Mistrust, Disgust & Humiliation, Part Two

Well, my appointment with the orthopedic specialist came and I’m glad it’s over! What started out as a consultation about my knees, turned into a fat-shaming session — in less than 5 minutes!

First, he asked me what he could do for me and I told him that my doctor had been telling me for years that I’m too young for knee replacement surgery but that I’m in severe pain and having mobility issues. I told him I need help.

He said, “Well, Debbie. You’re not too young for knee replacement surgery.” I felt good for a split second that I was finally going to get some help. Ha. Short lived. He added, “However, you’re not a good candidate for knee replacement because you’re too heavy.” See, less than 5 minutes.

If I’m such a risk why did I just have surgery last year? 

He continued to tell me how I needed to count calories and eat smaller portions. I sat there in total disbelief because this man has the balls to think he knows me?? I tried to explain to him that I have been struggling with my weight since my first child was born and I’ve not had much success in losing weight. He interrupted me to tell me I needed to eat less calories. I said, “If it were that simple I wouldn’t be fat right now, now would I?” He said, “Let me tell you a story and see if it makes sense to you, Debbie.” He proceeded to tell me about his sister, who was overweight and was suffering from knee pain. She was a widow and she ate out all the time. She didn’t cook for just herself. He said one day he went to visit her and she had lost a lot of weight. He asked her how she did it and she told him that she would get her food at restaurants, eat half and save the rest for lunch the next day. Of course it makes sense but….

I tried to tell him that I’ve been trying to get help losing weight multiple times because I just can’t seem to lose. I told him I think there’s something else going on. “Eat less calories,” he said. Seeing red! I told him that I can’t even exercise like I need to! “You don’t need to exercise to lose weight, Debbie!” I was getting angrier by the minute. I mean, sure you can lose weight without exercising but if you have too much extra weight and you don’t exercise you’re going to end up with loose skin hanging all over your body! Exercise and diet go hand in hand. Both are important – says every fitness and nutrition expert in the world! They can’t all be wrong!! Besides, it wasn’t just exercise that I couldn’t do. I was having trouble with daily activities! My knees are severely damaged! You just don’t realize how important your knees are until you can’t even pivot, or get up out of a chair!

I tried to tell this man, who has the bedside manner of Donald Trump, that I don’t eat the way he thinks I eat! He says, “I don’t think anything about you, Debbie.” I said, “Obviously you have this preconceived notion that I eat more than I should and that I eat a lot of calories!” He interrupted me, yet again. “Eat less calories, Debbie. Calories are the key.” I interrupted him this time and said, “Let me tell you what I eat!” I tried to explain to him that I drink lots of water, watch my sugar consumption, watch my portion sizes. I don’t eat fast food. I don’t eat a lot of processed crap. I don’t drink soda. I don’t eat dessert. I eat healthy foods and lots of veggies, especially salads, a lot of them. One day a week I go out and eat.” He still insists that I need to eat less calories. How many calories does a freakin’ vegetable salad have? GEEZ! 

I could feel that I was about to shut down. Nearly in tears I said, “Based on what you have told me here today, if my doctor would have sent me to see a specialist 6 years and 50 pounds ago, then I would have had the surgery and be on my feet walking again like I use to.” I said, “I use to be a cross-country backpacker and now I can’t even take a short walk to the mailbox!” He said, “Well, things are different now.”

I shut down before I could tell him that I ate veggie salads, grilled chicken, tuna and soups for the better part of 3 years – between gall bladder issues and my hiatal hernia repair surgery last year – because I couldn’t eat anything else without feeling bloated or having a phantom gallbladder attack. Do you want to know how much weight I lost doing that for nearly 3 years? 15 whole freakin’ pounds. 15!! Tell me there’s not something else going on…..

I stood my ground with this doctor for a lot longer than I thought possible. My therapist advised me beforehand not to shut down. I have a tendency to do that when I feel I am not being heard. What’s the point if you’re not being heard, right? Anyway, I found myself raising my voice numerous times, talking over this so-called doctor because he kept interrupting me. I could not believe how rude and insensitive he was. I had had enough.

When he got up to leave the room, he stuck his hand out to shake my hand. Not going there, doc. I told him to just get out so I could get dressed and leave.

Afterward, which was nearly 3pm, Dad and I went out to eat. We hadn’t eaten ALL DAY but I felt so ashamed and guilty for even thinking about eating! How dare someone make another human being feel that way! I used the restroom when we got to the restaurant and I felt like I was going to throw up. This man made me feel ashamed of myself, ashamed of what I look like, ashamed of who I am. He doesn’t know me, my struggles, or anything about me.

Doctors seem to only see black and white, or what they know and what they think they know. The only doctor I have ever had that actually helped me with my weight problem was the first one who actually looked a little deeper into what might be going on. He checked my thyroid, found it extremely low, put me on meds and I lost 35 pounds fairly quickly but then I hit a plateau and I moved away and now I’m stuck with donkey doctors.

