This I Believe

Isabelle - Crozet, Virginia
Entered on June 4, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family, illness, love
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A Little T.L.C. and a 2,000-Calorie Smoothie

As quickly as a summer thunderstorm ruins a warm sunny day, my sister’s illness hit my family. Hard. Fast. With no warning. It was as though my sister who was once happy, healthy, and brilliant was now a shell of what she once was. As my family grasped frantically for threads to a treatment that did not exist my sister lost more and more weight, until food became a life and death matter, with my sister fighting help every step of the way. Suddenly the path to recovery became clear: simply to make my sister eat. Which is why I believe in the 2,000-calorie smoothie made each morning by my mother.

Each day, my mother would make my sister a 2,000-calorie smoothie, although my sister did everything in her power to refuse drinking what she deemed as a “drink from Satan.” My mother remained patient with her, even after she pulled numerous tricks, such as hiding a cup in another room to spit out the smoothie into. Sometimes my mother sat at the table for hours waiting for her to finish her smoothie and the crossword puzzle she did to take her mind off the calories. The tricks my sister had up her sleeve were endless, and it seemed that my mother’s once brilliant idea had failed. The relentless fighting from my sister, and the undying love from my mother, continued as my sister slowly regained the pounds she had shed. We had heard, from other families going through the same suffering, that once they reach a hundred pounds, treatment becomes easier. However one hundred was the number my sister feared most. For almost five weeks, she kicked the intensity of her tricks up a notch, determined to keep her weight at ninety-three pounds. With a little help from Paxil, one of the many drugs my sister was prescribed during the summer, she reached a hundred pounds, and like predicted she fought less and ate more. As a wave of relief flooded over my family, we were encouraged by the progress, continuing to regain the sister and daughter that had once brightened our lives. Slowly but surely, in four more weeks, she was as healthy as ever. However without the help of the strawberry blueberry smoothie she drank each day to ensure a high number of calories per day, the treatment plan would have failed before day one. Although her illness is still clear today she often complains about feeling fat and having no friends, with love from my family, and calming drugs she is able to suppress the urge to starve her.

Mention of the smoothie in my house is still reason for anyone to cry both tears of joy and sadness. Although the illness hit like a storm on a summers day, it didn’t pass quite as fast, instead of leaving a small stamp on the future, like wet grass and a closed pool for the afternoon, it left a permanent stamp on my family and sister alike, as we still feel the effects of Anorexia Nervosa daily, two years from the awful two years we lived through. Which is why I believe in the power of tender love and care and the 2,000-calorie smoothie that worked together to save my sister’s life.