Tag Archives: recovery

Hello From Both Of Us

245491-fetus-ultrasoundAfter a little hiatus, I have decided to write again. I am pregnant again and have made it to the second trimester, so we are sharing our news with everyone. After the miscarriage, this pregnancy seemed tenuous and frought with anxiety. There was nothing anyone could say to put my mind at ease that this baby would stay with me on earth.

In November we discovered some medical complications that resulted in a surgery. The last 2 months have been a whirl of hospital visits: surgeons, radiologists, obstetricians, enodcirnologists, nurses, doctors and of course myriad tests: ultrasounds, x-rays, MRIs, blood tests, weight, blood pressure, heart rate…

The list goes on, but nothing measured the anguish and suffering in the mother’s heart.

Today I am recovering from surgery which went well. Baby is thriving from what we can see on ultrasounds. Through all of this, I have continued in the ED recovery program where I see a case manager, medical doctor, nutritionist, psychologist and occupational therapist. As much as I want this child more than anything in this life, I cannot describe the distress of gaining weight as someone with an eating disorder.

Since we confirmed the pregnancy, I have not once binged, purged, restricted or over exercised. The desire is there constantly, but I felt that I could not do that to my unborn child and live with the consequences. It is strange that not taking care of myself has never concerned me, but I cannot hurt my unborn child by continuing with my ED.

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Catching Up With Life

It has been 2 months since the miscarriage…actually more, but I try not to count the days since my baby left.

I finally went back to the ED recovery program and saw my case manager today. She had started to call to see why I had disappeared. I filled her in on the miscarriage and she suddenly understood why I had taken a hiatus from my life. She acknowledged the severity of my loss and the depth of my grief. She actually had some powerful thoughts to share with me. It made me glad that I had gone back because I really do like her.

I was ready to shut my case file and to tell her that I am wasting her time. I wanted to tell her that right now I cannot focus on ED recovery because I cannot function. She came to that conclusion without me having to say so. She was in happy disbelief that I am not actively bingeing or purging or restricting. She told me that without a doubt, the loss of the child I wanted has refocused my mind onto what is really important for me. Blaming myself aside, she said that being able to give up ED behaviours the instant I knew I was pregnant, told her that I was ready to leave this part of me behind for a greater cause. As far as she is concerned any step forward is progress.

As I sat there and wept, she told me that she felt God had sent this baby to save me from my ED. She said that the spirit of this baby was here to make me well. She said that baby would say to me, “mum, I need you to be healed for me”. The more I thought about it, the more profound it seemed.

At the end of our session she gently reminded me to make new appointments with the team at the clinic and to continue to see the doctor, dietician and psychologist regularly even if I felt like my ED was in limbo. More importantly, she offered to help support me through this and to leave the ED out of it if all I want to talk about is my baby. She told me to allow myself the right to grieve: to be alright with being sad or tired or depressed, to be fine with not wanting to go to the gym and go shoe shopping instead, to make peace with the fact that this is a process I have to go through instead of fighting against it.

I went there today to thank her for her time and to walk away and instead she gave me an incredible gift.

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Anything but gym

Lately I have developed a loathing for going to gym which I have never really had before. I am so disinterested in it. In fact since the miscarriage, I have lost interest in a lot of things I used to care about.

This week I avoided going to the gym by using every excuse I could think of:

  • I’m tired
  • I’m depressed
  • I think I’m getting sick
  • I should put in more time at work
  • I feel sad

On several occasions I got into my car to go to work. Once I even ended up at my gym. I parked my car and walked into the mall instead of the gym. I bought two pairs of shoes. I bought lunch and a coffee. I walked past the gym, got back in my car and went back to work where I ate my feelings.

I just don’t care anymore. My size and weight are distressing to me, but not enough to do anything about it. I lay in bed the other night not wanting to do anything. I don’t want to go to work or see friends or make plans. I just want nothingness; the absence of everything except perhaps a book and a bottle of wine.

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Apathy, Indifference, Whatever…

I have not really had much to say about ED in the last 2 months. Here is why:

I had a miscarriage.

I haven’t been able to talk about it.

