Dr. Suess

"And will you succeed? Yes indeed! Yes indeed! Ninety Eight and Three Quarters guarenteed!"

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Eating Disorder Awareness Week

I had to wear a dress for a concert.

Everyone had the same dress.

Mine didn't fit me quite right.

The concert was a month away. Maybe ...just maybe ...if I cut down on what I was eating ... I could make it fit right?

I didn't know that my mom had already gotten discouraged with how quickly I was growing that summer, and bought it a size too big.

Mom left for work before I did. My sister, D, was up and out of the house before me. She always had some sporting practice that started before school. So ... it was easy ... I'd get up in the morning and I'd make my lunch and not eat breakfast.

I thought at first, it was going to be hard ... it wasn't.

I didn't even miss it.
After the first week, I found that I wasn't even slightly hungry mid way through the day.
So I wondered ...how much of my lunch could I cut out?

The next week, I purposefully only ate half my lunch.

I still remember loosing focus that week at lunch.

All I could think of was what I was putting in my mouth ..and what I wasn't putting in my mouth.

By that Friday, I was counting the bites I took.
My friends conversations were swirling around me, but I couldn't really hear them, I could only hear my food being chewed ...and wish that I wasn't eating it.

The next week, I started to pack only half a lunch to take.

I thought maybe that would make it less stressful and maybe I could enjoy my lunch ... I wouldn't be counting the bites.

I'd just sit there and eat knowing I only had half a lunch to eat.

I got to school and at lunch that Monday, I sat down, laughing with my friends.
I pulled out my half of a sandwhich. I stared at it.
I suddenly felt my head spin ... my ears couldn't hear ...and I took the first bite ...and then the second.

I counted the bites as I finished my lunch.

Half a sandwich, half an apple and 1 cookie.

By Friday, I decided the stress of eating lunch was too great ...I'd rather sit there with my friends and visit than eat lunch in a panic zone.
So, the next week ...no breakfast and no lunch.

The only meal I had to worry about was dinner. My mom and sister were around for that. Knowing I had not eaten all day, and just my mom and sister were around made eating dinner a little less stressful than what I'd experienced.

The day of the concert came ..and I went to put on the dress ... something terrible happened.

The dress still didn't fit.

It was way too big, but I didn't see it that way.
All I could tell is that it didn't fit ... and in my mind, that meant I'd gained weight ..how could I have done that?
I must have made an absolute pig of myself!!!
I determined to buckle down, I would find ways to cut down on what I was eating during dinner time.
Mom was always on a diet.
She wouldn't mind me making healthy changes to my dinner.
But she'd have to not guess that I'd been skipping my breakfast and lunch.

So, every morning, I'd make breakfast and pour it down the garbage disposal, making sure that egg shells or a pc of cereal stayed in the sink for tale tell signs. I'd make my lunch and feed it to the dogs.
That way the food supply appropriately dissapated.

My weight went down, and people noticed.
I got complemented ..and every complement was an insult ...Peggikaye! you're loosing weight!
You look good!
Was translated in my brain as "Peggikaye, it's about time you stopped looking like a beached whale!"

I didn't know that I'd stared on a road I couldn't stop.
I didn't know I didn't just start a plan to get into a dress, that was already too big ... a short term fix ... it would become a lifelong battle.

A battle with a mirror that would lie to me,

and a body that would be destroyed by the betrayal of it's owner.

The eating disorder started within months of the death of Daddy ...

and is still something that I struggle with today.

I didnt' seek help till I was 36.

By then, I had scars in my esophogus, polyps in my throat, teeth that are shot ... and who knows what else.

I wrote that a couple of years ago. May 1, 2006.

At that point in time, I was in an OK place, thoughts were coming hard and fast with "if you just skip a little ... it'll be better, less stressful ..."

*I* thought ... that I was doing ok ...and in June of 2006, I went to church camp as a counselor for the youth group. I went with who was, at the time, a new friend.

She and I have become quite close ...and I've shared things with her I never thought I'd share ... but back then, we were just starting to get to know each other.

I can remember sitting in the cafeteria and staring at the food, and then 'tackling' eating it.

I thought, I'd done a good job ..but that I'd eaten a ton .... only, as my friend Allyson and I got to know each other, she shared with me her concerns for that week. She wondered how I could be eating so little ... how could that be healthy?

Then ...we started to build our house in September ... and my struggle to keep from relapsing, which, was obviously not going as well as I thought ... came crashing down.

As I struggled with the attention suddenly thrust on me ... for house, family and published book .. I became frightened and withdrew into the only coping mechanism I knew.

A year later, my lab work was a mess ... malnutrition and definitely NOT loosing weight ...

when you have polycystic ovarian disease with insulin resistance the only way you're going to loose weight is to do it properly ...otherwise the body hangs on to each and every calorie it can.

So .. in November I had to face, I was literally killing myself ... slowly, but surely.

It had not dawned on me that *I* Peggikaye, could die from this disease. Not after so many years ... and yet, I was faced with lab work that was just short of dangerous ....

My kidneys were not going to make it much longer if I didn't do something.

It still took me a bit to start to eat again ... and then, got stuck on prednisone ...that'll do it.

Prednisone ...that dreaded drug ...that caused me to gain my weight to begin with ... and here I was ..on it for the forseeable future ... and I ate ..knowing that this, is my chance in therapy to get eating right and dealing with things so that when I went off, I didn't go back to restricting.

I went to the doctor today ...braced myself for the 15 to 20 pound weight gain that was all but certain ....

and the scale stopped .. just 2 pounds higher than where I'd been in November.

Um ... holiday ... prednisone ... and ... 2 pounds.

It struck me ... maybe, just maybe the eating right ... is keeping a balance .... and ... when I get off the drug, if I can keep it up ... it will come off ... as effortlessly as not gaining has happened on prednisone.


  1. Hi DA,
    Thanks for sharing this story. I so hope you are on your way to finding the balance you deserve.


  2. Glad you're back - thanks for sharing something that is obviously still an issue. And as much as you hate the effects of prednisone, don't forget the benefits that it gives you when needed...

    Keep up the great work!