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*Happy Birthday A!*

We know you always deal with your illness with such courage,
but we still wanted to send you a few hugs,
along with rays of sunshine, big smiles,
and a whole roomful of good thoughts!
So think of these words as a beautiful sunset all your own
and the sound of the ocean gently washing the shore…
Let our thoughts wrap you up in warmth and peace
and sit at your side.
So as you imagine yourself in the midst of these things,
remember how many people care about you and are
wishing you comfort and Love.
-Mary Miro

 *Lots&Lots of LOVE to You Today and Everyday! — Mom*Dad*Sis*

 

 

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Gustav Klimt

 

When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it’s bottomless, that it doesn’t have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space.

-Pema Chodron
* A Very Blessed and Happy Mother’s Day! *

EOEDs

 

… it’s not “just a phase”.

 

Potentially life threatening medical complications are ‘common’ in children affected by early onset eating disorders (EOEDs), a study reported in the Medical Journal of Australia has found.

 The first prospective national study of EOEDs also revealed major limitations in current diagnostic criteria, possible missed diagnoses and a need for better education of health professionals. The study examined data from 101 cases of EOEDs in children aged five to 13 years, and found that 78% were hospitalised with an average length of stay of almost 25 days.

Study co-author and leading child psychologist Dr Sloane Madden, from Westmead Children’s Hospital, said the results show younger children with EOEDs are presenting with severe disease. “Only 37% of inpatients in the study met the current diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa, yet 61% had potentially life threatening complications of malnutrition and only 51 % met the weight criteria,” Dr Madden said. “This suggests the current criteria for diagnosing anorexia nervosa in young children are limited.”

An editorial on the study in the same edition of the MJA highlighted that about a quarter of cases in the study were boys. Editorial author, Foundation Chair of Mental Health at the University of Western Sydney’s School of Medicine, Professor Phillipa Hay, said “The relatively high proportion of younger boys with EOEDs contrasts with men accounting for about one in ten adult cases of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa,” Professor Hay said. “More research is needed, but the work by Madden and colleagues supports the hypothesis that EOEDs may differ in important ways, including sex distribution and course, from eating disorders with onset in adolescence and adulthood. “It is imperative that research attention is now directed towards understanding why such young children are developing severe eating disorders and how effective identification and treatment can be targeted earlier.”

-SourceMedical Journal of Australia

leaves

 

I have a group of friends, some of us have been buds since high school, that take an annual “getaway” to the Cape Cod of the Midwest and rekindle to a cabin, enjoy great food, great sights and wonderful memories. We are an eclectic bunch, love and support each other dearly, but most of us either live at opposite ends of the globe or within different states, have families, busy careers and do our best to stay in touch via email, phone and the annual escape.

When we discovered Kate Jacobs The Friday Night Knitting Club we began to loosely refer to our own “group” of eclectic Momma’s, hip-Sista’s, and cherished Friends within similar shadows cast in Jacobs endearing novel. Some of us do also knit, but my abilities at this craft (my Finnish G-Ma I know is grimacing down… all those beautiful scarves, legwarmers, mittens and sweaters to my clumsy and pathetic scraps of endlessly funny looking pot holders, both of my girls can also needle me to blushing embarrassment! What I yield with a paintbrush, quill and acrylics makes up for that I guess) are definitely comical.

Two years ago it was impossible to consider this pilgrimage with our daughter’s eating disorder diagnosis, and everything in our lives just seemed to stand still, as if one was holding in the deepest breath, waiting to exhale.

Next fall, we’ll be approaching three years in… deep exhalation; I take the moment to do something for myself, heck even have some fun!

And it was well worth it, and probably why my body is clearly present back here in the city, but my mind is still back in Door County, appreciating those gifts of friendship and remembering that caring for oneself is just as important as caring for others.

As parents, caregivers, extended family members, and partners who support and care for our loved ones recovering from an eating disorder, it doesn’t matter if you head for the woods or take a bubble-bath surrounded by candles and peaceful solitude, what does matter is that you remember to take the time to honor and care for yourself as well.

Simple yet so easy to forget… so please remember.

shanti

       … and how I feel about eating disorders, about the current state of our economy, the political scrapping and other such quibbles. Maybe it’s the post Harvest Moon which resembled the bounty and beauty of a big, bright pumpkin in all it’s glory bringing Ursa Major back down for Autumn hibernation and seasonal change. My ancestral forefather’s and mother’s deeply rooted with Finnic-myths describing the endeared Kontio – “dweller of the land”; such ancient stories recalling and reconnecting with one another.

 

*

*

Right now,

what she said,

what

I

said

is the size of a grizzly,

nine feet

tall

with stiletto claws swiping

at

my innards.

*

But

if

I

can

just inhale

and

back

slowly away,

time,

like a sailboat,

is waiting for tomorrow’s

wind

to sweep me

safely from this shore,

where

I

can stand on the deck,

day by day,

watching that grizzly shrink

smaller

and

smaller until it’s only

a

mouse,

easily

chased away.

