December 14, 2010
I woke up alone in a hotel room scared of the day ahead – scared of recovery, scared of the unknown and scared to let go of my eating disorder. In just a few hours I would admit myself to residential treatment at the Carolina House for my eating disorder.
In the weeks leading up to this moment, fear crept through my veins, leaving me in a constant state of panic numbed by my eating disorder – run, restrict, purge, stuff it down, hide the secret. Repeat.
And now that the day was here, there were no more excuses. No more saying “It’s not that bad.” No more hiding my pain. It was time to jump – to take that leap of faith, trusting in the team around me and that whisper inside that said I deserved a life free from my eating disorder.
December 14, 2020
Today I celebrate ten years in recovery from my eating disorder. Ten years of LIFE. Ten years of getting knocked down AND standing back up. This year has tested my recovery and faith in every way possible. It has been a year of heartache and difficult decisions and through it all there has been an abundance of gratitude and hope.
Next month I will undergo a prophylactic double mastectomy. I am scared to death – scared of the surgery, the recovery and scared of the unknown that lie ahead. Fear creeps through my veins. I have lived in a state of constant panic. I am utterly terrified and 110-percent confident in my decision. Honestly, it does not seem real yet. After the initial round of appointments in August/September, I pushed the fear and reality of the situation away. I focused on work, kids…basically ANYTHING except the surgery that lay ahead.
This week everything gets really real with a Breast MRI, laying the groundwork for what is to come. If cancer is found, the game plan changes. If not, we proceed. The week after the MRI will be pre-op with my oncology surgeon. The next week is pre-op and markings with my plastic surgeon, a COVID test…and then game day – Thursday, January 7, 2021.
The fear and anxiety I tremble with these next few weeks is temporary compared to the scan-anxiety I would face if I chose not to do the surgery. Both options suck – no other way to word that, but rather than hide under the covers in despair, I choose to embrace the light in the people around me and move forward one day at a time.
Ten years ago, I was facing an equally crappy decision – continue living with a debilitating eating disorder or go to treatment. Ten years ago I had zero coping skills and was truly paralyzed in fear and numbed by the grips of my eating disorder, but deep down I knew I deserved a life free from my eating disorder. Deep down, I knew I was making the scary, but brave decision to LIVE.
This day feels eerily similar to this day ten years ago with one stark difference: RECOVERY.
Unlike this day ten years ago, there is no numbing. There is no eating disorder. There is the brutiful (beautiful + brutal, thanks Glennon) process of embracing the fear, processing the anxiety and living my experience out loud.
In all of the hurdles I have faced since recovery, I find resiliency (and comfort) in seeking the light during difficult times. Today, my light shines bright in my recovery and my ability to choose not just recovery, but hope over and over again.
I could look at this day and/or year in despair or even put on a fake smile like I did ten years ago, but my recovery has taught me that does not serve me well. I will choose gratitude. I will choose to be vulnerable and embrace all the feelings – giving space for sadness, grief, anger and joy. Ten years ago I chose to take that first step to recovery and I will continue to make that choice every day. This year, I am having to make another difficult decision. And just as I did ten years ago, I will choose LIFE. Again and again.