Thursday, June 20, 2013

#IAmNotADisease

Did I ever tell you the story about how my reproductive endocrinologist turned me away even though I had been to him the year before to have Katie, but this time he told me to come back when I lost twenty pounds, although I never did, so I never had more kids, and then, one day a few years later, when I got back from an excellent walk, when my body felt sweaty and vibrant and strong, I checked the mailbox and what was there but a newsletter from my community hospital with a picture of my reproductive endocrinologist and a blurb about how he, this slim, seemingly fit man, was recovering from a heart attack?

Yeah, so that happened.

I'm not saying it made me happy, the irony of a doctor scolding me to try to improve my health by losing weight when he himself a few years later faced a huge health crisis.  Not happy.  The English language doesn't do the feeling justice.  We must turn to the Germans for a word that expresses how I felt for a brief moment when I found out this doctor who had disappointed me so much, who I felt had discriminated against me for my size, this man who told me he refused to treat me and said he was doing so "for my own good health", when he proved himself a mere mortal the word describing how I felt was this: schadenfreude. I didn't feel good about his illness.  I felt bad for him.  But it felt a little good to feel bad for him.

I'm long over the schadenfreude I first felt when I read about my fat-phobic doctor's bad luck, but when I read reports that the AMA has joined the NIH in classifying "obesity" as a disease, despite their own panel of experts who studied the issue for a year advising them not to, I remind myself that doctors are mere mortals.

I'm not saying we should stop following all doctors' advice.  We need to think critically and choose wisely when we pick a doctor to work with us as an individual with complex needs.  This is the best advice I've read all day, from naturopathic doctor DeAun Nelson:

"I encourage every fat person reading this to have frank discussions with your physician. Fire physicians who do not comply with your health goals (if you can). Find physicians who understand that you are a person, and that your size should not dictate the quality of the treatment that your receive. Don’t let the financial interests of the diet, drug, and surgery industries affect how you are treated. Encourage your doctor to read Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon and start a discussion."

Now that I'm all fired up over this foolishness, I think it's time to cool off by pulling out the Slip N Slide:

#IAmNotADisease #FatAndFit #HAES #SlipNSlidesLoveAllSizes