Hummmm, well, I am really not doing a very good job of posting more frequently am I? I wish I could could come back with a fun and hilarious post for Freaky Food Friday, and although will get to one of those sometime soon, I really wanted to talk about some other freaky business. Not like that. get your minds out of the gutter ;)
Normally, I advise you guys to skip through if you want to avoid my more serious ramblings, but this time I am asking you to PLEASE READ! This is serious, this is scary, and this is important.
Although I had entered recovery for my eating disorder last spring, by the summer, I was still struggling to hang on to the desire to heal. I emailed my nutritionist, who has played an amazing role in my recovery, and asked her for some help. I asked her to scare me. At the time, languishing in my eating disorder was so much easier and I was having trouble feeling like health was the better option.
She emailed me back with some information on how eating disorders can affect one's health for the long term, which we all already know. the stats she sent me helped to improve my outlook on restoring my weight and my health. However, nothing hits home like a little personal experience and a heaping dose of reality.
Here is my email to her, which I would like to share with you:
Dear XXX, You may not remember, but last summer ,I sent you an email asking you to scare me. I needed some motivation to move forward with my recovery, but more than that I really needed a reason to improve my health. Well, in case anyone ever asks you for that same fear-driven push forward, here is something you can tell them: After struggling with my eating disorder for 13 years, my body is no longer producing any type of hormones at all. I have less estrogen in my body then my male endocrinologist. My levels of estrogen were so low, that they were unmeasurable.
My pituitary gland is dysfunctional, which means that although my levels of that hormone are normal, they are not able to send the correct messages to most other hormones in my body, including my thyroid and my reproductive systems. Because my thyroid is not producing the hormones it needs to be, my metabolism is slower, I have less energy and I am not absorbing some essential vitamins and nutrients, including, but especially calcium. This is compounded by the fact that without estrogen, I am doubly unable to absorb calcium. This means that although I eat tons of dairy, take a multivitamin and calcium supplement (with vitamin D) and eat fortified foods, it is not doing any good.
In addition to lots of blood tests and several painful procedures to determine whether or not I will ever be able to have children due to the damage inflicted on my body, I also had a bone density scan performed. It read in the negatives. Despite all my calcium intake and the amount of bone-building exercise I do, I am still on the verge of osteoporosis.
Even through my previous struggles, although my hormones and menstrual cycle were restored, I may have done permanent damage that I will not be able to recover from this time. In order to even entertain the possibility of conceiving children, I will have to consider taking Clomed (which may not work), or more expensive and very invasive hormone therapies (that also may not work). The cost of these treatments will be tens of thousands of dollars, and as my doctor explained, will also be even more emotionally expensive. The side effects are numerous and can can even be dangerous, and still may not result in pregnancy.
There is the strong possibility that my hormones will never return to normal. I may never have a family. I may never be pregnant. I have been so against any type of artificial hormones entering my body, but now I have no choice but to accept that sort of treatment. If I am unable to conceive, and my hormones do not return to normal, I will be forced to take birth control pills so that my body is able to absorb calcium through the artificial estrogen in order to slow the progression of osteoporosis. If that's not scary enough, I don't know what is.
You officially have my permission to share this with anyone you think it will help. I'm not losing hope, and I pray and try to have faith that my body will be restored as I keep working hard in recovery. But I also have to accept that the damage I have caused may cost me even more hard work and heartache.
Many of us in the blogging community have battled eating disorders and won, but for all of us, please take this as a warning and cautionary tale for your own health and the health of those you care about. Please share this information with anyone who may have had, or currently has an eating disorder. For my dear friends who are struggling still, get your own tests done, and get on the path to health. Recovery is hard. It is a lot of work and anguish. But it is worth it to have your whole, real, life ahead of you.
Of course, this sort of helps to explain my absence from the blog lately. All those test have been re-damn-diculous and very difficult to process, both physically and mentally. I was a little afraid to post this --first of because it's so personal. But secondly, I really don't want anyone to feel like I'm throwing myself a little pity party over hear. Please rest assured that I am not just hanging around feeling bad, nor do I expect anyone else to feel sorry for me. But I decided even it it helps just one person, it would be worth it to talk about. I have a couple different plans of action and I am continually making steps to move forward.
If you have ever had an eating disorder, or are fighting one now, please ACT, and get the help you need to enter recovery and heal your body. Do not take your body and your future for granted.
Wishing you all the very best health and hope. xoxo