Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Maintaining Weight

The good news is that N's weight is on its way up.  He is holding to his promise that he made to maintain at 185.  He did have a dip - which was evidenced by the increase in his OCD thinking and fixating on health/calories/fitness that I discussed last time.  As I could see his mental health decline, I was pretty sure he had lost more weight.  Typically, I'm not in favor of him weighing himself, but right now it is the only way to keep him honest.  I told him that I thought he had lost and asked him to weigh himself.  He did and he was down four pounds (and surprised!).  He has been actively trying to regain back up to the 185, he mentioned that it was a lot harder to get back up than he had thought.  It's good for him to recognize this because it helps him to feel like he doesn't have to be so careful.

I still have some concerns, but am heartened to see that he is still mentally stable enough to put weight back on without us by his side.  I am reassured that the spiral stopped and is no longer downward.  As long as he isn't in that spiral, I think he'll be okay until he comes home in July.  He isn't 100% either, but once the trend switched to weight gain, it felt like his mental state correspondingly improved.

He's been gone for 15 months now.  He has 9 months to go.  He didn't get transferred, but still has access to a car and it sounds like he is getting fed more often.  This morning, I mailed a lovely Halloween package, full of good, nourishing foods.  My prayers are full of requests for God's help that he might be able to stay healthy and finish his mission. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

41 Pounds or More!

Arrgh!  In last week's communication with my son, he made this statement, "My metabolism got nuked. Like, on Tuesday and Wednesday I ate an estimate of about 6000 calories each day, the following day it must have been about 4000, the next day about 3500 and the next day 3500 again.”

In that single statement, I saw evidence of counting calories and tracking them over time.  I also saw him inflating the numbers wildly like he used to do.  

So this week, I got in his face (as much as I could over email) and asked what was going on.  This was his response:  "I'll be frank with you. There have been some recent paradigm shifts in my mental processes that have been frightening and a little reminiscent of my former days. There have been a lot of things that I thought then that I am thinking again that I had forgotten I thought. So you could say it has felt a little digressive. 

That being said, while also anxious to not regress into a complete psychological vegetable and completely incapable servant of the Lord, I am not eager to return to my physical state from immediately before my mission and in H*. Both of those times were painful and frustrating, both physically and mentally. I feel like I am in a reasonably good middle area."  

What an incredibly hard spot to be in!  What do we do about this?  The good news is that transfers are happening next week.  In his mission, there are areas where the missionaries are very well-fed.  He hasn't been in one of those areas during the past 9 months.  Any of those areas would be perfect for him at this point.  So that's what we're praying for.  

He has 10 months left.  It would be best if he could finish out those last 10 months.  I don't think he is at the point where we need to bring him home.  There are several other interventions that we can do before hitting that point anyway.  But I am so worried! 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

35 Pounds!

35 pounds is how much N has lost since January!  You can imagine that my panic mom-mode is way up.  If  there was one thing that I drilled into him before he left it was that he CAN'T LOSE WEIGHT!  I knew that this was an age group with a high relapse rate.  I also knew that serving a mission would remove him from his regular patterns of eating and exercising.  I knew he had to be so careful.  So did he. 

He left on his mission a year ago, probably with 30 or 40 extra pounds on him.  But, of course, we didn't know if he could lose ANY weight at all without triggering the mental symptoms of anorexia.  We had a very terse conversation via email on Monday.  I *think* that there is not a resurgence of restricting, ocd, or anxiety symptoms, but it is so hard to be sure without living and interacting with him.  My sense is the combination of being on a bike all day long, relying on church members for meals, and all the exercise programs that have been thrown into his routine have resulted in a slow (and not necessarily deliberate) loss of weight. 

He promised me that he would make sure that he doesn't lose any more weight.  And I told him that I would hold him to that promise.  I shipped a huge box of groceries to his apartment last week.  He was also recently shifted to a new area and given a car - so he isn't on a bike as much as he was.  Will it be enough?  I'm not sure, now that he has probably erased his weight buffer. 

As I mentioned previously, this is an area where the missionaries typically gain weight.  He didn't lose any weight during the initial 6 months of his mission, but he was primarily using a car.  So, I really hope shifting him to a car will help stop the weight loss.

I'm having to trust him right now - that there isn't any mental involvement.  But can I trust him?  I know that his own perception of reality was so altered when he was previously sick.  I don't know.  I'm going to give him a month or two.  If he is able to keep his word and stop losing weight, I'll feel much better.  But if the weight loss continues, I'll be contacting his Mission President. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Biking and Cross Fit and Basketball?

In my last post, I mentioned my worries of N moving to an area where he bikes all day and the impact that would have on his calorie needs.  He has since told us that he his Zone Leaders (two missionaries just like himself) have added a daily unifying activity where the zone gets together and does cross fit.  Add that to their already weekly activity of playing basketball and my mom-worry-monitor is starting to beep.

I can see from his pictures that he has lost some weight.  I keep checking in, asking about his feelings of wanting to restrict.  He assures me that he is fine and is compensating calorically.  I know that his Mission President is aware of his medical needs, but of course these other missionary leaders are not - and we prefer it that way (too much chance for misunderstanding).  If things get bad enough, though, he can mention to these young missionary leaders that he can't lose weight due to a medical condition. That might raise some eyebrows, but would be an adequate reason for him to not participate.

The good news is that change is inevitable on a mission.  Transfers are coming the last week of February and the biggest exerciser of the bunch will be heading home.  I just mailed N a bulk box of Carnation Instant Breakfast.  I know he'll use that when he is in a hurry and might not otherwise eat.  It's a good high calorie and protein addition to his diet.  (When he was really sick, I used to add cream to it instead of milk)

Hopefully there won't be too much damage done by the end of this month.  I know there is a fine line where symptoms might start to ramp up and it becomes much more difficult for N to manage living independently.  Traditionally missionaries gain weight in this area.  So hopefully some weight recovery is in store.  Until then, I might be worrying a bit.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

On the Border of Texas

N is just about to the six-month mark of  his mission experience (out of two years).  He has been in south Texas, living just six miles from the border of Mexico, since September.  We've missed him like crazy.  He is learning a lot about living with all types of people.  He is also learning to be independent and take care of  himself.  It has been really hard at times, but he has been able to figure it out. 

He speaks Spanish fluently now.  I can't believe it!  He took three years of German in high school and didn't know any Spanish when he left.  When he skyped at Christmas, N and his dad spent the first 10 minutes or so speaking only in Spanish.

We get an email from him once a week.  I scrutinize every picture that he sends home for weight-loss.  He was just moved to an area where they bike everywhere they go.  He'll need to make up for that additional calorie loss.  I'm so glad to know that he has some extra weight on him.  It just means that he will have a chance to make adjustments before any issues with relapse appear.  We check in with him often to see if he has had any feelings of restriction.  He has.  But he said that he knows that the way to deal with that is to make sure that he has full nutrition.  He even let his exercise/food-obsessed companion know that they could NOT skip lunch. 

He is teaching a lot of people.  He is serving the communities there in Texas and making a difference.   What an amazing experience!