330 posts tagged doctors
Thin privilege is being so terrified, at a size 14/16, of being fat-shamed by your GP that you delay going to see him for a symptom that could indicate a serious illness OR be caused by your weight gain OR mean nothing.
I ended up going to see my new GP after months and he found out it was nothing serious. He made no comment about my weight whatsoever. I’ve had more than one bad experience with the medical establishment in the past, but I’ll learn to trust him more.
I have been fat since I was very young. My mother is fat, my father is fat… and if I had a sibling, they would probably be fat too.
As a child, I grew up with my doctor telling me that the exercise I did “wasn’t real”, because if it was, it would be working. If it were legitimate exercise, I wouldn’t be so fat and unhealthy, right? I hated my yearly physicals as a child… I knew I was fat, and I always felt shame for it at the doctor’s office.
When I about 12 or 13, I started refusing to visit the doctor. I hated it. I couldn’t bear to have them point out my insecurities and make me feel so terrible about myself. I went many years, as a young girl going through puberty and growing into a teenager, without seeing a doctor.
As I got older, I needed a new doctor since I was getting too old to list my pediatrician as my family physician, so (very grudgingly), I saw a new doctor at age 16, for my first physical in years.
Once again I felt like I wanted to be swallowed into the ground. Listening to a stranger tell me I was obese. Feeling my semi-naked body being scrutinized. I remember my new doctor asking what my highest weight had been, and feeling too embarrassed to tell her she was looking at it. So I told her I didn’t know. I felt more shame during that appointment than I ever did as a child… as a child, I felt less responsible. It was somebody else’s fault I was so fat, surely… after all, I was only a kid, right? But at 16, I felt entirely responsible for the first time, and my doctor treated it as such. It was all me… I was the one who was screwing up my body.
I never regained the courage to visit a doctor again after that appointment. I am in my twenties now, and I haven’t had a physical in six years.
I had sex for the first time a few months after that last appointment, and six sexual partners later, I still haven’t been been back.
In my late teens, my period stopped. I haven’t had it for many years now. I am terrified about what could be wrong with me, but still… no doctor’s visit.
I have declined a surgery I require, and so I suffer on a daily basis because I will not go through several doctor’s appointments surrounding it.
I tough out illnesses and injuries. I suffer through pains. I constantly wonder if I’m ever ignoring signs of something more serious. I leave it up to chance, because the risk is always worth avoiding that dreaded doctor’s office. My fears and insecurities are so deep rooted, that even thinking about visiting a doctor brings me to tears.
It’s not fair. It’s not fair that I’ve been made to feel like my body doesn’t deserve medical attention. It’s not fair that I’m terrified a doctor will automatically link any problem I’m having to my weight. It’s not fair that I force myself to suffer. It’s not fair that I could have serious medical problems and not find out until it’s too late, all because I am so terrified of feeling shamed by people who are supposed to be helping me.
Fatphobia/fat shaming in medicine is not okay. I deserve to feel safe and comfortable receiving medical care. My body deserves to be cared for as much as any other body. Fatphobia could cost me my life one day, and that is not okay.
Just this past December mom was diagnosed with uterus fibroid, so she had to undergo surgery the day after Christmas. Problem is, that she had been suffering a whole year and some with these symptoms and neither her doctor nor the diabetic specialist she was being sent to, (my family has a med history of diabetes/heart/blood pressure problems), could determine the cause of her EXCESSIVE weight loss. She was constantly tired, out of breath, had pelvic pain, a heavy flow in her period, back aches, and frequent urination; on top of that she is anemic. An entire year suffering, and what did her doctor treat her for? Diabetes, and fixed her diet to prevent weight gain because it was apparently due to her diabetes that she was sick. The message the doctor sent was ‘getting fat+gain diabetes=sick’ at least this is how I personally felt. I’m 300+ Lbs and since an early age my mom has constantly made it a priority to “try” to control my weight, but at 23 years old I’m free of any health issues she and my dad both go through, (dad takes insulin), and both are at a weight acceptable by society. What really rubbed me the wrong way and hurt me was the plethora of compliments mom was getting because of her weight loss. I was even stopped sometimes because I knew many of her acquaintances and even a few of my friends just so they could tell me “Wow! Your mom (Doña Imelda) lost so much weight didn’t she? She looks GREAT!” “Your mom looks so good since she got skinny!” “Whatever your mom is doing, tell her to keep up the good work.”