When it happened, I lost my appetite and didn’t eat for a week. I cried and sobbed and drank myself to sleep every night for a month. I binged a few times. I ate “normally” and I just existed for the last little while. I had experienced weight gain after the miscarriage, but not during the pregnancy – I wasn’t far enough along. I hated myself for what happened and of course, I blamed myself for what happened.

My boyfriend was supportive and loving and caring. He put up with the snot and sobbing and staring into outer space like a zombie. He comforted me every night while I fell apart. He held me when I woke up screaming from nightmares about dead babies. He flew my mother here to help me cope (yes, her being here had nothing to with my birthday so I feel even shittier about being ungrateful). He ran me bubble baths and tried to shield me from adverts for diapers or someone giving birth in a movie.

For two months I have been depressed. It is a kind of depressed that I have never known before.

In the beginning it was hard enough to function while dealing with the physical repercussions of the miscarriage. I lost so much blood and was in so much pain. I was physically weak and exhausted. It was all-consuming. I couldn’t think about anything else except the baby we might have had. Miscarriage is common. I read all about it. I read everything I could. It still didn’t prepare me for what I went through or how devastated I am.

Now, a couple of months later, the physical symptoms are gone and I am left with a hollow in my heart. I would have been 16 weeks along today.

ED has barely featured since and I am not sure why. I still think about it. I stare at my much heavier reflection at ballet and am repulsed. I have to squeeze into my size 6 pants and it upsets me, but I don’t do anything. I eat in terms I can only describe as “normal”, keeping in mind that I don’t know what normal is. I am not actively starving, bingeing or purging. I am drinking a lot. I seem to have become apathetic and indifferent to food. I am unconcerned with anything except trying to get through my day with my sanity intact. Work has been overly stressful and dramatic. My boyfriend and I have had some more relationship turmoil (as usual revolving around the mother of his youngest child). We continue to not move forward. At the end of the day, I cannot cope with any of it. I cannot deal with anything.

I have been trying to get back into a gym routine over the last few weeks. I have little incentive or motivation to exercise other than I know endorphins are good for depression. I just don’t really seem to care and I cannot make myself care. I have thought about going to see a counsellor. On that note, I dropped out of my ED treatment that I was in. There didn’t seem much point in going.

So I have nothing to update on the ED front. I ate cucumbers and hummus at work today. Last week when my anxiety over our relationship was much higher, I ate nothing. Tonight I ate 2 bowls of pasta and didn’t purge. On the weekend when we went on a happy family vacation, I ate 3 meals a day. There seems to be no rhyme or reason.

When my coworker announced her pregnancy this week and her due date 10 days after mine would have been, I hid in my office. I feel a numbness. Other than being depressed, I haven’t felt much else except the inability to cope. My anxiety has been escalating lately over work and relationship stuff and that usually sends my ED into a frenzy, but I have barely reacted if the truth be told. All I want to do is sleep. I don’t mean kill myself because I have no suicidal tendencies at all. I just want to sleep for a very long time.

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The “V” Gene

“Hello giant,” a coworker greets me at ballet. I am wearing some sky scraper heels and trying unsuccessfully to hide the 10lbs I have gained since June.

“Please don’t remind me that I have giant genetics,” I implore him.

“Oh you have the “V” gene,” he says giving me a salacious look. “V for voluptuous”

My jaw drops in horror.

“Don’t say that to her,” another co-worker interrupts. “She thinks voluptuous means ‘fat’.”

Well we all know that’s what it means.

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Wedding Weekend

We went away for the weekend to a wedding for my boyfriend’s cousin. We had the children with us and all his family had traveled there. After a lot of drama involving the mother of his daughter (she thought that she should attend the wedding and I didn’t), we managed to go too.

Road trips are hard for people with eating disorders. There is no routine, there are few ‘safe’ foods and lots of triggers. I was already high on anxiety from the drama by the time we left. I anticipated someone in my boyfriend’s family would make a comment about the little girl’s mother or make one of their stupid pregnancy jokes in our direction. Before we even left, I was on guard and expecting it.

Nothing happened. Nobody said anything dumb. We had a great weekend. We stayed with friends and drank wine and took the kids swimming.

