polimicks: (Default)
The two most common symptoms that reveal a serious systemic problem with the human body are:
Sudden dramatic weight loss
Sudden dramatic weight gain

However, particularly when you're a woman, in this country, doctors don't take those two symptoms seriously. Frequently women who go to the doctor with concerns that include their weight, or with a sudden weight gain, are told to diet. This winter I went to the doctor and asked her about my gaining weight after several years of my weight holding steady, and no major changes to my diet or exercise levels.* Without asking me how much or what I eat, or whether or not I exercised, her response was, "Don't eat so much and exercise." She then went on about food journaling and blah blah blah...

When I stopped her, which took some doing, and said, "Look, I eat well. I don't eat junk food, we've cut HFCS out of our diet. The last several times I went to a nutritionist I was informed I needed to eat more. I don't want to eat more. My body doesn't want me to eat more. I'm in recovery from an eating disorder, so I won't food journal just to reassure you, particularly when you'll just accuse me of lying about how much I eat anyway. I want you to help me figure out why my weight is changing with NO CHANGES TO MY EATING OR ACTIVITY LEVELS."

She continued to bleat about eating too much, eating too much junk food and candy, and drinking too much soda. She told me I was obviously delusional about what I ate.

We've discussed my soda intake here before. I don't drink it. One dark chocolate bar can last me months. In fact, I just finished one I bought BEFORE WE MOVED IN DECEMBER night before last.

Then she told me I was being difficult because I wouldn't lie to her to reassure her that she was right, that I really was mainlining a lard and powdered sugar combination while rubbing myself with frosting.

I really need a new doctor.

Well, after moving, my stress levels dropped significantly, and my weight started to even out again. Go figure.

Yeah, instead of asking me about any other factors in my life, or even asking me how or what I ate, she just assumed I was gorging myself on candy, sugar and fried foods 24/7. Fucking god damn, you have no idea how angry writing about this makes me.

In my case, the weight gain was just stress. But what if it hadn't been?

http://fathealth.wordpress.com/ The website First Do No Harm chronicles what happens when the weight gain isn't just stress. When there's a real reason, like a fifteen pound ovarian cyst, or thyroid issues, or side effects or bad reactions to medication, or cancer, or...

Weight loss is the other big symptom that something is seriously wrong. Even moreso when, again, your eating levels haven't changed, yet your weight keeps dropping. And again, particularly where women are concerned, doctors will frequently ignore that, and praise the woman for her efforts, even as she's relaying to them other symptoms of ill-health.

My mom lost over 50 lbs before her doctor finally tested her thyroid levels, and HOLY SHIT!! They were off the chart (https://health.google.com/health/ref/Hyperthyroidism). She had to have her thyroid killed with radiation, because as she said, while the weight loss was nice, the insomnia, restlessness, inability to concentrate, being too hot, being shakey, feeling weak and everything else, really sucked.

Although a month ago, she did say that if she'd realized how amazingly impossible it would make it to lose weight, she would have just suffered through it. Even while knowing that hyperthyroidism places undue stress on the heart.


There are over 2,000 medical reasons for unexplained weight loss, http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/symptoms/weight_loss/causes.htm, including cancer, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and a bunch of others. But doctors frequently overlook any and all of this in favor of telling you what a good job you're doing, until you do finally lose too much weight for them to ignore the problem.

On the other hand, there doesn't seem to be an amount of weight you can gain before doctors quit calling you a lying pig and actually look into treating you.

I wonder how many medical hours and dollars would be spared if doctors would just listen to their patients when they say things like, "I haven't changed my food intake or exercise levels and I'm losing/gaining weight. What's going on?" But they don't. They either tell you to diet, or call you a "good girl" for doing such good job of conforming to their bullshit thinness standards.

There is a reason that diseases like cancer and heart disease affect fat women disproportionately, but not the reason you'd think.

Fat women don't want to go to the doctor because when we do, we're told we're liars, delusional, bad, recalcitrant, uncooperative, a problem patient, non-compliant... Frequently fat women are told doctors can't help them with a problem unless they lose weight first, whether that's true or not.

*I* go to the doctor for regular screenings because I have a family history of both heart disease and breast and ovarian/uterine cancer and I'm more afraid of dying than I am of the bullshit shaming tactics. And I'm belligerent. But for women who don't know about Fat Acceptance, or Health at Every Size, or who haven't come to grips with their bodies, being scolded like a naughty child or being accused of lying is fucking humiliating and awful. Even I have left the doctor's office in tears after a particularly brutal appointment.

Non-compliant. Even if you are a model patient in every way, except your inability to shed the pounds your doctor thinks you ought to, you, too, can be labeled non-compliant and, it's possible, be "fired" by your doctor. Because, yes, even though I follow all of your other prescriptions to the letter (evidenced by the drop in asthma symptoms, being able to take birth control for over 17 years with only one pregnancy scare, etc...), I am COMPLETELY ignoring you when it comes to my gluttonous ways.

Do these people really listen to the shit that comes out of their mouths? "Well, I realize that you're a model patient in every other way, and your blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure are perfect, but you're obviously a filthy lying fatty fat fat about what you eat."

I learned a long time ago not to lie to doctors, because of a bad drug interaction. When I was younger and using recreational drugs like candy, I told my doctors, frequently to their shock and amazement. When I was younger and drinking myself steadily to death, I told them. When I was sleeping around with many, many different partners, I told them.

Why on earth would I lie about this? Why would I lie about eating which is not an illegal act for which I could do jail time, when I told you about doing pot, acid, speed, drinking more than a fifth a night (while underage), smoking cigarettes, and the orgy on New Years?

Yeah, I don't get it, either.

*Other symptoms I asked her about included hair loss (on my head), hair growth (not on my head), fatigue, my periods coming more frequently and for longer, and insomnia.
polimicks: (Default)

But I would like to point out a few things to these researchers:

1. Fat women are less likely to get regular cancer screenings because they do not enjoy being called liars, lazy and stupid on a regular basis.

2. Their proposal relies on "staying thin." What if you were never thin in the first place? Are you just fucked? What IS thin anyway? Size 12, 10, 8, 0?

3. What does having the money to eat healthy, living in an area with access to healthy foods, and having the leisure time to exercise all imply? It implies that you have enough money to not live somewhere with obscene levels of pollution in the air, ground and water. You know, pollution that has an even stronger corrollary to things like cancer than being fat does. Somewhere it's safe to go for a walk.



polimicks: (Default)

October 2012

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