Fizzy McFattypants

Hello my loves!

The internet has been aflutter for some time (forever, maybe?) about topics like fat shaming, fat phobia, fat this, fat that, and OMG FAT.

I read the articles, and nod along sometimes. Most things are good with a simple message: Don’t be a judgmental prick.

That’s basic and awesome, and I approve.

We don’t know what it’s like to walk a mile in someone else’s flip-flops, so basically, SHHH.

Every once in a while, my wandering eyes reach the comments section.

I know, I know. Don’t read the comments. Ever. Rookie mistake. I have no one to blame but myself.

But really, I am always shocked. Undoubtedly, a lot of the hateful things I read are trolly types getting their trolly bits off trying to rile up the Interwebz.

But some people really don’t seem to get it. They think things like fat shaming/bias don’t really exist.

Since the topic is vast, I thought I’d stick to one little corner of it that I find particularly important.

In all the posts about Fatphobia and the like, it’s always mentioned how doctors can be dicks to fat people.

I think this really needs to be focused on. Like, a lot.

It’s a huge problem. And I don’t mean in that I’ve seen people online talk about how this person they knew that one time dealt with something so it must be true. I mean, I’ve witnessed in very real life how doctors are dismissive of patients who are deemed “fat” by their standards.

When my mom was pregnant with my brother, she was getting some static from her doctors about a sudden increase in her weight near the end. Because she was overweight, they just kept telling her to eat less. She got to the point she was barely eating at all trying to follow the doctor’s orders.

See, it turned out she’d gone pre-eclamptic and no one was paying any attention because, hey, FAT. By the time they caught it, it had devolved to where they literally had to rush her into surgery to get her son out, and they weren’t certain if she or the baby would make it.

A few years later, my mom was dealt a solid punch to the face by being diagnosed with endometrial cancer. Her doctor was so hideous to her about weight being the root of all her evils, my mom developed a crippling complex about doctors.

For years she refused to see even a GP. And I mean like, decades, guys. We all pushed her, but she knew no matter what she went in for, they’d just chalk her symptoms up to fatness and send her on her way.

A few years ago, I got a panicked call from my dad late at night saying my mom wasn’t well but he couldn’t get her to agree to go to the doctor.

I think this might have been the first time I ever openly swore at my parents. I think it went something along the lines of, “I don’t care what the hell you have to do, duct tape her ass and throw her in the trunk, GET HER TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM RIGHT THE EFF NOW I WILL MEET YOU THERE.”

And they did.

My mom had been sick for awhile, it seemed. She was scared to tell us because she knew we would force her to go to the doctor.

Turned out she had pulmonary emboli. In case you aren’t familiar with the term, it means she had multiple blood clots in her lungs.

According to the triage doc, she also had hours to live.

And even still, as we all rushed around trying to save her life, a nurse made a snide comment about her weight.

I mean, the fuck, guys.

I stood guard like a rabid beast of fury during her hospital stay. I challenged anyone to say these things about her to me. The first nurse was the only one. (I may have reacted less than politely. I’m not sorry.)

My mom made it out okay in the end. And now she spends more time at doctor’s offices than doctors do because I am kind of stubborn ass and won’t let anything slide now. Sorry, Mom. I loves ya too much to not.

By the by, random fact. Two of her siblings died from pulmonary embolisms. Turns out they have some kind of genetic marker that may be a new signifier for blood clots. So kind of a, “The good news is they are going to name a disease after you!” type situation.

So. Anyway. I’ve learned not to stand for that kind of nonsense, you see. I will be the advocate in there snapping fingers and trying to look tough to make sure people get treated with respect, yeah?

I’m sure you can imagine my surprise when after I had my son, I went to the doctor to get put back on the heart medication I couldn’t take when pregnant and we had…a situation.

A little background: I’ve been on multiple heart medications since the age of 22 when I was a nonsmoking, non-drinking vegetarian who worked out five days a week, did yoga in addition to that every day, and was FIT yo. My heart is just wonky. The docs said it is hereditary, although I’m adopted so we had to assume.

In I went to get back on my meds, still a big squishy mess of OH HAI I JUST GAVE BIRTH TO A TEN POUND BABY and I wasn’t treated with what I’d call respect.

