Migraines, PCOS – “caused” by being fat

SW writes:
About six years ago I moved to a new area with my (now) husband and got a new job. It was my first time living so far from where I grew up, and the first time I had to be totally self-supporting, so I was pretty stressed at the time. I had been having panic attacks, although at the time, I didn’t know that’s what they were, and when I was having them, I thought I was having heart attacks.

I went to a new doctor, who ran tests to make sure my heart was operating the way it’s supposed to (it was), and surmised that I was having stress induced panic attacks. She suggested mindfulness exercises, and other ways to do relaxing self care, which has helped me manage stress in my life. I remember feeling satisfied with the level of care at the time. She suggested I make an appointment to do a full physical workup and a Pap and pelvic exam, since I hadn’t had one in two years. I made the appointment.

What happened at that appointment was vastly different from what I had previously experienced with this doctor. I am not sure why she didn’t fat shame me at the first appointment, but at the second one, she made a point of telling me over and over that I needed to follow the plate diet (eating food off of smaller plates, and portioning the plate with veggies, a small amount of meat, and an even smaller amount of grains), needed to exercise more, and that she was very concerned about how much I weighed (190lbs., 5’7″). I had actually tried talking to her about migraines, but she didn’t seem interested in hearing about them, and expressed that if I just lost weight, I would have less “headaches”. I had also asked her about birth control options, since my partner and I wanted to have sex without condoms. I explained to her that I had been on the pill in the past, and that the ones with estrogen made me feel very sick, and that I didn’t like taking them. She prescribed a pill to me that has estrogen in it.

On subsequent visits, this doctor would not listen to me about any health issues I was having. Even though my sex drive had diminished to nothingness, my migraines had gotten more frequent (from about 6 a year, to one every month, like clockwork, around the time I got my period) and more intense, I was feeling depressed and anxious, and had a high level of fatigue a good portion of the time (all side effects of the estrogen based borth control pill). None of that mattered, she just wanted to talk about ways I could lose weight. No matter that I told her I ate a well balanced diet, and exercised on a regular basis; she just thought I was lying.

Anyway, fast forward a year and a half. I had lost my health insurance because I quit my job to finish my Masters degree, so I had to stop seeing that doctor whether I wanted to or not, and I had run out of BC pills. I ended up going to Planned Parenthood to get a new prescription, because they have a sliding scale of fees for people who are low income (the appointment ended up being free). The doctor asked me about my migraines. The ones I have tend to be accompanied with an aura, which, as it turns out, means I should not have been taking birth control pills that had estrogen in them. Because they can significantly increase my chance of stroke. So the first doctor I saw was so blinded by my fat, she prescribed me medication that could have killed me, or caused devastating brain damage. Awesome.

I have a new job and different health insurance now, and a couple of months ago, my husband and I decided to start trying to get pregnant. I went to the doctor to make sure all my stuff is healthy. The new doctor asked me many questions and was suspiocious of my infrequent and irregular periods, and decided to run some tests. She suspected I may have polycystic ovary syndrome, and wanted to check things out to make sure. Welp, my test results came back, and yes, I do, indeed, have PCOS. Which is a big reason why I am fat, and why I carry most of that fat in my midsection. She has started to treat my PCOS, and has never once shamed me for being fat. In fact, she was sympathetic to me, and even contemptuous of the treatment I had received because I am fat (she rolled her eyes when I told her how the last doctor had treated me). She expressed that she knows it must have been difficult for me to not know what was causing all my strange symptoms that all suddenly made sense, but have people just assume it was because I was fat. I am 31 years old, and have never had a doctor treat me as kindly as the one I have now. She even gave me a hug when I cried over my diagnosis (because it can cause infertility and I was very upset by that)!

I am still angry at the incompetence and fat-shaming of the first doctor, but I am really grateful to finally have a doctor who seems to understand and actually care about me, the person, rather than my fat.

Fat-shaming happens, even if you aren’t “fat”

EB writes:

I have never been anything that anybody could reasonably call fat. At 5’5.5″ I stayed around 125 from the ages of fourteen through 26. At 27 I weighed myself (usually a bi-yearly event or so) and discovered my weight had crept up to 135. This didn’t bother me because I was getting fat (because I wasn’t) but I thought maybe I was consuming more calories than I needed. I hadn’t noticed because at this time I wore mostly drawstring-waist clothes and hadn’t seen a change in the way they fit. I kept a cursory eye on what I ate, keeping in mind that I was clearly getting as many calories as I needed and maybe a few more. With no further effort on my part my weight came down to 130.

