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.