TW/CW: As you could probably guess from the title, there will be much profanity in this post. This is therapeutic for me. If it’s offensive to you, then close this window now. That’s all I can say. You’ve been warned. Also, I will post the usual disclaimer at the end, but please be advised that this is not medical advice or suggestions. This is me, talking about my own personal experiences with doctors and the medical field in general.
I just turned 58 years old. In all of my years, I’ve only had one good general practitioner MD. ONE. I’d still be with her if I hadn’t moved out of state. She’s the only one I’ve ever trusted or respected at all. She’s the only one who’s ever truly listened to me – and respected my own choices about my own body.
I’ve lived in three other states and tried multiple doctors, but I never found any that were anywhere close. Arguably, the worst doctor I had was in Florida. I wrote a poem about her (I’ll post it at the end of this post). Her negligence almost killed me. Luckily, I went up to Michigan to check in with my good doctor and trusted gynecologist up there. They found the cancer before it was too late – and saved my life.
But I digress. Finding a good doctor as a fat woman is especially challenging. Most doctors are incapable of seeing a human being beyond the fat. Other people, including Ragen Chastain, have written extensively and powerfully on this worthy topic. I’m not going to address that in more depth here. I just want to presence it.
I was assigned a new doctor with my new HMO I just got when I moved to Arizona. I tried to keep an open mind. I thought I was maybe going to like him when we got through almost my entire first meeting with him without his bringing up my weight. My optimism soon came crashing down … he’d just been saving it for his big speech at the end. <eye roll>
It would be easy to get lost in the details here, but I’ll just say that I told him I had a long history with dieting. I didn’t need to hear anything about weight loss. I had been controlling my blood sugar just fine until the pandemic and some life crises – and had every intention of getting back on track. I told him it was actually mentally and emotionally damaging to me for him to lecture me on my weight. He said he’d look at some books I’d recommended. I left cautiously hopeful.
Today I had a follow up appointment with him, which I was looking forward to -because almost the entire month of April, I spent in serious pain, deliberating whether I should go to the ER or Urgent Care – or just try to wait it out. To give some context – in 2006, I waited out pain like this – and when I finally went to the ER, my liver enzymes were off the charts (literally) and they told me that if I’d waited another day, I’d have probably gone into a coma and likely died. So, I’m fairly tolerant of pain, but waiting it out … now feels kind of scary. Am I risking my life? There’s also the financial aspect to consider. I only have a part-time job and fairly crappy insurance. I can’t afford the deductibles, so that’s another reason to avoid things like ER or Urgent Care visits.
I was so relieved for today to get here so that I could talk to my doctor about my symptoms and see what he thought. The reality is that the only real uses I have for a doctor is to reassure me that I’m not dying – and maybe some diagnostic tests if necessary.
And here’s where the profanity begins. This motherfucker wanted ONE thing: to put me on drugs. My cholesterol and blood sugar were a little high. I’d already told him I’d not been doing well on my program for a while, but was getting back on track. I showed him the photo on the front page of this blog. You can clearly see how within 6 months, I had all of my numbers back to perfect. He argued with me that in his experience, diet and exercise alone didn’t usually shift the numbers – that pharmaceutical intervention was necessary. Motherfucker, I just SHOWED you my own personal experience that SHOWS that I am capable of doing this. I KNOW what I’m fucking doing! And what I’m NOT fucking doing – which includes going on statins or metformin or any other fucking drug that I don’t desperately need to stay alive!
He insisted on plugging my numbers into this calculator from the American Heart Association to show me my risk of heart attack/stroke if I didn’t take statins. If he’d been worth the effort, I would have shown him the long list of side effects from statins – and how they don’t actually improve health outcomes for most people. Again, this isn’t medical advice: do your own research. My body is not going to be polluted with fucking statin drugs!
Apparently, my irritation showed even with my mask on as he lectured me about stupid bullshit. He asked, “Am I boring you?” I responded, “Yes.” He sighed and typed some stuff in the computer, then asked, “So would it be fair to say that no matter what I say or do, you will not be willing to ever take this drug?” “Yes.” Types some more – now I’m probably in the stupid fucking system as “non-compliant.”
This is not health care! THIS IS NOT FUCKING HEALTH CARE!!!
But here is the worst part: I told him how I’d been in pain the entire month of April. I pointed to where it hurt, told him my symptoms, which included an enormous amount of belching and gas pain for no discernible reason, and terrible, stabbing/twisting pain in my back and rib area. Told him that my friend who is a physical therapist said that my ribs were out – and put them back in, but they kept pulling out. He gave me these meaningless statements about how everything is connected. I know that, motherfucker! I’ve been a myofascial release specialist for over 20 years! I don’t need you to explain basic shit to me. What I need to know is what could be causing these symptoms. Why do my ribs keep pulling out? Hint: it is NOT a fucking muscle pull! Something internal is fucking causing this! Is my pancreas in distress? Do I have a blocked bile duct? A kidney stone? What the fuck is causing these symptoms? And do I need life-saving medical care – or will this pass in time?
