A New Health Adventure

On August 10, 2015, my husband almost died.  I will never ever forget watching his respirations go all the way down to seven and then to three!  Then it would come back up.  Only soon to return to three.  I said goodbye to my husband that night.  It was not frantic.  It was quiet and sweet.  Today, six months later I cherish those moments.  But those moments ushered in a new phase in my life.

Shortly thereafter, I discovered that food no longer tasted good.  I could never figure out what to cook for dinner.  I wasn’t hungry.  So my food intake started reducing.  In October, I had jaw surgery.  So my food intake was very lhimited.  I got to where I was never hungry!  And often the only things I would eat in a day were a few bites at dinnertime.  I was always busy teaching or on the go to this appt or that appt.

In January, I started having horrible heart problems.  My heart rate was fluctuating like crazy and I frequently would miss heart beats.  Wore a heart monitor for a week which showed my heart rate was very unregular, I was having missed beats frequently and PVCs.    I had a sweet friend who went with me to the dr where she explained that I was under a ton of stress.  So it was decided that I would see a psychiatrist and treat anxiety as that could help the heart as well.  The entire time I was arguing I didn’t have anxiety.  To no avail, my anxiety was almost totally off the chart.   So thus began a season of trying to acclimate to new meds.   Our bodies are simply not designed to operate under the sheer amount of stress mine has.

The first week of February, Zine received his chemo and we were gone for a week.  Stress was indeed very high.  I don’t think I’ve ever cried that much in one week as I did that week!  And I am not a stress eater.  I am a stress no eater!!  That week I had the blessing of having a sweet friend with me and reminding me to eat and drink.  But eating and drinking was difficult.  Who knew you could chew food for as long as it took me to get one bite down!  And then by that time it sure wasn’t too pleasant to swallow.

As a matter of fact the first three weeks in February, I lost an additional 7 pounds.  All together I have  lost right at 50 pounds and dropped 4 pant sizes in just a matter of months.  My back hurts A LOT due to my muscles getting weak.  Sweet friends talked to me about my eating and even hinted that I had an eating disorder.  These statements only made me angry.  I did not have an eating disorder.  I only had a stressful life!

On Feb. 15, 2016, the doctor suggested the possibility of anorexia.  To which I bristled my feathers and said I did not.  My blood work had revealed I was dehydrated and my vitamins levels were out of whack. On Feb. 16, a friend came over to help me try to find things I would eat with protein powder in it.  This turned into a two hour eating session.  It was all done in great love!   But for me, it was a total battle.  My anxiety did rise through the roof!  I was certain I couldn’t eat more than my typical five bites.  But those who loved me began to push me to eat one more.  It was NOT a pretty sight!!  But even then I don’t think I truly believed I had an eating problem.  But I did begin to think.  On Feb. 17, thoughts continued to plague me.  So I decided to look it up online.  Here’s some of the symptoms of anorexia I found…extreme weight loss, thin appearance, abnormal blood counts, fatigue, insomnia, dizziness, menstrual problems, irregular heart rhythms, dehydration, low blood pressure.  Oh my word, these all described me.  But there was one thing that sent me on a complete melt down.  Blue fingers.  My fingers have been turning blue and purple and I didn’t know why.  But here as I read, in this list of symptoms…discoloration of the fingers!!!  A Symptom of ANOREXIA!!!!!!  At that point, I knew what my friends had said, what the doctor had said was true.  I literally could not breathe.  I ran, I yelled, I cried.  My heart was beating out of my chest.  I kept saying oh my gosh…how does this happen to a 40 something year old woman!!??  I sat in Zine’s lap and just kept saying how did this happen?  how did I let this happen?  This can’t really be true.  This can’t be happening.  How in the world do I fix this??  This complete frantic state went on for about 40 minutes.  My sweet husband loved me so well through this frantic panic attack!  On Feb. 18, my body had become so weak that my voice was raspy.  No congestion, no sickness,  just a weak voice.   On Feb. 19, I saw a therapist who  confirmed that I was on the path to anorexia.  But I was not nearly in the place many people get!  She has since explained my stress and emotional set up was perfect for an eating problem. So many things out of my control and this was one thing I controlled.  My mindset is not in the anorexic pattern yet she says…so I guess that’s good!    I still don’t understand the control thought pattern…maybe one day I will.

