How many funerals?

To all insurance companies, insurance employees, executives, and owners, legislators, medical practitioners, healthcare providers, medical schools, CDC, providers, clinicians, and frankly, everyone, everywhere who is involved in the coverage, treatment, or legislation of eating disorders…

I read her post. Jordan post

My heart sank.

“My daughters struggles are over. There is another angel. I can’t cope.”

I’ve lost count of how many posts I’ve read, and phone calls I’ve received, from friends who have lost their loved one as a direct result of an eating disorder. No matter how many times I hear of the loss, it rips my heart out every single time.

The stories are always the same. The insurance company refused to cover “treatment to outcome”.

  • The insurance company denied continued coverage after only three weeks “because she is eating”.
  • The insurance company denied continued coverage because “they’ve gained some weight”.
  • After only six days, the insurance company is denying continued residential “because he is compliant. Patient can return to home environment”.
  • Admission to residential treatment programs are very serious and should only happen when one is so ill that you can only be helped with such admission…

If it were cancer… Insurance companies would not mandate you fail at a lower level of care before receiving prescribed treatment.

If it were cancer… Treatment to “outcome” would be mandated…by doctors, by the world.

If it were cancer… and 10 chemo treatments were prescribed, treatment would not be ceased after three chemo treatments, with a disclaimer “cancer appears better“.

Jordan Leigh Croft lost her life on Friday, September 27, 2019, at the age of 23, as a direct result of her eating disorder. She had been battling a brain-based, biological illness, an

Jordan and mom

illness she did not choose, for years. Her family fought tirelessly to get Jordan the life-preserving treatment and care she deserved. Jordan finally admitted to residential treatment, and was making progress. Jordan was hopeful. For the first time in years, her family had HOPE. After only four weeks, insurance denied continued coverage, because “she was eating”.  Her family argued “without treatment she will die”!

Weeks later, SHE DID.

Today is her funeral.

A funeral that likely would not be happening had insurance not DENIED life-saving treatment and coverage to Jordan, allowing her to remain in the residential support environment.

How many funerals?

How many funerals… Until there is outrage?

How many funerals… Until we defend that eating disorders are serious, biologically influenced illnesses… an illness nobody chooses?

How many funerals… Until we recognize eating disorders are serious mental illnesses that affect millions of individuals worldwide regardless of age, race, nationality, shape, size, or gender and incur considerable personal, familial, and societal costs?

How many funerals… Until we acknowledge that approximately 60% of the risk for anorexia is genetics… NO ONE CHOOSES an eating disorder?

How many funerals… Until we understand that eating disorders are treatable? Full recovery from an eating disorder is possible.

How many funerals…Until we act aggressively, understanding that early detection and intervention may improve prognosis?

How many funerals… Until insurance companies are willing to cover life-saving treatment and care to “outcome”?

How many funerals…Until insurance are willing to cover treatments their insureds are paying premiums to access?

How many funerals…Until insurance companies understand that most individuals with eating disorders do not appear emaciated?

How many funerals… Until we understand the incidence of death for an individual experiencing anorexia is almost six times higher than their peers?

How many funerals… Until we understand someone will DIE in the next 62 minutes as a direct result of their eating disorder?

How many funerals…Until we recognize eating disorders KILL? They have the second highest mortality rate of all mental health disorders, surpassed only by opiod addiction.

How many funerals…Until we grasp the cumulative lifetime risk of an eating disorder is approximately 5%.

How many funerals… Until insurance companies believe their profit is not more important than a life?

How many funerals… Until insurance companies consider their denial has life-ending consequences?

How many funerals… Until doctors, hospitals, healthcare practitioners, and emergency room attendants are able to identify, and appropriately treat, an eating disorder?

How many funerals…Until all individuals have the opportunity to receive life-saving treatment?

How many funerals…Until there are resources to support individuals and families in communities?

How many funerals… Until healthcare practitioners choose to get EDucated on eating disorders?