“You know, if you lost weight, you probably wouldn’t need these medications anymore.”

Erm. Wha?

I informed the doc of my history, which I am sure he had in front of him on the computer, but he wasn’t impressed. Because I was fat, ya see.

In that same appointment, I mentioned issues with my migraines (which I’ve been dealing with since the age of twelve.) and lo and behold, my sudden fatness must have been causing them, too.

The last thing I brought up while I was there was that my knees had been hurting for about a year, and I wondered if I needed to be concerned.

Direct quote from my doctor: “Well, your knees hurt because you’re fat. Stop being fat, your knees will stop hurting.”

Two years ago, I went to see a specialist for my spine (I have spina bifida, if you were curious. Yes, I sound like a defective toy.) and was supposed to have some kind of injection or similar.

Nope. The doc met me and decided against it. Cause I was fat. He then spent fifteen minutes explaining how exercise works to me.

Seriously.

“Now, you have to start slow. Someone in your shape can’t handle much. But it’s like a frog. If you put it in a pot of boiling water, it will hop right out. Like you and exercise. If you do too much, you’ll quit.”

Did I finally lose my cool after the fifteen minutes of being compared to a fat frog?

I really did.

Did I yell in his face, stomp out, slam a door, and get asked to not return?

Yeeeeeeeeaaaaaaah.

I’m probably lucky to have not been arrested…

Cut to a few months ago. I hadn’t been to a doctor in a hot minute. I’d call to have my medications refilled, but I wasn’t about to go in unless I had to.

Here’s how I saw potential visits going:

Sinus infection? YA FATTY.

Earache? PUT DOWN THE PIE.

Broken arm? FATTY MCFATTYPANTS

Without even realizing it, I’d sequestered myself just like my mom had. I stood up for myself when these things happened, but I also took it all to heart without knowing it.

It’d been about nine months since I’d seen the doc. And during that nine months, I’d lost weight.

I wish I could say I’d gotten all inspired and started cross training or something. I really just ate less and chased a toddler around trying to keep him alive and our house from burning down. And I only ate less because have you ever tried to eat with a toddler? It’s like eating in prison. You have a good minute to shove as much in as you can before the riot breaks out.

Over the course of a year or so, I dropped about 80 pounds.

So when I went to see my doc a few months back, I was at a normal, perfectly healthy, recommended weight.

And holy shit was he the best doctor ever. He attended to all my needs, took all my concerns very seriously, and couldn’t stop talking about how much weight I’d lost. He even had his nurse come into see my job well done.

This is the conversation we had ten minutes into my visit:

Doc: “So, really wow on your weight! You must feel awesome!”

Me: “You know what the best part about the weight loss has been?”

Doc: “What?”

Me: “Now when I go tell doctors what’s hurting, they don’t just blame it on me being fat.”

Doc: *clueless agreement laughter*

Me: “Hey doc, guess what?”

Doc: “What?”

Me: “MY KNEES STILL FRIGGIN’ HURT, DUDE.”

The look on his face when he understood what I meant was…well, guys, it was glorious. Absolutely delicious. Like, I want to spread Nutella on that moment and nibble on it forever.

Look, I get it; being overweight can┬ápotentially cause a fuck ton of problems. That’s science.

But it doesn’t cause *every* problem. And being overweight doesn’t automatically equal PROBLEM.

Physically? I don’t feel any different now at this size than I do when I weighed over 200 pounds. (Yes, I weighed over 200 pounds. What.)

But truly, I don’t. I still have the same achy knees, the same migraines, the same heart issues. Nothing is different there.

Mentally, I do like the way I feel now, for sure. I’m not even going to pretend that isn’t the case.

But Fat Summer and Current Summer were still Summer. I was still me with the same medical issues I’d had for a decade or two. I was just squishier all over.

For some reason, so many people can’t see beyond the squish. And that’s bullshit.

So, if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of Medical Fattitude, I send you all my sympathy. It feels like shit. It shouldn’t happen. Not ever, not for any reason.

Did I change any of the opinions of any of the doctors or nurses I’ve battled it out with over my mom or myself? Maybe. I don’t really know.

But I’ve seen how shitty it makes someone feel to be treated that way, and I know personally how shitty it feels to be treated that way, and at the very least, I feel better knowing I barked back over it.

