First and foremost, I want to thank you for bringing this issue to light. It is such a relief not only to know that I am not the only person to have experienced less than satisfying care from a physician because of my weight, but that someone is finally speaking up about it.
I’ve been heavy for most of my life. I didn’t do anything to bring it on, it just happened. I was teased and bullied almost constantly at school, criticized and singled-out at home. Every mouthful was analyzed and I simply cannot remember a time when my size and diet was not THE focus of my life.
A few years ago I was diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, a disease which, amongst other things, disrupts the body’s ability to efficiently process insulin, making it very easy to gain weight, but extremely difficult to slim down. I am currently taking several medications to help regulate my metabolism, I eat a balanced, low fat diet and exercise regularly. However, I am still obese (250lbs).
The taunts and insults continue to come, most of which I attribute to ignorance. However, it is a great deal more difficult to ignore the dismissive and less-than-ideal treatment I’ve received from highly educated doctors on account of my size. In fact, I have recently changed internists because I no longer felt comfortable in my doctor’s presence.
Dr. B. was dismissive of my complaints and often told me that I would feel better once I lost the weight. She never once acknowledged the difficulties PCOS women have with weight loss, neither did she ever seem to believe that I could lead a healthy, active lifestyle and still be overweight. I felt I had to be on the defensive at all times. Dr. B. would roll her eyes, exhale sharply and tell me I obviously wasn’t really trying.
I acknowledge that obesity does make me more susceptible to certain medical problems, however, I refuse to be treated as though I am engaging in a foolish, risky lifestyle. I did not choose obesity, I am doing everything I can to be healthy and I deserve to be respected. I know that I am heavy. I’ve been aware of the fact almost every second of my life. I DO NOT need it pointed out and emphasized at all times.