How many funerals…Until medical programs include eating disorder training? Of 637 residency training programs that participated, only 42 programs offer a formal, scheduled rotation on eating disorders.

How many funerals… Until healthcare practitioners realize their failure to be EDucated results in a lag time of 5 YEARS between a patient’s first visit to a physician and an actual eating disorder diagnosis?

How many funerals… Until mental health parity is practiced and enforced?

How many funerals… Until eating disorders receive necessary research funding? In 2019, eating disorders received $40 million dollars in research funding, compared with $117 million for PTSD, $262 million for Schizophrenia, and $524 million for depression.

How many funerals… Until eating disorders are treated with the same urgency and attention from the CDC and medical practitioners as vaping?

How many funerals… Until individuals are not silenced by their perceived stigma and shame of an eating disorder?

How many funerals… Until legislators demand and enforce legislation that mandates research, eating disorder training and EDucation, and access to treatment to outcome for all?

How many funerals… Until individuals and caregivers receive comparable treatment, education, and respite care as those that are affected by cancer?

How many funerals… Until the eating disorder community rallies together, stands united, and becomes a cohesive and collaborative people, demanding, mandating, NO MORE FUNERALS?

How many funerals… Until insurance companies are held accountable for the “reckless and cavalier” manner in which they administer claims?

How many funerals… Until insurance companies are charged with murder?

23 PEOPLE WILL DIE TODAY as a direct result of their eating disorder.

How many funerals will there be until we say “ENOUGH”?

How many funerals…Until we are NO LONGER SILENT?

How many funerals… Until we “choose” NO MORE FUNERALS?

 

These are the “faces” of a few of the loved ones my friends have lost. Faces that represent the lives that have been “stolen“, many by insurance companies who have made “for profit” decisions. When will we say “NO MORE FUNERALS”!

Imagine what would happen if we all SHARED this blog…Started the conversation!

Videos sharing the faces of a few of the precious lives we have lost…

Those Who Died too Young

Those Who Died too Young 2 – Continuing the Conversation

Collage those who died

Photo credit: Kristin Bahr

Written by Cherie Monarch, a mom. To contact author email:cheriemo@tampabay.rr.com or 727-422-3668

If you are caring for a loved one with an eating disorder, please join Mom2Mom – Eating Disorders Family Support Network or Man2Man – Eating Disorders Family Support Network on Facebook. No one should walk this journey alone.

If you have been affected by an eating disorder or disordered eating and would like further information or help, please Contact Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness for support at (866) 662.1235 toll free or info@allianceforeatingdisorders.com

Funerals

 

Don’t Judge My Meal Choice!

10 things you need to know before you speak

To all fellow diners, waitstaff, servers, restaurant employees and patrons, school educators, friends, family, and frankly, everyone, everywhere…

Today is January 3rd, the beginning of a new year.  Resolutions and advertisements including weight loss, diets, wellness campaigns, lose holiday pounds, gym memberships, “new year, new you” plague conversations, media, our personal lives, and meals. Almost every message is one of restriction…weight, intake, food variety, portions, in order to attain society’s unrealistic standard of beauty that we are taught is defined by the scale.  Today is the day to start changing the conversation.all foods

You don’t know me. I could be anyone – a nine-year-old little boy, an 84-year-old woman,  a young or old athletic person, a pregnant lady,  a professional  football player, a healthcare provider, a person in midlife, or a 16-year-old adolescent. I may appear to be sick or look fit and healthy. I could appear to be overweight or underweight.

These are the things you need to know before you speak…

1. Don’t comment on the caloric content of my meal unless I ask you. In a society that is obsessed with diet and weight loss you assume that I want to know how many calories are in my food choice. Whether my meal is loaded with what you consider excessive calories, or whether it’s considered a “healthy” choice, it is my choice. You don’t know my health requirements or needs. You don’t know whether I have cystic fibrosis and am struggling to meet my daily caloric requirement (it may take 5,000 calories per day just to maintain my weight). You don’t know if I am a 12-year-old or a 50-year-old experiencing anorexia, struggling to nourish my body, while at the same time questioning the amount of calories I’m trying to feed myself. Your comment on the excessive calories in the meal I just chose may influence me not to eat, not meet my nutritional needs, not to nourish my body.