At the wedding I had my heart set on a slow dance with my boyfriend. It was all I wanted. The night went on and on with no chance of it happening as we chased the children around and spent time with his family. His daughter takes up all his time and attention. It is just the way it is. When she is around, his son and I barely get noticed. I had a feeling that I was setting myself up for disappointment by fixating on the one moment I really wanted: a slow dance in his arms.

I do it all the time by setting my heart on something: a romantic date, a weekend away together, him coming home with me to meet my family and of course, an engagement ring. I leave in a week. There is no chance now that I am going home with a ring on my finger.

As the night wore on, I ate more (pasta, potatoes, bread, lasagne – all good for anxiety relief) and drank more and eventually went to purge it all. When I came out of the washroom by boyfriend was standing there looking for me. He had been looking for me for some time.

“Where else would you expect to find me?” I replied in tipsy honesty.

“I should have guessed,” was his response.

Normal people would have been on the dance floor.

By the time he came to get me for the last dance of the evening, his daughter was half asleep on my lap. Her needs trump my needs. I wasn’t going to move a sleeping child so I could go dance. I went back to the hotel and cried in the bathtub instead.

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Reality – 1, Expectations – 0

We were supposed to leave tonight for the long weekend. I had us booked into a log cabin in a more remote part of the mountains, far enough away to be secluded. It is perfect weather to be snuggled up in a wood chalet with a fire and a bottle of wine. I had longed for it, imagined it, anticipated it and planned it – down to the menu for the weekend. I had even fantasized that my boyfriend would take advantage of our first romantic getaway, and our last time together before I leave for 5 weeks, to propose to me.

Instead, my boyfriend is out drinking somewhere and I am home in my pajamas: bingeing, drinking, barfing and bathing. The bitter disappointment was too hard to swallow

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Check Up

Yesterday was a check up with my doctor at the ED treatment centre and a meeting with my case manager/counsellor.

I am weighing myself every day at home: 137lbs and not losing. Even after 2 days of not eating from being sick, the scale wouldn’t budge. After restricting then bingeing and purging for a while, the scale has refused to give. I stared in horror at the numbers and the scale stared back mercilessly. I am determined to lose at least 7lbs before I go home. I have 3 weeks.

The doctor and nurse did the medical part first: weighing (backwards of course), blood pressure lying and standing (cue dizziness on standing), heart rate, urine test and a review of my blood work. The doctor asked about why I had been in emergency this week (which you can read about in my last blog post). She asked if my eating had improved, worsened or stayed the same. I told her it was worsening. Then she asked if things were stable at home and I told her that that had worsened too.

She didn’t say much. She asked me to try eat more during the day. Just like that. As if it is easy and/or possible. “Try have a snack earlier than noon. Try eat something between ballet classes. Try to remember to eat after class before you drive home. Eat before the gym. Eat after the gym.”

Eat, eat, eat.

I do eat. That is my problem.

She asked if I had cut down on my alcohol consumption. I told her I had, drastically.

“Why?” she had to ask.

“I want to lose weight before I go home next month,” no point in lying about my real motives for giving up something I love.

“Is that the only reason you’ve cut down your drinking?”

I smile at her, “yes. I like to come home and drink. It takes the edge off the stress of the day and the fight with my boyfriend and crying children and whatever else ails me.”

She makes notes. She doesn’t respond.

After the medical, I met with my case manager. She asked about if my boyfriend was going to be part of my family therapy.

“Is this someone with whom you are going to be spending a large part of your life,” she enquired.

I nodded, “until last week I thought that was the plan. Now I am not so sure.”

We get into the fight we had. I tell her about my expectations and demands. I tell her about how I perceive my boyfriend to cope by avoidance.

“It seems he has a soft heart, that he is very loving,” she comments. I cannot disagree with her. “You will have to accept that he most likely won’t change. You will have to decide what you are willing to tolerate to be in this relationship. Ask yourself ‘do I love this man despite his circumstances. Am I willing to be with him, to choose to be with him knowing that this is how things are?'”

