THIS is one of the reasons the war on childhood obesity needs to end, NOW!

Kris writes:
I came across your blog recently and it made me recall two things that happened to me when I was younger. I’ve been overweight for most of my life – it’s definitely in part because of genetics, as the women in my family are all about my size (and the men are even bigger) and also, I’m guessing, in part because my mother overfed me when I was younger because I was two months premature. It’s something I’ve always struggled with.

When I was eleven, I started having strange symptoms. Headaches, tiredness, dizziness, blurry vision. I went to doctor after doctor, and they all said one of two things. It was puberty or it was my weight. I’m not sure how being overweight gives you a headache (apart from having to listen to people be jerks about it) but my mother took it at face value. After all, they were doctors, right?

A few months later, it all got a lot worse. I wound up passing out, and was rushed to the hospital. Finally they gave me a CAT scan and found orbital cellulitis – I had an infection in the orbits of my eye, that was dangerously close to affecting my brain. If it’d gone on, it could have caused blindness, deafness, or a blood clot in my brain and killed me.

I got a new doctor, one who I saw for a few years after that. She must have suggested weight loss about 500 times to me while I was going to her, which caused a lot of discomfort and self-esteem problems for me. I felt like saying, trust me lady, I know I’m fat. The kids at school would never let me forget it. Do you think this is news?

At about fifteen, I started having weird periods. They’d come and go at random; sometimes I’d go months without having any, and sometimes I wouldn’t stop bleeding for weeks and weeks. I went to the doctor and mentioned it. She did that test where they press on your stomach. I had intense pain when she pressed on a particular spot, to the point where I cried out.

Her response? “Oh, poor baby.” And to suggest weight loss to make my periods more regular, of course.

At 18, when I left for college, I was in constant pain. The cramps were unbearable, so I finally visited the ER. I was given an ultrasound and they found a large ovarian cyst – about the size of a large grapefruit. “If you weren’t so overweight, your doctor would’ve felt it,” the ER doctor said. Because it was completely my fault that my doctor didn’t do an ultrasound or follow up on the pain and symptoms I was having. I wound up having it removed, and it was a whopper – 18cm.

When you’re fat that’s the only thing that can be wrong with you. Every disease is obesity. If I was bleeding out my eyeballs, some doctor somewhere would insist that it could be fixed with diet and exercise.

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11 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. It is such a sad, sad thing that this happens so frequently.

    Reply
  2. Pieface

     /  January 26, 2013

    Bloody hell. That’s horrible.

    Reply
  3. It saddens me to read this. It also rings true for me – I have been afraid to go to doctors for the past few years because of any issues because I think all they will see is my weight and think that losing weight will solve everything. It’s really trouble that people who are supposed to be professionals are blaming their incompetence on the patients.

    Reply
  4. I’m so sorry you experienced that. You know about PCOS, don’t you? Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome? Can cause the weird periods, missing some yet heavy bleeding at other times. If your weird periods didn’t resolve with the ovarian cyst, please get checked out for PCOS. That too can sometimes result in ruptured ovarian cysts, but there are risks beyond that to consider. The good news is that it’s treatable.

    FYI, research shows that babies who were born small-for-gestational-age (and many preemies are SGA) often experience strong catch-up growth after birth, and this seems strongly associated with a higher weight later in life. Genetics may be your strongest influence, but SGA plus catch-up growth may be another.

    Reply
  5. This is just plain bad medicine.
    Horrible that you had to encounter asshat after asshat. Nothing says “horrible doctor” like rubbing salt in someone’s wounds when they’re already suffering.
    How do these people sleep at night?

    Reply
  6. Jennifer Hansen

     /  February 13, 2013

    The part that really blew my mind was a doctor performing a procedure that is supposed to check for pain and tenderness and then brushing off your obvious pain as irrelevant! I wouldn’t trust a doctor like that within ten feet of me or any member of my family, fat or thin (but especially the fat ones)–EVER. If she can’t grasp the reasons for the procedures she performs, she is dangerously incompetent.

