Carla Lamb does not remember being completely healthy. She feels as if she has been diagnosed over and over again.
Lamb suffers from an eating disorder which has led to a long list of health issues ever since.
Although, technically she was diagnosed ten years ago, Lamb said her issues with eating started long before that.
“I say it began ten years ago. In retrospect, that is a false statement. It was almost twenty-two years ago. It took hospitalization at Homewood in Guelph, when undergoing intensive treatments to realize that,” said Lamb.
There were daily and weekly courses offered at Homewood and a behavioural therapy session brought Lamb to admit her problem started before she had initially thought.
“That is when I came to learn I was much younger. When the engrained perception of undergoing puberty, was not a rightful passage for me but a fate of deepest concern.”
The moment Lamb is talking about is her transition from athlete to who she is today.
She trained and ate as she pleased but by 2002 after retiring from training, it was brought to her attention that she may have gained weight.
“Here began my internal dialogue: ‘no I am becoming everything that I promised myself I would not become.’ That fear that was subconsciously imbedded in my one-year-old self, came true,” said the 32-year-old.
Due to the statements about Lamb’s body and weight she decided to buy a scale with her birthday money. She always had a fear of gaining weight and she wanted to stop it before it got out of control.
“I got back on track. Never hungry but losing weight,” said Lamb about how she felt at the time.
By 2003, Lamb’s coworkers started asking her questions and observing whether she ate or not but she had difficulty considering herself as someone with an eating disorder. In her mind, she ate, so therefore there was no issue. She saw her doctor who diagnosed her with IBS.
Then one day, she found herself on campus at Memorial University. She ate her regular breakfast and then proceeded to throw it up.
“I thought: I could have my cake and eat it too,” recalled Lamb. “I knew I had an eating disorder that had gradually, yet so swiftly, changed from self-deprivation to tasting the best and then bidding it farewell.”
Although, her first purge was ten years ago, Lamb realizes now, after her sessions at Homewood, it was a struggle she had faced for most of her life. Though she never physically attempted to indulge in an eating disorder, her mind had preconceived notions as to how she should be and created imbedded fears.
As her condition progressed, Lamb was hospitalized. “It was so shameful. It was somewhere between three and four weeks and I was miserable. I completed the protocolled program and came out at about 95 pounds. I continued to lose weight and sat at 91 pounds. I was more active, not sick. I was eating, just not as much as they fed me. I was healed,” said Lamb.
Although, not what one would consider cured, Lamb felt contented with her progress. However, after having the stomach flu, she was reminded of the changes and occurrence that came with throwing up and she has no longer lived a day without experiencing her eating disorder.
By 2010, Lamb found herself back on the rock and still struggling with her eating disorder, whether it be thoughts, acts or long days. She could no longer be a massage therapist, as she was too sick but she was able to get her previous job back.
Although she carried a happy face, she soon found herself at 78 pounds and could no longer work at all. She couldn’t even care for her dog.
“Truth be told, I loved my tiny frame but I did not like that I could no longer walk the stairs, but crawl them, with weakness and fear,” she recalled. “Thank goodness for my family. Yet my family made me feel so worthless. That is what I was and still feel I am, despite my successes. In my eyes, I am still a failure and that is something I do not want anyone to feel.”
Lamb was admitted to the hospital many times and she cannot state how many admissions she has had since 2010 but she can say for certain that several of her admissions saved her life.
In 2013, Lamb got married and her and her husband have three dogs. After breaking two bones on a snowboarding honeymoon, she returned home and she had to heal before she could seek work again.
Eventually she started working at the ski hill in Clarenville, but then broke her collarbone and had to wait eight months to heal- she was then diagnosed with osteoporosis.
This is not to mention the many bones she had broken and healed in her past.
Everyday is a struggle for Lamb and she keeps persevering. She wanted to sustain a healthy weight so her and her husband could have a child.
“Ironically my husband is a chef and my main concern is that the dogs are of weight and my husband is healthy. I maintain my uncomfortable unknown weight to hopefully have children,” explained Lamb. “In all of this trying so bloody hard to be healthy, not lose my sanity, being out of the workforce, I found a spot on my leg.”
In May of this year Lamb was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (Lupus), an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue.
Within the month, she was hospitalized and was in an insurmountable amount of pain as Lamb describes it. Upon submission she caught pneumonia.
Lamb is just now out of the hospital but still suffers a myriad of issues: pancreatic problems, gallbladder and stomach issues, and two broken fingers that will not heal. She has undergone two surgeries and a pin migration but her bones are so soft they will not properly heal.
“I have had four miscarriages, one chemical pregnancy. I’ve done many interviews, walks, I will do anything in the world to make anyone and everyone battling with anything and everything, to feel strong,” she stated.
Does she fear for her own life?
“I do but I cherish it. What do I do with all of the struggles that I don’t even understand? Do I wallow? Yes, I do. Since I cannot control that self-pity, I aim to educate, inspire and lend an ear. My life is how it is and it is as such, to help others,” said Lamb triumphantly.
Although, faced with diagnosis after diagnosis which ultimately is related to her eating disorder, Lamb hopes her story inspires others to get help and seek medical attention when they are having thoughts, rather before they are indulge in what they believe to be a solution at that time.
For more information please visit: http://www.edfnl.ca/