Firstly, yes the TV is going ahead. Secondly, this is what I plan to say - just in case I get sidetracked, get stage fright or don't have enough time to say it...
Back in the summer of 2009 my son developed an eating disorder, but it was weeks before I realised this was happening. Yes, he'd been quite plump at primary school. He'd also been quiet and not very sporty, although good at rugby. Once at senior school he became very sporty. It was a school that encouraged healthy participation in sport and pupils who were good at sport carried a kind of kudos. Ben took up loads of different sports, the puppy fat fell off him, he became tall, handsome and athletic, and he became confident and very popular in his social group. He was positively thriving.
Then, over the summer of 2009, everything imploded. It happened gradually and never in a million years did I worry that my son might be developing an eating disorder. Eating disorders happened to girls, not boys. And, anyway, I held the popular (but incorrect) belief that these children simply need a stern talking to. "Just tell them to eat" and not be silly, and they would.
The quicker you nip these things in the bud the better the chances of a swifter recovery. With us, not only did it take ages for us to realise what was going on, but it took yet more time to persuade our GP that something was wrong. Then we had to wait up to 6 months for treatment to start. By the time Ben started to receive treatment it was 8 or 9 months after the first storm clouds had started to gather. Far too long, in my opinion.
Also, during this time, I realised I had to go through a massive learning curve - more intense than anything I'd done at university. I needed to know the latest eating disorder thinking and scientific evidence inside out. I needed to know what to do and who I could turn to, especially during those dark months before treatment started. Heck, I didn't even know what NHS treatment was available because the GP never explained it to me.
Also there's so much rubbish out there about eating disorders, and so much outdated thinking. You have to know how to sift the wheat from the chaff or you could end up barking up a wrong and potentially dangerous tree.
And all this while you're panicking at what's happened to your family and trying desperately to save your child's life.
On top of this, it quickly becomes clear that you, as a parent, are going to have to take the lion's share of your child's treatment and care. To all intents and purposes you become their physician. Remember, your child only spends 60 minutes a week or so with the treatment team. Outside of that time a heck of a lot of damage can be done, very quickly, unless you fight the anorexia or other eating disorder yourself, as a parent - using methods that have been proven to work for other families.
So you have to know exactly what to do - and then you have to do it. You have no choice. And whenever you feel you can't go on any longer, you have to find a second wind somehow - and third, and a fourth. You are in this for the duration whether you like it or not, because the alternative could be to lose your precious child to this potentially fatal illness.
Because all of this took a heck of a lot of time and energy, at a time when I could ill afford both because of the panic over how to rescue my son from this terrible illness, I want to avoid this happening to other parents of boys with eating disorders.
Through my blog I want to do everything in my power to 'fast track' other parents through this massive learning curve, to point them to the good information and support out there and help them avoid what isn't helpful or is plain destructive.
I also want to show that whatever they are going through, the chances are that other parents have been through it too - and to show how they coped. The Plan As, Bs, Cs, Ds... even Xs, Ys, and Zs - even to start at the beginning of the alphabet again if needs be... you need to devise to find solutions to an illness where logic and rational thinking has been thrown out of the window.
And which could kill your child.
We want our children to survive this illness and develop into happy, healthy, normal adults who don't relapse back into it. Anorexia has already stolen years from our child's life; we refuse to let it steal any more.
For those who might accuse me of being a 'control freak' or being 'overprotective' of my son, I'd ask what they would do if they found their child was suffering from a life-threatening illness. I'd hazard a guess that they'd fight tooth and nail and basically do whatever it takes, even walk on coals, to save their child's life as quickly as is humanly possible.
That's not 'control' or 'overprotection', that's love.
...Or I plan to say something along those lines.
Which is already far too long and a bit like a lecture.
I just want to avoid being dragged down the 'size zero media' route, or the 'diet gone too far' route - and to get across that eating disorders aren't just about eating - they're about all the other changes that take place in a child's body and mind as a result of the malnutrition.
The way it damages internal organs (e.g. when Ben's pulse went down to 29bpm... twice...) and bones. The way it can make children suicidal. And the way it can change a happy normal human being into someone who appears to have gone completely insane... day after day after day...
And the way that rational thinking and reasoning go out of the window.
Oh and, of course, the way it can and does happen to boys as well as girls.
Yep, something like that at any rate.