    Reply
  7. violetyoshi

     /  February 16, 2013

    I’m thinking that the idea that someone would have an obvious symptom ignored like bleeding out of their eyeballs, for the fact they are fat, would make for a good sarcastic take on sizeism. I’m a fan of horror films, so if someone were to do the gore well it could work.

    TW: talk of self-mutilation and fat bullying

    Like this short from ABC’s of Death horror film called X is for XXL. It’s from a director from France, about a woman who is fat who has been bullied. She goes home and takes extremely drastic measures to become thin. The end result is she has no more skin or flesh, as she removed all of it. She steps out of the bathtub and puts her hand on her hip, and tries making a pose like a model before falling over dead. I thought it was a brilliant take on how society really puts so much pressure on women to be thin, that they would mutilate their bodies via gastric-bypass. It’s also interesting the director is from Paris, because they’re one of the fashion capitals of the world, so one can only imagine how hard it is to be fat there.

    mod note: I understand the last paragraph is very graphic, but I think the message conveyed by the short mentioned is very meaningful in terms of how it shows the horrors fat people face from unending prejudice daily. Feel free to remove the paragraph and trigger warning if you think it’s too much, I’ll understand.

    Reply
  8. Amanda A.

     /  March 6, 2013

    This post definitely hits home. I was suffering from asthma when I was in middle school but could not get my doctor to listen because she just assumed that my weight meant that I was just fat and out of shape and that was why I could not breathe. Doctors harassing their patients because of their weight (especially young and impressionable kids and teens) will only harm their health in the long run. When someone is so afraid of going to the doctor because they know they will be tormented for their weight, they are much more likely to avoid regular checkups that could catch diseases before they progress and worsen.

    Reply
  9. atheneckm28

     /  June 9, 2013

    That’s literally what I’m going through! I was in increasing pain for a year, and everyone insisted it was an STD (too much pain=no sex, so….). I told them it felt like there was something pressing between my uterus and bladder because the pain was much more severe when I had to pee. Finally a doctor sent me to get an ultrasound “to calm me down” – WHAM! 2 cysts on my left ovary the size of grapefruits. The sonographer said she was surprised I wasn’t in MUCH MORE pain. One doctor told me, after the diagnosis, was the worst. I received a long lecture about how I need to lose weight and exercise, despite knowing that 1)I was in too much pain to do much walking let alone working out 2) I had gained 60lbs FROM the pain induced inactivity, and 3)Increased activity put me at great risk of rupturing a cyst, giving me blood poisoning, and killing me. He knew ALL OF THIS. Still just insisted it was the best course of action. Also tried to tell me to eat these strange things called “vegetables”, to which I informed him I walk to the local farmers market every saturday and purchase my week’s organic greens, don’t like any sugar but local honey, and desserts make me queazy. He clearly was surprised, but undetured. He then proceeded to tell me that it would be easier for anesthesiologists to do the surgery I clearly (still) need, if I were to lose weight. He explained, angelically, that fat bodies are harder for them, which is a shame considering the very nature of being fat implicitly filled your life with poor health and surgical interventions. My head nearly exploded at the illogical nature of this statement. Fat people comprise MORE of the patients, yet experience has yet to teach anesthesiologists how to work with them…? Then, when I asked him how trained professionals could feel small ovarian cysts but not a “grapefruit”, “I was being good before, but you’re really asking for it! [conspiratorial old man smile to uncomfortable fat nurse] But it’s like FEELING FOR A GRAPEFRUIT BETWEEN TWO PILLOWS!” I couldn’t help think ‘But I’m pretty sure you CAN do that…’

    I meant this to be shorter, but I’d forgotten most till now! I’ve not even had the surgery yet! I have SO many more medicalized fat-hate stories, but this will have to suffice for now. I’m so glad this is here…now if I die from this shit, people can know (I’ve had 3 near death experiences due to fat-hating doctors, so it’s a constant concern of mine…)

    Reply
  10. You really show us the reality of some doctors. I would like to thank you that you share your story with us most of the people avoid this to share. There was no use to loose your weight if you had consult your problem from a well experienced doctor earlier.

    http://astra-hc.com/

    Reply
  1. I am become fatpocalypse: eliminationism | Ideologically Impure

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