2. Don’t comment on whether you consider my meal choice to be “healthy” or “sinful”. It is my choice. I know the nutritional requirements and needs of my own body. It is something that cannot be seen and should not be judged by you.

3. Don’t comment on the portion size of my meal choice. I may be undergoing chemo therapy and struggling to restore weight that has been lost as a result of the cancer and chemo. Whether or not the portion size is appropriate for my body is for me to determine, not you.

4. When you serve my meal, don’t offer to bring a “to-go” container before I’ve even taken my first bite because you feel I should not eat all that food. That judgment may impair me from adequately nourishing my body. I may suffer from anorexia and you just stole the permission I had to nourish my body by making a judgment that I should not eat my entire meal. Your words could cause me to question my food intake and could be a catalyst for food restriction.

5. Don’t choose whether or not to offer me dessert based upon my size. It is not your decision whether or not I should be eating dessert. You cannot tell by looking at me whether or not I suffer with cystic fibrosis, anorexia, bulimia, diabetes, cancer, etc. You cannot tell by size alone what someone’s nutritional requirements are. Don’t judge my nutritional needs by what I look like. Remember there is “Health at Every Size”.

6. Do not comment on the fat content of my meal selection unless I ask you. I may have recently undergone brain surgery and may need additional fat to heal, because 60% of the healthy brain consists of fats. I may be pregnant and require high fat for brain development during the fetal period. I may be struggling with an eating disorder and need to restore fat content in my body in order to heal my vital organs as well as my brain; by commenting you are imparting your judgment on me, which could have a detrimental effect and stop me from eating the fats I desperately need. Or I could possibly be suffering memory loss and need additional fat to heal.

7. Don’t comment that I should be eating more vegetables or choosing a salad that is a healthier option. I could possibly be anti-coagulated with warfarin, which means that my vitamin K intake must be closely monitored. My consuming additional vegetables or greens may cause my blood to clot, which may result in me having a massive stroke or even die. Your comment could influence me to eat an excessive portion of greens, which could severely compromise my health.

8. Don’t advise or instruct me as to what my diet should be. Your nutritional requirements and ethics may be different than mine. Don’t impose your body’s needs or your choices on me. You might be my teacher, parent or friend, but you telling me to eat only fruits and vegetables, no fat, may severely harm me; I may be genetically predisposed to an eating disorder. Your instruction may cause me to lose weight, take away my permission to nourish, which could be the catalyst for any eating disorder to begin in my mind and body. I know you would not want that to happen. So instead, teach me about balance. Teach me that “all foods fit” and are good in moderation. Don’t impose your beliefs on me. Your words could damage my relationship with food for the rest of my life.

9. Don’t tell me that some foods are “good” and some foods are “bad”. Foods do not have moral value. You may be my teacher, parent or friend, but your instruction may make me afraid to eat birthday cake, cookies, ice cream, or other foods I used to love. You telling me not to eat fat may cause my brain to atrophy and may cause me to have memory problems. Having fat in my diet can actually make me smarter. My body needs 30% fat for normal function and for my brain to function. Your prescription of only “good”, “healthy”, “real” food might not meet my body’s nutritional needs. You see, I respect you. I look up to you as my teacher or my parent. Imposing your beliefs, your food rules, and your nutritional needs may compromise my health and mental state. I am not “good” for eating a salad, or “bad” for ordering dessert. I understand that your intentions are pure. Instead, please teach me that all foods fill a need –sometimes nurturing, sometimes comforting, sometimes celebratory, and always nourishing.