Sometimes if you shut up and listen, you learn things. She had some interesting perspective on our relationship. She confronted me about the “solutions” I offer my boyfriend when I put my foot down and demand boundaries. She reminded me that no one likes being told what to do by someone else all the time. She talked about how I was clear and straight forward and goal orientated. Isn’t everyone with an ED? Then she said this: “it seems to me that you are similar. He copes through avoidance and you do too with your eating disorder.” I had never looked at it that way. She talked about my pattern of self sabotage and of pulling the plug on relationships even when I love them. She said in that way I managed to avoid everything by ending things.

She gave me some things to think about. I feel like some introspection and soul-searching will go a long way to helping me change and grow in this relationship. I am not a nice person. I am intolerant and impatient. I have high expectations in a relationship. I am demanding. I am resentful and unforgiving. I thought yesterday how it would be to be my boyfriend, to be treated without grace for the past mistakes I had made. it was rather soul-destroying, the realization that I can treat someone I love so poorly.

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Emergency Room Frequent Flyer Program

I went to emergency on Tuesday…shocking, right? I have lost count of how many visits I have made this year. You would think I would start to do the maths on how much my ED is affecting my health and quality of life, but I am not smart if you remember correctly.

After the stress of last week’s fight with my boyfriend, I starved and binged and purged and drank. On Sunday I didn’t eat all day until the evening when I ate half a cauliflower (read a blog post about Cauliflower here – https://thefatballerinablogs.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/3097/ ) and cheesecake (from the boyfriend and kids for Mother’s Day). On Sunday night I started having sudden, stabbing pain in my lower, right abdomen. I ignored it and blamed it on my ED thinking it would go away after a while.

By Monday the pain was worse and spreading to my back. On top of that I had nausea, diarrhea, chills and dizziness. I went to work and was non-functioning. I couldn’t eat and was in and out of the bathroom all day. By the time I had to teach ballet, I could barely stand up. After one class, I called my boyfriend to pick me up and take me home. I spent the rest of Monday in bed in excuciating pain. At this point I just figured I had a stomach bug.

On Tuesday all the symptoms had gone except for the pain. When I stood up I was doubled over. By this time my boyfriend had read the entire internet and had come with all sorts of horrible diagnoses: miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy (he always thinks I am pregnant), gall bladder…the list went on. I had my appendix out 12 years ago, so that ruled out at least one thing. He dropped me off at emergency on his way to work and I spent the next 5 hours there.

My blood pressure was very low, my heart rate was very high. I was so dehydrated. The doctor ran tests: ultrasound, urine, blood. He was not convinced it was a stomach bug and was particularly concerned about my kidneys, given my recent history of recurring kidney infections. Everything came back negative (including the pregnancy test). I had told the doctor about my eating disorder when he asked for my medical history.

“Is that under control now?” he asked.

“No,” I explained why I had attributed that pain to my ED after the nightmare week I had. He noted it down, briefly and never referenced it again.

After pumping me full of pain meds and saline, he had no answer for what was wrong with me so he sent me home. The pain eventually ebbed after 2 days and I still don’t know what caused it. I was blown away by how unconcerned he was about my ED. When I saw my doctor at the ED treatment centre yesterday, she asked about my emergency visit. I rehashed all the details and told her it was inconclusive, that the doctor couldn’t figure it out.

She grunted, “really?” as she raised one eyebrow behind her glasses as she looked at me. She spared any further comments.

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Treatment Assessment

Today I got CT scan results from my doctor after a cancer scare 2 weeks ago.

I don’t have cancer.

We thought it was worth celebrating. My boyfriend took the kids and I out for ice cream tonight. On the way there he commented on my “increased appetite” lately and stated that I never “eat this kind of crap”. I told him I was just enjoying celebrating not having cancer, knowing full well that I would be purging dinner and ice cream while he was bathing his daughter.

Tomorrow I have my first assessment for an outpatient treatment program. It is triggering in itself because I am not sick enough to go and I definitely don’t look sick. I have also been enjoying some new found weight loss since I returned to purging a few weeks ago. I won’t want to give it up which means that treatment is a waste of everyone’s time (not just mine) and a waste of resources that could help someone who actually has a chance at recovery.

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