F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum

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hbeatsaUSA
Quick background- My d is 19 years old and had previously been in long term recovery from RAN. She went to treatment several times and we had plenty of providers tell us that she she simply learn to live with ED as a chronic illness. One therapist even had the nerve to tell her that she could be happy being an "anorexic lite" for the rest of her life! Unbelievable... Anyhow, she eventually got better and had a year and a half of solid remission before college. 

We thought we were done with ED for ever. (And that was't too far - fetched an idea!)  She had an excellent freshman year at college. Good grades, lots of extracurricular involvements, and a strong group of friends. She saw a counselor and psychiatrist periodically, and ate well. For awhile, at least. 
I think where we went wrong was by "forgetting" about ED. Things were so good that we stopped being worried. Her dad stopped pulling up pictures on her Instahgram and asking me if she looked too thin, and I stopped worrying about what she was eating in the caf.
The way she tells it is that she got a bit taller in the late winter and lost a few pounds. She also went through something pretty significant relating to her childhood trauma. Then, the ED thoughts came back with a vengeance. But, she didn't realize she was relapsing until several months later. I believe her. Life had, for all intents and purposes, moved on. There was no reason for any of us to suspect she would relapse. I know that sounds crazy and unlike anything that is posted here, but really, ED was gone for years. It's awful how these diseases can lay dormant for so long and then come back swinging. 
We hadn't seen her in several months. Yes, I know this is bad but I'm not looking for a lecture. She attends university several states away and was on the opposite coast researching cancer treatments at a huge hospital all summer. So, I was very surprised last week when I received a phone call from student health at her university. She came back in from California, got to her school, and spent a few days there before one of her favorite professors noticed that something was "off." Thankfully, my d recognized this and agreed to go to student health to have her vitals taken. She was placed on medical leave and we picked her up from school a few days ago. 
She has a wonderful "ED guru" whom she has been a patient of for years. He is on the same page as us (and my d): stay out of the hospital if possible. She has lost almost thirty pounds. She is still primarily a restrictor and overexercisor, but now also has developed a laxative habit (that's a new one for us) !! 

Here's what we are doing to help her: 
Keeping her out of school... We will decide later about whether or not she can go back for next semester. Realistically, she will probably be in town with us until next fall. 
Providing Pre ED favorites so she can eat three meals and three snacks a day
Sleeping with her (she has a nasty exercise compulsion... I never imagined I would be sleeping in the same room as my 19 year old, yet here we are) 
Stopping the laxatives
Appointments with her doctor and therapist (especially to address her trauma) 
Keeping things calm. She has plenty of time to do the dishes and wash the windows later. For right now, she just needs to focus on eating. 
Encouraging her to get involved in quiet activities like a painting class and a book club... anything to get her our of the house and break up her isolation 
Art supplies... I spent over $100 on art supplies at Hobby Lobby the other day. I would much rather do that than have her spend all day in the gym. She definitely isn't Picasso, but she's pretty good. 
Going out to eat... for some reason, she isn't opposed to restaurants. Last time she relapsed, this was her biggest fear. But, we are going to take advantage on her not being scared and going out often because it is easier to get higher calorie meals in
Family activities... we go on short walks with the dog and to the movies. We keep her busy and let her move a little bit 
Thinking ahead about a plan for when/if she returns to college. We'll probably have a contract in place and a bit more of a concrete plan. 
Babying her some... I don't know how to explain this one. It's almost like she has regressed back into being a young kid. She's emotional and not entirely self sufficient. So, we're treating her as such. Fortunately, we know that food and weight restoration will help with this. 

Here is what we are thankful for: 
She knows that food is medicine. Even though she's terrified and angry, she is eating because she knows that's how it gets better. 
We've done this before. We aren't in uncharted waters anymore- we know how to fight her ED. 
She goes to a university that didn't just allow her to take a medical leave, but encouraged it. They have given her flexibility and the opportunity to make up missed credits. All in all, we got very lucky. 
That she has professors who know her well enough and care about her enough to step in when they thought something was wrong! When (and if) she goes back to school, we feel much better knowing that she is in such a good place with such good people 
That we have a wonderful group of practitioners whom she loves and trusts with her life 
She has experienced recovery before which has helped to remind her of all the good things ahead once she gets better 
She is complying to her treatment plan. She isn't happy, but she is at least complying
That this is feedback. Things were good for a long time, and for that we are eternally grateful. Right now, we're learning how to plug the holes and get our girl back to being the intelligent, articulate, and funny person we know she is!  

