Thursday, March 19, 2009

Doing Well

N had a great day today. He's busy doing his homework and practicing his guitar -- all in anticipation of getting to play some video games. It's the end of the school term. His grades look like they'll all be As. We've really come a long way!

I don't think I'll have to worry about class order (because of perpetual lateness) or unmanageable stress for next year. He has done well, for the most part, with the stressful moments of school this year and he's not really been late at all. Class change was a small challenge, but he has settled in now.

I will have to meet with his teacher in preparation for his health class next year. He will likely need to be excused for the curriculum portion on eating disorders -- not because he can't handle the discussion -- but because it may put him in the precarious position of feeling like he needs to correct the teacher (who may not have current information about anorexia). We also don't want to "out" him by revealing that he is an expert about eating disorders. It's not that we are embarrassed about his being sick -- though it has been an unexpected trial -- but too many people still don't understand the medical origins of anorexia and judge him and our family unfairly. We've been more open about the disease generally, but I don't think a Junior High Health class is the place for full disclosure.

I hope I can educate his teacher about anorexia. I also hope his teacher will be willing to proceed cautiously, especially when addressing any topics about weight and diet. I really wish our kids would be taught more about eating well and being active, instead of the need to be a certain weight.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


After raising N's calorie intake for several days, he's doing great. He was just a little over-concerned about what he wore this morning. Other than that, I haven't really noticed any break-through symptoms.

Everyday-adequate-calorie-intake seems to be just as important as his weight. His symptoms rapidly disappear once he is getting what he really needs.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Military and Missions

In this post (, I described some of my concerns for N's future. I've done a little research since then. Apparently, the military would reject N because of his eating disorder. Eating disorders are included in the "unwaiverable medical conditions," but they are only documented if they occur after the applicant is 12 years old. I wondered about civilian positions, but wasn't able to find any additional information. This makes total sense to me. In tough conditions, especially those with high calorie expense and low calorie intake, someone potentially relapsing into anorexia could compromise a mission.

As far as him serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, they do ask about eating disorders on the application. His Bishop (like a Pastor) would attach a letter explaining the terms and severity of the anorexia. Then depending upon his current health, he would be assigned. I hope that he would be asked to serve in a country with good food. :o) I really think he could contribute positively on a mission as long as he didn't have to walk everywhere and struggle to find good food.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

He's Growing Like A Weed!

I've noticed another resurgence of anorexia symptoms in N recently. This time it's been a little worst than in the past. And that usually means one (or both) of two things: 1) He isn't getting enough calories or 2) He's lost weight. So I weighed him - 119 lbs, which is down about 1/2 pound. Then I measured him. I was so startled by the results that I measured him again. A conservative measurement shows that he has grown a full inch in the past month. With that much growth, a stagnant weight is just like loosing weight. That explains the up and down struggles that he has been having over the past month or two.

So, we've gone back to a similar routine like when he was really sick. I dish up his plates. He eats it all. I track his calories. It's just been two or three days since I measured him and I can already see a decrease of those pesky symptoms. I just have to be so attentive right now -- especially since he is growing so rapidly.

And just to clarify, these reoccurring anorexic symptoms are so minuscule compared to how sick he was a year ago (at most a "1" on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being his worst symptoms ever). I might notice that he is acting a little more self-conscious or emotional. He starts to be a little picky about what he eats. He also might struggle to get going in the morning. Mostly these resurgences don't interfere with his (or our) normal lives. I'm just so highly attuned to these warning signs that I try to address the problem right away.

I continue to be amazed about how consistently important it is for him to keep his weight up. A drop in weight always correlates with an increase in symptoms. At a reasonable weight, he is just like a "normal" 12 year old.

Now he is officially taller than his mom.