Monday, September 13, 2010

Reaching Out

As N continues to heal, I continue to look for meaning in our journey with anorexia. One thing that I'm sure of, is that I want to help other parents know that they can and should be proactive when helping their children get better from anorexia. I want to dispel the myths associated with eating disorders. I also want to help other parents find their way to current and appropriate care that is available out there, but is often hard to find.

I've had several families contact me through this blog. Some have been a constant support for me. I think these families, like Erica (see ongoing comments) have helped me more than I've ever helped them. Other families have wanted to know where to find help. I've been so happy to hopefully save them some of the time that it took me to find the resources we used. In several cases, I'm aware that these families connected with trained therapists. Their children seem to be well on their way to getting the help that they need. Somehow that adds meaning to our struggles with anorexia. I really hope that we can alleviate more suffering than the sum total of ours.

I've also made some mistakes. More than anything, I now realize that parents need support. In one case I was quick to criticize a certain therapy approach. I never heard back from that mother. I still have concerns about the chosen therapy approach - but I now understand that she needed support as much or more than knowledge from me. I should have handled that conversation much more gently.

N having anorexia has been hard - probably the hardest experience of my life. But I have also changed and grown in ways that I wouldn't want to give up. Maybe the changes in me are the meaning that I'm looking for. Maybe there is more. It might take more than a lifetime for me to find full meaning in this trial. I'm still not completely sure how to make a difference, but I want to - and I'm trying.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Seven Days

We are only seven days into the new school year and we've already had two more hurdles.

N's new P.E. teacher offered an "optional" BMI test. I don't know what N was thinking when he agreed to do it. He said that he was "curious." N guessed at his weight (because he still doesn't know what it is) and calculated a guessed fat percentage. N protested that it hadn't bothered him, but then confessed this morning that it was causing him stress. Hopefully lesson learned.

His 9th grade Biology class did a nutrition lab yesterday. They read labels, discussed fat content, and determined which cereals and candy bars were the healthiest. N worked through the cereal page and then refused to do the rest. He came home emphatic that he (or I) needed to let his teacher know how wrong he was, that there aren't "bad" foods and that people just needed to eat a variety. I'm glad that some things have sunk in for N. I couldn't even begin to explain all of the varied nuances and approaches that can be emphasized for different medical conditions. Really these nuances are irrelevant for N right now. It's better for him to have blinders on and just focus on how HE needs to deal with food.

I sent an email off to the teacher asked for a replacement assignment and explained why this one was so difficult. I encouraged N to also talk to his teacher (but knew that I needed to be the official word). The teacher was fantastic, waived the assignment, and agreed to try and be aware of future topics that could be difficult. Besides being clueless about eating disorders and problematic approaches to health, N's teachers have all been great about adapting and adjusting curriculum for him.