It made me sick inside, all I wanted to yell/scream was “NO! My mom is not looking great, not feeling great, and her being skinny does not mean she is FINE!”, but this is how far society has brought us. We have been lead to believe that someone like mom at 5’6 and a size 6 looks great, and that I, her daughter 5’9 and size 18/20 looks pretty in the face, but not at the waist.
I am one of those who have been fat all their lives. So I’ve tried the most ridiculous diets, of course. That’s the way of learning not to do them.
When I was about 14, I went to a private dietitian. A paid one. He would put me under a diet high in proteins. It was ridiculous, and I *had* to take vitamins everyday. And even after taking vitamins, I was wrecked. I was really weak, muscles ached big time (I could barely walk around), my hair fell in chunks and I had anemia.
If one week I didn’t lose weight, I was put under an even strictier diet.
I managed to lose 30 kg (over 60 lbs) in barely 9 months, but at what cost? Being sick.
Tired of that, I decided I wanted to go back to normal eating habits for a while to get back my health. I managed to put back more than what I had lost in a little under 3 months.
My point is, being sick while dieting is really a foolish thing to do. It makes no sense. A diet that makes you sick? When you are looking for a better health? No thanks.
There are always better ways.
I’m borderline hypertensive, have been for years. On my first visit Dr. P noted that, because of my family history, I really should get treated. I said no, because I wanted to try controlling it myself. In other words, I didn’t want to come off as a “deadbeat fatty” who can’t or won’t Just Lose The Goddamn Weight Already and turns to pills to fix everything that’s wrong with her.
Fast-forward a year. Hypertension has gotten worse, and I finally ask the doctor to prescribe me something for it. It’s been about three weeks, and I’m still getting used to not seeing my skin twitch in time with my heartbeat.
Thin privilege is not feeling like you have to lose weight before getting appropriate care for a medical issue you have *right now.*
Thin privilege is not having to feel like you have to constantly tell people how good your diet is, and how good your health is, when you talk about having your next child. Thin privilege is not worrying about what people are saying in the backs of their minds. I get my sugar, cholesterol, and heart checked every year even though I’m under 30, partially because I want to be able to tell naysayers that they don’t know everything about fat health. I wear my really low cholesterol, excellent sugar and excellent heart rate like a ‘I TOLD YOU SO’ badge to the world. That shouldn’t even be necessary.
I’ve seen a lot of stuff on fertility and pregnancy in this blog and it absolutely breaks my heart. So I just want to lay down some reassurances to all of the readers struggling with the idea of getting pregnant or being pregnant and facing discrimination. I’m speaking only from the point of view of an overweight, straight, CIS woman, but I hope everyone can find some empathy here.
I am 350 lbs. I’ve been 350 lbs for ten years. In 2008 I got pregnant and lost a baby, only to get pregnant a month after that miscarriage. Needless to say I conceive very quickly. I carried the next baby to full term. My doctor had faith in me, never once mentioned my weight as a possible cause of my miscarriage, and never once said I was putting my child at risk. I feel this is partially due to the fact that he understood my health on an individual basis instead of the broad overreaching assumptions the prenatal industry makes on overweight women. The results: I had an emotionally and physically healthy pregnancy with little complications, none of which had to do with my weight.
Here I am at six months pregnant (in case anyone would like to know what a large woman can look like while pregnant) on a hiking trip with some friends.