It’s always easier said than done, but standing up for yourself matters. If someone is discounting you and your needs because you’re fat, or too thin, or too *something*, speak up. Find someone who will treat you as a person, not as a trait. You deserve that.

Or if you know someone who could use your brave voice? Go and speak the hell up. It can very literally mean life or death to someone.

Be kind, be loud, be feisty, kids.

Unless you’re my kids, in which case, eat your asparagus and go to bed, guys. Jeez.

I hope you all are having the most wonderful of weeks!

Until next time,

Peace, Love, and Nutella!

 

13 Comments

  1. I spent two years dealing with some seriously crappy, debilitating pain levels because I believed the b.s. and thought my weight was the cause. Yeah, no. After being hospitalized with pain that required TWO doses of morphine to stop and having major surgery, I was told that my insides were SERIOUSLY screwed up from a complicated c-section a few years back. And now it’s all sunshine and lollipops up in here. No pain. I get so giddy over it. It’s pretty much adorable.

    I kinda want to shed the weight just so when something’s wrong I can KNOW it’s not self-inflicted. This whole having to guess thing kinda sucks. But the way people judge makes it harder to get healthy. This whole concept of, “I will criticize/marginalize you into getting healthy” is so UNHEALTHY and I hope this brilliant blog post goes viral and converts the masses. Because we can be SO much better than this.

    *applauds*

  2. Amy Paulshock |

    I NEVER comment, but on this, I had to. “Anti-Fat”: the prejudice that’s still perfectly OK, right? I’ve also lost weight, a lot. But it doesn’t make me feel better as much as it has opened my eyes and made me MAD. Anyway, there’s a great NYtimes article on exactly this topic here:

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/12/blaming-the-patient-then-asking-forgiveness/?action=click&module=Search&region=searchResults&mabReward=relbias%3As%2C%5B%22RI%3A2%22%2C%22RI%3A3%22%5D&url=http%3A%2F%2Fquery.nytimes.com%2Fsearch%2Fsitesearch%2F%3Faction%3Dclick%26region%3DMasthead%26pgtype%3DHomepage%26module%3DSearchSubmit%26contentCollection%3DHomepage%26t%3Dqry750%23%2Fpeter+attia

    Sorry the link is so long!

  3. OMG, yes. YES. I’ve been on the receiving end of this as well — from doctors, and from my well-meaning-but-hurtful parents who spend a lot of time *around* doctors.

    Pretty much from the time I was about eight years old onward, I was considered overweight. When I was in my early teens, my doctor pretty much gave me a “If you don’t lose a ton of weight you are going to become diabetic and everything that’s wrong with you in your whole life is totally because you’re fat” talk.

    And I totally internalized that, and when I couldn’t seem to budge down from the weight I was, I pretty much said, “Fuck it, I’ll just be fat.” And I gained a lot of weight and stopped going to doctors.

    And the thing that breaks my heart is that I look at pictures of myself as a teen and I looked *fine*. Whoever said I was a Fatty McFat-Pants (read: everyone) can get stuffed. I looked great.

    *fistbump of solidarity*

  4. Okay, this was something that really struck a chord with me. First, the pulmonary embolism thing with your mom? You totally saved her life. I’m sorry that the doctors treated her badly, but she is lucky to have you looking out for her.

    And you’re right that so much gets blamed on something a doctor can see — like weight. It is really a problem. Because instead of actually treating people, they’re blaming and going off of guesswork. Which isn’t actually science.

    You were right to stand up for yourself. And for what it’s worth, I’m proud of you.and this was an excellent post.

  5. So, my husband studies obesity at a pharma company and he starts every talk he gives getting people to see their fat bias. Because people don’t want to work on obesity drugs when the idea is, “Hey, stop being a lazy shit and just eat right and work out and you’ll be fine!” But, see, that’s not really all there is to it. So, he asks people, “What are the five characteristics you would assign to obese people?” Always with the lazy. EVEN FROM OBESE PEOPLE. It’s a huge problem in society – to treat someone as less than solely because they weigh more. I’m so sorry to hear about your mom’s horrible run-ins and your own. Doctors need to give a whole lot more love and a whole lot less shaming.

