Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fat Girl Health: Update

Remember how I gushed about the doctor not mentioning my weight? Well that didn't last long. She called me to let me know the results of my blood tests. My blood pressure was already good so she called to let me know that my cholesterol and my blood sugar were also good- a relief since diabetes runs in my family. Still, she just couldn't help (though to her credit she seemed tentative about it) but suggest that I lose weight. Being thin means being healthier! Right? But I'm already healthy so what do I have to gain exactly? More so, I'd like to know how she'd suggest I do this.

I'm going to talk a little about my health- something I avoid doing because I try to sound professional most of the time (I pull that off, right?).  I have hypothyroidism. At least according to my blood test done Dec. '10 with a TSH level of 4.1. This is something that actually impacts my  health. More recently because, despite not being medicated, my TSH suddenly dropped to 1.6 as my symptoms became debilitating. I may actually have hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto's disease. It's an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the thyroid. When it does pieces sometimes break off and dump thyroid hormones into the body causing TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone- a hormone released by the pituitary gland in order to stimulate the thyroid when it's not producing enough hormones [T4 and T3]) to drop suddenly. The symptoms are hell to be honest. Severe fatigue, nausea, dizziness, pain.. I've been barely functioning for the past month or so.

This is partially relevant because one of the symptoms I've been experiencing is lack of appetite and nausea after eating. I've been eating very little. It varies from day to day but the most I've been able to eat in the past few weeks is about 1400 calories (I only know this because someone was concerned and asked me to add it up) and the average is closer to 700 with some days being much less. This is not okay and it also hasn't caused weight loss. So when I ask "what would she have me do?" she certainly can't tell me to eat less! This was just plain irresponsible of her. The severity is what caused me to make a doctor's appointment asap. So this, this is what actually effects my health and in a severe way.

I wanted to make the severity of my symptoms clear so that you can be shocked and outraged when I tell you that the doctor (resident) dismissed all of these symptoms. Perhaps she thinks 'oh, fattie thinks she has thyroid problems, big surprise' (even with a copy of my last blood test in front of her) or maybe she's just inexperienced- she is a resident after all. But these things she dismisses while my life is put on hold because of how sick I am, but she thinks weight loss is an appropriate piece of advice (after I informed her of my history with an ED no less- something else I haven't talked about on here because it still makes me feel ashamed and uncomfortable). There is no good excuse for this people. I have one more appointment next week and if it goes as poorly then it's time to find a new doctor!


  1. Did she tell you why she suggests you to lose weight? If she hasn't, I would at least hear her out and tell her about your thyroid problem and ask what she suggests you do to lose weight. I'm not telling you what to do, and I get why you are frustrated, but I'm just saying that if I were you, I would at least humor her and prove that weight loss isn't so easy for you and even if you did lose some, what exactly are you gaining to improve your overall healthy, because honestly I think you are heading down a bumpy road if you keep switching doctors every time you don't agree with one. You are likely to keep running into the same or similar issues. It might be better to be persistent with your doctor and stand your ground. Basically be like, "Ok that didn't work, now what?"

    That's just what I would do.

  2. I think she chose to mention weight loss over the phone rather than in person, which is so cowardly. I'm sorry you even had to deal with that shit.

  3. loveashley- switching doctors constantly isn't a good idea but sticking with a doctor that's also fairly useless isn't a good idea either. I'm not staying with a doctor who ignores my actual health problems- especially ones as severe as I've been experiencing.

  4. i'll also add that it doesn't matter *why* she suggested I lose weight.. because weight loss isn't a solution or cure for anything and, even if it were, it's not possible for 95% of people and definitely not possible for my body. I do plan on asking her how she would suggest I lose weight just so I can rub it in her face how stupid it is. Common advice is "cut 500 calories from your diet and exercise regularly". If I cut that much from my diet I'd be eating 200-500 calories a day- no one can argue that's healthy or okay. and working out? hello- already joined a gym.. I'm there specifically because I started getting sick while working out. Can't wait to hear what she'll come up with.

  5. Oh boy. I hate when residents get all high-and-mighty. My GP recently left our practice to move to a different area. the resident they sent me to took one look at me, didn't even bother to read my file, and suggested I drop 10-20 lbs.
    I told her right away that I'm severely anaemic and can barely make it through a day without falling asleep on myself, let alone get back to the vigorous exercise I used to do. I already bike/walk almost everywhere.
    When I added that my former GP was actually proud of me for getting up to the weight at which I am, since I've been struggling against an eating disorder and was severely underweight when I first started at the practice, the resident looked at me funny and disbelievingly said, "Uhuh, sure."
    Your case is baffling, however. You're in what seems to be amazing health and the woman has the gall to suggest you lose weight.
    What a silly silly person she is.
    I mean has she seen how gorgeous you are?

  6. oh yikes Chelsey! Sounds like you need to find a new GP (and I probably do too!)

  7. It took me until I was 32 to find a decent doctor. But that's because I didn't know I could say NO to a doctor, and demand that they treat me the same as they would a non-fat patient. I thought that was how doctors were, there was no alternative. It wasn't until I found one who listened to me, discussed my options WITH me and allowed me to advocate for myself and my health, that I realised that going to the doctor didn't have to be an exercise in shaming.

    Change if you need to until you find one who actually listens and works with you to improve your health on your terms. It's your body, your life and you get the final word.

  8. I am in a similar boat regards the thyroid and eating very litle yet not even losing a pound. The doctor showed a complete basic lack of understanding of autoimmune thyroid disease. Trying to lose weight with Hashis that is untreated - as my thyroid will not stabilise as fully hypo - is pretty much like trying to run up a mountain while attached to a giant bungee rope. You might get a little way up (lose a pound or two), but then the rope snaps you back to the bottom of the mountain (original weight) and you start all over again! I hate this assumption that because I am overweight, I must be eating packets of biscuits, chocolate, fries, things dripping with fat... I eat really healthily and don't eat very much (but not so little that I am in starvation mode either). And I exercise!

  9. Diva- you're right.. thyroid patients generally aren't treated very well although the "difficulty losing weight" as a symptom sort of irritates me.. because while thyroid does effect weight there are tons of people with no thyroid issue that can't lose weight just because- hey, that's where their body wants to be even with no outstanding health issues. Likewise people use the hypo to give me a pass "oh- that's why you're fat then so it's okay"... *headdesk*. People's complete lack of understanding of thyroid disease combined with their inherent need to believe all people have the ability to be thin just makes everything that much more frustrating! I hope you find a new doctor- one who's willing to listen to you and who truly understands thyroid disease and how complicated, multi faceted, and far reaching it can actually be in terms of health, symptoms, and treatment. Good luck!

  10. Kath- I *know* I can say no to a doctor.. I just don't have the guts! It's okay if I just silently slink off to another doctor without telling the old one or standing up to her right?


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