Here I am after a long and normal labor that ended in an emergency c-section due to the time frame:
And here’s what happens to a woman who happens to be overweight when she has a child. (note no apocalypse or dire problems as a result of my fat ass. Hidden face because she’s just a child and this is a public blog) It can be JOYFUL
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t create the life you so want to create because you are fat. If that’s the only reason, or there’s an assumption of health BASED on your size…naysayers can kindly GTFO.
And about fertility…well…that is a load of overblown assumption as well. I stopped birth control on February 26th. I am now 11 weeks pregnant.
FAT DOES NOT EQUAL UNABLE OR UNDESERVING OF THIS KIND OF JOY
Thin privilege is never having your doctor and psychiatrist fail to mention that the depression meds they put you on have high cholesterol as a side effect and when your cholesterol ends up being high (as it has never been before, it’s always been low-to-normal) having them give you helpful tips on how to slim down and only being told later by your pharmacist that it’s the medication they prescribed in the first place.
How do I know they didn’t pick that medication in the first place to “scare me thin”? It doesn’t seem to be doing a damn thing for my depression; the other meds I was already on seem much more effective.
I decided to go home this weekend from college before finals and visit family. I was sitting in my living room, watching Dr. Phil with my grandmother when they start an older episode about a girl who had severe anorexia and bulimia. It was intense, but before they brought her out, Dr. Phil was introducing doctors there to help her if she agreed to start treatment and if anything went wrong through the course of the show. For some reason, to show the opposite end of the spectrum, I guess, they decided to start off with talking about teen obesity. One doctor started saying that teens who gain weight through adolescence will struggle with that weight for the rest of their lives, and my grandmother turns to me, as a fat 19 year old, and says, “Sorry, Jennie.”
First of all, this is framed in the context that I am trying to get a breast reduction for my very large breasts.
Thin privilege is making appointments with doctors to discuss a medical problem and a possible surgery and not being terrified that the doctors will get distracted by my weight and derail the conversation. It is also not wondering if your insurance company will deny your claim based on your weight, even though you are healthy and meet all the requirements necessary for the procedure.
Thin privilege is also not having to deal with my parents, who have been inspired by all this talk about my health to start talking about how I need to schedule an appointment with my general doctor to discuss my weight. Because I’m going to wind up with diabetes if I don’t do something. My body is healthy, I try my best to eat healthy food and exercise, and there is no history of diabetes in my family. They come up with a new “health crisis” for me every few years (past selections include high cholesterol and high blood pressure). Today my dad suggested I get a lap band surgery (“Since you’re going in for surgery anyway”). When I got angry, he suggested that I try a medically-induced weight loss instead because of the weight loss potential.
My body is healthy and I am trying my best to take care of it. I just want to shout at them to leave me alone, but they don’t get it. they think they’re trying to help me.
[tw: depression, verbal abuse, abuse, slurs??]
Thin privilege is not being made to feel like a waste of space.
I have never been thin. I became aware of that when I was about 7. Other children started to bully and abuse me by calling me “fat” and I struggled to keep up physically with everybody
My whole life I’ve felt worthless, I’ve always had an intense feeling of self loathing. Turns out that I’m autistic, I have severe muscle disorders, I have hypermobile joints and torn ligaments and the pain can’t even be helped by taking 200mg of Tramadol. I was also emotionally, verbally and somewhat physically abused by my father as a toddler/small child, which makes my panic attacks/depression/flashbacks worse.
I went through a phase of not eating breakfast, eating a packet of crisps in the day and then dinner at night. Bearing in mind I used to push myself to stay awake for 3 days on the trot and I used to walk a mile a day. I was only 12.
