Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Doctor Says...

Today I had an appointment with my primary care doctor. He's a new doctor (to me) so I was not sure what to expect when I set up this very first appointment with him for a physical. I haven't seen any doctors much in the past year and a half because I had no health insurance, but now that I do, I wanted to make sure all is well with the ol' bod.

I always dread meeting new doctors. You just never know what to expect. My experiences have ranged from helpful to bizarre. I've had doctors praise me for taking charge of my health, and other berate me for my obesity even after I'd lost 50 pounds. I've had doctors in such a rush that they never even looked up at my face from their chart notes as they whizzed out the door to the next patient, and doctors who were seriously inappropriate with me. But this time, I was ready. If this doctor didn't want to bother with me as a patient and show me the respect I deserve, I was more than willing to walk out and search for a different primary care doctor.

They weighed me in and wrote 215 pounds in my chart (that was with shoes and jeans on, and lunch in my belly). I remembered when the chart said 283, and felt quite happy about the new number. When the doctor came in, he was personable, intelligent, and professional. My physical went very well. My blood pressure was good, everything looks normal, and he is very pleased about my weight loss. I also discussed Medifast with him and he encouraged me to continue using Medifast to reach my weight loss goals. He was also quite happy with my level of exercise, especially considering my arthritis. When he moved my knee joints, he remarked on the major crackling. "Losing weight was the best thing you could have done for your joints," he said, "and you're to be commended for your work. Most people just don't do it."

I'll be going for bloodwork tomorrow to check my lipids, blood sugar, thyroid function, vitamin D levels, etc. I am excited to see what the numbers are! I also got a referral to a geneticist to discuss my familial risk for ovarian cancer as well as the testing and preventative options. The only concern he had was my heart murmur. He is sending me for an echocardiogram in a couple of weeks. That will be a relief. I have worried about my heart ever since my father died of a heart attack at age 61. He'd had earlier heart attacks, too, in his mid-50's. And my grandpa died the same way. With the crazy palpitations I'd been having before starting Medifast, I do have concerns. I am just so relieved now that I have health insurance and can make sure I am doing all I can for my health.

As a side note, I had an interesting experience a couple days ago. I had to make a visit to an office where I have not been for about 8 years. I used to go there regularly and the receptionist was a very nice young lady who always greeted me with a smile. I wondered if she would still be there. I walked in, went to the reception desk and a middle aged, obese woman said, "May I help you?" I was trying to remember the name of the nice receptionist from before so I could ask if she was still there, when suddenly... those eyes. It was her! It was the same woman. She looked so much older. Her face was much rounder, cushioned all around by extra fat. I smiled and said hello and we chatted a bit, but after I left, I wondered if the shock of realizing it was HER showed. I hope not. I have been on that end of things... where you haven't seen someone in awhile and have put on so much weight you are nearly unrecognizable. I have seen the shock on a friend's face when they were suddenly presented with my pretty eyes and long brown hair on a puffy, distorted face. I have seen them try to cover up the disbelief and be nice. It hurts. But now I get it. I get that it really IS shocking to see someone you knew as skinny, stuck in a fat suit. That's what it seems like.

I wish there was a way around it, but it just IS a difficult situation. If you have no idea someone has gained weight... THAT MUCH weight... and you see them somewhere without expecting it... it is hard to hide the transition from not recognizing them to that split second where you see it IS them and you actually see the thin person stuck in the fat body. It takes a few minutes to absorb the new look. And having this experience, being on the other side of the shock, was pretty humbling.

Have you ever seen someone you knew as thin who had become fat, or changed their appearance in some other drastic way? How did you feel, and how did you react?

26 comments:

Angie said...

Lyn~
I have seen several friends that have gained weight just as myself since their prior skinny days. It is hard not to wonder what happened in their life to get them to that point.
I am glad I found your blog...I really enjoy reading it!
Angie

Autumnforest said...

