Over the past few days, my fellow stay-at-home dad Oren Miller told the dad blogging community that he has cancer--and something else we all could use.
On Friday, 5/30/14, I found out I had a Stage 4 lung cancer. People in my condition have about a year to live on average, and treatment is now limited to making the next year more bearable. There are other options that may be discussed later, including experimental treatments, and I'm staying optimistic, but frankly, I think I know where I stand.
4 years ago, in the summer of 2010, we were at Bethany Beach, and everyone was having a great time. Our family and some friends were building sand castles, going in and out of the water, and just relaxing in general--everyone except anxious old me. I had hundreds of unread emails and dozens of ideas for blog posts I didn't have time to write, and I was surrounded by too much sand and not enough coffee. I tried to pretend I was having a good time, but people could see I was out of my comfort zone, and worse, that I didn't want to be there.
It was only on the drive back home that I had the epiphany. It was only on the drive back that I realized what I had been missing out on. It was only on the drive back that I realized I had been experiencing the biggest tragedy of human existence: I was having the time of my life, and I didn't even know it.
That was a good day, since once you make that decision, man... You're in Heaven every single second of your life. And it went on and on, and things only got better, because I made a conscious decision one summer day, on the drive home from Bethany Beach, and was able to repeat that decision subconsciously from that moment on.
I have a friend who grew up on a Midwest farm; I'l call him Gene. As a young boy, Gene and his father were visiting their neighbor’s farm, and my friend wandered by himself into the barn. He accidentally knocked over an unlit kerosene lamp.
When the neighbor found the broken lamp, Gene said he didn’t know how it happened.Read more
Do you have a loved with an eating disorder and/or addictions? Then you can be an ally and resource for healing--if you know how.
Whether you’re a spouse, parent, partner, stepparent, sibling, or friend, Joe Kelly's web-based coaching (1-on-1 or in groups) helps you to:
- Understand basics of eating disorders and how they operate
- Effectively support your loved one’s treatment & recovery
- Break free of your frustration with the disease
“Just wanted to thank you for an inspiring, informative session online last night. At times I feel overwhelmed with the situation, but after having spoken with you I feel a little stronger, better informed, somewhat hopeful, and raring to move on.”
“This group helped a lot. I feel like I know smarter and better things to do for my daughter and myself.” - father
“Joe helped me understand what’s happening and I discovered I wasn't alone.” – boyfriend
Joe Kelly is a best-selling author, speaker, and media source on men and how addictions and eating disorders hijack families. A nationally certified life coach, he works with families and professionals who work with families.Submit
1. Eating disorders and body image obsessions have tremendous power over your loved one. She isn’t trying to hurt you, and she isn’t being resistant or stubborn out of spite. These are her own survival techniques and at times will overpower her logic and will. Recognize the disease’s power and don’t take her obsessions personally.
2. Be compassionate. She feels deep pain that she can only articulate through her body. Hopefully, in time she will have words for her emotions.
3. Your loved one and her illness are not the same thing. Remember the person who is covered up by these obsessions--she is still the person you love. Help her to recognize herself as well.
4. Help her to see that there is more to her, you, and life than food, weight, and appearance. Talk about other issues. Don’t let the eating and body obsessions dominate your interactions and conversations.
5. Admit your own anger, frustration, and helplessness. Talk to others in similar circumstances. Join a support group for family members or spouses of people suffering from body image and eating problems. Read supportive books and visit support groups online for help and encouragement.
6. Consider getting help for yourself. You will feel overwhelmed, discouraged, tired and angry at times. Working with a professional can help you to manage these feelings and deal with them constructively.
7. You are her loved one, not her treatment team. No matter how much you love her, you cannot turn her problems around alone. Resist the impulse to battle over weight, food, and exercise. Help her to find a therapist, dietitian, physician, and/or treatment program so she has professional help guiding her.
8. Ask how you can help, and listen for the answer. At times, you can only be in the background, conveying love and support. Other times, she may need more direct help from you. This may be confusing, but she needs to be in charge of how you help her.
9. These problems don’t disappear overnight, no matter how hard someone works in therapy or how good a treatment program is. Recovery is a long, winding road with lots of bumps and potholes. Don’t expect her to be perfect in her recovery. Help her to take one day at a time--you do the same!
10. Logic doesn’t work; love does. Endless debates about food, health, exercise, or weight do more harm than good. Helping her to feel that she is loved and that life is worth living will do more than a thousand reasoned arguments. Some women who have recovered believe that the love of their significant other is what made them hope and believe that they could survive without the life preserver of their eating disorders and body obsessions.
From The Body Myth: Adult Women and the Pressure to Be Perfect, © Margo Maine, PhD, FAED & Joe Kelly