Through the Tunnel of Love is the story of a young girl's journey through the dark tunnel of an eating disorder.
Through the Tunnel of Love, A Mother's and Daughter's Journey with Anorexia is a personal story that chronicles our family's struggles not only with anorexia, which is a potentially fatal disease of the mind and body, but with each other. I vowed to save my daughter's life and with that promise, I devoted six years to rescuing her from the jaws of anorexia.
Through the Tunnel of Love relates the true story of our daughter's international adoption, family dynamics, symptoms and possible causes of anorexia, and intervention. I share excerpts from our diaries, the pain of setbacks, as well as the power of teamwork and unconditional love. Through our experience I learned valuable insights and techniques that are worth sharing with people dealing in any way with anorexia or self-destructive personalities.
Through the Tunnel of Love explores many topics besides eating disorders, such as: parenting skills, peer, social and media pressure, professional and family support groups, as well as in-home techiques our family learned along the way. Our story reads like a suspense novel with dramatic high points and deep valleys of despair and disappointments. It can also be used as a study book in conjunction with small group studies for parents, and the high school and middle school age audience.
My memoir has been published and is available on Amazon.com. To read the prologue to Through the Tunnel of Love, a Mother's and Daughter's Journey with Anorexia, please scroll down.
Nicole had lost her will to live; she was dying. Our beautiful fifteen year old daughter was killing herself slowly with each passing day. I knew it was calculated and I was unable to change the course of our lives. For the past year our family had been living in a nightmare and I wanted to wake up - NOW.
We sat on the couch, holding each other, tears flowing, our shoulders shaking with sobs. I tried to transfer my own strength to her frail body, but it was impossible. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't slow her journey from health and happiness to the dark tunnel of self-induced starvation that now engulfed her. At this point she had lost nearly forty pounds. And she continued her cruel kind of suicide hour by hour, day by day.
Could we have prevented the tragedy that was unfolding before our eyes? I asked myself that every single day. My husband and I had prayed and cried for a miracle. We had tried to rely on our love for Nicole, God's faithfulness, professional counseling, and medical intervention to turn the tide. But nothing seemed to work. I was desperate to keep Nicole from becoming another statistic: one of the thousands who would live - and then die- in the seductive grip of an eating disorder.
After Nicole and I wiped our tears, I took a deep breath as she managed to get out a few words, but they weren't the words I wanted to hear. "I hate my life. I want to die and I'm going to kill myself."
Up to that point, I had been afraid to tell this fragile child/woman that she had the power to choose life or death for herself. But it was true. And at that moment, I felt so frustrated and hurt that I couldn't protect her anymore. Nicole wanted control - I'd give it.
I responded,"Well, you're doing a darn good job of it. If you really want to die, we can't stop you!"
Looking back to that afternoon in 1997, I saw it as a critical turning point. This book is a true account of our family's struggle with an insidious disease that is largly misunderstood - anorexia nervosa.
As with all eating disorders, anorexia does not discriminate between the famous or ordinary, the rich or poor. But it primarily strikes young women who are bright, talented and attractive. In fact, it is not an uncommon condition among models, ballerinas, skaters and gymnasts. These talented individuals are concerned with their physical appearance, especially their weight. Nicole wasn't an athlete, but she was a beautiful, bright straight-A student.
Because we loved, because we kept hoping and trying, our family journeyed through the tunnel of despair and into the beautiful world of understanding, acceptance, and second chances. I pray that the following story gives comfort and help to others who may face this same journey. Some names have been changed to protect certain individuals' identities.