 

*

*

Jacqueline Jules – The Argument

 

Juoksahkka, Maadteraahka I think of you!

 

: Sarva mangala mangalye shive sarvartha sadhike

Sharanye trayambake gauri, Narayani namostute :

_______________________________


: O Mother ! You are the personification of all that is auspicious,

You are the benevolent form of Lord Shiva,

You bestow Divine energy and help people achieve Righteousness, wealth, fulfill desires and Liberation,

You are worthy of being surrendered to.

Three eyes adorn You.

O Narayani Devi, I pay obeisance to You

 

Some of the most common events become quite significant when your child has an eating disorder, and at times worry seems to be a constant irritating leach sucking your Mom-force astray even when the coast is clear.

For the past two years our daughter has missed out on class trips due to the pernicious nature of the eating disorder. And as if heading back to school doesn’t already bring with it some added stress and anxiety for a developing young middle-schooler, these trips always take place at the beginning of the year– great idea for setting the tone and building relationships for the school term, not so great idea if your child is trying to gauge the semester and transition in the first couple of weeks tacked on with the complexity of managing an eating disorder.

For the first year of middle school this trip was a no-go. Last year also didn’t happen since she was not yet able to make food-meal choices on her own, as well as eating without some additional support, and being comfortable enough to ask for help if encountering some difficulty and parents and family were not around.

Initial diagnosis of the eating disorder, immediate hospitalization, the following year inpatient and residential treatment, along with intensive outpatient treatment; days-months of missed school, family and social life seem strangely long ago, healing does take time.

This school year is markedly different though, our daughter is actually getting a bit pissy about missing out on certain aspects of teen social life and events her friends and peers seem to do “so easily”. These are things she also did easily, without second thought, prior to the eating disorder and another positive sign that she is remembering and awakening to her former Self.

This year’s “Leadership Trip” my baby is on the road for three days of fun and camaraderie. First to camp, canoeing, rope climbing and mingling while looking at the constellations, second to the State Capital, then finishing off sliding down the plastic tubes of a favored water park, who would want to miss this?

She left this morning her bags packed with extra snacks and necessities, pre-ordered her meals (all by herself- yeah!) and wasn’t embarrassed to give an extra hug.

But my ultimate moment came seeing her classic dimpled smile!

 

The road ahead is like the road behind.
The dreams achieved revise the dreams to come.
Mind shapes world, and new-shaped world shapes mind,
As what you are steps back from what you’ve done.
The deeper you resides in its own space,
Sheltered like a yolk from wind and tide,
Filled with unimaginable grace
To wander through the paradise inside.
Ambitious girl!
Become what dream you will,
And sail across each dark, forbidding sea.
Within, the fawn will graze sweet meadows still,
Untouched by all the phantoms you will be.
-Nicolas Gordon
 

 

I have to admit that I’m clinging to each last bit of the end-of-summer like a fool, but with the rain and chill today, it’s a bit easier to keep the Bodum filled and not mind too much. September seemed to happen so quickly, where did the time go?

The shortening of daylight and coolness of the evenings suddenly has me lugging out the sweaters and rummaging for fleece to accompany our early night walks by the lake, while still savoring the seemingly endless supply of heirloom orbs I’m basically giving away at this point before they rot- and with the onslaught of fruit flies scurrying to hold on and survive as well, that is a nuisance that won’t be missed.

Like most families with school-aged children, last week marked the beginning of another school year, which brings with it much excitement, anticipation, and sometimes, as for our daughter, a bit of anxiety when recovering from an eating disorder.

But that’s okay.

This semester she’s surrounded by many who know about her eating disorder, and are behind her, beside her, in their hearts and also working with her on a regular basis, like her Art Therapist, Yoga “guru”, ED therapist, nutritionist, pediatrician as well as close loving family and countless friends (teens are such magnets for camaraderie and energetic spirit… it’s hard to resist and really has been such a blessing!)

It’s so important to have that “net” of support during and throughout the recovery process. And while it’s not always easy to find and coordinate this type of collaborative care, let alone pay for and/or get insurance coverage for this extensive care- it’s so well worth the effort to keep plugging away, advocating for your son or daughter, and getting the “right fit” for both your child and also for you as the parent(s), caregivers, and extended family.

Numerous studies are aplenty regarding the effects of stress in our lives- stress is part of life for both human and animal, there is no denying this. Stress also has an evolutionary and survival component, but too much and not enough “down time” to recoup and rest and we all know what happens. Many of us also know how stress also can play a role in exasperating and/or intensifying levels of eating disordered behaviours in our loved one’s lives.

Dr Esther Sternberg was speaking on public radio last night while I was driving home from a messy, but productive day- for once! at the studio. And the conversation really got me itching to reread her book The Balance Within once again after the past couple of weeks going to numerous Dr appointments, back-to-school-shopping, noticing some tensions in our daughter’s behavior(s); and getting things ready for the start of the school year. It has been stressful!

