Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My Other Birthday

I don't have an exact date, but sometime in April is my other birthday. It's the time of year that I celebrate surviving the worst of two bouts of viral meningitis.

Sometimes I look back and am surprised I survived at all. I often get angry at the doctors who discounted me and acted like this illness that nearly killed me was all in my head. It's hard to believe after telling the first doctor I saw that I don't usually go running to doctors and knew something was wrong, she brushed me off and told me it was probably hormonal. At least the ER doctor acknowledged that I was sick and said so, even though he couldn't find anything major off in my blood work.

It was a long, difficult road back. Sometimes you don't realize how challenging things are until your life is running more smoothly. Looking back, I can see that it actually took years for me to get back on my feet.

One thing I have noticed is that most people, when I mention the meningitis, are quick to say, "At least it wasn't bacterial meningitis!" Well, true. I'm "lucky" I guess, but that's like getting breast cancer and being told, "At least is wasn't lung cancer!" Um, OK... three cheers? And the fact that it wasn't cancer is another lucky point for me. Yes, viral meningitis is considered the milder form of the illness and it's not cancer, but that doesn't mean that it's like getting a touch of the flu, especially when you get it as an adult.

Where my true luck plays out is in surviving an illness that kills up to 20 percent of the people who get it and doing so without any long-term complications like deafness or brain damage.

It's fine if people think viral meningitis is no big deal. I'm going to use this time to be grateful for coming out the other end, even though there were times I didn't think I would and one time in particular I actually thought I wouldn't. The truth is that I'm both amazed and happy that I pulled through.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Mike Stanley - Feb 22 1945 - March 5th 2015

Michael Stanley Obituary
Michael Stanley Feb 22 1945 - March 5th 2015

It's always difficult to put thoughts together after shocking and upsetting news. Even though much time has passed since I first heard that Mike Stanley, a retired teacher and wrestling coach in Boulder, didn't survive a heart attack while riding mountain bikes with his son in Alaska, I'm still having trouble putting down words. When I first got the news, I was in shock that soon gave way to tremendous sadness. I didn't want to believe it was true. News this heavy seemed unreal.

Mike's memorial was held at my former high school on April 11th. At that same school is where I first met him and also where he taught science. I never had him as a teacher, but he became an unofficial assistant cross country coach, at least in my eyes. Mostly I remember Mike heading to the higher mountains with a small group of us during the summer in which I was training for the Pikes Peak ascent. He was busy climbing to the top of as many Colorado 14ers as he could and would eventually summit them all.

One of the first people I saw when I was about to enter the auditorium for the memorial service was my former track and cross country coach. He was also one of the speakers. I was deeply moved when he mentioned that he had heard the interview I did on KGNU with Diane Israel and Carmen Cool. He gave me a warm hug and told me that he was proud of me. Of course, this made me want to bawl. I was in tears before the memorial even started, but so were many others.

There were many stories, mostly confirming how positive Mike always was. Some stories made us laugh, most brought more tears. Susan, Mike's wife, spoke, and I wished so badly that I could take away her pain. I wished the same for his children.  It seemed everyone in the audience knew how lucky we all were to have known such a kind and generous man.

On the day I set the record at Pikes, Mike was there at the finish line. I can't figure out how he found the time to support so many people from all walks of life, but he was continually there for students, athletes, his peers, his colleagues, friends, family and anyone else who needed. The last few miles of the race were tough for me. At one point with at least 10 more minutes to go, I could no longer feel my lower body. Even my arms were tired, but through sheer willpower, I forced myself across the finish line where I promptly collapsed. Before I hit the ground, I felt someone at my side, his arm around my waist holding me upright. Someone else rushed to my other side. Mike and Fairview's head track coach at the time, Terry Altenborg, helped me get to the medical tent for a dose of oxygen and a warm blanket. Looking back, I can say that's just how Mike was, always willing to help in any situation. He witnessed one of my greatest achievements in life. I will never forget that moment.

My last conversation with Mike was when I ran into him and his wife at the store. The three of us were discussing a mutual friend who had been struggling badly with an eating disorder. In his usual form, he was trying to figure out ways in witch to help. Once again, he was always ready to offer guidance, encouragement, love and support.

When a person like Mike steps off the planet, it's impossible to not feel a terrible sense of loss. You want the world to stop spinning for a moment and for everyone to acknowledge his absence. You want to fill the emptiness and stop the pain, but more than anything, you just want him back. The world doesn't have enough genuinely good people, so losing someone as kind as Mike hits hard.

In moving forward, I know that everyone Mike taught, mentored, inspired and loved will carry his memory forever in his or her heart. There hasn't been a day since I got the news that I haven't thought about him. I can only hope to use him as a role model and aim to do good in the world.

Mike, on the left, was always willing to offer a hand.

Because it's one of the few things that offers me any comfort in times of great sorrow and loss, I will share Carl Sagan's quote, a dedication to his wife when she passed away:

“In the vastness of space and the immensity of time, it is my joy to share a planet and an epoch with Annie."

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

TOE3- Interview with Kevin Beck

Interview with Kevin Beck:

For more information about Kevin, please visit his website at www.kemibe.com

Kevin Beck

Monday, April 13, 2015

TOE 2 - A Brief History

Lize talks about her past and how she developed anorexia and then overcame it.

For more information about Carolyn Rothstein, please visit her website at:

For more information about Diane Israel, please visit her website at:

Thursday, April 9, 2015


There's a fine line between sharing and sharing too much. One thing I am in the process of learning is that there are safe places to share intimate details and not so safe places. This applies to people as well. A problem arises when you think you are sharing in a safe setting, and it turns out not to be. This happens both online and in real life.

A good example is sharing in a group or forum online. In general, a forum with guidelines that specifically promote ideas about recovery from an eating disorder usually ends up being a safe setting, but that's not always the case. I recently left a group that had all kinds of declarations about stopping pro-ana sentiment, yet every chance the moderator got, he posted triggering content. When other group members called him out on it, his response was something along the lines of, "Get a tougher skin."

What concerns me more is sharing with someone you feel you can trust and finding out later that you shouldn't have opened yourself up for potential wounding. I guess the lesson here is once bitten, twice shy. In other words, find out quickly who has your back, and if someone uses something you shared in confidence against you, avoid giving that person intimate details again. Same thing when someone can't be honest with you. While I generally forgive pretty easily, I'm careful about trusting.

That said, when you find people you can trust, keep them close.

I haven't been writing lately, and it shows. Sometimes when there's a lot going on in life, I isolate and focus more on distractions.

In the last few weeks, I have been working on creating a radio show/podcast that addresses eating disorders, recovery, body image, athletics, health and women's issues. The shows will air locally on Sunday nights from 6:30 - 8 p.m. MST. I've done two test shows, one on Bulimia posted just before this post, and one my own history, just a quick rehash of where I have been and where I'm headed. When I did that one, it was unplanned and very unstructured.

I still can't quite put my finger on all the reasons why, but I felt funny after we wrapped things up with the second recording. It felt like a lot of me, me, me. Maybe I shared too much. My co-host was very kind and assured me that it was not unlike what goes on during AA meetings, where people share their story in an effort to inspire others. Still, sometimes it's hard to know where the line of too much and not enough is when it comes to spilling your guts. Hopefully I will find a happy medium. Mostly, though, these recordings are going to be about other people and recovery in general.

I've got a few interviews lined up, but if you or anyone you know has a recovery story to share, please contact me at ggirl.kglr@gmail.com

TOE - Episode 1: Recovery from Bulimia