All I Could See Was a Fat Girl Continued

October 12, 2009

    I sat there staring at Mom because I felt as though she had invaded my privacy. I felt like she had snooped through my mind and pulled out my secret so, I was very mad. When she said, “You have Anorexia Nervosa,” I just sat there and didn’t say a word. I just glared at her as though to burn a hole into her soul. She said, “You have to eat or you’re going to die. Your body needs nourishment and right now you look like a walking skeleton. I told her that I thought she was wrong and that I looked good. She asked, “You can’t really believe that the way you look now is OK or pretty in any way?” I told her that she had a right to her opinion but I disagreed and that I did think it was OK and looked good. As I watched for her reaction to what I had just said, I remember clearly that, she didn’t look mad but rather she looked scared.
At that point in my disorder I didn’t care whether she was angry, hurt or frightened. I had to not gain weight; I had to not get fat ever again. Most of what she said went in one ear and out the other. I didn’t want to hear anything she had to say, so I just pretended to listen all the while I was trying to do damage control in my head. How was I going to keep from eating in front of her now? How was I going to hide my food? The answers were easy, I wasn’t going to eat alone anymore nor would I have an opportunity to hide my food. I decided to get rid of my food as soon as I ingested it so at the dinner table I vomited it all out of my system right into my plate or bowl.
When I vomited at the table Mom became searing mad at me. But…I didn’t care because as far as I was concerned, she got what she deserved. She could yell at me, plead with me or cry, but my fortitude didn’t waiver in going through with my plan to stay thin and get thinner. I had made-up my mind and nothing was going to change it or so I naively believed.
I loved waking up every day getting on the scale and seeing that I had lost weight. I could put both my hands between the waist of my jeans and my stomach. My clavicle bones and ribs were visibly protruding. This fact didn’t scare me but rather made me happy and more determined to keep losing weight. I wore baggy clothes to cover-up my skeletal appearance.
I had lost myself in this disorder for about a year before anyone noticed. Early on my sudden weight loss could be easily explained to finally getting off Cortisone and getting taller. But now the reason for my weight loss was apparent and everyone in my family knew about my eating disorder and tried to get me to “snap out of it.” I was so sick of people buying me my favorite snacks or rather what my favorite snacks used to be. I was sick of people begging me to eat because I was killing myself. I was sick of having my picture taken just to show me how bad I really looked. But…more than anything I was sick of knowing that some food was getting in my system because she, my mom, was making me eat every meal in front of her, except lunch at school. I could at least still control what I ate or rather what I didn’t eat at school. 
I went to school every day like everything was peachy keen. I wanted my weight loss to be noticed by my classmates - after all they had only ever known the fat Carolyn. I wanted to be the skinniest and noticed for it. At the time, I didn’t realize that most of my thoughts were a little warped. Thinking the way I thought fed fuel to the fire; the fire inside my stomach known as hunger.
About a month after Mom realized what I was doing to myself and that it was called, Anorexia Nervosa, I looked worse than ever and felt horrible too. I barely had the strength to breathe. At night, Mom would watch me sleep as she was terrified I was going to die. Then one night… everything changed though I didn’t know it until the next day. That night Mom got to her breaking point; the breaking point where she was going to win our battle of wills.
I awoke the next morning, which was a Sunday, and it seemed that all she did was nag and gripe at me. She kept saying that she wouldn’t allow me to kill myself any longer as she and I had fought hard all my life to keep me alive. She also kept saying something over and over, “It ends today!” I could have cared less what she was saying because this was my life and if I didn’t want to eat I wasn’t going to eat. Umm…anyone who knew my mom, this is where you chuckle and say, “Yeah right!”
That day I didn’t eat breakfast, lunch or dinner and Mom was very angry and scared. She was afraid that I was going to die. After supper she once again said, “It ends today!” The tone of her voice was different; it was very calm and matter-of-fact. I, in my mind, rolled my eyes and thought, “What are you going to do to make ‘it’ end today?” I was about to find out.
I went to my bedroom and sat on my bed trying to ignore her as she talked to Daddy and my sister, Sherrie.  Mom told them that she had begged, cried, yelled, pleaded and punished me and I still wouldn’t eat. She told them that I would probably hate her, but she was going to do what she needed to do to save my life.
