I have a “weight problem”.
But it’s not exactly, not entirely, what you probably think.
I am overweight, significantly. That’s a topic I’ll explore here as time goes on, but being overweight isn’t my “problem”.
My “weight problem” is about perception, particularly that of my caregivers. When you are overweight, that fact becomes the fixation. When I speak to my doctor about a symptom I’m experiencing, it’s almost almost immediately attributed to my weight. Something hurts, something feels wrong, something unusual is happening, the response tends to distill down to “don’t be fat”.
But there’s more to my story than that. Yes, I am fat. But I also have a degenerative skeletal condition that is slowly crippling me. The same doctors that discovered that I have this condition still discount it as a factor in my overall health, instead applying laser-like focus to my weight. I have other congenital issues that are known but never considered. I even spent nearly 6 months with a debilitating known side effect to one of my medications, and despite it being right there in black and white, I was still told my problem was probably from carrying too much weight. Funny how those symptoms vanished when I stopped taking that medication, even though I’d not lost weight.
Well meaning inspirational persons will say that you just need to keep looking until you find a doctor that will actually listen to you. The reality is that it is not simply a matter of finding a different doctor, every healthcare professional I’ve dealt with in the last decade (many) has been this way. And I’m tired of it. I’m tired of sitting exam rooms when the doctor comes in, and watching their face register ‘fat guy’, and realizing that no matter how well I try to explain what’s going on, they’ve already decided that the answer is “don’t be fat”.
Anyway, where am I going with all this? I’m not sure. Part confessional, part rant, part introspection, part plan? What’s becoming clear to me is that I’m facing a life that is increasingly difficult, from my conditions, from the normal effects of aging, and yes, from my weight. I’m not dodging the fact that my weight is a problem in the common sense. And I think the only way I’m going to get through it is to remove the elephant in the room so that my caregivers actually see me. I’m going to have to get fit so that when I say something is wrong, they’ll believe me. Let’s find out how much really is my weight, and how much is dismissed because of my weight. And to get started, I’m going to have to answer the question of why it’s so hard to “don’t be fat”. Stay tuned, I guess.