Besides myself? I remember I had a very best friend but our busy lives had us going separate ways for a few years. I was standing in line at the store, looked over and recognized the eyes as familiar and wondered why she reminded me of someone. I studied the puffy face and droopy hair and realized it was HER! She waved at me for a full minute before I realized that it was her. I thought she was waving at someone else at first. I felt embarrassed for her and a lot of empathy. She had to know she was nothing like she used to be but it had only been like 2-3 years! I realized that the time we drifted apart had more to do with her stressors and they showed on her body. I remember thinking--where did you go? And it wasn't a commentary on her body--but her mind. She seemed far off and preoccupied and uncomfortable. I realized that the fat had more to do with her just disappearing and putting everything else first. You can tell how much you mean to yourself by how you care for yourself and consequently how little you regard yourself by how you abuse yourself. It really made something click for me to look at the 30 pounds I had gained.

Steelers6 said...

Oh my, I'm so glad it didn't progress to - "Hi, is Michelle (or whoever) still working here?" Yikes, that would have been worse, I fear.

So glad you got the respect you deserve from your new Dr. And glad you can go to these appts!

As far as your question of bumping in to ppl who have changed...I feel like *I* am finally getting it, finally working on it, having been overweight for many years. And now the ppl I knew back then who were thin/normal/average are starting to add pounds. Chrissy

Jer said...

My best friend has put on about 90 pounds as I have lost 140. It's been the most difficult thing for me. I don't want to tell her that she's heavier and I hate acknowledging that I'm smaller because I don't want to hurt her feelings. It's a terrible thing but I know that those reactions- obvious or not, are always thinly veiled to the recipient because they (we) are so self concious about our bodies.

Even in my smaller frame I still find myself thinking that people are talking about me and saying how fat I am when I hear just the opposite.

georgia said...

It’s the hardest thing when you meet someone who has gained weight! I have to remember that for many people it’s a taboo subject and try to tread lightly while we chat. The thing is I’m so open about my own struggles and health issues that at some point I will talk about me, which usually puts the other person at ease to talk about what they are going through. I think we hold so much in, that if we all shared more it would make more of us feel “normal”. Thanks for your blog Lyn! I’m so glad you share!

Ms. PJ Geek said...

I had my gyn appointment today and the nurses who hadn't seen mesince last year (bad girl skipped it) recognized that I 'd lost a lot of weight . I'd lost 70 lbs since they had seen me. They all asked how did I do it? " Exercise, more hours and more strenous than you would imagine and just counting calories" So much harder to explain the reality is blood , sweat , and tears and journaling , and praying, obsessing, and giving up and letting go and starting over ...alot..and forgiveness......

Ashley said...

I don't know anybody who has gained a significant amt of weight to be unrecognizable. But I got invited to a party by friends I haven't seen since high school & I'm only 24...and like 60lbs heavier!! So...needless to say, I bailed, I got so nervous. oh well.

Laura Pugh said...

I remember in high school, there was a girl who was anorexic. She was so skinny she looked like a skeleton with skin pulled over her bones.

At our 5 year class reunion, she was there, but she was obese. It was such a shock to see her go from one extreme to the other. At the time I thought "at least she's getting some food now". But I can't imagine how painful and scary her body changes must have been. And how brave she was to go to the reunion.

I probably weigh 130 lbs. more than I did in high school. Every time I go to my home town, I'm petrified that I will run into someone I used to know.

Early said...

Glad you met a 'good-for-you' doctor this time around. Especially since he seems to genuinely care and encourages you.

I'm the one that people comment on about my weight gain, even through I grew up heavy. And it's appalling how rude some people can be about it.

But once I met a guy I was frenemies with at university and he'd gained a lot of weight. At first I didn't recognise him, and when I did I laughed out loud and asked him what happened, because he used to make fun of me back then. But looking back now, I wish I hadn't laughed because though he didn't show it or say so, I might have hurt his feelings, and having been on the receiving end so many times I know how much it hurts...

NewMe said...

Yesterday, I saw a woman I know who has gained a significant amount of weight over the years. Fifteen years ago, she was actually slim without being skinny. Now, she's quite puffy.

Sadly, we all know the reason for her weight gain. She is manic-depressive and her medication has made her gain weight. She also into her 40s now--and we all know how peri-menopause just does wonders for weight gain!

She herself told me yesterday that she's on a diet. I listened and didn't make too many comments. Even on medication, she's becoming stranger and stranger. It's just better to let her say what she needs to say and remain quiet.

NewMe said...

P.S. How could I forget? Congratulations on your great doctor's visit!