  6. Good for you for getting your struggle out there. You are certainly not alone!
    I am severely obese and I know this. I’ve known this for years since I crossed over the threshold. I went to Nursing school so I know what obese looks like and the havoc it can wreak on your life. Then it occurred to me, my weight gain didn’t happen over night. It’s been steadily going up since I was in the 4th grade. And yet, over all the years I was under the care of a physician only one ever talked to me about my weight and how important it was to my health to control it. I was still a minor though and unfortunately my parents never had me see that doctor again. So I’ve had the reverse happen to me. It seemed a lot of times that my weight was the big elephant in the room. I wish that my doctors had been able to tell me sooner. Now my blood pressure is up. I have more back pain. I’m getting older and my body can’t tolerate all the weight like it used to. Looking back down the weight scale and all I have to lose is overwhelming. Thankfully I’m looking forward to having health insurance the rest of my life (which I didn’t always have) and to seeing a doctor regularly for check ups. Then maybe, just maybe I can find a doctor who actually knows how to treat obesity too.

  7. Reading this made me even more glad my Dr. is as awesome as she is. When I’ve mentioned my weight as a possible cause of things, she waved that away. She listens to my problems and looks to find causes, never once blaming my weight. It breaks my heart that idiots out there are causing more problems rather than helping people.

  8. Just today I was told by a pain management doctor that my pain was from being fat, NOT the rheumatic disease that 4 rheumatologists had diagnosed me with, after testing and imaging and xrays and scans. She told me that she was noting in my file that I was not to receive pain medication until I lose 50 pounds. Funny thing is, i’m 5 pounds below the top “healthy weight range” for my height. Now, I’m not an athlete, so yes, my current weight is too much for my height. I’m not thin. I’m definitely squishy. But, losing 50 pounds would put me a full 22 pounds below the LOWEST number in that “healthy weight range.” it would put be below 100 pounds. Still, no pain relief for me. Because I’m fat.

  9. Ugh! I feel your pain. I know exactly how this feels. I’ve actually had doctors everywhere on the spectrum, from amazing-couldn’t-be-more-supportive to probably-got-that-medical-degree-from-a-Cracker-Jack-box. (Moving around with the military means I get to have new doctors every few years).

    (I apologize in advance. This comment will probably end up long enough to be a full blog post itself. Because I have a lot of feelings about this subject!)

    First, a little back story to set the stage: When I was in high school, my classmates (especially my “closest friends”) told me I was fat on a regular basis. Because I weighed anywhere from 165-170 pounds. I wore size 8-10 in jeans. I was 5′ 8 1/2″ tall. And my boobs were squished into a DD-cup bra (because I didn’t know they made bras any bigger that would fit my massive boobs better). I felt like every bite I ate was being judged, and I got to the point where I felt so guilty about eating (I wouldn’t be fat if I didn’t eat, right?) that skipped most meals, pretending that I’d already eaten, and I would have to fight the urge to throw up every time I got caught putting a bite of food in my mouth. (I fought that urge with everything I had, even swallowing down the vomit when I was legitimately sick, because I was so afraid to let myself throw up. If I allowed myself to throw up, then I’d be bulimic, and I wasn’t going to be the girl with an eating disorder, on top of everything else that was so obviously wrong with me. Yeah, I know. I already had a pretty serious eating disorder, but that’s how I justified it all.) Between obsessive exercise and starving myself, I managed to finally get my weight down to around 150 pounds, but it wouldn’t go any lower than that, no matter how little I ate. And my “friends” kept making comments about how they’d kill themselves if they weighed as much as I did.

    So, yeah, I was already fighting some serious demons when I got pregnant with my first child. And the thought of gaining weight while pregnant was terrifying. I had to fight the urge to crash diet with every fiber of my being. So I cut out all sweets (even chocolate!) and focused on keeping my food choices super-healthy. I didn’t want to have a single wasted calorie pass through my lips when I was already gaining weight.

