Gyn exam, followed by 20-minute lecture on “death by fat”

Tammy writes:

Currently, I’m lucky ­ I’ve got good doctors right now. My opthamologist is
a bit of a jerk, but since that’s generally the easiest exam to get through, I don’t worry about him 🙂
But when I was younger, I had a doctor who put me off of getting care for
I hit puberty early, and by junior high was well acquainted with menstrual cramps that required many pills to touch. This went on (with added problems) until I had my hysterectomy in 2002. During college, I was mostly healthy, so I didn’t really bother with a GP, I saw my GYN for any problems since I had started seeing him for the cramps & the yearly exam. Which, in itself, became a problem. He was an asshole.
Pelvic exams are usually nightmares for me – they always hurt. Which makes me nervous and tense. Which makes them hurt worse. A vicious circle.
So whenever I’d go see him, my BP would be high. He had me get my BP taken on a regular basis outside his office for a couple of weeks once to check it. I went to the college infirmary, where my BP was *never* high, except for the one time I came running in because I was running late. The nurse and I waited a few minutes and then it checked out fine. Basically a case of White Coat syndrome 🙂
But that wasn’t the reason I went for several years without seeing any kind of doctor unless I thought I was dying. No, that I attribute to the lecture – the one I got every time I saw him. I’d suffer through the horrible exam, get dressed, and go get lectured about my death.
I am fat. I know it. Medically, I’m in the “OMG, why aren’t you dead yet?!?!” stage. Then? I was 19 or 20 and overweight (somewhere in the mid to upper range of the BMI overweight category).
So I’d get dressed and go sit in his office and listen to a twenty minute lecture about how, if I was ever in a car wreck, I was going to die because the paramedics wouldn’t be able to get me out of the car and into the ambulance because I was so fat.
I heard this lecture every few months with increasing fervor, since I was still fat. And my fears at going to see him got worse until, finally, I just stopped.
So I got through 2-3 more years of college, 2 years of grad school, and 2 years of job hunting without medical checkups, using urgent care clinics whenever I contracted that year’s plague, and just using mega doses of pain relievers during my increasingly extended and heavy menstrual periods. I finally get a job and medical benefits and still don’t go because I don’t want to hear about ‘Death Due to Fatness’.
Until finally my periods are so bad that I’m overflowing the maxi
‘overnight’ pads and having to leave work because I need to shower and change clothes due to the blood. And the fatigue! I don’t remember being constantly that tired until undergoing radiation treatments for uterine cancer.
I finally make an appointment with the doctor I signed up with when I
started at this job around 2 years ago. No panic over the BP – she understands after I explain. The exam still sucks. And some blood tests. Then I go back for results.
The period? Take these pills the week before your period starts. The
fatigue? Severely anemic. Take iron. Lots of iron. Results? Miraculous. Well, I still had cramps, but I got some better pills for those. But the bleeding leveled off and so did the fatigue. (And finally even the iron supplements)
The White Coat syndrome? Not even at the dentist (and, believe me, you *don’t* want to know about my childhood dentist. He was the stuff of nightmares).
The bleeding problem came back years later and led to my cancer diagnosis. But I’m 5 years past that – and given the all clear by both the surgical and radiation oncologists. And I truly ❤ my hysterectomy, which removed that whole bleeding issue completely 🙂
If only I remembered the doctor's name – I think I'd go bitchslap him into next year, just for fun.

Leave a comment


  1. angrygrayrainbows

     /  June 26, 2009

    I love your pluckiness, Vesta! I have avoided doctors for years on end to my own detriment… you are an inspiration to me.
    I wouldn’t mind giving that doc a slap myself… or maybe I would send him a bouquet of flowers with a card that says, “You’re an idiot.” I love the irony. 😀

  2. “Pelvic exams are usually nightmares for me – they always hurt. Which makes me nervous and tense. Which makes them hurt worse.”

    Yep, this is me, too. I put off going to the gynecologist until I actually started having sex — i.e., early twenties — despite crippling periods that birth control would really have helped with when I was a teenager — for exactly that reason.

    The nurse/midwife I see is great, though.

    And, WTF on the “too fat to pull out of a car wreck” speech?

  3. vesta44

     /  June 28, 2009

    AGR – That was Tammy’s experience, not mine, but I know exactly how she feels, and I would have felt the same way had it been me. I’ve had a few doctors I’d like to bitchslap into the next year.

  4. Tammy

     /  June 30, 2009

    AGR – it’s a terror, but you need to go, even just for a checkup – it’s nice to know that things are going okay 🙂 And I do have nice doctors now.

    Lindsay – I’ve had *1* pelvic that didn’t hurt like hell – and that was by the gyn who did the biopsy that found my cancer – the one and only time I saw him (now in another state). My radiation oncologist felt so bad that I thought she was going to cry a couple of times.

    Vesta: so glad you’ve been able to get the site back going 🙂 And there are plenty of potential bitchslapees out there.


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