Don't be discouraged by this story. Yes, it is one of relapse, but it is also one of hope and healing. She will get better and live to tell the tale of this. So will all of your children.
Things are already better. She has been home for a week and she is a bit happier and seems more vibrant. It's amazing what a little bit of food can do! We have a long fight ahead of us. This may be her worst relapse yet. But, we're prepared to help her along the way. This morning, she specifically asked for a banana with breakfast because it "sounded really tasty." This will get better. Margaret Thatcher said that you may have to fight a battle more than once to win it. We definitely were not expecting to have to deal with this again, but we are prepared to. And, we have lots of hope that this can be the end.
D- 21 w long history of RAN (that seems to be in remission, thankfully)
Me- Stephanie
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sahmmy
Thank you for sharing that with us! I appreciate the insight on keeping vigilant. 
d=18, R-AN, Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Refed at home with information gathered from this forum and lots of books. Relapsed. Refed. Relapsed. Refed. 17 sessions with an excellent individual therapist. 19 sessions with unhelpful dietician. 3 sessions of DBT (didn't like it). Psychiatrist available if needed. Prozac - fail. Lexapro - fail. 5HTP - fail. Clorazepam/Klonopin = major improvement, only used when necessary. Genomind SLC6A4 short/short - not able to process SSRI's.
d=15, lost 14 lbs in 8 months, Ped [nono]diagnosed as a crystal on a hair in the ear canal
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mnmomUSA
I'm so sorry she has relapsed, but you've got this.  Totally.  Your plan sounds excellent!  It is honestly a HUGE fear of mine that my D (who by all measures is doing very well...eating freely, weight and mood both excellent) will relapse when/if we let down our guard.  It is so tempting to keep riding her like crazy, but OTOH, I have to let her do it on her own. She's nearly 17 and in two years, will be off at college.  We do have that two years to keep supporting her, but still that devil lurks in the tiniest areas and can come back full force.  We all know that.

:-(

God, I hate this disease.
D, age 18, first diagnosed March 20, 2013, RAN, at age 13 Hospitalized 3 weeks for medical stability. FBT at home since.  UCSD Multi-family Intensive June 2015. We've arrived on the other side.  :-)  D at college and doing great!
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NellyMac_UK
I LOVE your post and your battle plan, you know what to do and you are going to get your D through this.

I also know that behind the battle plan is a lot of fear and pain, but you've got this.  

The resurfacing of ED is a nightmare we all dread, and most of us encounter in one form or another.  Your post is inspirational and it has certainly made me think whether I need to implement some elements of it in our current situation.

THANK YOU! 

Wishing you strength and amazing results xxxx
Diagnosed RAN October 2013, w/r but struggling with depression and anxiety.
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hopefulmama
Thank you hbeatUSA for your post.  I know you have helped so many with your reminder to remain ever vigilant, no matter how long our kids have been in recovery. I can relate to so much of what you have shared.  As my d has moved forward with her life, i didn't want to be the mom who was enlarging photos of her on social media while studying abroad to see if she had lost weight. How do we remain vigilant while letting them move forward?  It is a tightrope for sure and hard for all of us to figure out the right balance.

My heart breaks for you because I get how painful this is.  However, you have a great plan and team in place and your d is motivated to get back to her amazing life.  I have no doubt that she will and that this experience, no matter how painful, will in the end only make her long-term recovery stronger.

Wishing you all strength and perseverance and hope!
 
 

 

Enjoying my 23 year-old daughter's achievement of active recovery that was made possible by the resources and education I found on this forum.

Don't give up hope!
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iHateED
Thank you so much for posting your latest story.  It brings both sadness and some happiness at the same time for me.  I also have two D's in college, both in strong recovery, but this is a very good reminder to always stay vigilant.  We will still keep up with the frequent visits (at least twice a month) even though the school is several hours away.  I have always felt like I was on constant pins and needles and was hoping that I could loosen up a little this year but your post is a wake up call for me to stay connected.  I am happy for you that your D seems like she is accepting of the relapse and that getting her to come home with you wasn't that bad.   I look forward to following your story. 
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hbeatsaUSA
Toothfairy- Yes, she received lots of CBT in her past treatment. That is also what her current therapist focuses on. In addition to CBT, she has received DBT, ACT, and EMDR. I asked her if she thinks any of the strategies she learned in ip helped her and this is what she said "Yes! Absolutely! Honestly, I think I started having ED thoughts a few months before I started actually restricting. I used some of those coping strategies to "keep the devil away from the door," so to speak. I knew my ED was back and I was having thoughts again, but those strategies helped me fight it off for a long time. I was just scared." 
Best wishes to you and your family! 

