GOOD ENOUGH By Cynthia Nappa Bitter

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Synopsis: An inspiring memoir of victory over anorexia and bulimia.

                   
Thin - In Name Only
Chapter 6 (Partial Chapter)

        I couldn't fight destiny any longer. I had no other wants, no other needs. Life became a blur as the merry-go-round I had gaily jumped upon whirled faster. I was eighteen and sought only one goal: to be thin. A discovery that continued to elude me. And it wasn't long until the routine that had once energized me, now zapped all my energy. I, who had hiked unknown trails, run through open fields, played with friends, teased my siblings, who loved life, suddenly found it an exhausting effort to do any thing more than sit. And I couldn't get off the merry-go-round.
        Not when there was still a chance at the brass ring.
        Not when thin could win.

        My weight plummeted to 72 pounds, and I spent the rest of the year in and out of the hospital. The doctors scratched their heads, biopsied my saliva glands to understand their grotesque swelling, and came up with inconclusive findings. I was dying and nobody knew why or how to save me.

        I wrapped an afghan around my body and curled up on the couch. It was so cold in the house. Despite my layers of clothing and the thickness of the afghan's multicolored
yarns, I still shivered. I snuggled my aching bones into the soft sea of cushions as
murmuring voices drifted out from the kitchen. Debbie and Hank had come to visit.
        "Debbie, why don't you try to talk to your sister again. Maybe she'll listen to
you." Mom's hushed whisper carried to my ears.
        "No, Mom. She won't talk to me."
        "Go on," Hank urged, too. "Talk to your sister."
        Their voices faded, while I rested, safely cocooned, and dozed into oblivion.
        "Hi, Cindy," Debbie said. She walked over to the couch and sat down on its edge.
"How are things going?" Her voice was hesitant, her hands picked at non-existing lint on
the couch.

        "Fine," I murmured, and sank further into an internal haziness.
        "Is there anything you'd like to talk about?"
        "No."

        Debbie sat for a few more minutes more, then reached over and hugged me. She stood up and walked back into the kitchen. Oh, Debbie, please come back! Don 't go. I wish I could talk to you, but I can '1. I don 't know what 's wrong. It doesn 't make sense to me either. The unspoken thoughts slid into the dark recesses of my mind, and I remained lost.

        Frustrated with his inability to diagnose this senseless condition, my internist admitted defeat and suggested we find another doctor. But Dr. Taylor refused to give up. He worried over my rapidly deteriorating health, and tried to help in any way he could. Unfortunately, his specialty limited what that help could be. Still, his dedication and caring manner kept him searching for answers.

Five months shy of my nineteenth birthday and for the seventh time in as many months, I was hospitalized. In an effort to control the swelling and the facial discomfort it produced, Dr. Taylor cut the nerves leading to my parotid glands (salivary glands located underneath each ear). After a week in the hospital, I returned home. At a post-operative exam, Dr. Taylor gently examined my swollen face. "Cindy, I want you to tell me how you feel. I don't want your parents or anybody else to tell me. I want you to tell me what's bothering you. Do you understand it's okay to tell me what's on your mind?"
        I lowered my head. "Okay," I responded softly. But I don 'r know how I feel.
        "Cindy, I want you to call me any time something is troubling you. You have my
phone number. You know you can call me if you should need to talk." I nodded. "And,"
he continued, "you don't need to show me your feelings. You can say how you feel and I
will hear you."

        We walked out to the waiting room and he motioned for my parents to join us.
"Cindy, I want to talk to your parents for a moment, okay?" I watched them disappear
into his office. Twenty minutes passed before they emerged. It would be many years later before I learned that Dr. Taylor had shared his concerns that something abnormal was going on in my body, and in my mind. He didn't know what it was, but he feared for me. He urged my parents to persist in their efforts to get proper help. "Without it," he
announced gravely, "Cindy, will surely die."

        "Cindy, please, won't you eat something?" Mom pleaded. "I made some pasta fazul. You like that."
        "I'm not hungry, Mom." My stomach growled hungrily as the aroma of one of my favorite Italian dishes drifted temptingly out of the kitchen. God! I wish I could eat. But I can 't. Because if I did, all that fat that I worked so hard to get rid of would come back. My thighs finally looked small. Now when I stood sideways in front of a mirror, I could see that they formed a straight, sturdy line. No curves, no bulges, no soft, pudgy flesh to mar their sharp definition. No. Now that I had finally got my thighs to look good, I couldn't risk eating.

        "But honey, you're so thin! You must eat something," she worried. "You're
turning into a skinny-mini. How about some chicken soup? I could put some little noodles in it and maybe just a few carrots. .. ." She was desperate. Surely there was something I would eat.

        "No, Mom. I'm not hungry." I was starving. All I could think about was food.Mom's pleas had not fallen on deaf ears. I wanted to please her almost as much as I wanted to lose weight. But the tug-of-war between her wants and my own desires was confusing. It was my body ... wasn't it? Why couldn't people just love me for the way I
was, and not for how much I weighed?

        Irrational thoughts. The lower my weight, the even more irrational the reasoning.
My world had become reduced to--food. The more I wanted, the more I could not have. Food was the enemy, and I no longer cared why..............

Size: 6" X 9.25 "
ISBN: 0-9657755-6-9
List: $14.95 Paperbound
Pages: 293
Publication Date: 1998