But he dismissed it all, saying that I’d probably bent funny and strained the muscles. NO! That absolutely wasn’t it! Strained muscles don’t make you unable to eat for three weeks! Strained muscles don’t make you unable to have a normal bowel movement for almost an entire month! I won’t go into all the gory details here – but there was something internally wrong with me. I KNOW it! I remembered when I had a similar experience for 6-7 weeks in 2019. A retired nurse friend told me to drink a beer and see if that helped. It did! So I tried it again. It helped! I’m down to just a residual pain in my right side under my ribs rather than the crippling pain I had for a month.
This stupid idiot said that it’s probably just a coincidence – that the beer just relaxed the muscles. NO! That is NOT fucking it! So fucking USELESS! He completely ignored the only health concerns that I was actually having in order to keep lecturing me about fucking medications that I will NEVER take!!! God damn it! This fucking medical system and fucking doctors and fucking Big Pharma – and worst of all, fucking insurance! It is ALL fucking useless! Well, mostly. There are some good doctors out there … and to be fair, I’ve had doctors save my life on more than one occasion. But this new doctor … NO!
Do you know what he actually said to me? When I agreed he was boring me? He said that he needed to tell me all of these things so he’d know I knew what I was choosing – so he could sleep at night. Motherfucker! I am NOT here to help you sleep at night! I am here for ME! I am here for my own health concerns and well-being. I don’t need your bullshit lectures and scare tactics – which, by the way, could cause the nocebo effect! He’s doing more harm than good! GTFOH with that shit!
So, here I am. Feeling massively frustrated and a little bit scared. There’s something wrong. I can feel it, but I don’t know what it is. The last time a doctor ignored my concern about symptoms, I had stage 3 uterine cancer that they caught just in time. I’d likely be dead by now if I hadn’t gone back to Michigan and consulted with doctors I trusted. I don’t have the money at this point to go back. So, what do I do?
My friend suggested a PA that she sees. I’m going to give her a call tomorrow and see if I can do a consultation with her – even if she doesn’t accept my insurance. I can’t just ignore this alarming pain. It may be nothing serious … but it’s not nothing. I need to know what’s happening. The useless fucking doctor today was not interested in helping me or addressing my concerns whatsoever. He had a pre-programmed script he was running. Who I am, what I’ve studied, what my history is, what my symptoms that I’m actively having NOW are – none of that was taken into account. Stupid ass was talking about what my percentage chance of having a heart attack was in 10 years, 20 years. What the FUCK?!? How is anybody that tone deaf, clueless, and completely incompetent?
This system teaches the majority of doctors to be this way. Their incomprehensible lack of knowledge about nutrition, metabolism, and basic health and wellness is ridiculous … and dangerous. I don’t know what else to say. I’ll update you when I figure something out. Until then, I’m continuing to do the practices I know that keep me (mostly) well. I’m continuing to monitor my blood sugar and use my journal daily. It helps me keep on track – even when I go way off track – it helps me see and understand how my body works – and what to do to feel better. What it can’t do is diagnose the unusual symptoms I’m having and tell me what to do about that. That’s the doctor’s job – only, I don’t currently have a competent doctor, so I’m on my own. Motherfucker. I hope I’m okay.
Disclaimer: Please be advised that I am not a medical professional nor a dietician. This site is not in any way, shape, or form providing any sort of diagnosis, advice, cures, or recommendations for medical or dietary treatments. I am simply sharing my own journey and experiences. Nothing I say is intended to replace proper medical care.
If you find this blog helpful and would like to help me keep it going – you can go here. Anything helps – and I really appreciate it!
I also do individual coaching on self-love and body image if you feel that would be helpful to you. Go here to learn more. Best wishes on your path!
Here’s the poem I mentioned about the doctor in Florida whose negligence could have killed me:
I don’t go to the doctor
unless it’s an emergency.
I hate doctors.
I wish I never had to go.
I can’t stand the arrogance,
from someone who doesn’t even understand
that the correlation between weight and health
is greatly, phenomenally overstated.
But then I worry,
what if something went wrong?
I’d want someone I trust
to turn to for medical advice,
to at least make sure I’m not dying.
I go, but refuse to be weighed.
The nurse sniffs,
I’m in the wrong place.
Can I leave now?
The doctor comes in and tells me
how essential it is to know my weight
how it impacts everything regarding my health and well-being
I try to tell her about Health At Every Size ™
My anger rises dragging my blood pressure along with it.
She tells me fatness contributes to high blood pressure.
My blood pressure has always been low
I know something is wrong in my body!
Help me! I want to scream.
But I know she can’t.
She can’t hear me.
She can’t see me.
She can’t advise me.
Because she is brainwashed.
And the only input her brain allows when she sees me
is that I am fat.
I leave her office and go out for some pizza and beer.
I’ll look for another doctor another day.
It was cancer, by the way.
Cancer that was raising my blood pressure.
My gynecologist caught it just in time
they got it all with surgery.
Doctors saved my life.
Can’t hate them all.
But I still need to find a primary care doctor.
Haven’t seen anyone in over two years.
I just dread trying again.
I’d almost rather die.