Then I found out I was pregnant.

And then I got hungry. Constantly, crushingly, insistently hungry. This was not the normal First World hungry or even the “I’ve been hammering boards together all day and boy am I famished” kind of First World hungry. This was something different. And I had to feed it. So I adapted my diet as best I could, in the interests of staying a functional human being.

I went for my ten-week checkup and was scheduled with a nurse practitioner who I had not seen before that day. She walked in, stood by the door, didn’t bother to introduce herself, and asked me how I was feeling. I didn’t feel much like discussing how I was feeling, since I’d discussed it to death with everybody, including having discussed it five minutes prior with the woman who took my blood pressure, but I answered dutifully with a response along the lines of “I’m making it”. She queried me more closely and I told her that I was constantly hungry, eating all the time, and kind of fatigued.

She told me this was normal for pregnancy. Which I already knew, which was why I didn’t want to discuss it because what was she going to do to fix it? I told her I wasn’t really feeling nauseous but mostly it was just that I got sick of certain foods because of eating them when I had no desire to eat them. She didn’t seem to understand this concept and I said “You know how sometimes you’re like ‘Man, a sandwich would be really tasty?’ Well, it’s the opposite now. It’s more like ‘Man, I really don’t want a sandwich, but I’m starving and I have to eat SOMETHING.'”

She asked me how often I ate and I told her honestly that I would eat five times a day and snack in between.

She then proceeded to jump to conclusions about how MUCH I ate at each of these meals, telling me I’d gained 10 pounds since before I was pregnant and that during the first trimester I was only supposed to gain about a pound a month. [Let's not discuss here how much of that might be breast tissue; I’d also gained a couple of cup sizes by that point.] Wait. WHAT? I challenged this and she said that my record said I had weighed 125 before I was pregnant.

Now let’s discuss the poor data-gathering I observed at this office. At the first prenatal appointment the provider asks how much you think you weighed prior to getting pregnant. You answer and that, apparently, gets added to your record. If you happened to be wrong about that, then how are you going to know? My guess would be I said my pre-pregnancy weight was 125, 130 or so, and she wrote down 125. They would then weigh you at each visit and the medical assistant taking the weight seemed not to care if you leave your shoes on or take them off or if you’re wearing your coat or who knows what all else. So you have to figure any reported weight could be off by 2-3 pounds. Add in the effects of, say, wet hair, a full bladder, having your wallet in your pocket, or having just eaten breakfast. That’s another 2-3 pounds that you could be off. Therefore, if you are the provider and looking at this number, you need to bear in mind that it is a ballpark figure.

But what the heck. Look at a garbagey number, compare it to an equally garbagey number, and criticize a starving pregnant woman and tell her to eat less.

Anyway, she said that I’d weighed 129 at my last appointment a month previously. So if I was supposed to gain a pound a month, I was 5 pounds over and apparently deserving of this lecture? I was distinctly irritated by this point and commented about full bladders, and she dropped the mention of specific numbers but then said something about how if I was eating five meals a day and snacking in between that was probably too much, as if she knew how big of meals I was eating. Then she started to say something about how maybe if I wanted a sandwich I could just eat a really small sandwich, which I cut off by saying “I know about portion control.”

Then she shifted gears to talking about exercise. I admitted that I didn’t exercise much because I felt lousy most of the time. She asked, in the same sort of perky voice that she had been using through the entire conversation, what I liked to do. I said walking and she said I should shoot for walking 30 minutes a day. I pointed out for the second time in two minutes that I feel lousy, fatigued, not up to it, and she pointed out that exercise produces endorphins that make you feel better (which I knew, but I so did not need this lecture on this particular day). I cut off this conversation too and said that this wasn’t even what I wanted to talk about and I had other questions, and she mercifully dropped the subject.

So, short version, I got criticized for supposedly gaining too much weight, for almost no reason whatsoever, after I’d just told her I was hungry constantly.

