A young woman has learnt of the devastating effects anorexia has had on her, having battled with the disease since the age of 13.
28-year-old Stephanie Rodas has fought the illness for 16 years – at her lowest point she dropped to a life-threatening 55lbs.
Despite her family sending her to numerous hospitals and clinics, Stephanie always ate just enough to be discharged, before relapsing once back out.
Seven months on from a near-fatal incident with painkillers, New Yorker Stephanie, will appear on daytime TV show, The Doctors, to undergo numerous tests.
This will include a series of heart tests, blood tests and ultrasounds to discover how this awful disease has damaged her body.
In an extract of the show, Stephanie sobs as she asks a number of experts for their help to recover from the illness, report the Daily Mail.
Speaking to hosts Nita Landry and Dr Sonia Batra, Stephanie says:
I can have as little as 100 calories a day. I will spend 10 hours exercising.
The 28-year-old reveals how during her childhood she was overweight, but during her teens, bullying from her peers was a regular occurrence:
When I was 13 I felt very hideous. I was overweight and kids would say things like ‘fatso’ and everyone in the lunch room would throw food at me.
As she got older, Stephanie’s family worried about her shrinking frame and at 17-years-old, sent her to a clinic in New Jersey.
Shockingly, rather than help her, Stephanie reveals it fuelled her addiction to the disease:
They took me to a treatment centre. I picked up more tips and tricks from the girls there and it started a cycle of being in and out of treatment centres for years.
At the age of 23, Stephanie tried to combat anorexia – trying yoga, meeting with nutritionists, as well as holistic medics, but was unable to do it and things got worse.
In February, Stephanie’s sister, Janete, found her unconscious in her apartment – she’d taken an unspecified amount of painkillers.
She was rushed to hospital and doctors said the prognosis wasn’t good, with Janete revealing:
For about three days we didn’t know if she would wake up?
When Stephanie recounts the ordeal, she cries, begs for help and exclaims:
There has to be a way to heal?
At this point, Dr Landry asks Stephanie:
I want to know, when you look into the mirror, what do you see?
A tearful Stephanie replies:
It’s not the food, it’s not the appearance, it’s more about how I feel and what that brings up for me. I’ve never been able to feel like I can have closure and move through that.
So the image… I guess smaller felt safe because it reflected more how dead I already felt inside.
On The Doctors episode, which will be aired on Monday, viewers will see the 28-year-old go through numerous tests.
As well as an ultrasound and blood tests with gastroenterologist Dr Su Sachar, she’ll also have an EKG, (electrocardiogram) and echocardiogram with cardiologist Dr. Leonard Scuderi – this is to measure the rhythmic patterns of her heart as well as to check the state of the organs structure.
If you’ve been affected by any of the issues in this story, please don’t suffer in silence, contact Beat on 0808 801 0677, you can find their website here.