On Feb. 27, I found myself very sick.  I had actually been very sick for over a week but just kept functioning.  By late afternoon, my heart was going crazy!  I couldn’t think clearly.  I could hardly hold my head up!  I was sick.  I texted a friend to ask her if it was anxiety or something else.  She suggested ER, thought I was dehydrated.  In my usual manner, I said how about I drink a Gatorade instead.  Oh how I love my friend…and it’s a good thing!!  She replied if you’re not going to do what I said then why did you ask!!  Ouch!!  Stepping on my toes!!

But the ER meant Conner would have to take me….Zine could not step foot in that ER with low blood counts.  As it so happens, someone had brought dinner to my house in the middle of this.  She knew immediately I was very sick.  She gave no option.  She took me to hospital where another friend came in a bit and stayed with me until I could go home.  I did get some fluids.  And some heart monitoring!  My blood pressure was really low and my heart kept skipping beats and having lots of PVCs.  So I must follow up with my cardiologist.  However, my lack of nutrition and fluids could be causing the issues as well.

I would like to say that I have fully embraced that I am on the path to an eating disorder and am committed to fighting hard.  But in reality, I feel worn out and exasperated.  I have been embarrassed and feeling like a big failure.   God has been working in my heart in this area.   Other times, I don’t think I have a problem at all!  I don’t know what the big deal is.  Everyone else is making a big deal.  So I waver back and forth between these places.  And occasionally, I am sold out to eating and drinking better!  I think I need to get to that sold out and eating and drinking better stage all the time.  But I’m definitely not there yet.  But as I have began to settle emotionally, I am feeling more like a warrior!  In the past week, I have managed to get at least a 1000 calories in every day.  No, that is still not enough but it’s better than 300 to 600 calories which is what I have been known to get.   I am slowly working my way up.

I don’t feel well at all!  I take naps whenever I can get them.  Which isn’t nearly enough!  My heart is still giving me problems and I do have an appt to see my cardiologist on the 22nd.  I have also had horrible problems with low blood pressure.  Not only can eating issues cause this, my heart medicine has been interacting with some anxiety medicines which has caused it to go even lower.  So we have been playing with and adjusting heart medicine which has had me not feeling well either.  I also have an appointment with a nutritonist as well the first week of April!

 I have a great husband who is getting to see how much I need him in my life right now.  And I have a wonderful pastor and his wife that have been walking closely through this with me.  They’ve been sick and not able to be a part the past couple of weeks and I have missed their encouragement greatly!!  I have only shared this health issue with a few friends and few family members.  And the only reason that I have finally shared it on my blog is that I am terrified about what people are saying about me or what they will say to me.  I finally ventured out of my house last night and encountered a terribly awkward situation!  I’m certain many people know that there is a problem when they see me.  But they don’t know what to say to me.  And I definitely don’t know what to say to them.  I came home and thought I am never going back out again.  I will just stay home the rest of my life.  Of course, Heather says I don’t think that is a good idea!  And Lisa says I think the more you get out the more comfortable you will become.  But literally I am not comfortable in my own skin right now.  So….I seem to be very socially inept at the current time.  So hopefully, by addressing it and putting it out in the open, it will remove some awkwardness for me??!!

