BY NICOLAS FERNANDES
A dying anorexic who is a single mother and weighed less that 5 stone (27.9KG) has doubled her weight to recover after fears of leaving her 5-year-old son alone.
Casey Dunstan, 26, of Wallsend, New South Wales, Australia, forced herself to consume enough calories to pack on more than 5 stone (35 kilograms), after doctors told her she could die.
The inspiration came when she started thinking about how her son, Nathan, would start his first year of school without a mum.
The student went from eating a few hundred calories a day and filling herself up on coffee, cigarettes and water, to consuming over 2,000 calories each day.
After restoring her weight in March, she has been able to improve her relationship with her son, too.
Triggered by abuse from an ex-boyfriend’s father, the single mum struggled with extreme dieting, exercise and purging for six years.
Casey, a law student, said: “They told me I could die and I just thought about my son.
“He’s starting school next year and he has no father. He needs me.
“I was actually eating too much for once and it felt strange, but I knew that I had to.
“I would avoid eating all day – first I would have a cigarette, then I would have coffee, then I would drink eight or nine liters of water. When I finally ate, I would go in the bathroom and throw it up.
“When I looked at photos of myself, I knew I didn’t look right. I was ashamed of how I looked, but I was addicted to my habits.
“I’m so grateful to be here for my son now. I make sure I tell him I love him several times a day.
“He wasn’t as affectionate with me before. Now he hugs, kisses and cuddles me all the time.”
Now weighing almost 10 stone (63 kilograms), Casey plans to focus on taking care of her son, planning her wedding with her new fiancé, Joshua, and completing her degree.
While she has recovered and relapsed several times before, this recovery feels more permanent to her.
She said: “I’m lucky to be alive and I am happy with the things I am doing now. I hope that the eating disorder never gets in the way again.
“I guess time will tell. This is around the time that I would normally be relapsing, so it feels a bit strange.”
It led to her losing friends and having arguments with family members over the years.
She said: “When you’re anorexic, you don’t want to go out. You just want to sit home and hide.
“For years, I would lie and say I was sick every time I was invited somewhere. It caused so many fights.”
As she continues to recover, Casey feels like she is improving every aspect of her life.
She said: “I feel better physically and mentally. I’m able to focus on school more and I’m able to have good relationships with people.”