Mom came to the doorway of my bedroom and said, “I guess you heard what I said so we’re going have a long talk.” Just then the phone rang and mom left to go answer it. I thought, “Thank God I was saved by the bell. “ I lay down on my bed trying to think of a way to avoid whatever it was that she had in store for me. Just then Sherrie sat down on the side of my bed and I remember her chocolate brown eyes were filled with tears as she said, “Sissy, Mom didn’t sleep at all last night. She was constantly checking to make sure you were still breathing or she was praying at your bedside because she’s so afraid you’re going to die. I said, “Look, I don’t really care; Mom should mind her own business. Besides…don’t you have some dishes to finish washing and drying?” Sherrie looked at me too shocked to utter even an “uh” and walked out of my room. The next thing I remember Daddy was kneeling by my bed and began to tightly hold my hand. “Baby,” he begged as a lone tear rolled down his cheek, “please you have to eat.”  He also told me that he and Mom were very worried about me. I had a hard time looking at him and seeing him so upset, but nevertheless I couldn’t gain weight, so I had to stand my ground. I pulled my hand from his grasp and said with much hate in my voice, “Just leave!” Daddy also looked at me shocked and didn’t say another word as he slowly exited my room.
“Great,” I said to myself, “now she’s off the phone and she will be back in her any second.” I was right because as I looked up Mom stood in my bedroom doorway. “OK, Kiddo,” Mom said with sternness I can’t describe and had never heard before, “I’m making you breakfast tomorrow morning and you’re going to eat every bite of it.”  I told her that I couldn’t do that. Mom then told me that if I didn’t eat, she was going to call Daddy home from work and I would be going to the hospital as soon as he got home. She also made it perfectly clear that, if I even looked like I was going to vomit in my plate, she would call him home then too. 
I told her that she’d better not make me something I didn’t like or very much food at all. She then let me know that I wasn’t in charge and that I would eat what she made me or else.  I was so mad but I was more terrified than anything because I couldn’t eat or I would get fat. I glared at her and asked, “What are you going to make me for breakfast?” She told me not to worry about it but rather go to bed and I would know in the morning.
It seemed I had no more than fallen asleep when I heard Mom’s alarm clock ring. I pretended to be sleeping as she walked through my bedroom to the kitchen. The smell of food cooking made me nauseated and my heart felt like it was pounding out of my chest. I was so afraid to eat. 
Mom yelled from the kitchen, “Carolyn, get up and get dressed. Your breakfast is almost done, so make quick work at getting ready. Don’t you dare piddle till your food gets cold and then try to tell me you can’t eat because the food isn’t warm.” It was like she could read my mind and I hated it. I got dressed as slowly as possible dreading the meal that would be placed before me. Awake most of the night, I contemplated running away or prayed that I would just die. I was so weak that running away wasn’t an option, so I literally asked God to let me die. At that point in my life, I would have rather been dead than have to take one bite of food.
Mom’s voice, “Carolyn, get in here, your breakfast is ready,” broke through my last minute thoughts of how I was going to get out of eating. I felt like people should be yelling “Dead man walking.” I sat down at the kitchen table and the nausea began as the smell of the food slapped me in the face. I looked at my plate of one egg and one piece of lightly buttered toast and once again silently prayed to die. As though she could once again read my mind she said, “You’re going to have to eat whether you like it or not.” 
I thought to myself, as I separated the egg white from the yoke, “She knows I hate the yoke it’s the grossest part of the egg.”  I took the first bite and almost threw-up as I was trying to swallow it down. “Don’t even think about it,” she said. “I will call Daddy home and he will take you to the hospital and the doctors will do whatever they have to do to get nourishment in your body. I’m not kidding, kiddo, and as hard as it will be for me I will not come visit you until you’re better. “I knew that she truly meant what she said; I knew that she never made idle threats.
But…how could she say that to me…that she wouldn’t come visit me till I was better? She knew I needed her as much as I needed the air I breathed.  I had two choices her way or my way. Regardless of what I chose, my life would be forever changed. That morning I decided to eat. I had never done anything so hard in all of my 13 years of life. With every bite I took, the voice in my head kept reminding me that, I would gain weight; I would get fat again. 
I managed to eat that morning all while fighting the overwhelming fear of getting fat that arose in me every time the fork touched my lips.  Once I finished I said, “There I ate your stupid breakfast so I hope you’re happy.” She looked at my plate then told me that I had left a lot of the yoke so I needed to sop it up with my toast. I explained to her that if I ate that runny yoke I would throw-up and I wasn’t going to risk that in front of her. She didn’t make me eat the yoke but she did make me finish my toast and milk. 
The next few weeks were difficult as I tried to eat more and more every day. I kept seeing that fat girl in the mirror but knew that I needed to ignore her. Eventually months passed then a year and then a couple of decades. I have to fight Anorexia somewhat like an alcoholic fights not drinking. On the days when my clothes feel a little tighter or I see that fat girl in the mirror, I am overwhelmed with the desire to starve myself. I know I can’t act on the desire even when it’s eating away at my brain like a parasite, so I just simply walk away. I usually shun the craving to not eat by walking into the kitchen to get a Coca-Cola and some potato chips.


