Mar 012011

By lunaKM

Since moving last summer I’ve had to find new places to get my hair done, where to get my groceries and my favorite spots to eat. One thing I haven’t found yet is a doctor. I dread looking for a new primary physician. Ever since I was a teen I’ve been humiliated, not listened to and had other medical emergencies misdiagnosed all because I’m fat. Having to go through it again drives me to avoid doctors whenever possible.

It’s not an uncommon occurrence. You can find issues with doctors and overweight people with a simple Google search. Problems I’ve had with doctors are echoed all over the blogosphere; from poor judgement calls to straight out harassment. It makes many fat people avoid the doctor and potentially remain undiagnosed or untreated for long periods of time.

Doctors are trained to see and treat medical issues and with the weight of media focusing on obesity as ‘the new epidemic,’ doctors feel it is there cause to try to shrink people. Sometimes forcefully and repeatedly. What’s in their arsenal to barrage you with?

* Type 2 Diabetes
* Arthritis
* Heart Disease
* Stroke
* Sleep Apnea and other sleeping disorders
* Gastro-intestinal issues
* Cancer
* Shortened life span

These things are scary on their own, but none of them are caused by obesity. Sure there is a heightened risk, but weight is not the only risk factor for these things. You can’t eat yourself to Diabetes, and we all know average sized people with sleep apnea or snoring. Cancer and heart disease are equal opportunity diseases also.

Gastric bypass is supposed to be some miracle fix for obesity, but has anyone really learned the statistics? They are scary. While it is true that according to statistics 95% of people have a 65% success rate, no one says that they have to take at least 20 pills and nutrient supplements daily to compensate for the lack of nutrition they aren’t getting from food. The amount of food that a gastric patient eats in a day is under 2 cups. Anyone can lose weight with that amount of food. Most gastric surgery is irreversible. This means that you’ll be stuck with the pills and starving yourself for the rest of your life. It’s a permanent alteration of your body’s normal function.

So when I’m looking for a confident doctor, who am I looking for? I need someone who sees me as a person, not a disease. I need someone who will listen to me and my concerns and not blame every ache and pain on my excess weight. I need someone to stop trying to push gastric surgery when I’ve told them I will never consider it.

I’m not looking for a magic pill or a miracle. I’m looking for you to take care of my health. When all my tests come back normal I don’t need you trying to hunt down something ‘causing’ my weight issues. Be happy that I’m healthy. Encourage my happiness. Build my confidence in your ability to care for me as a person, not a disease.

And that’s a big one. If I’m happy why must you insist on making me feel horrible about what may happen to me if I continue being fat. I’m not stupid; I live in this body. I see the news, same as you do. Whatever happened to do no harm? Does emotional and mental harm not count? It’s not your job to make me feel guilty and destroy my self-image. I do that enough on my own. The only thing it will get you is fired.

Last week I fired my last doctor. He doesn’t know it yet but when I’m in need of new tests for my thyroid condition this summer I’ll be doctor shopping again. I can only hope that each doctor I move to I can learn just a bit more to stand up for myself and to toughen my skin. I’m healthy and beautiful and I just need a doctor to see what I see. Does any such doctor exist?