    Then, with the stress of the worst college semester ever, a horrible job (a work-study program required for my financial aid), & a husband that was out of town frequently for a required field course, I developed preeclampsia. And started gaining all kinds of weight and getting bloated. I was obsessively watching every morsel of food that passed my lips and trying not to freak out about the fact that I seemed to be gaining more weight than I should be (I didn’t know what preeclampsia was, so I had no idea that was the problem). And when I went in for my regularly-scheduled check-up, my doctor asked, “Do you eat a lot of desserts?” I told her that I didn’t. In fact, I’d completely lost my sweet tooth with this pregnancy. She shook her head and looked at me with obvious disdain. “Oh, so you just eat all the time, then?”

    I cried. And silently vowed that, no matter what the pregnancy books said, I was going on a diet. Obviously, healthy eating wasn’t helping, and if even my doctor thought I was eating too much, a little crash diet wouldn’t harm my baby. The baby could just take the nutrients he needed from my enormous fat stores.

    Ironically, immediately after she made that statement, the doctor was called out of the room to tend to some “urgent business,” and her partner (an older doctor, getting ready to retire) came in to finish my appointment. She assured me that I was fine, and that I just needed to take it easy on myself. She wrote a note to the financial aid office to say that I had to quit my job for medical reasons and prescribed a modified bed-rest regimen. (I was supposed to spend as much time in bed as possible, whenever I wasn’t in class.) And she insisted that I keep eating the way I had been, because my diet was perfectly healthy and the best thing for the baby. I never saw that first doctor again, for the rest of my pregnancy. Miraculously, she was never on duty when I had my appointments scheduled. She wasn’t even the doctor on call when I had my baby, even though she was the doctor on call for my friend who had her baby in the room next to mine on the exact same day, and even though I discovered months after my baby was born that the older doctor had technically fully retired from the practice the week the horrible doctor made that comment to me. She wasn’t seeing any patients at all anymore, but miraculously was the only doctor available for every single one of my appointments. (The world needs more doctors like her, and less doctors like the horrible one that took her place.)

    By the time my son was born, I was 185 pounds, and I felt like a beached whale. It took me months of serious dieting and exercise to get back to “normal.” Luckily, this doctor, who was retired for everyone but me apparently, kept me sane by reminding me that I was perfectly healthy and I needed to focus on allowing my body to heal from the trauma of a difficult pregnancy and not jump into any drastic weight-loss crazes.

    Fast forward two years (new location – totally new set of doctors). Just after my 2nd child was born, I was super-sick all the time. The only food I could keep down was air-popped popcorn, with nothing on it. And I lost weight like crazy. By the time my daughter was 2 weeks old, all of my pre-pregnancy clothes were hanging on me like tents. And I kept losing weight at a scary rate. (Like, I bought new jeans on Friday night, and by Monday morning, they fell off because they were so big.) I was terrified. But for the first time in my life, my friends completely approved of the way I looked. “You’ve lost so much weight! I wish I had your secret!” No, they didn’t. Because when I admitted that I was scared, and that the weight was dropping too fast, they laughed and said “wouldn’t it be nice if we could all have a problem like that.” Even my doctors totally dismissed my concerns. It was all “Keep up the good work! Losing weight after a pregnancy is a great thing.” Yeah, not at that rate. And not that way. (Turns out, it was my brain tumor, that I didn’t yet know I had, causing chaos in my system.)

    I finally stopped losing weight when I got down to the same size jeans I was wearing in 6th grade. And I’m pretty sure the only reason I stopped there is because I got pregnant again.

    After child #3 was born, they discovered my brain tumor, and I underwent 6 weeks of radiation therapy. But after child #4 was born, the tumor started growing again, and eventually I had to have surgery. Which meant I had to take a low-dose steroid.

    I didn’t react to it well.

    The night before Christmas Eve, 2005, I took off my size 10 jeans and went to bed. In the morning, when I woke up, my jeans didn’t fit. I borrowed some super-stretchy sweat pants from my mom and went shopping. And the smallest size I could squeeze myself into was an 18. And they were tight. (Worst Christmas ever. I cried for about 45 minutes in the dressing room, not wanting to come out ever again.) And I gained weight just as suddenly. In less than a month, I’d ballooned from 170 pounds (which my doctor assured me was a healthy weight, even though I had it in my head that I had to get down to 125) to 285 pounds. Less than a month! And when the doctor finally allowed me to wean myself off of the steroids in April/May 2006, the weight stayed. My cancer center doctors told me to be patient. Steroid-induced weight gain is tough to lose, but it would probably happen eventually. They told me not to get discouraged, and to be happy that I was relatively healthy. (When my neurosurgeon mentioned that they were only able to get 60% of the tumor, and I may have to have a second surgery later to remove the rest, I flat-out told him that I’d only do another surgery if I didn’t have to take steroids. Because I’d rather die than go through that again. And I totally meant it.)