All I Could See Was a Fat Girl

September 23, 2009

    I hated being fat especially the fat that came from taking prednisone. I looked like a Playskool Weebles with a moon face and when I was at my fattest my double-chin had a double chin. So…after I was finally weaned off of the cortisone, I began to lose weight and grow. I grew 3” in one month and even the nurse who always checked me in at the clinic was astounded. I was ecstatic that I was becoming more trim and taller. Though I only reached 5’ 1 ¾” tall it was much better than 3...

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How Could Anyone Love Me

September 19, 2009

    I was about 12-years-old or so when I began to see my body changing and I’m not talking about the normal changes brought on by puberty.  I am speaking of the deformity that was caused by the Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA).  My wrists began to turn inward, my fingers began to bend at the knuckles and my feet took on an even more noticeable club foot appearance. This is also when I began to describe my aesthetics with self-deprecating comments. The thing is…I wasn’t fishing fo...

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Getting Up and Ready

August 25, 2009

    Some days I could get up and ready for school just like my siblings…no problems. Other days getting ready for school was a slow and daunting task and sometimes I thought it was almost impossible to accomplish. I used to say that I wished I could ask for an oil can like the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz…a squirt here…a squirt there and all better. But…that was making believe. On the mornings when getting up and getting out the door to school were at best horrific, my mom did everythi...

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Schools Out For Carolyn Conclusion (Mrs. Battleaxe Needs to Learn a Lesson)

August 21, 2009

I have to admit that the first few days of being out of school were fun sort of like summer break. I slept in, watched TV, played with my dolls and Mom and I played cards, but it got old fast. Unlike summer break, I was the only kid around. Most days, until 3:30 OR 4:00 in the afternoon, I felt like the only kid child in the world, but I knew that, when my little brother walked through the door, he would have my schoolwork and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. 
                I loved d...

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School's Out For Carolyn

July 28, 2009

    During my fifth grade year in school, I became very sick. Our family doctor had passed away unexpectedly and even though he was as old as dirt, it still came as quite a surprise. My family scrambled to find a new doctor that could handle my care as well as the whole family. My parents decided to go ahead and make an appointment for me with Dr. Rahanna, the doctor who was taking over for our doctor. Dr. Rahanna obviously knew little to nothing about Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) or P...

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I Will See You Through

July 9, 2009

    In July of 1981, I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of my oldest sister's baby. I had been having a very difficult year being sick with bleeding stomach ulcers and the news of the baby was overwhelmingly joyous.  I was born with a deformed stomach, so it’s hard to say whether all the medications I had taken for my Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) caused all the problems with my stomach or not.  

The night before I was to have my third Endoscopy of the year, I was sick and more ill...

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The Demon in Me

June 26, 2009

 One afternoon during recess, I was sitting on the merry-go-round just resting as the Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) was causing me to have a bad day. As much as I wanted to be playing, my body was expressing to me more that, I needed to rest. I watched my classmates play and enjoyed basking in the warm sunlight. Once in a while someone would sit down beside me and talk for a few minutes and I remember thinking that was very nice and sweet.
 I was sitting on the wood seat of the merry-...

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You’re Gonna Die!

June 16, 2009

 One Spring Saturday when I was 10-years-old my dad, older brother, David and little brother, Don went outside to play basketball. I was on Daddy’s team…poor Daddy. When they had asked me if I wanted to play, I gladly said yes even though my chest and upper back were hurting badly and I was having a hard time taking a deep breath. I had never felt these symptoms before and being a frightened little girl I didn’t want to tell anyone as I would’ve most definitely been taken to the ho...

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Learning to Ride a Bicycle

June 8, 2009

In the Summer of 1973, I was seven years old, but I still couldn’t ride my little green bicycle without the training wheels. My oldest brother had bought me the bicycle four years earlier. I asked Daddy to take the training wheels off because I was tired of looking like a baby. I was determined to learn how to ride a bicycle with just two wheels.
 My left leg, was still very weak even though it had been four years since the surgery on it and since I had began taking the steroid drug (Medro...

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About Me

Carolyn Rumple My name is Carolyn and I am 40+ years old and have been living with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis since the day I was born. My other blog, Oobit'sJRABlog, talks about growing up with JRA, but this blog is about whatever is on my mind, and I have a very interesting mind. I have been married 17 years to a wonderful man and while we don’t have children, we enjoy spending alot of time with our nephews and nieces. I love to write...poetry, songs and blogs. I am strong because of my faith in CHRIST, my wonderful husband and my loving family.


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