I’m done with them all. I decided in a last ditch effort, I will try NutriSystem. I’ve tried just about every other diet on the planet except for the ones you have to pay for. Couldn’t afford it, still can’t, but I have to try. I start tomorrow.


Mistrust, Disgust & Humiliation, Part One

If you know me, then you know of my struggles, or some of my struggles at least. My last post was a direct reflection of the disgust and mistrust I have for the medical profession in trying to deal with those struggles. This post, an explanation of what I have been dealing with in the last umpteen months!!

My doctor had been telling me for years that I am too young for knee replacement surgery. Even though I have bone on bone damage. Even though she knows I have bone on bone damage. My pain level has increased significantly over this past 6 years, as you can imagine. It’s not like I can stay off my feet to avoid doing any more damage to my already damaged knees. I have a life to live, chores to do, obligations, as anyone does. I have things I want and need to do just like anyone else.

So, I’ve been religiously taking my pain meds so that I can do what I want and need to do. Damage to my knees progressed, pain level increased and so my activity level has decreased. The pain is sometimes unbearable. I am unable to exercise the way I need to exercise to lose weight or even maintain a steady weight. I have struggled with my weight for many years; since my thyroid went wacky back when my first child was born. It took 5 years after that to even get a diagnosis – after I was already 100 lbs over weight!

I’ve tried many diets – low calorie, low fat, low carb, high protein, cabbage soup diet, mediterranean diet, and more – over the years. I have lost a few pounds here and there but nothing of enough significance to keep stressing myself over a diet. Not enough weight lost on any one diet to warrant continuing to deprive myself of everything that tastes good! But I digress. I do that often. More in another post later about dieting.

In February, I was in to see my doc for my routine annual exam. I had asked her about trying a new pain medication because my pain was getting worse. She wouldn’t give me anything else. She said there’s nothing else I can take. WHAT? Give me a break! There are plenty of medications for OA pain relief out there! I think she thought I wanted narcotics. Nope. I just want quality of life.

So, now things get really intense and I get to where all I see is RED. She asked me if I had considered knee replacement surgery. I lost it! I raised my voice and reminded her that she’s the one who’s been telling me for years that I’m too young for knee replacement surgery! She said, “Yes, but there are other treatments and they will do knee replacement depending on severity……” Yadda, yadda, yadda. I don’t remember anything else she said because I was so angry and in total disbelief! I told her I had considered a pain clinic nearby that specializes in knee treatments so people can avoid surgery. She said she had heard many people having good results there.

I had every intention of checking out that pain clinic personally, but I ended up back in the doc’s office with a UTI just a couple weeks later. I asked her then for a referral to see about knee replacement surgery. She said, “You’re too young for knee replacement surgery.” Red! I said, “I wish you’d make up your damn mind! Just 2 weeks ago you asked me if I had considered it!!” I wanted to kick her in the face! I was in the perfect position to do so, up on that exam table!! It would have hurt like hell with my knees as bad as they are, but I would have received great satisfaction in doing so. She tells me that there’s a process; first I will have to have x rays and discuss options with a specialist. She must think I’m stupid. I know I’m not going to make an appointment with a specialist and then be scheduled for surgery that very same day! I know there’s a process. So, I said, “I realize that, I’m not stupid. If you would just set me up with the specialist I will take it from there.” She did. Appointment made. This was just the beginning of another experience I won’t soon forget.

To be continued…….

A Few Changes

As stated in my previous post, I am making some dietary changes. I have tried diets of all kinds before. I’ve even gone as far as to not call them diets, but a plan to eat healthier instead. I always fail. I think I may have tried to make too many changes too quickly, so a new approach is in order. I’ll change a few things at a time, giving myself (body & mind) a chance to become accustomed before moving on to another change. Makes sense right?

For some time now, I have removed sodas from my diet. Occasionally, at a restaurant I might have a root beer but for the most part I’ve been drinking Iced Tea. I’ve been using Splenda to sweeten my tea because I’ve been drinking it sweetened all my life. I’ve been cutting down the amount slowly so not to drive myself insane. LOL. Of course, I need to add more water to my diet so I’ll have a glass of water with every meal, instead of tea.

Since this dietary change is not only for weight-loss purposes but also for pain relief (from arthritis) I am drinking one 8 oz. bottle of Elations per day. Elations contains Glucosamine 1,500 mg and Chondroitin 1,200 mg for bone and joint health. It hasn’t helped with my arthritis yet but I’ll keep drinking it. What can it hurt, right?

Today, I purchased some All Natural Black Cherry Juice at the local Natural Foods store. Now when I say local, I mean 30 miles away. That’s local to us! It’s pure cherry juice with no added anything! I’ve learned that cherries have anti-inflammatory properties and that eating 12 cherries a day can help relieve pain. Ok, so I’m going to drink 6 oz. of cherry juice at least once a day. That would have to be equal to or greater than 12 cherries a day, right?

I think if I continue to make minor changes and give myself a chance to get use to one before making another change, I think I’ll be able to do it. I’ll have to let you know how it goes.