Commentary By Danielle Pelkey

The North Jefferson News

A few months ago I wrote about my struggles with anorexia and bulimia.

I have no problems in those areas any more, but the effects of my stupid actions are still taking their toll on my life.

No, I’m not sickly or have teeth rotting out of my head. My only real symptom of my bulimia is the fact that I sound like a 65-year-old smoker when I talk. This really isn’t fair because I have never smoked in my life, and I’m only 27.

People tell me I’m sick all of the time because of my voice. I get so tired of explaining that I just tell them to pray for me. It couldn’t hurt.

When I got pregnant, my voice got really weak. I went to the doctor and they said it was just the acids from the pregnancy. People really do weird things when they’re pregnant. After I gave birth, the voice was just as bad, maybe even worse.

I use to sing with my mom and sister at church. I was on the praise team at our former church, but as time passed, so did my voice.

I finally had to come to the realization that if I didn’t do something, I was going to lose my voice completely. I talked to someone who told me to go to an otolaryngologist. (Say that three times fast.)

An otolaryngologist is a voice doctor. I looked it up on the Internet and figured that I would have to drive for hours to find one of these special doctors.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that my former ENT doctor was also an otolaryngologist. Not only that, he had moved his office from St. Vincent’s to Gardendale.

Things were really looking up.

I thought I would go for a visit, he’d give me a shot of something and bang, I’d have my voice back. This was not the case. I had cameras put up my nose and down my throat. I know this sounds horrible, but Dr. Levine was more than careful about it.

When all of this was over, I was sent to speech therapy. Not since first grade have I been to speech therapy. Since I have learned to say my R’s, I’ve stayed away from therapy.

My speech therapist is really nice, but I must say that making buzzing sounds in another man’s face is hard to do while not laughing out loud.

I now have to keep a confidential tone at all times. I am suppose to talk so softly that you can’t hear me if you are four feet away.

Obviously, that clashes with my personality, so I have to make others tell me to shut up most of the time.

All of this stems from one little problem that has plagued me for years — my weight. It doesn’t seem right that you would give up your ability to sing lullabies to your baby in order to look good, but people do it every day.

I guess I really just want to make you aware that anorexia and bulimia are real issues that affect real people. I can laugh about it now, but it took a long time to get where I am. So after all the doctors, therapy and hours of buzzing, I’m slowly making progress.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have learned my lesson. I just hope that I can help others avoid these issues.

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