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She nearly died of anorexia, now she shares her story of recovery with others

LAWRENCE, Kan. — It’s been a long battle with anorexia and bulimia and after a near death experience, Danielle Buettner is slowly recovering. The 36-year-old is in a low, but healthy weight range for the first time in her life.

About a year ago FOX 4 spoke to Danielle Buettner at one of her lowest points. She was in hospice and given six months to live due to her severe anorexia — something she has battled since she was six years old. FOX 4 caught up with her as she was recovering, and now — one year later — she’s better than ever.

“I weighed 56 pounds, and I knew that I needed to get better,” she said. She was given just a few months to live when she checked into hospice two years ago.

“I went into respiratory failure, was intubated six times, in a coma for 2 weeks,” she said.

Buettner says she has a long history of abuse. Her abusers used food as bribes causing her to start abusing food at age six. She wasn’t diagnosed until she was 12.

“It’s been a long battle,” she says.

When FOX 4 spoke to Buettner last year she weighed 56 lbs. This year she’s reached a low healthy weight range for first time ever, weighing in at 99 lbs.

“I’ve never weighed that much in my entire life,” she says.

Danielle wanted to share her story to help others and to show how anorexia and bulimia wreaked havoc on her body.

“The osteoporosis, I’ll never be able to have children, I do have a pacemaker,” said Buettner. “I would watch people eat, I would make food for other people, and I would go to the refrigerator and smell food and that was enough for me.”

Buettner will also be featured in her insurance company’s video about treatment for eating disorders. Her peer support specialist — Lindsay Munson — says it’s important to be able to put a face with their success stories.

“It helps to show an emotional piece to what we do. It’s not just numbers and facts, and the bottom line it’s to be able to see that we make a difference in our member’s lives every day,” says Munson.

“Look how close to death I was, look how far I’ve come, and you can do it too,” adds Buettner.

Buettner hopes her story encourages others to seek help. She says she wants to make speeches nationwide, open an eating disorder center, and open a halfway house for people with eating disorders to help others in our community going through the same thing she did.

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