This is The Firecracker, my daughter, who turns 12 while she's in inpatient treatment for an eating disorder.
She's dealt with food refusal, literally, since the day she was born.
This is her first birthday:
In this picture, she weighed only 12 pounds.
She was more interested in molding and shaping the food than she was in *ever* eating it.
We "didn't know what we didn't know," and multiple pediatricians told us, "She's fine, just small for her age." Or they said, "She isn't *losing* weight, so we don't have anything to worry about."
She was diagnosed with acid reflux disease, food allergies, and chronic constipation by age two--all of which certainly contributed to her eating problems.
But when those issues were resolved, the eating problems didn't go away.
(You can read her first "Acute Food Refusal" story here: [deleted])
She wasn't growing properly--but thanks to moving every two years, new pediatricians had trouble believing that her growth was a *problem*.
For example, this is The Firecracker with her sister, The Shy Violet. At this point, they both wore the same size clothing.
Now, here's a photo taken 1 month later, where you can clearly see the age difference: The Firecracker was 6, and The Shy Violet was 3.
That's not normal. That's not good. But none of her doctors saw it as a problem.
At age 9, The Firecracker started eating so little, that one day she couldn't stand, and saw black spots in front of her eyes.
(You can read the story of those days here: [deleted])
We did an outpatient treatment, at home, called "Maudsely Family-Based Therapy," and she gained 20% of her body weight in only three months. It was horrible, as you can read in the blog, but it was also a *miracle*.
However, two years later, she's hit puberty, and relapsed so hard, that we can no longer give her the detailed, constant, consistent monitoring that we could give her then.
For a variety of reasons:
These are our four daughters. Clockwise from the top, they are The Shy Violet (9), The Marathon Runner (5), The Supergirl (3), and The Firecracker (12).
Yesterday, The Firecracker was admitted into an inpatient clinic, specifically for kids aged 9-15.
The GOOD NEWS is that she was ready, she wants to get better, and she knows that this is a necessary step for her to conquer this illness.
When we left, she was smiling.
(vacation last year)
She'll be there for anywhere from 4-10 weeks. (Fully inpatient for 2-4 weeks, then able to come home in the evenings for 2-10 weeks of "partial hospitalization.")
We also have INSURANCE, which covers 100% of her costs after our deductible is met.
The bad news is that we live an hour and a half away, and our car just broke down, (brakes went out, plus the air compressor has to be replaced) and we still have to pay $3500 for her care.
Please, don't feel pressured to give.
My husband has a good job, I'm a freelance writer with a couple of paying clients, and I'm looking for a full time job. We're not going to starve, or pull her out of care, if you can't afford to give anything.
However, financial stress, and unexpected expenses, have been piling up on our family. If you can, and if you are able to give without stress, we would appreciate any help you can give.
The first $3500 will go to pay the deductible & copay for her admission. I don't know how much the car repair will be yet. Anything *above* that will go for childcare for the younger children while we care for The Firecracker, or other bills.
Thank you so much.
- Kristy Burmeister
- Martha Nemec
- Jennifer Tidwell
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