Thursday, August 23, 2012

Story From the Heart

This post has been on my heart for a very long time, but is not something I felt quite ready to write. It took some time to get here, but with the recent relapse of my minimal change disease and the steps we are taking I thought it was time to start talking.

I had an eating disorder in high school.

Nothing was ever officially diagnosed, but when one 5'8 tall girl drops to 110 and looks a bit like a skeletor you can figure it out. It didn't come on overnight and I didn't just one day decide never to eat again. It was a gradual transition. Let me back up.

My high school years were tumultuous to say the least. I think many of us can look back on high school and say the same. I don't feel like I deserve a parade of sympathy for it. What made my years a little different were the craziness of my sister's diagnosis of liver failure (don't ask me the fancy name, I can never remember it) and the chaos that ensued. Poor Manda spent a lot of this time in and out of hospitals. From tests and procedures to new medications, she became a bit of a lab rat. It wasn't until they were able to finally pinpoint some things and get her to a doctor in Cincinnati, OH that things started to get better. Praise God. So, she and The Momma started hitting the road to Cincinnati on a fairly regular basis while the other four Wardlets stayed home with the Pops.

As the oldest a lot of stuff fell to me. I really didn't mind it. I've also loved helping others and doing what I can when I can. But the added responsibilities coupled with the stresses of high school, and more importantly the years to follow, threw my life in a bit of a tail-spin. Things started to get a bit out of control, and for this control freak that was too much. How did I cope? I began controlling the only thing I knew that I could my exercise and diet plan. 

I can't pinpoint the exact time but I want to say it was the summer before my junior year of high school that things started to get out of hand. I never starved myself, or even counted calories really, I just ate the minimal amount I could to keep my body going on the crazy exercise plans I was following. This continued for about two years. During this time Manda and Momma continued traveling back and forth to Cincinnati and Manda was put on the transplant list for a new liver.

I want to make it clear that I do not blame any one but myself for this. This was not my sister's fault for being sick, or my parent's or friends' faults for not "intervening" (I wouldn't have allowed them to any way). This was my dysfunctional way of trying to control a situation I could not. At this time my faith was all over the place. I still believed in God, but wasn't sure where He was in my life. What I should have done was trust Him to see us all through this period, but instead I tried to take things into my own hands. Another great example of my failure and His unending patience and grace with our faults.

What happened? Well, I went to college. I got any way from a lot of the stresses that I had failed miserably at controlling and was able to actually be a kid. I stopped trying to perfect everything I did and I stopped trying to manage every little component of my life. I started eating healthy portions (eating healthy food wasn't the problem) and stopped obsessing about working out. I stopped comparing myself to those around me and actually took a look at who I was. God also reintroduced himself to me in a big way. A little over a year after I entered college, Manda received a new liver.

So, what does all that have to do with my kidneys and now? Anyone who puts their body through the hell I put mine through is going to have some lasting effects. And while they tell me the minimal change disease isn't related, part of me worries that it is. Could I have prevented this by living a healthier life? Maybe, but what's done is done and worrying about it isn't going to solve any good. 

I'm going to see a nutritionist in a few weeks to talk about an eating plan that will keep my kidneys happy. It may not make a huge difference, but every little bit helps. This appointment is years overdue. David and I maintain a healthy lifestyle of exercising regularly, but not overboard. We try to eat as fresh as we can in healthy portion sizes. We do enjoy dessert every so often (have you seen my foodie page or pinterest boards?!) but we try not to overdue it. I'm excited to officially see what we can do to banish the eating disorder beast from our lives forever.

Sorry for the total brain/heart/word dump. I needed to get it out there. Thanks for reading:-)


  1. You are so brave for sharing this story! I really enjoyed reading it... I feel like I know you just a little bit better!

  2. aww lauren.. your so brave. I still struggle talking about what I went through in college ( i was diagnosed with depression as a junior) and for the longest time until recently I just told people I got really sick and had to take a semester off. Its still hard and sometimes I still get embarressed but every time i talk about it I realize that its okay and I am a better person for accepting it and hopefully one day I'll be able to help someone

  3. Thanks for being so honest, Lauren! I love posts like these. I know so many people struggle with the same thing. I'm glad that it was something that you were able to overcome.

    My mom found out yesterday that her minimal change disease is now in remission. I know she blames herself a little too and thinks that she could have done something to prevent it. Right now, she's the healthiest she's been in quite awhile, and maybe it took being diagnosed with minimal change disease to steer her in the right direction.

    Also, the book you sent came in the mail a couple of days ago! I can't wait to read it!

  4. Thank you for sharing this and being so honest! I can't imagine going through what you did, but I know that God has you in His hands and you're well taken care of (the proof is in you just writing/sharing this!). You also have another great man with you! You can conquer anything :)

  5. sometime you just have to do a heart felt post! so proud of you for letting this out!!