UPDATE AT THE END OF THE POST.
A lot of times, I don’t have a good perspective on the amount of suffering my family and I have endured. Today, as a brand new barrage of photon torpedoes have hit our ship, from a completely unexpected source, I think it’s time to write out a list of everything we’ve been through.
Why? Because I’m tired, and I need God’s strength.
Despite the Captain’s pips on my cosplay uniform, I’m just a tired mom with four kids and a husband who loves me. I happen to be a writer and a geek. I’m madly in love with Jesus. I’m trying to make better choices in my life. Tonight, I get to go teach a songwriting workshop for the eager young newbies at my church. These are all good things.
However, yesterday I found out that my elementary school age daughter likely has an eating disorder.
I found out that, during the entire day, she’d only eaten: (calories are beside the food item)
24 –1 slice of bread with no crusts
46- ½ apple
16-1 tbsp of mashed potatoes (this was at dinner)
220-1 snack-sized bag of doritos (after school.)
105- ½ a pop tart (breakfast)
This is disturbing, and worse than I’d initially thought. I looked up all the calorie counts to verify that I wasn’t overreacting.
That’s 411 calories. I’m shaking as I write this.
I’ve contacted the school counselor, and she agreed that it was likely an eating disorder. She referred me to an eating disorders clinic that’s only an hour away, and has very good results. I’m waiting for a call back.
This is on the heels of getting my preschool aged child treated for a sleep disorder.
My friends at the Wartburg Watch have been actively praying for her—and for me—so that we as a family could finally start sleeping. I’m happy to report that the treatment seems to be working, God is good, the child is happy, and I’ve slept more in the past week than I have in the past three years. However, we’re still going to do a sleep study for her, to rule out apnea and other physical problems.
That came on the heels of the baby teething. After a month, she has six shiny new teeth.
That is on the heels of several rounds of sickness going through my family: the flu, gastroenteritis, ear infections, and pneumonia. The baby will need tubes in her ears.
Before that, I had to have emergency surgery to have my gallbladder removed. This was right before Thanksgiving, which we were hosting. I have food allergies.
Before that, we’d found out my husband was getting laid off at the end of the school year.
Before that, well, we had a new baby.
Before that, I struggled w/ pre-term labor symptoms, and was on bedrest for four weeks.
Before that, I was actually okay for about two months. I played guitar with a big round beach ball belly on stage, and loved it. My husband brought me breakfast between services. 🙂
Before that, I threw up for twenty-eight weeks.
When I was six weeks pregnant, we moved to a new house, with three other kids and a puking wife and mom.
Before that, I did something crazy and unheard of in complementarian culture, and gave my husband an ultimatum: get a vasectomy, or be prepared to take care of me while I throw up for at least six months, because I will get pregnant again. He agreed. He thought being pregnant six times in nine years was enough.
I didn’t know it, but I was already two weeks pregnant at the time. Lucky seven! (I have four living children.)
Before all of this, we were dealing with a variety of other things, from getting our own mental health issues taken care of, to financial problems, to marital healing, to career choices, to health issues—and this whole time, my third child was not sleeping. Because she had a sleep disorder, but everyone around me was sure that the problem was just me not being firm enough at bed time.
This is only this year, plus an extra couple of months.
Looking back, this has been the Janeway family “Year of Hell,” to be sure. Yet, unlike in the Star Trek universe I can’t use a time machine to go back and fix everything, and turn all of this into a bad dream.
The funny thing about Star Trek is that it is built on the idea that everything will be okay in the end. The writer’s guidelines for the novels, and the show-runner’s bible for TOS and TNG, all mandate that everything be restored to equilibrium by the show’s end. Obviously, DS9 and Voyager had to throw this out the window a few times, but the general optimism that Trek is known for still pervaded the shows.
Now, I’m sitting here reading about eating disorders in children, and finding out that 20% of them die. Granted, that means 80% of them don’t die, but how will I know which way the dice will roll? God knows; I don’t. All I can do is pray, learn, support my daughter however I can, get her the best treatment possible, and try not to let discouragement seep into my soul.
Through all of this, let me assure you: I still believe that God is good. I still believe God can work all things together for good. Because even though I’ve listed so much suffering, I’ve not listed all of the things God has done to support us during this time. I’m honestly too tired to do that right now, and the two youngest children are tired of me writing right now. They want their Mommy’s attention.
Please pray for my oldest daughter. Please pray for my husband’s job search. Please pray that the Year of Hell will end soon, and that God will be glorified in it, regardless of the outcome.
I just got off the phone with the intake counselor at the eating disorders clinic. Based on my daughter’s medical history, she says there’s a 50/50 chance that it could be an eating disorder, OR it could be a physical medical problem. (GI blockage, new food allergy, illness, etc.) She advised me to take her to the doctor, and call her back w/ my daughter’s weight. If there’s no statistically significant drop in her weight, then I should keep the GI appt in two weeks, and call the clinic back if there’s a drop in her weight, or if the eating behavior doesn’t improve.
I was like, “OK, LET’S DO THAT!!”
I’d much rather it be something that *doesn’t* have a 20% mortality rate!!!!
I’m taking her to the pediatrician this afternoon. I’ll update as I can. Thank you so much for praying!