    Fast forward another two years. We moved across the country with the military, which meant a new team of doctors again. And the neurologist they assigned me insisted, without even consulting my very-thick medical record, that I don’t have and never had a brain tumor. My previous doctors (at one of the 2 top brain tumor facilities in the country, no less) didn’t know what they were talking about. Obviously, I just needed to start taking care of myself. Because, in case I hadn’t noticed, I was severely overweight. And all of the symptoms the cancer center doctors had attributed to the “non-existent” brain tumor would be solved if I’d just stop being so lazy and lose some weight.

    I went 3 years without the follow-up appointments I was supposed to have, because this doctor declared that I didn’t have a brain tumor, I was just fat. Never mind the fact that I was fat because of the stupid steroids I had to take when they tried to get rid of my brain tumor.

    We moved again. And it was a nightmare, because my brain tumor puts me on a military list that requires medical clearance before each move. But I couldn’t get the appropriate clearance, because I hadn’t had the follow-up appointments I was supposed to have for the past 3 years. Because the doctor dismissed me for being simply fat, instead of taking the time to read my file, where the lab tests and MRI scans would show him that I did, in fact, have a brain tumor.

    By this time, after 3 years of ignoring my tumor, the symptoms were a little out of control, and I was in so much constant pain that I could barely get out of bed in the mornings. I made an appointment with the new military doctor, hoping to find relief. Nope. He insisted that I didn’t really have a brain tumor, just a vitamin deficiency (“If you really had a tumor, they wouldn’t have let you go 3 years without a follow-up appointment”), and then he pointed out that I was overweight, and didn’t I know I should be exercising daily instead of sitting around eating junk food 24/7? Never mind the fact that I was trying to exercise. I was simply in so much pain that I couldn’t do much.

    I complained & got my primary care doctor switched. New doctor was a little better. He, at least, finally read my medical history and admitted that I “probably” had a brain tumor. But then, he pointed out that all of the symptoms I experienced weren’t consistent with a brain tumor. If I would just lose some weight, I’d feel better. (A steady diet of junk food with zero exercise isn’t healthy. And if you would just talk to a dietician about your poor food choices, you’d realize that these symptoms you blame on a brain tumor are all your fault. And by the way, you just started crying in my office. Obviously, you’re suffering from major depression. That’s probably why you’re fat. You need to see a psychologist and at the very least start taking antidepressants.)

    I insisted that he send me to a neurologist anyway, and he finally relented when I brought up the whole “the doctors in Maryland got in big trouble for not keeping up on the appropriate follow-ups” thing. (It’s crazy how attentive doctors get when you threaten to report them.) – And the neurologist actually read my medical file. His conclusion? “Yeah, your symptoms are textbook for your type of tumor.” (He prescribed some medicine that counteracted the symptoms so immediately, I thought it was simply a placebo effect until I accidentally forgot to take a dose.)

    It’s amazing how many doctors over the years have completely dismissed a real, true, documented medical issue, because they look at me and see “fat.” And yeah, sometimes “fat” is not the result of laziness or bad diet. I’ve been trying to lose the weight from those stupid steroids since April 2006. And I’m getting discouraged. I even managed, at one point, to get myself back down to wearing size 10 jeans (exactly the size I wore when I was 170 pounds, prior to the steroids). I still weighed 240 pounds. And it didn’t matter how many inches I had lost. The doctors still looked at that number on the scale and lectured me about how dangerous it is to be so severely overweight.

    Every time I have to go to the doctor, whether it’s for a brain tumor follow-up or just the flu, I come home feeling like a total failure. I know I weigh too much. I’m trying to do something about it. And when a doctor tells me that I’m too fat, and it’s all my fault for being so lazy, it takes weeks to fight past the urge to stop eating again. Seriously, fat shaming, without looking at the full medical history, is so damaging. And when it comes from a doctor, it feels so much worse than when it comes from some random jerk.

