(Sue) Hi, I'm Sue O'Dell,
Madison's mom. (Madi) And I'm Madi. (Sue) What can help
families be successful during the program–again, I have to
say I think first off you have to be honest that your child is
sick, and sometimes it's easy to pretend that they're not as sick
as they really are. And it's hard. It's really hard. It's
hard on your child, it's hard on you as the parent, it's hard on
the rest of the family. It's a really stressful situation. I
think you have to be honest and I think you have to be really
involved in the program and do everything that they encourage
you to do. You have to remember that with an eating
disorder–because on the outside they don't really look sick, so
you have to make the tough decision sometimes and say, "No,
Madi, you can't play basketball." Or, "No, Madi, you
do have to eat this." Or, "No, Madi, you can't leave the house
for extended periods of time." And then using resources– your
family, your friends–use them.

They want to help you. Just to
have somebody to listen. They don't have to have the answer,
but if you can just say, "Oh my gosh, this is so overwhelming.
And I don't know what to do, and what did I do wrong?" And if you
just have somebody, maybe, that can be a sounding board, I think
that's really useful. (Madi) What can help a patient get
through the program the easiest and be successful in it, I think
it depends on the patient. I think for me, I had to be honest
with myself and realize that I actually was sick. For the
longest time I was in denial and was convinced I was perfectly
healthy. I mean, I was playing basketball games. There was
nothing that actually hit me that said I was sick, until I
actually got hospitalized and realized the damage I had done.
But I think kids just need to be resilient. I think they need to
learn to push on despite what they are going through. And I
think that really helped me.

Like, I had a goal. I set a goal
and I was like, "I will get out and I will continue to play
basketball. And I will continue to play soccer. And I'm still
going to be academically strong." This is not going to
destroy me. And I didn't allow it to. And I think if kids can
set a goal, it really helps push them through the program and
they begin to want to eat that meal because if they do, then
they will become a higher nutritional level, or you'll get
an extra activity point or whatever, so that you can reach
your goal. And it was really important to me to get back to
my team and to get back to school. So I was stressing out
that I was missing too much. But I think setting a goal is really
helpful. And I've talked to a few other girls and just saying
you don't realize what you're missing out until–you don't
realize how important or what your life means until you get
everything taken away from you.

Like, I didn't realize how much
I loved basketball and how much I loved school and missed it
until it was taken from me. And so just finding that one point
that can really get you through it, and then once you're through
it, then can begin to build yourself up even more.



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