10. Don’t comment on my weight or tell me I shouldn’t eat something because it will affect my weight. Your well-intentioned comments about my weight could have long-term negative consequences on my health. Whether positive or negative, they could cause me to view my body with different eyes. I may be a 10-year-old, and it is very possible that your comment will affect me for the rest of my life. It may result in me having more body dissatisfaction. It may be the trigger that causes me to struggle with disordered eating, even if I am of normal weight. You may be my parent, have the very best intentions, and just expressing concern, but your comment may backfire and contribute even more to my struggles, my body dissatisfaction and my body image. It may cause me to question every bite I take for the rest of my life. Please don’t saddle me with this burden.

 

When did it become acceptable in our society for anyone to comment on someone else’s meal choice and nutritional needs? Who granted you the liberty to impose your food rules, restrictions, and beliefs on me? Unless you know my personal history and my nutritional needs, it’s none of your business. You need to think before you make unsolicited comments. You cannot determine my nutritional requirements just by looking at me. You do not know my struggles or invisible illnesses. Just because you choose to be vegan, vegetarian, eat “clean”, eat only “real” food, consume a no fat diet, does not mean you have the right to judge me based upon my food choices and caloric intake.

Please do not look at me and think, “You should not be eating that, it has too many calories and you’re fat.” Because even though you may not be saying it, I can read it on your face.

… and frankly, it’s none of your business.

Instead, today, I challenge you to change the conversation. Society has defined the  food parameters by which we measure others and ourselves. By creating conversation and awareness we have the opportunity to know better. To do better. Let us stop judging people by the food they to eat.  Let us not define people’s health or nutritional needs by their body size or shape.

Let us remember that “food is fuel” to our bodies and every BODY is individual and unique with different needs.

 I challenge you to start the conversation NOW by sharing this blog. 

Written by Cherie’ Monarch, a mom with a passionate heart.

If you are caring for a loved one with an eating disorder, please reach out for peer support on Facebook – Eating Disorder Family Support Network Mom2Mom, Eating Disorder Family Support Network Man2Man. Professionals please join us at Eating Disorder Family Support Network Professionals.

If you have been affected by an eating disorder or disordered eating and would like further information or help, please Contact Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness for support at (866) 662.1235 toll free or info@allianceforeatingdisorders.com.

If it were Cancer…

 

To all patients, parents, families, friends, providers, clinicians, teachers, coaches, school personnel, and frankly, everyone, everywhere who has or knows someone with an eating disorder…

Cancer.quotes-If-it-were--CANCER--

It is one word.

One single word.

A powerful word.

When spoken, it’s a word that immediately elicits compassion, empathy, support, understanding, and action. It is one word that immediately garners the support of family, friends, a team of physicians, and will compel people to start walks, fundraisers, galas, go fund me’s, meal support, etc. Cancer will mandate that there be an army of warriors surrounding the family and patient as they walk this journey. And it should.

Cancer. A longtime friend recently posted this on his home page. His daughter is battling cancer. Of course, it immediately elicited my empathy and understanding. Offers of how can I help?

My friend is aware that our family had a loved one that struggled with an eating disorder. He understood that as a parent that this was the worst possible thing that could have ever happened to me. That I would have gladly taken the place of my daughter. That I would have given anything to bear her pain and suffering.  He understood that my journey of a child with a life-threatening illness was worse than my own two open-heart surgeries.

I messaged him and offered support. I shared how very sorry I was for what his daughter and his family were enduring. That I can’t imagine how difficult CANCER has been for them.

I was blown away.  What I was not prepared for was his reply…

“Actually you don’t have to imagine watching your child go through something like this. You lived it. Different disease but just just as deadly, and probably more difficult to treat. The leukemia my daughter has has a very well developed treatment protocol, that is used throughout the entire country, and there is constant collaboration between all of the treatment centers. I know that is not the same with eating disorders. Hell, you still have to fight to get it recognized as a disease, and not just some “silly little girl who won’t eat.” To me your battle seems harder.”