I ended up switching practices. I never reported this lady, though I wish I had. I ended up gaining almost 50 lbs before delivering my daughter, and the new providers I saw never said word number one about it—at each visit they told me my weight was fine. My daughter was an average weight, neither of us had any complications, and I was back to 125 by six months postpartum. Apparently whatever horrible thing was supposedly a risk because of those extra 5 lbs never materialized. I wonder if it is worth reporting this provider as this was 2 1/2 years ago. I shudder to think of the effect of this conversation on someone who actually had an eating disorder or even food issues (since aside from food aversions in pregnancy I have the least food issues of anyone I know.)

Too old and too fat to be pregnant (FFS!)

Amy Finn says:
I was 36 years old, 5 feet tall and about 170 pounds when I went in excitedly to my initial ob appointment for my third pregnancy. I was stoked about this little surprise the Universe had dropped into my lap.

I had delivered my second baby through this practice just five years earlier and admittedly, while I liked one doctor more than the other four, I didn’t have any issue with them throughout my care despite my gaining 50 pounds during that pregnancy.

That changed immediately with this visit.

The doctor walked in holding my chart. The first thing she said was, “We all know you don’t want to be here.” I laughed just because I couldn’t figure what she was on about. She continued, “Thirty six years old and a third baby. Hmm. We all know your eggs aren’t any good any more.” My eyes darted around the room looking for just who “we all” were in the room. Nope, no one else there. Just the two of us and of course, my baby.

She spoke on and on about why it probably wasn’t a good idea for me to have the baby and that time was running short for me to terminate the pregnancy. I finally held my hand up and said, “I am not terminating the pregnancy. Let’s just move on from there.” She sighed and looked down at the chart, her eyes popped out a bit.

“Well, you’re rather obese, aren’t you?” At this point I was looking around the room for the hidden cameras because clearly, this could not be real life. “If you look further in my chart you’ll see my blood work and health markers are all terrific.” I felt frustrated having to justify my size to her but I was in shock and truly regretting sitting on that cold table clad only in a paper sheet being berated by this woman who didn’t know me at all.

“Well, you can’t gain much more weight. It’s detrimental to your health and… and your baby’s health. You will only be able to gain nine pounds this pregnancy.”

At that point I guffawed so broadly, I’m sure patients two rooms over could hear me. “Listen, doc, if you again check my chart you’ll see that my two previous babies were each nine pounds. How could I only gain nine pounds? How do you accommodate a baby, extra blood flow to me and what not?”

“Nine pounds,” she repeated. She turned on her heel and left.

If I had been further along in my size acceptance philosophy, I would have calmly gotten dressed and walked out refusing to pay. However, I was still struggling with my size and so I continued at that practice. I made sure to never see that doctor again. I did complain to the senior practitioner about this doctor’s behavior, but I do not know if anything was ever done about it.

For the record, I gained 50 pounds with this baby. Not one of the practitioners said a word about it to me. And my baby was exactly nine pounds at birth.

——–
This took place about a year before I realized and fully accepted size acceptance and health at every size. My life is much different now and I am thankful for that.

Shamed by ob/gyn – health not important, weight more important for pregnancy.

Emily writes
I am 5’4″ and weighed about 153 lbs before my current pregnancy (I’m about 8 weeks along). When I went to my doctor in December and mentioned to her that my husband and I would be trying for baby #2, she immediately told me that I should lose a little weight because I was carrying a little too much and that it would help me get pregnant.

I felt terrible about that for several weeks. I have been trying to get back to my personal ideal weight of around 135 since baby #1, and it’s been a struggle, even though I pretty easily got back down to my pre-pregnancy weight of 150. I also resented the fact that she brought up my weight when talking about pregnancy since my husband and I have never had any problems with fertility. (Three pregnancies within a month of starting to try, with one healthy baby, one miscarriage and my current pregnancy). I weighed about 150 pounds all three times. My doctor was basing her comment on absolutely nothing that had to do with me, as she doesn’t know my eating habits (very nutritious) or my exercise habits (I run 12 to 20 miles per week).

When I went back to my doctor for the pregnancy confirmation appointment this week, she told me that the maximum ideal weight for my height was 126. She seemed to be using the chart as the bad guy so she wouldn’t have to tell me directly that she thought I was fat. I told her that was ridiculous and that my personal ideal weight was around 135. She then told me that living in an overweight culture means that your view of normal gets skewed. Again, I told her I was in my absolute best shape at around 135, and asked if she would say that meant I was fat at that weight. She said “I wouldn’t use that term. I would say overweight.”

