...I was in the seventh grade, thinking that the biggest challenge ahead for me was doing well on the Iowa achievement tests. Little did I know that greater trials lay in wait. At home my parents had already noticed how much weight I lost after Christmas; I went from 102 to 75 lbs. in six weeks. At school, I ran to the bathroom after every class, barely able to hold it through the period. Climbing even a few stairs left me sweaty and out of breath--my home room on the third floor was the summit of Mount Everest. I became so ill one Saturday that I went back to bed after eating endless bowls of Lucky Charms; my mom told me years later that this was when she really got scared, because she couldn't wake me up afterward. Amazingly, I came out of this near-comatose state on my own.
A few days later Mom and I were planning to go shopping. Dad needed a new Thermos, and though I had already downed two bottles of soda, I was already mentally mapping my route to the ice cream stand in the mall for another. First, though, we headed to the doctor for a checkup. The troubling symptoms could no longer be ignored. I wore tan corduroy pants that hung from my frame even with my belt cinched on the last notch. I remember thinking, wow, maybe I can finally fit into those skinny designer jeans now. Nothing seemed much out of the ordinary on that cold, bleak February morning as we entered the waiting room. For the first time, however, I had no problem filling a sample cup to overflowing.