My conversation with my friend caused me to do a lot of reflection. Having a loved one battling an eating disorder is much like battling cancer. It is one of the most challenging and most difficult journeys of our life. Some of us may be battling to get a diagnosis; others of us may have been given a diagnosis but are trying to understand what’s happening.

The difference with eating disorders is …No one is provided with a handbook on how to heal your loved one from an eating disorder. Follow this protocol. Instead we’re left with minimal guidance, minimal support, lots of questions, no direction, a lot of confusion, and no respite care. There are conflicting messages everywhere.quote journey final

You, or your loved one, are a shell of their former self, and barely recognizable. As a parent, you’re doing everything you can to provide care, support, and try to understand what the hell is going on. You just know that a terrorist is holding your loved one captive. In fact, he’s holding your entire family captive.

When our loved one has an eating disorder,  it’s like the whole family has an eating disorder.

What is the answer? How can we help ourselves or our loved one navigate this journey with an eating disorder? How can we help others understand this journey?

When I was walking this journey with my loved one, it really helped me to reframe every step of the process in terms of cancer. If it were cancer…

The thing that is important to quickly understand is that food and stopping behaviors  is their chemo. Without chemo they will die. Without food, they will die.

Every decision, every action, every statement needs to be addressed in terms of cancer.

If it were cancer…

If it were cancer… Would it immediately evoke empathy, compassion, support, and action?

If it were cancer… Would you think you or your loved one chose it? Would you think they could just stop?

If it were cancer… Would you allow your loved one to refuse the medicine or the treatment?

If it were cancer… Would you think that it was a phase? Would you think that it would just go away?

If it were cancer… Would you think they had a choice? Would you tell them just to eat?

If it were cancer… Would you negotiate whether or not they need chemo? Life-sustaining medicine. Food.

If it were cancer… Would you run cancer around life? Or life around cancer?

If it were cancer… Would you hesitate to quickly assemble a multidisciplinary team? Would you hesitate to find the best practitioners in the country? In the world?

If it were cancer… Would you be concerned about geography? Would you care if the treatment were in your state… or would you travel across the country without question?

If it were cancer… Would you even think about school? Would you be concerned about graduations, or college applications, and whether they graduate with their twin?

If it were cancer… Would you search out the best possible program? Or just go with one that’s closest?

If it were cancer… Would you allow a provider to wait a month, two or three until the next appointment? What you wait until next week to call for an appointment?

If it were cancer… Would you schedule treatment around holidays, vacations, school, or summer camps?

If it were cancer… Would you postpone treatment a few weeks? Would you think it won’t make a difference. Or would you start today?

If it were cancer… Would you continue competitive sports, dance, and exercise? Or would you rationalize that their body needs rest, needs to heal, and restore strength and energy to fight this demon?

If it were cancer… Would you accept partially healed? Or would you push for full recovery/remission?

If it were cancer…Would you leave a piece of the cancer tumor, or would you continue to pursue aggressive intervention and treatment until the tumor was eradicated and the margins clear? (Full healing of physical and mental state… no weight suppression, no goal of minimal weight restoration, minimal intake, and doing the bare minimum in hopes of recovery)

If it were cancer… Would you hesitate to share with family, friends, or your entire community?

If it were cancer… Would it matter if they were 12, 18, or 30? Would the fact they were over 18 keep you from insisting they complete treatment or take their medication? Would the fact they were 18 even enter your mind? Would you even consider their adult status when mandating them to complete chemo and radiation?

If it were cancer… Would you let them leave the treatment program before the chemo was complete? If 10 chemo treatments were prescribed, would you let them stop after five?

If it were cancer… Would you postpone or delay treatment because they’re looking a little better? Would you think maybe this is a phase? Maybe they don’t need treatment? Would you even care about the way the looked?

If it were cancer… Would you let them forgo the chemo because it caused them distress and made them sick?

If it were cancer… Would they leave treatment and go right back to school and life? Or would they automatically be allowed time for recovery?

