Treatment Expenses for Asia Canaday

For: Canaday Family
Treatment Expenses for Asia Canaday (Canaday Family)
of $50,000 goal
20% Complete
Raised by 229 donors
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

I received this message today from one of my dearest friends. She and her family are in a fight for her daughter's life. Many of us, even those close to the family, had no idea how serious her illness had become.  I hope that you read Mani's message and feel drawn to donate. Any amount helps.

Dear Friends,

I am writing to you today about my daughter, Asia. Some of you are very intimately acquainted with Asia's situation, and some of you know nothing about it at this point. Here's the thing, Asia needs help of the lifesaving variety, and if you are included in this group it is either because I know that you know her and love her, or that your faith and good energy/prayers/thoughts are powerful, or that maybe, just maybe you have some connection to someone or something that may help her.

Asia has anorexia, and is in the fight for her life. We first noticed some issues with her when she was in 8th grade and took her to a therapist, which led to a psychiatrist, and so on. She was misdiagnosed, first with depression and anxiety disorder, then with bipolar disorder. Her father, sisters, and I all brought up concerns time and again about her weight and eating habits. Each doctor, nurse, and therapist we spoke with dismissed these concerns. They told us that when the meds kicked in and her mood stabilized, she would eat. Only she didn't eat.

What she did do was get thinner and thinner, more entrenched in body dysmorphia, more anxious, more depressed, more sick. Finally, after nearly two years, a couple of months ago her psychiatrist diagnosed her as having an eating disorder.

Asia is not just thin and in emotional pain, her health is in serious peril. She has a subtype of anorexia in which she not only starves herself, if she does eat, she purges. She has anxiety attacks, insomnia, her hair is thin and brittle, her nails pitted and peeling, lanugo grows on her cheeks, she has the classic "chipmunk cheeks" caused by thyroid malfunction due to the disorder, her arms and legs swell due to fluid retention, her pulse regularly registers between 40-50, and her blood pressure has been as low as 60/40. She suffers from hypothermia, her teeth are eroding from vomiting, and regularly has bouts of crushing chest pain and an irregular heartbeat.

Due to the severity of her illness, she requires around the clock supervision and her dad and I have worked together to make that happen. I lost my job after calling in so many times to take her to the doctor, therapist, grab her from school after she blacked out (she doesn't go at all now), etc... Neither of us can remember our last full night of sleep, because we are up so often checking on her, taking vitals, making her drinking electrolytes, etc... and because we are very afraid she will go into cardiac arrest in her sleep and we will find her dead.

She is fifteen years old. Right now, she is in a short term inpatient facility, her third such stay since April. They will release her tomorrow, even though she is in no shape to be home. The psychatrist there is wringing her hands. She told us last night that although she knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that Asia needs intensive residential treatment, our state insurance will not cover it until she has taken and "Failed" an intensive outpatient eating disorder program. She said, "I am afraid that if you ever want her to get better, you will just have to figure out how to pay out of pocket. If she were my daughter, I would skip the outpatient, fire her current psychiatrist and therapist, and get her somewhere that knows this disease."

Today I am going to be calling every single reputable eating disorder program in the country to beg them to take her on a payment plan until I find one that will work with us. In all likelihood, proper help will cost between $30,0000-75,000. I could care less about that, though it may influence whether or not they will allow us to make payments for many years.

If you wonder why we are not utlizing a facility in AZ, it is because they are sub-par, have terrible long term recovery rates, and anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness. My daughter has stated that she would rather die than eat. There are NO current treatment options that have great recovery rates after 3 of disease onset and we are on year two. The Maudsley Method, also known as FBT, has the highest adolescent recovery rate of all therapies for anorexia, at 60-80%. This is almost double the other modalities, which are not backed by strong clinical studies. So, Maudsley it is.

If you pray for her, think of her, know anyone who works in eating disorders who may have some ideas for our family, etc... I would be so grateful. She is a wonderful daughter, and I want her back. I want her to live.



Fundraiser Updates

Posted on March 16, 2013

Posted on March 16, 2013

Today marks one full week since our return home. I still owe the UCSD Eating Disorder clinic close to $9, 000. I would pay them ten times that if I could. Every single person who worked with our family was stellar. During the discharge process they also located an FBT trained psychiatrist and psychologist. In our area for follow-up care. We met with the psychologist last week, and our second appointment is tomorrow. We feel like she will be a good fit for our family.

Overall, things have been going as well as could be expected since our return home. We are still in the phase of recovery that requires 24/7 supervision, so I am getting creative about how to work since my usual job, with its long and unpredictable hours is simply not an option at this time. Getting rid of an eating disorder is an awful lot like getting rid of an abusive partner. It is not enough to kick them out of the house and lock the door. It will look for any opportunity to worm its way back in. Give it an inch and it won't just take a mile. It won't be satisfied until you are enslaved, and eventually dead. E.D. is a persistent motherfucker. Given the boot, but we still see shadows.

I know I have said it over and over again, but once again I am offering you my thankful heart. We never would have come this far without you. The road is long and treacherous, but we are going to keep going for as long as it takes.

Posted on February 27, 2013

Posted on February 27, 2013

Good news abounds. This morning it was decided that tomorrow Asia will bump down from the 8 hour program to thethree hours a day program. This decision was made by her psychiatrist, personal therapist, family therapist, group therapists, nutritionist, Asia, and myself. I feel confident that she has a great team and that all of us reaching consensus on this is a great indicator that she is indeed fact, there were people involved in the decision who feel that she is ready to discharge and go home. We decided on this step down instead. Simply to see how she does with more time with just me monitoring her with a safety net still in place, and to give us time to find a therapist back home who is equipped to handle her follow up care. While no date has been set, in all likelihood we will only be here for another week or two.

I feel very optimistic and full of hope, but as my mentor who has been through this with her own daughter so wisely and gently reminded me, this does not mean we are done. It is more like the end of phase one. Our expenses will be slowing with this transition, but I am still a few thousand dollars behind on treatment payments, and the three hour program is a few hundred dollars a day. When we return home, she will still need to see both a psychiatrist and a therapist regularly, too. Your continued support through March while I re-establish my income and attempt to catch up on both treatment payments and living expenses would be greatly appreciated. 

Thank you so very much for all that you have done so far. You all have been instrumental in helping me save my daughter's life. You are heroic,  the lot of you, and I am forever grateful. I promise to pay you back by paying it forward.

Posted on February 19, 2013

Posted on February 19, 2013

It feels like a gross understatement to say that we are seeing huge progress. We have been here for just under a month, but we are lifetimes away from where we started. Asia has been eating all meals and snacks, and she has not purged since we arrived. She had a funny feeling yesterday morning, and it took her a moment to identify it. It turned out to be hunger. This is huge. She is feeling hunger for the first time in a very long t ime. Feelings of guilt and shame around food are vanishing. With weight restoration, her nourished brain is being restored to rational thought process. It is nothing short of miraculous to behold. It also turns out that I was right about bipolar disorder being a correct diagnosis. Under the care of an excellent psychiatric team, those meds have been ditched, and her moods and feelings are completely normal.  As the eating disorder recedes, I am seeing more and more of the daughter who slowly disappeared over the last couple of years. She is reclaiming her life, one day, one meal, one bite at a time. 

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