Luckily for me my Mum noticed and talked to me. But I’ve always put down the way I look, ever since I was a small child, nobody even notices. My own Dad said to me not long ago, “You’re prettier, but you’d be so much prettier if you lost weight.” And I constantly get told things like, “Your boobs would look bigger if you wereless chubby,” and “Your face shape is just hidden by your weight.” Not to mention the fact that I’m pansexual, with a leaning towards women, so I get the whole “fat lesbian” abuse too
I only just this year discovered the extent of my health problems, and it came as a shock that I hadn’t been exaggerating, I wasn’t making a big deal out of “normal” pain. I’m only 16 yet I already feel like I’ve had enough discrimination for a whole fucking lifetime.
Being 5’10” and about 300 pounds, it’s literally impossible to find pretty clothing that I can afford. I have to dress almost exclusively in mens clothes and altered hand-me-downs.
I just wish that maybe my doctor, my friends, maybe my family had realised long ago that I’m not fat because I’m lazy and can’t be bothered. I’m disabled.
Even if I was lazy, why should it matter?
I can’t cope with this ridiculous fucking fat-shaming and opression, it’s making my depression even worse. How do I make them stop?
Not having to deal with personal attacks every day from the media. Phrases like “fight the flab” are encouraging violence against people like me. These hacks have no idea how much their medical research *cough* money making scam *cough* can hurt people.
Thin privilege is the fact that even though I’m “overweight” according to the BMI, I look thin (5”3 and 158 pounds), so everyone—-including doctors—-treats me as such, and doctors never mention my weight when treating me for something unrelated, yet fat people get this kind of discrimination all the time.
Thin privilege is the fact that doctors don’t even follow their own arbitrary system (BMI) unless a patient is actually fat, ignoring thin people who are in the same BMI categories as fat people. (This should dispel any misguided belief that the BMI measures health and that doctors are only trying to help fat people become healthier by telling them to lose weight before they’ll treat them.)
My father has a degenerative form of arthritis known as ankylosing spondilitis that hit him when he was 18. It essentially froze his spine into one solid bone (instead of having space between the vertebrae) that looks like a stalk of bamboo. He has spent his life walking with a slight stoop, unable to turn his head over his shoulder, bend over and touch his toes, or do anything that someone with a healthier spine can do. It’s genetic, and my young niece was just DX’d with it. It didn’t stop him from achieving anything, just limited his movement.
I recently tested positive for the AS antibodies, and along with having new back pains and new stiffness, I thought I should see a Rheum to determine what my next step would be. AS can only be positively id’d through x-rays and MRIs, but I needed a referral from a Rheum to get those done. So I made an appointment with a local doc for a consultation only…wasn’t expecting a solid DX, just advice.
I wasn’t in the Rheum’s office three minutes before I walked out. The very first thing he said to me when he walked in was, “Hello…I know why you’re here. Please step on the scale.” And I simply said, “I’m sorry, I’m just here for some advice and a referral. Can you tell me how weighing me has anything to do with having a genetically inherited form of arthritis?”
He glared at me for a moment, insisted I get on the scale again, and I repeated my request which he refused to answer. Finally he snapped at me, “Well, that’s just HOW I DO THINGS.” I replied, “I have a say in my own treatment. And that’s not how *I* do things. Do you think we could move on and you get to the part where you advise me on what to do next??”
He nearly shouted at me, “I’m clearly not the doctor for you. I think you need to find someone else.” I said, “I do believe you’re right. And don’t even think of charging me for this visit.”
My husband was flabbergasted that I’d walked out and made such a snap reaction. I told him, “If you have lived your entire life having every. single. thing blamed on your weight, from injuries, asthma, to losing two children, you’d be a little on-edge from his comments too. I don’t care if you support me on this because I am quite used to standing alone.”
Interestingly enough, my regular internist has never had a problem with me not being weighed.
Thin privilege is not going to a psychiatrist and being referred to a therapist who is a “specialist in image-related problems” when you never indicated that your image might be a problem. It’s not having a mental health professional assume that your problems must be image related, and when you tell them that that’s really not a concern of yours, they still refer you to that therapist, because you might want to discuss your size with another mental health specialist anyway.