Everyone else- Thank you all for your kind words. This sucks. I wish I had stopped this. I wish I had checked in more. But, at the same time, I'm glad we let her "stretch her wings" for a little while. She grew and learned that she can be in recovery without support 100% of the time. Most importantly, she found things and people she loves. She now knows that there is more to life than being anorexic. She has good memories to look back on and happy times to look forward to. 
It's hard not to beat myself up, but I know this is no one's fault. We are doing what we have to do to get her better. I'm not sure how to find the right balance going forward, but I can imagine it's going to be a bit of a dance! 

Update- She's doing a touch better. She made plans to see a friend this evening and is looking forward to that. Her friend is coming to pick her up in a bit and they are going to get frozen yogurt. The friend knows about my d's ED, and she has always been a good support. Plus, she is not afraid to say "No. You need more than that!!!" and add cookie dough to her yogurt. How rare it is to find friends like that! 
She went to the pet store with me yesterday to pick up dog food. She had me in stitches the whole time with all her jokes! When we got home, she was fairly quiet and depressed again, but it was nice to see glimpses of her old self back. I'm off to go finish up the dinner now. Tonight is cheese enchiladas with brown rice, skillet veggies, and a homemade guacamole! 
D- 21 w long history of RAN (that seems to be in remission, thankfully)
Me- Stephanie
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Torie
Fortunately (and unfortunately), you know what to do.

Ugh.

So sorry you have to.

Your d is lucky to have you - I know you will get her back.

Keep swimming. xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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hbeatsaUSA
Hi all, 
Things are OK around here. She's eating more freely. We've dropped off to three bigger meals and one big snack a day, instead of the 3 and 3. She's still getting the same amount of nutrition, but it doesn't feel like she's eating all day long anymore. It's working well, so far. She's much more content, though ED does not like the bigger meals. 
She also has a few more outfits that she will wear. ED likes this nasty old pair of sweatpants and a xxxl t shirt that she won at a college football game. Now, she can wear leggings, two different sweat shirts, most t shirts, and a few dresses. She's very cold all the time, so leggings and a sweatshirt are typical. As she gains weight, I'm certain she will warm up and go back to her usual wardrobe. 
She has been doing things with friends, at least a little bit, and babysitting some. She is still very depressed, but has some happiness when with friends. She has even met some new people through her high school friends and has been having a great time with them! 
Medically, she is improving. She sees her physician and therapist often. Her vital signs and lab work are stable. She is gaining weight. It is going slowly, but alas- she is gaining weight! Little by little, one goes far. She is still very bony and weak but things are improving. 
Soon, I will put a list of meals we have been eating into the high calories suggestions thread. I've gotten very creative! Tonight is pecan crusted fish with creamy risotto and fresh vegetables. Lots of brain nourishing nutrition for our girl! 
D- 21 w long history of RAN (that seems to be in remission, thankfully)
Me- Stephanie
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Francie
hbeatsaUSA
 
 Hi hbeatsaUSA, thanks for the story, and the warning to remain vigilant. So glad all is going well with your d's recovery. Thanks for a hopeful story. All best!

 

Francie

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hbeatsaUSA
Hi all, here's how things are going en la casa de Grayson. My d is doing well. She is better now than she was a month ago, but not as good as she was a year ago. It's progress, though. Weight is going on and food is going in. I wish she was gaining a touch faster, but a speedy metabolism has always been an issue with her. She really is eating a lot. 
More than anything, her body is changing shape. Her hips and breasts are rounder again, and her muscles look longer. When she is underweight, her body looks very child like. Now, she looks more womanly. She makes a conscious effort to avoid mirrors, but has commented to me that her "arms look really good." Still, she is too thin and has quite a bit more gaining to do. 
She's going to yoga and takes the dog on walks. She also spends time at our local university visiting with friends from high school. We had her dxa scan repeated last week and her bone density is actually slightly improved from where it was last Christmas, though she still has osteopenia. She's still menstruating, though that's surprising given her pretty rapid weight loss! She didn't have her period for roughly 4 years, so this is a welcome development. 
She is still very depressed but we are hoping the changes her doctor made to her medications two weeks ago will help with that. She is in CBT and EMDR therapy and is followed closely by a physician. She has been on her own for some meals and does OK. She often asks for foods that she previously enjoyed, and can prepare her own breakfasts and lunches appropriately. She gets overwhelmed trying to portion dinner, so I usually do that for her. There are some high calorie foods she really enjoys, so we are making those a mainstay in our diet. 
Have I mentioned how much I hate ED? My d is brilliant and independent. Her IQ is through the roof. She is popular and well - liked and funny. She loves helping others. But, her eating disorder makes her become a mean and scared little girl. She could teach a college course on how to eat healthy, but she can't do it for herself. This is nothing new to our family, but I'm always taken aback by the difference between healthy D and sick D. Recently, we've been seeing a lot more of healthy D, though we still have a long way to go.
Time to go make dinner. D will be coming back from babysitting at a Pop Warner football game soon. She and her friend sent me a funny snapchat of them singing "Hooked On A Feeling" in the car. I feel like we are getting our girl back. Tonight I am making one of our favorite simple dinners. It's chilly here, so I am making a quinoa and turkey chili with cornbread and a big salad! It smells delicious! 
D- 21 w long history of RAN (that seems to be in remission, thankfully)
Me- Stephanie
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EDAction

