Clarissa began dancing in 2005 at the age of four. Her mom, Georgia, put her in her first ballet class because she wouldn’t stop pirouetting around the house. She loved it, and kept dancing from that moment onwards. As the years passed by, Clarissa’s schedule’s intensity increased, and she soon became her Russian teachers’ favorite, which was a blessing and a curse. The other girls in her level, who were mostly at least a year older, became jealous, and started to bully her outside of the classroom. Clarissa hid in the bathroom at breaks, and started to get chronic stomachaches from the stress. Her schoolwork began to slip by the wayside, along with everything else outside of dance. The car rides to and from dance began to fill with lectures on my unfinished schoolwork, and her family life began to deteriorate. Clarissa was cast in the lead roll of Dorothy in the spring recital of 2009, but as the rehearsals progressed, the situation at home worsened.
A year passed, with gradual improvement in overall symptoms, but it still was very apparent that Clarissa’s brain had not fully recovered, and her family often wondered if she would ever be her old self again. In the summer of 2011 Clarissa became alarmingly thin and refused to increase her caloric intake accordingly. In September, she had gastro-paralysis from an upset stomach, and developed full blown Anorexia Nervosa almost overnight. She lost a lb a day for a week, until she was 70 lbs with a BMI of 13, and for several days she was eating less than 500 calories a day. Clarissa is a girl who needs 3-4,000 calories a day to maintain her current weight, and at the time required over 4,000 calories a day. Looking back, we think what happened is that her caloric needs were sky-rocketing in anticipation of 11-year-old growth spurts, but without hunger signals, she just kept eating what looked to her like a normal amount of food.
Clarissa and her family were back to daily visits to the doctor, acupuncturist, chiropractor and masseuse, and by Christmas she was “out of the woods,” which meant she was only seeing the doctor once a week instead of once a day, her family had to spend only 3 hours a day supervising her eating (instead of 6), and she was no longer living one meal away from a feeding tube. At this point Clarissa was at 75 lbs, and had grown another 4 inches since she started eating again. Fortunately her family (and God) were able to get Clariss well without ever admitting her to a hospital or ED clinic.
Clarissa’s mom learned later, after she noticed that the symptoms of my brain injury were finally improving, that a high fat diet causes growth specifically in the hypothalamus! Clarissa’s mom had spent the past 9 months pouring coconut oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil and grape seed oil on Clarissa’s food by the tablespoon, so ultimately, while the head injury lead to the anorexia, the anorexia cured the head injury! We are still convinced this was a miracle.