It was interesting to listen to Dr Sternberg talk. She’s incredibly intelligent, grounded, but also very human. She’s been called a “scientist’s scientist” as she’s a bit hesitant towards all the overkill-joy on the Self Help end minus a balanced critical and logical analysis of what we’ve been learning, and do know about human cells, the brain, genetics, neural circuitry, etc. currently. And how technology, continued research/study has opened up so much to illuminate on these previously charted as well as uncharted seas, so that we can begin to really delve deeper within a broader understanding behind why you might feel like shit, or are swimming endlessly in “the blues”, and just can’t deal with all that stress, dammit!

I think this past couple of weeks reminded me of how sometimes the simple things are really quite wonderful. Listening to the shared support of other parents, sufferers who really have climbed that mountain of ED-Himalayas and stuck a “Fug You ED” flag on the peak, then courageously climbed down to live full, healthy lives. Dr’s and clinicians who truly connect with you and your child and actually “get it”, both what your child is grappling with, yet not belittling their struggle, or as a parent/caregiver, your own; and continuing to make that commitment towards supporting your child’s recovery, even when things seem temporarily “stuck” week after week.

Our daughter had a wonderful half-week back rejoining with friends and classmates, she loves her classes, new level teachers and has taken on a couple of additional social-activity/clubs this semester to fill in for field hockey, cross-country and ballet. And while she’s very determined to get back to dance at some point, she’s also realizing what other talents she can nurture and cultivate while her body and mind continue to heal. A time for all things in good time.

shanti

Hope is not the closing of your eyes to the difficulty, the risk,or the failure.

It is trust that-If I fail now -I shall not fail forever;and if I am hurt,I shall be healed .

It is trust that Life is good, love is powerful, and the future is full of promise.

– Anonymous

 

 

 

 

Eating disorder recovery, like gardening, is most definitely a labor of love.

And while I’ve been gardening as long as I can remember (although when I was younger, I absolutely detested those summers in the “country” toiling, weeding and watering; the only salvation was my G-Ma’s raspberry pies- and oh, how we grumbled and complained! Such indentured servants to the land we were; little did we know the lessons being planted early on by our wiser parental-elder units indeed!) with digging and transplanting in country soil, urban community plots, studio rooftop gardens, CSA worker-share’s- you name the place, I’ve always found a way, even on a low budget, to squeeze something beneficial, tasty and aesthetically pleasing into the ground our family happened to be living on top of.

With only two years passing since our daughter was diagnosed with anorexia, there are many things we are still learning together about this illness and how to best tend-cultivate to our daughter’s support and recovery. But we have definitely learned so much since she was diagnosed, what works, what definitely doesn’t, when to move on, regroup/restrategize, and also when to let things be, step back, and also knowing when to step back in when needed. Quite like tending to a garden plot I’d say.

And I can’t but think as I’m scrambling to let the frittata cool, get the gazpacho out, toss the pasta with fresh tomatoes from the garden… we have ten or twenty arriving? ugh! Hubby’s tending the proverbial flame to finish the tandoori chicken and burgers- that some of the best lessons are learned from the garden.

__________________________________


For the garden of your daily living, plant three rows of peas:

  • Peas of mind
  • Peas of heart
  • Peas of soul

Plant four rows of squash:

  • Squash gossip
  • Squash indifference
  • Squash grumbling
  • Squash selfishness

Plant four rows of lettuce:

  • Lettuce be faithful
  • Lettuce be kind
  • Lettuce be patient
  • Lettuce really love one another

No garden is without turnips:

  • Turnips for meetings
  • Turnips for service
  • Turnips to help one another

To conclude our garden, one must have thyme:

  • Thyme for each other
  • Thyme for family
  • Thyme for friends

-Jessica Prough

 

Have a wonderful and abundant Labor Day!

… then shouldst have it for gingerbread*.   -William Shakespeare

      * Or in my case fresh carrot cupcakes

                                  _______________________________

Summer is winding down and it’s been a fantastic couple of months.  Gracious thanks to those of you who continued to email throughout the summer (for almost a month we were too deep in another world to even want access to the internet) with a wealth of supportive and heart-filled thoughts.  I was touched beyond words that can even begin to express my endless appreciation to you all.  And though I didn’t get a chance to respond to everyone in kind as of yet, I just wanted to share, once again how much this has meant to me and our family– merci!**

On another update-note, Drs Daniel le Grange and James Lock will be conducting a one and 1/2 day FBT-Maudsley training targeted towards adolescents with eating disorders in Portland, Maine: September 23-24th.  What a wonderful opportunity to continue to utilize family-based, supportive and evidence backed treatment practices that integrate all those involved within their loved ones’ care and recovery.  Mary Orear, executive director of Mainely Girls is sponsoring this event, for further information click on the highlighted link.

Hope all of you had a restful and recuperative Summer– and looking forward to reconnecting more regularly soon!

-shanti

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