Missing in Action

December 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

Well my apologies.  I have without a doubt been missing in action.  It has been a busy time for me of late – my daughter finishing school and all the various celebratory events that go with that; my last chemo; then my last two does of rituximab (sorry forgot how to spell it); my visit to the haematologist; trying to find some work and in the last week, taking a short break with my family on the western australian coast.  So it has very much been facing up to trying to manage all the other realities in my life and not feeling bombarded.  So maybe the best thing to do is to just reflect on some of these over the course of a couple of blog entries.

Well Katherine finished school a couple of weeks ago.  What a milestone that was for us all.  I am very proud of how she has managed her own issues to get to the end of the year.  It has been a tough one for her as well.  I have to say that there were several times – dating back to the start of the year – that we didn’t think she would make it through the year having to battle the demons of anorexia.  As I have said before it is such an awfully insidious disease.  Anyway, through sheer strength, determination and courage Katherine made it through and while her final results are not in yet and we won’t know which university course she gets admitted to until the new year, she has done exceptionally well.  Her determination to work hard and get terrific results constantly surprises me – and for someone so young, her strength and focus is inspirational.  She is working hard to beat the anorexia and I am sure that with the focus she has – that will happen.  We would all like it to happen quicker than it will of course, but these things take time.  She is also working in a local cafe these days – since just after her exams and is really enjoying that.  It is giving her a sense of achievement and, of course some cash, so that all goes some way to help her feel better about herself.  I say that while also wondering why it is that such a beautiful girl both in character and looks and with so many wonderful qualities, could ever think otherwise.  Her beautiful red hair, fine features and pearly pale complexion which I treasure so much and which make her the beautiful girl she is – are not features that she values.  Life is cruel sometimes.  It plays tricks on all of us.

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To the Real Celebrities

November 17, 2012 § 5 Comments

Yesterday I went to this fund raising lunch to support research into depression.  The guest speaker was a relatively prominent member of a national football code.  His talk was interesting, a good speaker and personable enough but to be honest the content was pretty shallow. While  I have no doubt he suffered from a depressive episode his recovery sounded as simple as waking up one day, deciding not to be depressed, going for a jog around the block, changing his diet and getting back on track with his professional football career.  Thankfully for him, he only had to see a psychologist  4 or 5 times and he didn’t require any medication.    Of course the audience ( most of it) found his talk ‘inspiring’ and his honesty in ‘outing’ his illness similarly inspirational.

Perhaps I am a sceptic but having suffered multiple episodes of depression throughout my life (including years of medication), two incidents of anorexia nervosa (including a three month hospitalisation), domestic violence/abuse at the hands of a partner, several failed relationships, at least two failed businesses, significant financial loss, cancer and a daughter who herself suffers from mental illness (depression and anxiety)  – I couldn’t help but think that neither he nor the audience had any real insight into the reality of depression and mental illness more generally.   I know that people look to celebrities as sort of role models including as evidence of strength against adversity, but there are so many more of us that really experience very serious life challenges and who manage to get through them pretty much by ourselves and with our families, whose efforts go unnoticed.  This is not to say that I think we all need this kind of celebrity attention, but that there are many of us who should simply give ourselves more credit for facing and overcoming the challenges we face – sometimes on a daily basis.  I say this because I know there are many people who read this blog who deserve that acknowledgment and who should be proud of the simple achievements they have made.  You guys are the real celebrities.  Cheers to you !!!!

Stones in the Road and Bloody Boulders on the Highway !!!!!!!

September 7, 2012 § 6 Comments

 Double Dear God, as my lovely co-blogger Sus would say – what a hell of a week !!!!!!!

In my last post I reflected on the  constant worry  and strain of having an anorexic daughter – the utter waste of the 18th year of a beautiful young girl’s life.    Between then and now I have spent most of the week at the hospital – not for me but for her.

Prior to my  post she  was already suffering a very severe bout of diarrhoea – had been for almost a week.  By last Sunday, having gone to the doctor several times and with no medication working, I took her to the hospital emergency department.  Down to 40 kilos – there was literally nothing of her but skin and bone – bones protruding through the skin. She was hunched over like an old woman with hardly enough strength to support herself upright. While her condition was obviously made worse by the diarrhoea, there is no doubt in my mind that this was a crisis point in her anorexia.  She simply had none of her own reserves to fall back on.    To cut a long story short she was admitted to hospital last Sunday and has since spent most of the week there, only coming home yesterday – still very, very thin but at least with no diarrhoea and more importantly,  a  genuine realisation (pray to God ) of the severity of her anorexic condition.  While I hope this realisation will last – there is no guarantee, anorexia is just the most  insidious illness, it eats away not just at the body but also the mind  !!!!!  In terms of me, having just had the one chemo treatment I took the risk of sitting in emergency and visiting the hospital numerous times during the week. What else was I to do???  I am just thankful we all got through it – chemo again next week so I guess the timing could have been worse.

So needless to say over the last week I have reflected on the blog Sus and I have set up – Stones in the Road taken from the same titled song by Mary Chapin Carpenter, nicely captures I think the determined attitude Sus and I have about managing our respective health issues with a view to getting on with our life.  But just when you think you have the stones pretty much under control it’s those bloody boulders that really take you off course when you least expect it – those are what you have to get over – no getting around them!!  More about stone sin the road another time – great song by the way !!!

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