Here's to progress!  So glad you are seeing more of "healthy D".  Your outlook is admirably positive - not "pollyanna" positive, but "focus on the good while acknowledging & working on the bad" positive.   Sending you warm thoughts and prayers for continued strength for the hero's work you are doing.


And would you share your quinoa and turkey chili recipe?  Yum!

DD diagnosed with anorexia at 14; FBT at home with the help of psychologist and medical dr; 3+ years later and doing well (knock on wood)
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Torie
Thanks for the update. So glad to hear you are getting your precious girl back. Keep up the good work! xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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hbeatsaUSA
Thank you all. Going to keep on pushing. We've seen real recovery before, and we will see it again! 
As for the quinoa and turkey chili recipe... of course! Though I must admit that I did not make it up. 
http://www.readyseteat.com/recipes-Ground-Turkey-Chili-with-Quinoa-8030.html
I use this recipe and make the following modifications 
Brown turkey in oil- not cooking spray. Season meat with chili powder before cooking as well. 
Use red quinoa, not white. Has an earthier flavor and is a bit more exciting. 
Top with sour cream instead of avocado as my d has never liked chopped avocado. She loves guacamole but is bothered by the texture of biting into an avocado! 
As for the cornbread, I make it the old fashioned way using my grandmother's cast iron skillet. I pour oil in the skillet and put it in the oven while it is preheating. I typically use the recipe on the jiffy box to make the actual cornbread batter. Heating up the oil and pouring the batter into the hot skillet gives it a nice crispy crust. I serve that with butter. 
And the salad, well... let's just say that you can get a lot of calories into a salad! 
This meal is simple and takes less than 45 minutes to make. It's almost 1000 calories when all is said and done. Great on cold rainy nights! I imagine it would also be good with a big glass of milk. 
D- 21 w long history of RAN (that seems to be in remission, thankfully)
Me- Stephanie
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EDAction
Thanks for the recipe hbeatsaUSA and for your modifications.  I will definitely try it.  

Good luck to you and keep us updated.
DD diagnosed with anorexia at 14; FBT at home with the help of psychologist and medical dr; 3+ years later and doing well (knock on wood)
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hbeatsaUSA
Hi, all! 
Just a bit of encouragement for those in the trenches this holiday weekend.
We are a multifaith family, so tonight we are celebrating Christmas Eve and the first night of Haunnakah. I'm making latkes to go along with our Christmas turkey, and sufganiyot for dessert (a traditional Jewish donut). Admittedly, I am warming up some donuts as I don't own a deep fryer, but the point is that D is excited! She has helped me cook this afternoon and snacked all along the way.

When I woke up this morning, she was already in the kitchen making her breakfast. I walked in and she said "Hey, you usually add cream to my oatmeal, right? Like half a cup?" AND THEN SHE POURED THE CREAM IN HER OATMEAL, SLICED A BANANA, AND TOPPED IT WITH PEANUT BUTTER! This is a huge deal! Then she said "This is how you normally do it, yeah? I want to know so I can do it when I get back to school." (Yes, d is going back to school next month - with a contract and a strong treatment team in place). 

She is WR and very self-aware. We are going to visit her often and she has signed the papers for her therapist and physician to contact us if there is a concern about her eating disorder. This was hard for us to reach an agreement on, but her father and I made it very clear that we were not interested in her therapist telling us about which boys she is kissing or even about her trauma therapy - only issues related to her health/safety. Dealing with a young adult is a bit of a dance, isn't it? 

Reading my personal journal from this fall is a bit disheartening. We were so sure that we had beaten this ED monster for good, but it showed up back on our doorstep very unexpectedly. She was so angry and full of vitriol. She still has her moments, but she is ready to return to school. I'm so proud of her. We are not out of the woods yet, but the amount of work she has put in to recover and go back to school has been admirable. 

Keep going. You all are doing hero's work.  

Stephanie
D- 21 w long history of RAN (that seems to be in remission, thankfully)
Me- Stephanie
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