This is when the really crazy stuff happens. So, let’s get this show on the road.
About a month into stepping into no TPN territory, I decided that selling insurance wasn’t working out. In October, I started another job as a nanny. I don’t know what possessed me to think I could do that rodeo again, especially without the support of TPN nutrition? But I tried. This time the arrangement was not a live-in situation, so at least I was able to go home to get away from work!
During this time, I truly only did work in my life. I was always too exhausted to do anything outside of work. Even on weekends, I laid around trying to keep up with myself. It was terrible. At the same time, I still managed to have some fun. I planned a Halloween party at my little downtown no-window apartment. I got together with friends when I felt like it and was able to. I painted my entire apartment because I was allowed to do whatever I wanted with it. So, while I was exhausted the majority of the time, I was still living a full life.
I found myself in the hospital a couple of times during this short period. Ultimately, we (me and the parents of the kids I was taking care of) came to the conclusion that this was just too much for me, I probably needed to start taking better care of myself. Next thing, I found myself moved back into my dad’s house so I was able to live without having to find a way to pay rent. As a result, I was able to quit the intense jobs that were landing me in the hospital right and left.
Fortunately, I received a timely message from a sweet friend named Pat. He’s an accountant and he asked if I would be able to work a couple hours every day for him in his office. This was exactly what I needed. It was a low stress job where I could make enough money to at least keep me afloat.
At this point, I was able to work when I felt up to it. I was consuming as many calories as possible and it didn’t matter what those calories consisted of just as long as I was maintaining my weight. I ate a lot of Blue Bell ice cream, Sonic cheeseburgers and cups of tiny bits of coffee with half a cup of cream. I spent my free time when I felt good decorating my room, working on crafty projects, going to church and spending time with my friends.
About this time was when the Pretty Couch Potato idea came to be. I just doodled around, and one day this came out of it. It’s hung wherever I’ve lived ever since as a reminder that “Sometimes it’s okay to be a pretty couch potato.”
While I felt like I was doing okay, there were huge red warning lights flashing that things might not be going so well. I had to cut all my hair off because it was thinning so badly due to my lack of adequate nutrition. I never weighed myself, which was another red warning light that deep down I knew I wasn’t doing great. I kept on going though, having fun and doing all the things that I could.
At some point in 2013 (I’m into Lauren documented time now and it is not nearly as detailed or nicely done as when my dad was doing it!), I got on board with some folks who had the best intentions of helping to “heal me.” Not to throw these practices under the bus, but they were chiropractors and people who believed that all I needed to do was change what I ate to heal myself. They used this word “heal” with me constantly. “Heal” is a really heavy word. But when you are so desperate for healing, you will grasp at anything you can that might be the source of healing to your body.
I remember being on the phone with my friend, Cale. I teared up telling him how excited I was that these people were so confident in my ability to be healed with these methods of chiropractic and diet. I remember telling him that I was really excited to possibly be able to go running and not be scared of running off all my calories (not that I’ve ever been a runner, but for some reason this was some dream I had at that time.) I had such high hopes for this to all turn me into some brand new person.
I don’t remember exactly what happened with the first chiropractor – maybe I just got tired of driving the half hour to his office three days a week. At this point, someone told me about a chiropractor who was related to someone I was close to at the church I was attending. They took me to his office for an introduction. During this meeting, I was told about some new products they had discovered and trusted their health with – lots of supplements.
This chiropractor took me aside and told me he couldn’t believe I was in the state I was in (I looked VERY rough at this point). He said he wanted to help me in any way that he could at no cost to me. He believed in himself and these products so much that he was sure he could cure me 100%. Once again with the curing or healing or whatever word they chose to use.
He also wanted to take a photo of me to send with a message directly to the man who had developed these supplements to get his advice and opinion. This man also said I was totally curable because he was certain that I had parasites.
As a side note – keep in mind that these people did absolutely no research on my diagnosis or background. They didn’t bother to look at any of my lab work nor did they have medical background on anything I’d previously gone through. All they knew was that I’d been on IV nutrition for several years and looked like a skeleton.
They provided me supplement after supplement. They gave me several beyond disgusting things to drink every day. They put me on a diet that was the complete opposite of anything I’d ever known. My diet had always pretty much consisted of sugar and carbohydrates because those were essentially the only foods my gut could handle. Instead, I was told to eat protein and vegetables EXCLUSIVELY. This change in diet was crucial to their plan for me because they were treating me for parasites. Parasites survive and thrive on sugar.
You guys, I was eating baby food out of a jar because I knew dang well that I could not eat normal vegetables and be even remotely close to tolerating them.
I knew deep down that this ‘treatment’ was probably not going to end well. But what are you supposed to do when you’ve never heard the words “heal” and “cure” used in reference to your case? Say “No!” to the free treatment and run away? In looking back, that would have probably been the best plan. Had I kept up with my GI doctor, she probably would have kidnapped me and took me under her wing. But I had totally abandoned the doctor/medical side of my life. I felt so free without being held down by the mandatory monitoring required by TPN usage.
I know that my dad was really worried about me and my health. He saw me every day and could see the downward spiral I was in. But he always tried to support me in whatever I felt was right. I remember being so weak that I asked him to go downstairs to get my beyond disgusting shots of wormwood and some gross thing from the Genesis line after we’d watched a movie. He brought them up, I shot them back as quickly as possible and they came back up immediately.
I also hadn’t gone to the restroom in a couple of weeks even with multiple interventions using various medications and methods that had always worked for me. My belly was gigantic and I could barely get out of bed without having a hand to pull me up.
For some crazy reason (mostly that crazy thing where you decide to ignore every terrible thing going on with your body), I volunteered to dog and house-sit for some friends over a weekend. They lived in a three story townhouse. Stairs were NOT good and there was no way to avoid them. I had to call my mom to come stay with me because I simply couldn’t do it. I couldn’t get my own self up out of bed – much less take the dogs downstairs so they could go outside.
My mom was very concerned when she saw the state I was in. I kept telling her exactly what the people who were “healing me” were telling me. “It’s okay, mom. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.” This is the line that almost killed me. This is what they would say over and over. I would tell them I hadn’t gone to the bathroom in weeks. “It’s going to get worse before it gets better.” I’d tell them I could keep nothing that went into my mouth down, not even the supplements. “It’s going to get worse before it gets better.” I’d tell them I literally could not get myself out of a bed without someone helping me. “It’s going to get worse before it gets better.”
This is all so very hard to write. It’s even hard to remember this me because many of the most difficult memories are so deeply repressed. This me that after years of advocating for herself fell for the things that she knew were absolutely not leading her in a healthy direction. Honestly, I’m in tears over it because unfortunately, this is the turning point where things got really, really bad. But I’ll save the next part of the story for tomorrow.