Thursday, October 13, 2011

Getting there

It's amazing to see how editing can make a HUGE difference in writing. I've had several people contribute to my manuscript. It's getting to the final stages. I feel pretty much done with my part, but there is still work to do with what the editors have suggested. It will be formatted, and then it's off to my agent for round...I think I've lost count, but another round of submissions to publishers. I have a good feeling about this.


I decided to offer another excerpt from my book.


I'm very overwhelmed at the moment, and when I get this way, I often go into paralysis mode. I'm trying to take one task at a time, but I'm getting stuck wanting to do nothing but hang out on the internet for distraction. Unfortunately, I have had to try to get my ass in gear, despite everything going on including my cold, my mom having to have surgery and my lack of motivation.


Last night my cat attacked a roll of toilet paper. I had just watched American Horror Story, so seeing the slayed roll in the middle of the floor in the bathroom was a little eerie, especially before the light was turned on. I'm glad that my cat is willing to take great risks for me though. Somehow it's reassuring that he would attack the toilet paper and leave the remains for me to see. Yeah, he has my back.


Here is the first part of Chapter One:


Chapter 1: My So-Called Life


“An illness is like a journey into a far country; it sifts all one’s experience and removes it to a point so remote that it appears like a vision..” -Sholem Asch


On an exceptionally cold February night in 1997, after a series of seizures, I was rushed to the hospital with chest pain and shortness of breath. At the age of 30, I weighed 80 pounds. I wasn’t expected to make it through the night. However, to everyone’s surprise and amazement, including my own, I pulled through. It was obvious that I needed help, but since none of the nearby eating-disorder treatment facilities had any openings, I was moved to the hospital’s cancer unit for three days in order to stabilize. I found it disturbingly ironic that I was surrounded by people fighting for their lives, while I was slowly killing myself.


Starvation is considered one of the most slow and painful ways to die. The body can last a long time without food. Typically, people who starve themselves don’t die from an actual lack of food, but from related complications. As the body starts eating itself to keep the brain functioning, muscles and organs begin to atrophy. Organ failure or a heart attack is a common end for anorexics.


The entire time I was in the hospital, I was prodded, probed and tested. I was hooked to an intravenous saline drip in order to regulate my electrolytes. I slept in short shifts, a few hours at a time throughout both the days and nights, taking Tylenol for the excruciating headaches that manifested as my body fought for equilibrium. I ate even less than I had been eating before hospitalization, and I was exhausted from all the blood draws and tests being performed. The longer the lab-rat routine continued, the weaker I became. At one point, a nurse led me to a shower where, after just a few minutes standing on my own, my legs started to quiver beneath me. Once the fastest high school athlete in all of Colorado, there I was, unable to even stand on my own two feet. I sat down on the shower’s built-in bench and cried as the water splashed over my skin.


After the third day of tests, the doctors told me they wanted to keep me in the hospital a few more days to run even more tests. I was no expert, but the problem seemed pretty obvious to me: My body was malnourished and completely depleted. In short, I was too thin. More tests, it seemed to me, were not going to reveal anything more about my condition, so I threw a minor tantrum and was released. Sleep deprived, emotionally spent and bruised from all the IV’s and other needling, I headed home. The freedom of merely being outside in the fresh air after three solid days of being stuck in the hospital was overwhelming.


There are people whose lives are complicated by some kind of addiction all around. Many of these people are in denial or accept their addiction as part of who they are, often adhering to the adage, “once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.” There are others who live with the agony of knowingly operating below their true potential, yet are unable to change. They are intelligent and honest, open about their self-inflicted enslavement, yet completely frustrated by their inability to stop their self-sabotaging behavior. However, there are a lucky few who see beyond their addiction, finding both the courage and the astounding strength to break free from their addictions and jump full force into the unknown territory of recovery.


Heidi is one of these lucky few. I met her shortly before I wound up in the hospital. Over time, she became my mentor and my friend, my counselor and my inspiration. Radiant and strong, Heidi is the kind of person who lights up the room when she enters, a goddess if there ever was one. Her compassion and wisdom go far beyond the realm of what is considered normal in this world. I was immediately drawn to her.


When she was young, Heidi was bulimic. Over time, she forced herself to throw up so much that the acid from her stomach began to irritate her esophagus. At one point, she vomited so much blood that she nearly died right there on her bathroom floor. As she lay with her head on the floor, half passed out, Heidi decided she didn’t want to die, that there had to be a way out. And just like that, she stopped binging and purging. It’s almost unheard of to have the bravery and the will to do something like that, but Heidi had an idea that a brilliant destiny and a better life were awaiting her. She became one of the few women I know who fully beat an eating disorder. I know a lot of women in various stage of recovery; a few have found a way out. Heidi is one of these few.


The rest of the chapter deals with my low point and how I got there. Really, I just wanted to post something of interest, because while I have been working on the rewriting and editing, I haven't been blogging anything substantial lately.

4 comments:

  1. wow...this is something i have never ever read.very detailed analysis.
    This is indeed a great post, I would surely love to know more about it. I will look forward to see more
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  2. That was good.

    Yes, I'm with you on the editing. Once heard a famous author say "there's no such thing as good writing, just good re-writing."

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  3. Thank you, Ewen. I definitely agree with the re-writing comment!

    ReplyDelete

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