This post is sponsored by Socialstars and Tide, however all opinions are my own. #SmallButPowerful
Five years ago, almost to the day, my wife and I found out that our middle daughter, Jaden, had been diagnosed with both anorexia and depression. As shocking as this was for us, it was almost unbelievable considering our daughter was only 7 years old! When I think about being 7, I think about not having a care in the world; just playing with my G.I. Joes, Legos, army men or throwing around the ol’ pigskin! But Staci and I stumbled upon something we were 100% not ready for. We didn’t really know where to start and we surely didn’t know where we would land.
My Daughter Overcame Anorexia
The doctors told us that children find that when things are going awry all around them, they try to control one of two things: their bowels and food in take. Jaden began with the bowels 10 months before the anorexia diagnosis (just after my mother-in-law was diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma) and the withholding of food didn’t happen gradually; it was an abrupt denial of anything for a week! We tried to get her to eat countless times… spending money on pizza when we did’t have it to spend, just because she said she wanted it. She ate one small piece and it was the very next day at breakfast, after coercing her to drink a chocolate nutrient shake, that she vomited on the table and we decided to take her back to the ER (we had been there one week earlier with the constipation and her 2nd urinary tract infection in about 6 weeks).
After taking her to the ER, we were told to make an appointment with a Gastrointestinal doctor and have her checked out. We immediately took her to the GI doctor and were informed that Jaden needed to be admitted to the nearest Children’s Hospital in Dallas. For me, I couldn’t really understand everything that was going on and I’m sure my daughter was feeling the same confusion — if not worse! Throughout Jaden’s FIVE-day stay at Children’s Hospital, she had 6 doctors, 3 psychiatrists, 1 play therapist, 1 nutritionist, and a handful of nurses came in and out daily. We brought all of her siblings in to see her which always lit up her face. Little did we know that this was only the beginning of a bumpy road that would last into the next 6-8 months.
I know I’m small in a way, but I know I’m strong. – Indigo Girls
After 5 days in the hospital, we came home and began a medical journey with Lexapro (for her depression) that ended up being the worst experience ever for our family. The medicine threw her serotonin into toxic levels and we were dealing with fits of rage like no other. Jaden would become angry at the drop of a dime every afternoon when she came home from school. We prepared for it but cringed when it began. She would scream, bite and kick. I would rush home from work and an hour or so later to help calm her and then we would all cry together once it stopped. This was everyday. We were at one of our lowest points as a family; we felt small and helpless. We admitted Jaden to Cook’s Children’s Hospital in Ft. Worth for a week stay and began to see improvement after weaning her off her medications. After taking her off all prescriptions not related to her physical ailments, and months of play therapy, Jaden eventually began to heal emotionally. By Thanksgiving of 2011, we were finally seeing our happy, smiling, silly Jaden again! She still struggles with the constipation and her GI doctor says it could be a lifelong battle, but her emotional issues improve daily.
Now, five years later, Jaden turned 12 in December, and often thinks she is 16! She is full of life, love and music! Jaden has always been creative with her talents and is a self motivated girl who will never stop pushing and striving for what she wants! As a father, I could not be more proud of my baby girl. She has proven time and time again that when you are down — and you are small with nothing working in your favor — that you still posses the power within yourself to make things happen. You still have the power to make a change! Seven year old girls don’t come out of anorexia and depression on a whim. Much like Tide Pods, you have to be strong. You must have the will to move on and believe in yourself. I would never wish our journey with Jaden on anyone, but I am grateful for the positive outcome it has had on her life. She will forever be stronger — and more FIERCE.
I read something that Steve Nash posted to his Facebook after his 2014 back injury:
“I have a ton of miles on my back, three bulging disks (a tear in one), stenosis of the nerve route and spondylolisthesis. I suffer from sciatica and after games I often can’t sit in the car on the drive home, which has made for some interesting rides. Most nights I’m bothered by severe cramping in both calves while I sleep, a result of the same damn nerve routes, and the list goes on somewhat comically. That’s what you deserve for playing over 1,300 NBA games … I’ve always been one of the hardest workers in the game and I say that at the risk of what it assumes. The past 2 years I’ve worked like a dog to not only overcome these setbacks but to find the form that could lift up and inspire the fans in LA as my last chapter.”
Just like Steve Nash, Jaden may be running with a lot of miles on her, but she is always striving to achieve nothing but the best for herself and her future!