“Lose 20 Lbs. Now! On the Exam Table!”

Jen writes…

At 31, I am finally learning to be okay with my body, whatever weight it may be. (Actually, I don’t even weigh myself anymore.) But this wasn’t always the case.

I’ve always had menstrual problems in the form of possible endometriosis. (No one seems to know for sure, which is a whole other story.) While I was in college at Stony Brook University in NY, I kept getting a UTI and going to the infirmary for medication. Finally, a GOOD doc noticed that the UTI tests were coming back negative (even though the other docs kept giving me medicine, anyway) and that something else must be going on. She had me see a urologist in the university health care system who ultimately determined that the endometriosis was putting pressure on my bladder and that was causing me to feel like I had a UTI.

The problem was that while I was lying on the exam table and he was feeling my pelvis, he started scolding me – yelling at me – about how the weight wasn’t helping the endometriosis and that I needed to lose 20 lbs IMMEDIATELY. He kept telling me that he couldn’t even feel what he was looking for because there was too much fat in the way.

I was 20 years old, 5’2’’, 140 lbs.

ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY POUNDS and this doctor was yelling at me about how fat I was. The sad thing is that I believed him. He confirmed everything that I believed about myself. And he was a doctor, so he would know! I went back to my dorm, called my mom, and cried. I was so ashamed.

This doctor fucked me up for a good 10 years. It still makes me really mad to think about it. I wish I remembered his name.

There is a happy piece to this story, though. When I was home on a break and saw my primary care physician, I talked to her about what the urologist said and asked her what she thought my ideal weight should be. She told me I was perfectly healthy. She said she’d rather see me a little bit “overweight” than obsess about losing weight. She said she’d seen too many girls spiral into eating disorders when there was nothing wrong with them to begin with. Too bad I didn’t let her words echo in my head for 10 years.

HER name is Joyce Morse, by the way, and she’s a Physician’s Assistant who practices in Dutchess County, NY. [Jen, we encourage you to submit her name to Stef’s Fat Friendly Health Professionals List. So glad you found her! -Eds.]

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1 Comment

  1. Amanda

     /  August 26, 2007

    Jen –

    Sad to say that ten years later the staff at the SUNY Stony Brook Clinic is still no better. My yearly physical turned into a 2 hour berating about my weight and how it was going to make me sterile or result in birth defects. I was told there was no way I was working out 40 mins a day, and referred to the campus nutritionist. It was humiliating and I immediately went home and cried for 4 hours. Fortunately, I have found one RN there (her name is Janeen for those looking for a provider at Stony Brook) who is fabulous, and while she will discuss your weight with you, she is far more open and helpful than the others I have encountered.


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