I sobbed in my car for 10 minutes and I am now feeling like I’m doing nothing right. I have already switched doctors, but this woman’s bugaboo about weight (when again, she knows NOTHING about my level of cardio health, nutrition, etc) has really hurt me and made what should be a joyful time stressful and unhappy.

Thank you. I’m so glad your website is out there. I felt so isolated and ashamed after this happened, and because I’m not yet revealing the pregnancy to friends, I also felt as though there was no one I could tell about this.

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.

Lots of strange symptoms? Nothing that weight loss won’t cure!

Kae writes:

I have always been heavy for my height. However, as a child and teen I was also very active and generally healthy and so for a long time I only weighed 15-25 lbs more than I was “supposed” to. However, around the time I turned 16 my family’s regular doctor (whom we all loved) was preparing to retire and her office hired a new doctor to replace her. Unfortunately, this new doctor had a bad reputation for being dismissive and impatient. One friend whose mother used to go to him at his former office had nothing good to say about him. He had misdiagnosed her and the medicine he put her on made her illness worse. She switched doctors and warned everyone to avoid her old doctor if they could. Sadly, our insurance gave us limited options as far as primary docs were concerned and so we had to see him until we were eventually allowed to change providers.

My father hated him. He said he was rude and arrogant toward him. My mother disliked him because he never fully listened to her and basically ignored what little he did hear. Then I met him. At the time I was experiencing some strange symptoms. My periods were irregular and very heavy and painful, I was growing hair in unwanted places, and I was losing the hair on my head. Worst of all, I began to gain weight rapidly even though my eating habits and mobility had not changed. At the time I also suffered from terrible allergies that made it impossible to breathe through my nose. It was primarily because of the allergies that I went to see him. He took one look at me and suggested I lose weight. I then explained about all of the things I was experiencing and he dismissed it all, saying that all I needed was to try harder to lose weight and that everything would magically right itself.

His dismissal of my symptoms dismayed me, but as he didn’t indicate anything else might be wrong, I let it go. However, his blithe attitude also made me wary of doctors and I only ever saw one after that if I was really sick. Fast forward five years. I was 22 and newly married and I had just learned that I was pregnant. Because I now had different insurance I had to scramble to find a new OB/GYN. After a few let-downs I ended up with the nicest of doctors. During my first exam my new doc shook my hand, looked me over (while I was still fully clothed) and said, “I want you to get your thyroid checked.” When I asked why, she said that I had several very obvious outward signs of hypothyroidism and she was very surprised that no doctor had had me tested for it yet. We talked for a while about my symptoms: Unusual body hair growth, thinning head hair, painful and irregular periods, abrupt weight gain, and the fact that exercising wasn’t helping to take it off. She ordered the blood work and I had it done the next day.

Sadly, it was not quickly enough. I had a devastating miscarriage a week later, and although my doc said that anything could have triggered it, she surmised that my severe hypothyroidism was an attributing factor. The blood tests came back the day after the miscarriage and I was immediately put on thyroid medicine. Within three months my periods became lighter and more regular, my hair became thicker, and I dropped 30 lbs. I also became pregnant again and 39 weeks later I gave birth to a healthy baby girl.

Still, whenever I think back on it I get angry. If that bastard doctor had actually taken the time to listen to me or to see more than my weight, would my first child have survived? I do know that if I had been properly diagnosed when I was 16 I wouldn’t have had nearly as many problems as I ended up with.

Woman doesn’t know she’s pregnant because missed periods are because she’s fat

Reader Sarah writes:

Just saw this clip from the show “I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant,” and thought of your blog.

24-year-old woman took the morning-after pill when the condom broke. Started missing her period. At first she doesn’t worry because her periods had been irregular, but finally she goes to the doctor. He says it’s normal for such an overweight woman to miss her periods. No mention if he did a pregnancy test. But guess what, she was pregnant with twins, whose health was compromised because the mother received no pre-natal care:

Health problems? They’re all caused by your fat, even the ones you had BEFORE you were fat!

Chai writes:

My problems began when I was involved in a gymnastics accident, that left me with recurring back, neck and left shoulder pain (still not officially diagnosed to this day). It left me unable to do anything more than mild exercise without pain. Two years later, I got an extremely bad flu which left me bed-ridden for 4 months. Over those 4 months I gained weight. I went from malnourished and underweight to overweight fairly quickly. From there on, I gained weight.

I will state now, that I am not yet morbidly obese, but I am fairly overweight.

