would not continue to shop until I got laxatives. I told her I was painfully constipated, she was trying to deny my addiction.(Sadly it was her that introduced me to them one day when I was constipated…likley from not eating anything).  She also noticed that I didn’t eat very much..not really anything at all. She also noticed…like many others that I had lost well over 65lbs.

I should have know that if friends and coworkers had figured it out, she would have too. Sadly I didn’t.

So I called her up and told her that we should go have “coffee”. That was about all that was needed….I don’t normaly do coffee, so it was immediatly seen as an in to talk.

After we finnished with the necissary small talk I admitted that the reason I hadn’t been over recently was that I was going through laxative withdrawl, and I didn’t want to eat. I admitted I hadn’t eaten anything for at least 5 days, and that I was unable to do this on my own any longer. My mom sat and listned, and it didn’t seem to be the normal type responces I would ussualy expect to get from her. Shortly after I finnished talking she told me that she had already contacted the eating disorders program, and asked me to come home with her and look over the information and program outline.

Seeing as I didn’t have a car at the moment, I was obliged to.

Looking over the program information, it became obvious to me that I did indeed have a problem…and a rather large one. I agreed to see a doctor and look into an interview…just to see what the program was like, and if I thought it was something that would help me.

Exit Laxatives

 When I returned home, from a trip to Duluth, I began to “binge” on healthy food once every few nights, and once in awhile a few consecutive nights in a row. I could not stand the thought of having food in my system for even a few days…and still can’t. The dizzyness, pain, cramping, and heat pounding that came with the laxatives became both a friend and an enemy. A friend as I knew it meant the food would be leaving my system soon, and an enemy as I was afraid each night I went to bed after taking them I would not wake up in the morning. I was scared, I thought I could see blood and half digested food…but I was even more terrified of calories, and of having food in my system. Sadly I am still more scared of the calories and extra weight, and appearane of food in my stomach than of dying.

Eventually, after a few failed attempts, I managed to give up laxatives….for the time being.

The withdrawl was absolute hell. I was bloated, nasias, shaking, fever, headache, constipation, tired, and frusterated. It was an unimaginable hell for me to look in the mirror and see a bloated body…all I could see was fat, and all I could think was that I hated myself.

In order to avoid eating and “agitating the problem”, I began to take huger suppresseants 3-4 times a day…and lots of them. I only needed them for the first few days while my body still craved food. After a few days I no longer needed them…I was simple numb. I would still exercise, but it became less intense. My world became sort of like a waking dream. Everything was foggy and seemed to be moving so much faster than me.

I began to get dizzy whenever I stood up. I couldn’t think clearly, and it was impossible to make decisions. Driving became dangerous for me, I nearly got into numerous accidents including driving though a red light, running stop signs, and forgetting to look before merging or changing lanes. I was, by all means, a danger to myself.

Studying became impossible. I could no longer hang out with friends as I feared they would say something to me, or go somewhere I would be forced to eat. I stopped spending as much time with my family, as I did not want to be forced to eat, and I was scared they would notice my withdrawl from laxatives.

Realizing that I was at an all time low, I did the only thing that I could think of at the moment…I called Mom.

Onset of Disaster

To be completly honest with myself and everyone around me, I have no recollection of a “defining moment” of when I became an anorexic. It seems that Anorexia is one of those things that sneaks up on you quietly, always wrapping itself in some clever disguise or well planned excuse.

I know I have always had problems with my weight, and that I have done quite a yo-yo over the years…ussually eventually leading back to a low. The first instance of it I can remember is when I was about 15. I suppose it is safe to say that it all began early in my life, and I have never really had a remission; I just jumped from one problem to another. I suppose all those “contributing factors” and “significant events” will come up later. In the meantime, I might as well start at the beginning of my lastest downward spiral.

It began much like every other anorexics journey. I defenitly did not jump out of bed one day and declair to the world that I wanted to be an anorexic. No, it started much subtler than that. It began as a lifestyle change, and what a change it would end up being. In the beginning I simply cut out junk food, largely increased the amount of fruit and veggies I ate. Shortly after this, I reduced  meat, simple carbohydrate and dairy intake…a pretty typical, and might I add, healthy change. Of course I also increased the amount I exercised. Favoring cardio. Its all about burning the cals.

As time went on I reduced portion sizes, ate only white meat, and increased the exercise regements. It was shortly after this that the big trouble began. I started reading nutition lables on everything, and if it had more than a magic number of calories (150 to begin with), it was banned from my diet. Shortly after this I began to cut out all calories from any fluid I drank, cut out breakfast and snacks, and eventually lunch too. By this time I was eating nothing by fruit and vegitables. I was also exercising upwards of two or more hours a day. To put into perspective, I used to eat a roast chicken club sandwhich everyday for lunch. The first change was to put the sandwhich onto honeywheat bread. I then reduced the amount of meat on it. Next I reduced the amount of cheese. I then switched to a lettace and tomato sandwhich. Then it was half a sandwhich, then a third. Next it was fruit, granola, and abit of cerial. Then only fruit and granola, reducing the amount. Then just fruit, and then only 4 carrot sticks, and then…nothing.

Eventually I began to live on diet pills, water, and the occasional bit of food. Occasional being once every four days. By this time I was also heavily addicted to laxatives. I was taking a pretty extreme cocktail twice a day. I would take laxatives even on an empty stomach, and the pain of it was enough to keep me screaming and crying for at least half an hour. Then I would do it all over again 12 hours later.

And that, dear friends is a very breif overview of a year and a half of my life before I was half carried, half wheeled into the local ER room.