Friday, December 16, 2011

The Gifts You Brought Me: Priceless Progress This Holiday Season

Winter holidays are still several days away, but early gifts of gratitude have already shown up at my office. Yesterday’s were particularly sweet to me. Kay presented me with a lovely handcrafted pair of earrings, sold as a fundraiser for Project Have Hope. (Love that name!) 

Guess who knew there were some yummy cookies to uncover?
But I was even more touched by the additional part of her packaged gift, which Mica (canine to the left) unwrapped for me last night. Kay apparently recalled my familiarity with and love of her favorite cookies—Petite Ecolier. Yes, Kay could openly discuss how many chocolate covered French biscuits she consumes, and the pleasure they bring her. Gone are the cookies eaten in the closet—and the car, and in front of the computer screen.

I earned silver yesterday, but felt like I was the recipient of a gold; I loved the sterling earrings crafted by an Israeli artist that my patient knew I’d appreciate. But the even greater gift was my experience of our session. 171.5 pounds she has lost since we began our work together, from her presenting weight until now. 

No, that was not a typo. She started just below 400 pounds. There was no gastric bypass, in spite of the urging of her doctors. She has needed to decrease her diabetes medications as she has continued to progress. And after years of me patiently wearing her down, she is now exercising regularly. This was the most challenging piece to accomplish. Yes, she bought herself a new bathing suit for her water aerobics class she attends twice weekly. And she has been consistently walking a couple of time per week as well. It was quite the gift to behold all the progress she had made! You can read an old post on her:

The other gifts were not intentionally timed with the holidays, nor were they intended for my benefit alone. There was Kate’s decision that life is worth fighting for, that her eating disorder needs to leave and that she needs to accept that a higher level of care is not a failure, but a move forward. Termination with some patients was also a gift—no, I wasn’t losing patience with them—it’s just that they were ready to move on—and I was so pleased to watch them fly.

Wishing you a peaceful road ahead.
Emails with thanks and appreciation for this blog arrived throughout the year— comments from Australia and British Columbia to France and Switzerland, from patients and fellow professionals as well as strangers—tales of a post, or a sentence, even, that made a difference, providing a sense of hope that wasn’t there before, a new perspective on their situation, a motivation to reach for something better than they have. Not all were positive and upbeat, that’s for certain. But having someone reach out for help, and appreciate that support I have given, is quite a gift.

These have been the greatest gifts I could ask for.

Coming up: More management strategies for this challenging, food-focused time of year. Look for it within the next couple of days.


  1. I certainly appreciate the support that you have given - and I know that I am definitely not alone!!
    Happy holidays Lori

  2. Mica is so beautiful!! Glad you are enjoying the season :)

  3. Thanks, Scott. Sorry about the loss of your little one : (