I walked a lot, and used public transport. I couldn’t seem to lose any weight. After a long battle with Irregular bleeding I was referred to a gyno. The first lady was awesome. The problem was officially diagnosed as PCOS and she advised me to lose 5% of my weight, but understood that putting a number to my weight would do me more harm than help. My theory is that I could work on losing weight more effectively if I didn’t have to feel bad about the number that is my weight. She tried putting me on the pill to help with the PCOS, it didn’t help, it just made my problems worse.

In between appointments (which was a number of months due to the public health system) I changed GP’s. I found an awesome GP who understood my problem and didn’t judge me for it. She re- referred me to the gyno. I still see this GP.

The next appointment, I had this young registrar. I told her how bad things had gotten for me over the period between the first appointment and the current one. My life had gone to shambles. I’d gained more weight, been miserable, had no sex life (at this point I had been married just under a year…. No sex is sooooo not cool for newly weds) and was always tired. She gave me an exam and made the comment that I seemed to be so hairy. Then she asked if this was a recent thing. I answered truthfully and told her that my grandparents and parents had always said I used to be a hairy child (a fine blonde layer of hair (also co-incidentally a symptom of PCOS)).

Then this doctor changed tactics. First she accused me of not trying the pill (uh hello! its on my file that I tried it!), then she moved onto saying ALL my problems were caused by my weight. My lack of sleep, my bleeding, my pcos, my injury…. everything! Yes that’s right folks, EVERYTHING is caused by my weight. Now, I’m the first to admit that, yes, I need to lose weight…… But to be told my a medical professional that all my problems were caused by my weight (even my prior to weight gain problems), I cried on the inside. When I got home after the tests she ordered, I cried in my husband’s arms, not really understanding how a doctor could be so mean and dismissive of my problems, when I’d been referred there for a reason.

I went on to get mirena prescribed and I hope to god that I never meet this doctor again. Because I never want to feel as horrible as I did the day that doctor decided that because I wasn’t skinny, that my weight was the cause of all my problems.

Period after menopause is NOT normal – get a 2nd opinion if necessary

Qultluvr writes:

I’d like to tell my story so that women in menopause know that having a period (after not having one for at least 6 months) is NOT normal.

My tale really involves 2 women – myself and a friend who is about my age and about the same size as I am.

We both had what seemed and felt like a menstrual period after having been told we were in full menopause. Since I had a reliable doctor, off I went to be checked out. My doctor said it is definitely not normal and sent me for a D&C. The tissue from the D&C came back as “pre-cancerous” and my doctor said the standard prescription for that is a hysterectomy. I did a little research and found the same thing. So my doctor sent me to a surgeon, who though grumpy and mean (to everybody), scheduled the surgery. The surgery was decidedly not fun, but all went well. The pathology report came back with the info that there had indeed been a tumor (cancer) in the cavity of the uterus. Now it is 6 years later and I am able to dance/work/chase-my-grandkids to my heart’s delight.

My friend’s story is very different. She had what seemed like a period and thought it was normal and ignored it for several years. She mentioned it to another friend, who urged her to talk to me and I urged her to go see a doctor. So she did and got the usual “you’re too fat” run-around. She insisted that something must be done and did get a referral to a local surgeon – who said she was too fat, that nobody could do a hysterectomy on her and refused to do the surgery. I’m not clear how many doctors she went through, but she did eventually find one competent enough to do a hysterectomy on a 300ish pound woman. My recovery was 6 weeks; hers has been over 6 months. My total time from first visit to totally recovered was 5 months; hers was about 3 full years, some of it listening in misery to some jerk tell her she’s too fat and refusing to treat something she clearly knows is not okay. Her outcome now is pretty good, so this story has a reasonably happy ending for both of us.

I think it does have two clear points.
1) If you think something is wrong, get to a doctor and keep going until you find one who will treat you respectfully and actually listen to what is going on.
2) It does really help to have found a doctor you can trust before you really need one. I know how hard that is and yes, it is hard. I had to drive an hour and a half from my home to the doctor’s office (same distance to the hospital) and it was absolutely worth it at the time I needed a reliable doctor most.