    • Debbie Dorris |

      Your story hit home to me. Although I (thank goodness) didn’t/don’t have a brain tumor, my husband did. We went through a very similar scenario as you with his weight gain (among other issues) from steroids.

      My personal experience with medications causing weight gain was horrifying as well.

      On Christmas Eve of 1998, I fell. It was one of those freak falls where one person could walk away unscathed, while another (me) pulls her spine. Doctors thought I’d be wheelchair bound for the rest of my life.

      After a year of constant pain, numerous doctors and countless drugs, the professionals and my husband (no tumor at that time) convinced me to undergo a procedure to reduce the pain. The procedure required injecting a drug directly into my spine in hopes of turning off the nerves for a short time.

      I had a severe reaction to the drug which damaged my kidneys, heart and caused my eyes to hemorrhage (I am now legally blind due to this). The procedure also damaged my pancreas.

      This could have all been avoided if the doctor doing the procedure would have taken the time to do simple blood tests periodically throughout the procedure.

      One of the drugs they but me on after the procedure
      disaster, caused me to gain a whopping 176 pounds (from 113 lbs to 289 lbs) within 3 months.

      My obesity stirred similar reactions from the doctors. (Basically the “Lose weight and all your problems will be solved” spiel.)

      When I finally had enough and told the doctor if I didn’t stop gaining weight I’d pop, he told me the weight gain was due to XXX med, and that “it’s better to be fat and alive than a dead stick”. Keep in mind that this drug also contributed to me having a heart-attack.

      He wanted me to remain on the med. NO WAY! I took the initiative and stopped the drug. Later, that drug was pulled from the market.

      Another doctor told me it could take up to 5 years to get the weight off because the nasty drug altered cells.

      My sister helped me regain my health. When I was on my death bed, she rescued me, taking me to a wonderful doctor in California.

      Slowly, I began to walk again, graduating from the wheelchair to a walker, and finally to a cane (for vision issues and balance mostly). I lost 130 lbs over almost 7 years. I am not at my ideal weight yet, and still get the raised eyebrow looks from doctors and nurses when I step on their scales.

      Nothing short of a miracle can restore my vision, but since I have some vision (shapes mostly, no details) I figure it could be worse and thank GOD it isn’t.

      Now I don’t know if people are staring at me because of my eyes (the totally blind eye is a strange blue color with no pupil, the other is hazel green) or because of my weight. I’ve also decided their opinion of me doesn’t matter. I know what I’ve gone through and what I’ve accomplished in-spite of my setbacks.

      Also, during my fiasco, my husband was diagnosed with brain cancer. On several occasions, I was in one hospital while he was in another. He has since passed away.

      After his death, I decided to write. For years I’ve had tons of stories swirling around in my head wanting to be told. Writing is hard, editing is harder but I’m loving it! In my search for other writers, I came across Brenda Drake and several of her followers (including you and Fizzygirl). I totally enjoy following y’all and find myself anxious to check the twitter feed.

      I truly understand what you went through and are still dealing with. My thoughts and prayer go out to you and your family. Hang in there and know that everything will be all right. Nothing happens without a reason. Even if your experiences touch just one person, you are blessed.

      Please know that I am one person touched by your story.

      Thanks for letting me ramble…
      Until next time, have a GREAT day!

  10. I had a doctor once who totally dismissed my high blood pressure and labelled me obese in her computer file. She also all but called me a liar for not telling her first and foremost that I have asthma. I’ve had asthma my whole life, it causes almost no issues now that I’m an adult, but I was lying?

    I know I weigh over 200 pounds, I have a mirror. I do not have a scale. I know I’m bigger than is the healthiest for me, but don’t sit there spilling over your own stool and type obese into my file while I can reach you. I am very sad to say I did not tell her off. What I did do was call the office staff of the OB/GYN who cares about me and wants me to be healthy. The one who put me on medication to help me while I found an internist to help me with my dangerously high blood pressure. Can I just mention how very much I love this woman and the fact that she saved me from preeclampsia with my first daughter and taught me how I could help my body deal with pregnancy the second time around?

