"Look at my hands!" said Ben in the car as we were waiting for the school bus this morning. "Look how great they look!" He spread his fingers out to show me. Smooth, healthy, blemish-free hands "except where I nicked myself with my model knife", he added. I'll tell you why this brought tears to my eyes...
Over the past couple of years, Ben's hands have been in a terrible state. Red raw and bleeding, especially between the fingers and on the knuckles. The skin was always dry and flaky. Even two sets of prescription cream including steroid lotion made no difference. And, of course, you could see the bones and joints clearly under the pale, unhealthy-tinted skin.
Today his hands were perfect (except for the model knife scrape). Not only is he consistently eating just over the required number of calories for an adult man (a slight increase on last week) but those calories comprise the most healthy, nutrient-rich, balanced diet on this planet. And it shows. Not just on his hands but on his face, too.
And, although he should ideally weigh a little more than he does now, it is wonderful to see flesh on his bones. His spine is still visible to a certain extent, but nothing like the gnarled bumpy spine that used to protrude from his back complete with angry red sores caused by too many sit-ups. Those sores are still visible, but only as brown scars which will hopefully fade with time.
Looking at him today was a bit like looking at our cat and knowing you're feeding her the right stuff because her coat is sleek and shiny, and her eyes are bright.
I told him it was probably because, before, his body was desperate to get hold of any nutrients that were put into it, so things like skin plus loads of other body parts suffered. I reminded him of when our psychiatrist (who is also a qualified medical doctor) warned him that his body was, in effect, "eating itself".
Now, as a result of a good 10 months-worth of healthy, balanced, nutrient-rich food intake, it is visibly transformed. Hopefully any damage which might or might not have been done to any other organs in his body will also be reversed. I'm no doctor, I don't know and I can't see into his body. But hopefully everything is OK.