I had expectations going into my appointment with Dr. C last Friday. She would go over the DEXA scan and tell me it was normal. The echo would also be normal. She too anticipated those results and had no worries that it would be different. It was.
“Your bone density turned out within normal. I would like to see it a bit higher, but we’ll keep an eye on it. I wasn’t expecting any abnormalities with your heart.. but I was wrong.”
Cue shock, disbelief, and finally numb/lots of fear. She certainly isn’t a BSer, so I actually had to trust her word.
I’m not going to get into exactly what the echo found, but I’ll give her analogy. If you picture my heart muscle as a trampoline, a larger person will produce a larger bounce with more force for the trampoline to return to shape. If you take a smaller person, it only is pushed in a little and doesn’t require as much effort to get back to shape. My heart is looking like the second instance. It isn’t being forced to give a strong response. Over time, this would weaken and then calcify my heart. *this is very paraphrased
This abnormality is something that just isn’t seen in a young person. She fully believes that my malnutrition is the cause. The starved heart isn’t a healthy one. Adding dehydration to the mix doesn’t bode well either.
For now, this doesn’t have to be permanent. I can work hard in my recovery to nourish my body. If I continue down this road and the heart begins to calcify it will never get back to normal. Currently, I am using hydration to help. Restriction is back full force and it can be hard to get water down too. If I want to give myself the best chance of reversal I will need to eat. That’s pretty terrifying.
I began bawling before I even got out of the building. This can’t be true. I am still so much larger than I had been in other periods of my eating disorder. How could I have done this to myself? While the real Emily has these concerns, Ed’s view is the opposite. He says it isn’t that bad and I don’t truly need to eat or listen to her. My heart is going to be just fine. On the other hand, this also proves that I am sick and doing well in anorexia. (side note that I found interesting: this reminds me of how the serpent tested Eve in the garden way back in genesis)
This whole situation is a mixture of thoughts and emotions. Almost a week later I still can’t decide what to believe or think or feel. I’ve gone through shock, denial, sadness, etc, but not acceptance. Honestly, I probably need to see Dr. C again before any of this will really sink in. For now, I pray that I won’t randomly pass out or anything (as Dr. C warned there is a small chance it could happen) and eat/drink enough..
2 thoughts on “Oh, my heart.”
When in the midst of an eating disorder it is so hard to accept the possibility of consequences, and when told of said consequences, I find I simply disregard them. Why has this happened now and not at previous times you ask? My team has told me it’s cumulative. Damage happens over time. I keep thinking I’ve gotten through all this consequence free yet I have massive GI issues and my cognitive ability simply isn’t what it was. I have myofascial pain disorder brought on by over-exercising. I can’t imagine what else… and yet, I continue as if none of that counts. Living with consequences is humbling and I can completely see why you’d go into total restriction mode. It is our coping mechanism after all. We do the very thing that caused the problem in the first place. Why? It’s all we know. I hope you are able to increase your fluids and start eating a bit more. I hope I am too.
I have a friend in the UK who is dying from this. She knows it, I know it, but she can’t stop. However, the health care people there won’t help her unless she is on her death bed, how sad is that? It makes me grateful to be in the US. I’d be dead by now no doubt.
Ignoring these long-term consequences is easier and fuel for the ED. If we don’t accept proof that we are “sick enough” that we can’t be. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend ❤ I'm very thankful to live here as well when I read horror stories of being in Canada or elsewhere with different healthcare systems. I hope and pray both of us can see these things as a wake up call and fight the ED
LikeLiked by 1 person