    Needless to say, I quit the evil doctor and walked around for a bit on the first medication from my OBGYN until I started to get sick. I was scared anyone else would suck as much as the obese doctor who called me fat. It turns out that I was wrong. A month of bad blood pressure after stopping the medicine my good doctor started me on, my blood pressure was back in the scary range. I got desperate, or maybe brave enough to go to a new doctor. I love her. She didn’t shame me for my weight, but recognized that with a father, grandmother, and great grandfather with high blood pressure, I was one of those lucky people with genetic predisposition to high blood pressure. I started a different type of medication and now I’m good. Problem managed. Weight the same. Well, a year down the road, I weigh the same, but take half the dosage and in another year might wean to half of that. It’s amazing how my weight had no effect whatsoever on my medical issue. And I swear to punch the next person who calls me obese. Or better yet, but them in a book and make sure their awfulness is available for the whole world to hate along with me.

    Never piss off a writer. We remember and they are just book material.

  11. Doctors are for the most part all just assholes…when I was skinny and very very ill the blamed my dizzy spells on drug interactions. When I stopped taking all of the pills when I was trying to get pregnant…the dizzy spells continued…and I told them…FINALLY they sent me to an ENT Dr. and it turns out I had a sinus infection FOR 5 YEARS….round of antibiotics and the dizzy spells went away.

    For about 30 years I think I must have seen like 20 doctors and told them of a weird symptom…they all said well what did the first Dr. say…he said no big deal just happens sometimes…so they too ignored it…I have a tumor in my head that was being ignored for over 30 years….no one even bothered to do a simple hormone level blood test that was TOTALLY indicated…for over 30 years.

    I also had other weird symptoms that they did see…High white count and high platelets…I was actually told by one Dr. that the high white count was normal for me because IT WAS ALWAYS THERE…instead of saying WTF? Something in this woman is infected and LOOK to try to find out what it was…High platelets also indicates this…but yeah lets ignore that there may be a cause for these TWO symptoms of infection and if her platelets get too high we will just give her CHEMOTHERAPY!!! OH MY FING GOD!! CHEMO!!! They fortunately never got quite high enough but they were still super high. Plus other symptoms that I now know were related…give her a pill…wait here are more pills to threat the other symptoms…lets not bother with test…just give her the pills.

    I once had a low grade bladder infection for over two years because it did not come up on the test strip. I felt like something was eating my insides..because something was…After suffering for two years FINALLY a new Dr. decided just for the hell of it to do a culture…guess what? POSITIVE!!! so more antibiotics and FINALLY the being consumed from within sensation went away.

    Flash forward about 35 years later….The looked at my gall bladder with a sono and said it needs to come out…then delay after delay for over three years…I kept having gall bladder attacks but they kept looking at the sono and ignoring the symptoms until I was in and out of the ER then admitted like 5 times in one month bleeding out from my intestines and getting sicker and sicker…FINALLY one Dr. from the City of Hope listened to me when I told him I thought I was going to die soon and went in and took a look. While he was in there he agreed to take out the gallballer that was still on…looks ok lets wait status and when he went to grab it IT FELL APART IT WAS SO ROTTEN.

    At one point during this saga I was gaining weight…not a lot but gradually going up and up and up… I gained and gained and gained and yes soon as the bmi hit 35 suddenly everything was related to me being fat…even though I was seeing the same Dr. as when I was at a lower BMI. Like he was just not into treating fat people or something…he was not rude about it but more like he was suddenly clueless as to what to do to treat a fat person.

    SO….turns out that nearly 100% of my issues other than the tumor were directly related to this rotting gallbladder that was also allowing the stone to wear a hole in my intestines. I am now nearly medication free.

    I also found out that my weight gain was directly related to trying to “diet” and eating too many carbs. I cut the carbs to 100 or less a day and in two years I lost 60 lbs without exercise or ever being hungry and ate all kinds of fatty food and I have kept it off…and Doctors are still assholes…

    Thing is you have to be proactive…like the author says and scream bloody murder and pitch a fit if you have to to get treated no matter what your weight…if that is hard for you find someone who loves you to advocate for you like she did for her mother…if that person is intimidated by Dr.s and is not helping find someone else…But no matter how you do it DEMAND treatment and listen to your body…not to the Dr.s.

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