If it were cancer… Would you negotiate treatment at all? Or would you lovingly and definitively state treatment will save your life… It’s not an option.

If it were cancer… Would you let them go to college? Would you let them finish the semester and rationalize it’s only three more weeks? Chemo can wait.

If it were cancer… Would you postpone an intervention?

If it were cancer… and your loved one called right after they started treatment and said I hate it and I want to come home, would you let them? Would you pick them up and allow them to leave AMA?

If it were cancer… Would you care what friends, family, or neighbors said or would you just be focused on getting your loved one well?

If it were cancer… Would you accommodate it or do everything possible to eradicate it?

If it were cancer… Would you be passive or would you be aggressive?

If it were cancer… Would you allow them to drive a car when they were so sick from undergoing chemo treatments?

If it were cancer… Would you validate their distress, yet still require them to undergo prescribed treatment? Or would you let the treatment stop?

If it were cancer… Would you be angry at your loved one? Would you lose your temper?

If it were cancer… Would anyone in the family be upset or angry? Would there be any hesitation to support the family or the patient?

If it were cancer… Would you remember that you have to take care of yourself, so that you can take care of your loved one?

If it were cancer… Would you ever blame yourself? Would you ever think that you caused the cancer?

If it were cancer… Would you be proactive and diligent about following up with your team and providers? Or would it not even be on your priority list?

If it were cancer… Would you and your spouse or ex be working together to eradicate the cancer in your loved one? Or would you be feuding on how to navigate?

If it were cancer… Would you go against the treatment team’s recommendations? Or would you think it’s not that serious, we will wait to seek a higher level of care?

If it were cancer… Would you accept the first medical practitioner recommended? Or would you ask questions and seek out the best?

If it were cancer… Would you ask me or my loved one how did you get cancer?

If it were cancer… Would you validate the struggle? Or would you judge and interrogate?

If it were cancer… Would you be empathetic? Or would you say “just eat” or “quit purging” ?

If it were cancer… And a clinician did not appear educated, would you stay? Or would you seek new expert care?

If it were cancer… Would you have done anything different? Would you have taken a different path?

If it were cancer… Would you accept any treatment to stay alive? Or would it be a battle just to get you in treatment?

If it were cancer… Would you understand why your family is so scared?

If it were cancer… Would you tell your family?

If it were cancer… Would you understand why your family wants to support you? Why they want to be involved?

If it were cancer… Would you tell them it’s none of their business? Would you tell them to walk away? Would you tell them that you can do this on your own?

If it were cancer… Would you refuse treatment? Would you battle your family? Or would you listen?

If it were cancer… Would you understand why your family wants you to be diligent in your recovery? Wants you to have the support of a team?

If it were cancer… Would you think your family is trying to control you?  Would you think that your family is trying to smother you? Or would you think my family really loves me?

If it were cancer… Would you allow your family to hold your hand as you navigate treatment?

If it were cancer… Would you allow them to comfort you when you’re struggling?

If it were cancer…Would you allow family and friends to love you? To hug you? Or would you isolate?

If it were cancer… Would you trust them and want them to help carry your pain?

If it were cancer… Would you run to them or from them?

If it were cancer… Would you listen to their concerns and their fears?

If it were cancer… Would you understand that this is the most terrifying thing that has ever happened to your family? Would you understand that their fears are justified?

If it were cancer… And your student needed to miss school would you hesitate to allow them? Or would you do everything to support them until the school can wait?

If it were cancer… Would you allow virtual school at home until they were recovered and fully in remission?

If it were cancer… Would you penalize them for missing school?

If it were cancer… Would you do everything to support the patient help them reintegrate into school? Or would you saddle them with unrealistic expectations and burdens?

If it were cancer… Would you send cards and bring meals? Would you offer to help?

If it were cancer… Would you offer to watch the kids so the carers could get a night away?

If it were cancer… Would you unite the neighbors, school families, and church members to support the family and the patient? Or would you look the other way? Would you do nothing?