Katy said...

Going to the doctor as a healthy person making positive changes is so so so much better than a nervous obese person hoping just waiting for your blood pressure to be high. The latter is just the worst feeling ever. Congrats for taking charge of your health... yet again. I don't think I've ever seen someone gain a ton of weight and not recognize them, but I definitely have been on the receiving end. It's a gut sinking feeling.

Anonymous said...

I have seen many people on Facebook who are much larger, it makes them human to me. Man, they were so naturally thin in high school! I figure it is because of computers since they never had "food issues". It is sad too.

Anonymous said...

I have seen many people on Facebook who are much larger, it makes them human to me. Man, they were so naturally thin in high school! I figure it is because of computers since they never had "food issues". It is sad too.

Diana said...

It has happened and it does make me wonder what happened to them. I do not show it though, because like you, I've been on the other side. Hurt by other people looking and commenting. It's just not something I want to put other people through.

I'm glad everything went great at the doctor!

Texasmom1974 said...

I went to a new gynecologist and she kept going ON AND ON about weightloss and how I need to lose sooooo much more weight. She could tell from my records I've lost considerable weight but she dwelled on it so much, I felt very self-conscious. Even after a 53 pound weightloss I was still hearing the lecture!

Congratulations on finding a good doctor!

beerab said...

I've seen it both ways. Each time it's shocking though lol.

I am that girl who has gained a lot- but that's all changing now of course! :)

Glad things went well- it's always wonderful to find a doctor who really cares!

Deanna - The Unnatural Mother said...

Unfortunatly, I was always on the other side of the coin. I do have a few friends who have gained 10 -20 pounds and I've been really frank with them telling them - stop the insanity now because before you know it, you'll be at a number well over 200 pounds and it won't feel good - always ending with TRUST me, I know and I am just telling you so that you don't endure the pain like I did. Nevertheless, kudos on a GRAET GREAT doctors visit!

...three sixty-three no more... said...

I used to be a very thin person. Very thin. Very athletic. And when I would see those who were thin like myself gain lots of weight I would think to myself "Wow what is going on with their life that's caused them to let themselves go." It was very sad for me.

Now the shoe's on the other foot, or the burrito is now in my mouth and when I look at myself in the mirror I am the one saying "God, what is going on with ME that I have let myself go." I then cry because I am so very sad.

Good job on your weight loss. I am really proud of you. I really am.

Brandy's Library said...

I've definitely had first hand experience. While at work I saw a person from college who I thought would remember me. I was about to say hi when he looked right at me and asked a question. He defeinitely had no idea it was me. It really showed me how much weight effects your features.

Lori said...

I've had the opposite experience, having lost 70+ lbs. I ran in to someone I hadn't seen in a couple of years. I spoke first, and could tell she didn't quite place me for a moment. She later confessed that she never would have recognized me if I hadn't been with my husband!
Lori
http://deepdarkweightloss.blogspot.com/

The Chubby Girl Diaries said...

Congrats on finding a good doctor!

There are a lot of people I used to go to school with who have changed considerably. For instance, the hot and popular star basketball player who is now fat and bald. It is a shock indeed!

~Kellie

Julie said...

I have seen the look on other people's faces when they saw me after I had gained alot of weight. It's heartbreaking!!

Cortney said...

This is such a relevant post. I've had that moment of shock upon recognizing someone, and I feel so. incredibly. bad. when it happens. I desperately want to take back the face I *know* I made, and I *know* they saw. Because you're right, it's a split second reaction that one just can't help.

And that's awesome you have such a good doctor. I love mine so much, it's amazing what having a good doctor can do.

MB said...

I'm shocked when I see the thin girl who got fat staring at me in the mirror.

Linda said...

funny i read this post now, about 10 minutes ago on facebook i saw a photo of a girl that was in my grade in high school, one of those really popular skinny girls who all the boys chased at school, and i hardly recognised her in the photo she had gained so much weight.
Another thing i've noticed is at the gym i go to, pretty much all the guys who i recognise are the ones who were overweight/nerdy in school, but have now lost all the weight and buffed up. its kinda funny how the tables have turned. quite a lot of my friends from high school who were bigger have lost the weight, and quite alot of the 'popular' girls have gained it