Too fat to get pregnant – need WLS, ob-gyn doesn’t believe patient

Mel writes from Australia:

Hi
I found your blog and thought my story would fit right in.
I don’t have a good relationship with doctors. Frankly they terrify me, and I avoid them at all costs. Before we started trying to conceive I only went once a year for my annual pill prescription and pap smear if needed. My gp is good though, a really lovely person who never tries to tell me it’s all about how fat I am. Unfortunately not all doctors are as helpful.
I have been trying to conceive for more than a year now. In that time I have been to my gp for preliminary tests, taken vitamins every day, cut out the caffeine, watched what I eat and have recently taken up exercise at the gym. Unfortunately I have still not managed to get pregnant and have been having long long cycles with irregular temperatures and heavy bleeding. Off to my gp in January-she was very helpful, sent me off for an ultrasound and some blood tests, mainly general stuff since I hadn’t had any tests for around a decade, but also a GTT. It came back fine-no diabetes, nothing wrong with my girly bits on the ultrasound. She told us to keep trying and come back in a couple of months.
I returned to her in April, still with some crazy issues relating to long long cycles, long periods and no pregnancy. She told me it was fine to keep trying but would like me to see a gynaecologist. She wrote on the referral “Mel has been trying to conceive for more than 12 months but has been unsuccessful. She has a family history of PCOS and is overweight. Please help her with her fertility issue”. Okay I have no problem with what she wrote, it’s all accurate.
Off I trudged to the gynaecologist, test results in hand. In the time between January and May when I saw the gynaecologist I had been exercising and had lost around 15kg, which I thought was a stellar effort and showed I was trying to address the inevitable “you need to lose weight”. My gp had told me to lose 5% of my bodyweight and if my weight was the problem then my cycles would miraculously sort themselves out-after losing the weight there has been no improvement so I thought I had pre-empted their comment.
The first thing out of the gynaecologists mouth was “How much do you weigh”. 135kg. “Do you realise how obese you are?” I then told her I have been working hard to lose weight through diet and exercise, thinking to cut her off before she got into her fatbashing rant. As i explained that I had lost 15kg since January, was doing 90 minutes of cardio at the gym 5 times a week, and eating a low GI low fat low carb diet she rolled her eyes at me in disbelief. Her reply was “You are too fat for a baby. You need to get down to 65kg before I will help you”.
At that point I should have stood up, told her to go f*** herself and walked out but I was stunned. I guess she took the stunned silence as agreement because then she whipped out the lapbanding pamphlet and told me I had to have weight loss surgery. I told her no, not under any circumstances would I do that, it doesn’t work (my aunt had it done and is bigger than she was before), and she then continued to patronise me. She told me I was infertile because I had been on the pill for 15 years, that taking basal body temperatures was a waste of time as they don’t show ovulation, and that I would need ivf to conceive. She could tell all this apparently from looking at me and reading my full blood count, my GTT results and looking at my completely normal ultrasound results. I just sat there as she lectured me about how I had to take pre-natal vitamins (because of course, being fat, I must be stupid and incapable of reading). She told me I must be very lazy because she only had to walk for 30 minutes a day to lose 1/2 a kilogram.
Not once did she ask me about my symptoms, and when I pointed out that I didn’t have the crazy cycles and issues before I went on the pill and I was fat then, she ignored me and kept bringing up the weight loss surgery as the only option available to me. As I left she handed me the weight loss surgery pamphlet and told me to think about it for next time I came. No hope was given, no suggestions on how she was going to investigate or manage the issues I am having in terms of cycles and some pretty severe bleeding, just “you are fat. you are fat. you are fat”.
By the time I left her surgery I was in tears, and as I walked away I had never felt so depressed in my life. All I wanted was a baby, just one, I had walked into her office so full of hope and had been in a really good place before she opened her mouth. I rang my husband and could barely speak, I was so upset. As I told him what had happened he got more and more angry till finally he said “How can you let someone speak to you like that. You are worth so much more than that”. At that point I realised that the strong assertive Me had been turned into the compliant humiliated voiceless Me by someone who didn’t know me, didn’t care about me, and didn’t even behave in a professional manner towards me.
I don’t know what box of cornflakes she got her medical degree off the back of, but if she actually genuinely wanted to help me (even if in her opinion the only possible option was helping me lose weight) then did she really think she was going to get very far by just humiliating me? As for me I am now needing to go off to my gp again for another referral, but I have put it off for the last few weeks because I am not sure if I can face going through that again with another specialist. I thought the Hippocratic oath said “first do no harm” but I guess that emotional damage to a fat person doesn’t count as she didn’t see me as a person, just a big pile of lard.

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