If it were cancer… Would you continue to speak to those affected about your diets, workouts, latest health craze?

If it were cancer… Would you quit asking the patient to babysit because you were afraid your children might catch “it”?

If it were cancer… Would you reach out to the family if you had not heard from them for a week, a month, a year? Would you express concern and offer support?

If it were cancer…Would we be demanding more research? More funding? More grants and scholarships? Would we accept “no”?

If it were cancer…Would nations, organizations, and populations join hands to eradicate?

If it were cancer… Would you hesitate to give your employee time off? Or would you offer them to take all the time their family needs?

If it were cancer… Would you hesitate or refuse to cover treatment? Would you tell the patient or the family that treatment is not “medically necessary” and deny insurance coverage?

If it were cancer… Would you tell the patient and the family that they need to fail at a lower level of care first before insurance will cover prescribed treatment?

If it were cancer…Would you ignore the prescribed treatment of the treatment team and allow the insurance company to determine what is best practice or best care for the patient? Would you follow the mandates by the insurance company medical director who has never met the patient? Would the public and media allow any such treatment of a cancer patient?

If it were cancer…Would a patient be discharged from care without completing treatment?

If it were cancer…Would continued coverage be reviewed every two weeks, week, or three days? Would chemo treatments stop if insurance denied?

If it were cancer…Would the patient or family be battling insurance while trying to save their loved ones life?

If it were cancer…Would treatment be denied by the insurance company?

If it were cancer…Would the entire team – family, friends, providers, and insurance demand early intervention and treatment? Would every one collaborate and communicate to ensure the action was swift and aggressive? And as prescribed?

If it were cancer… Would you let any newly diagnosed patient leave your office without appointments, materials, and support?

If it were cancer… Would you help the patient and the family find appropriate support and treatment? Would you do everything possible?

If it were cancer…and you weren’t familiar with that particular type of cancer, would you align yourself with a doctor who was? Would you tell the family I am going to help you find the best care possible?

If it were cancer… Would you tell the family that their loved one needs to do this alone?

If it were cancer… Would you ever tell the family that their support is not helping? Or would you teach them how to support the patient?

If it were cancer… Would you ever tell the patient they were “not that sick”?

If it were cancer… Would you do everything possible to support the patient and the family?

If it were cancer… Would you hesitate to collaborate with other treatment providers? Or would you feel it’s a necessity?

If it were cancer… Would you listen to the family’s concerns when they approached you?

If it were cancer… Would you schedule appointments in two days, two weeks, or two months?

If it were cancer… Would you hesitate to include the parents? Would you care if they were over 18? Would you let them decompensate because there was no release? Would let them refuse to take the chemo? Undergo treatment?

If it were cancer… Would you think it is serious?

The bottom line is eating disorders are just as deadly as cancer. In fact, without treatment, up to 20% will die. They have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness and they are the third most chronic illness in adolescents. Every 62 minutes someone dies as a direct result of an eating disorder… 23 lives lost every single day!

So as you’re navigating this journey yourself, with a loved one, with a patient, or with a friend, and you’re pondering what to do or what to say, how to support someone who is struggling, determining your next step, questioning what the right path is, please try to reframe it.

If it were cancer…

P.S. This post is not meant in any way to diminish the seriousness of cancer nor negate any families horrific journey with cancer.  It is intended to highlight the seriousness of eating disorders. Imagine if everyone treated eating disorders like cancer…

Written by Cherie Monarch, a mom who has lived this journey.   To contact author email:cheriemo@tampabay.rr.com

If you are caring for a loved one with an eating disorder, please join Mom2Mom – Eating Disorders Family Support Network or Dad2Dad – Eating Disorders Family Support Network on Facebook. No one should walk this journey alone.

If you have been affected by an eating disorder or disordered eating and would like further information or help, please Contact Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness for support at (866) 662.1235 toll free or info@allianceforeatingdisorders.com.