Some things I am learning or have learned…
–I have been the care taker and haven’t done a good job of caring for me.
–I don’t know how nor desire to allow other people to care for me.
–I am not superwoman despite my strong desires to be her.
–Songs minister to my heart and several I have latched on to that are carrying me through.
–God has finally got it thru my thick head that I am not a failure.  At least for the day I wrote this!!  Hopefully that truth will stick in my heart.
–Just because I am struggling with my eating habits doesn’t mean I am not allowed to love and care for others.  It does not mean I am disqualified from participating in events.
–Nothing tastes good to me.
–Dining out and eating in front of people is very uncomfortable and anxiety driving for me.
–Panera Bread has a four cheese souffle that I like and bean burritos with cheese sauce has become a staple.  My saving grace has been Clif Peanut Butter Energy bars.
–I am socially inept at the current time.  I feel SO alone and SO different.  And I see that in my youngest child as well.
–I lost my wedding rings because of this.  My rings literally fell off at some point and I have yet to find them.  And I have literally been so sad and sick over this!

Some ways that I feel others can respond to me….

–I need people to love and encourage me in this place.  No preaching is needed.  No making me feel guilty.   No your hubby and your kids need you.  Although that is truth, that doesn’t encourage or bless me.   It only fuels my “you’re a failure battle”.  It’s your choice is another phrase that is simply frustrating me beyond belief and doesn’t bless or encourage me to eat or drink.  It actually makes me angry and I rebel even further.  It definitely fuels my “you’re a failure” and “you’re not strong enough to do this” battles.   Yes indeed it is my choice but instead of just telling me it is my choice, I am much more likely to respond to tender, loving, encouragement!  That just seems to be where my entire family is…we are just needing our emotional cups filled up with tender love and encouragement.
–How I have been encouraged is statements such as “you’re stronger than you think”, “you will be successful at managing your eating because that’s who you are”. Reminders that God sees and knows and that I am loved by God! Reminders that I will conquer this and to just imagine the possibilities of what God can do with this in my life.  Reminder that I do not have to battle alone is a big encouragement.  Especially if you have a specific way that you would like to walk with me in that place.

–A sweet friend has sat with me several times and very sweetly just kept encouraging me I can do this!  That’s exactly what I needed.  I have needed loving tender encouraging words!  Words like  “I love you,  I believe in you,  You can do this, you are worth this.  I can not let my friend waste away.”  And lots of reassuring hugs. 
–That same friend has been the recipient of many pictures of food before and after.  I have needed that accountability to get me on the right path.  Periodic texts that say remember to take a drink.  Texts that have said it’s lunchtime I’m about to eat this…what are you eating.  Sweet accountability.
–Don’t expect perfection from me.  I feel joy that I have bumped my calories up the past two weeks, but I often feel like it is not enough. I should be doing better than that.  I want people to rejoice I have made improvements and encourage me in that instead of me feeling like I’m still not good enough!  I still don’t measure up!  And that is what I have felt a lot.  I know I am tender right now!  My children are tender right now.  My husband is tender right now.   I don’t think we will always be in this place but for now…that’s where we are.
–People don’t have to pretend that is a subject not to be spoken of.  I don’t want it to be an elephant in the room so to speak.  I have kept it hidden for a long time part of the time I had no clue it was a problem and then I kept it hidden because of shame!  And in some ways, that may be hindering me from moving forward.  But I do ask you remember the key words…tender love and encouragement.
–Lastly, please don’t tell me that I look good skinny!  That fuels my eating issues to say the least.  I like being skinny.  But I don’t like being skinny in an unhealthy way.  And I definitely don’t like being physically sick.

I looked at Zine in the middle of my panic mode and said God better do something big with this!  And you know…I believe He is going to.  I have been at the very very very bottom of a deep pit!  I’ve seen pits before but none like this!  And as I climb out of this pit I know He is going to use it.

 And this is what I look like often as I try to eat my food.  Yes I utter prayers of Dear Jesus can you help me eat this food!!  And then I feel guilty so I try to be thankful for my food!


Wife of 20+ years. Mom to 3 children. Love sharing my life with weary hearts so that we can know the One who is Good, who is in Control, and Whose strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.