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Well, What Did You Eat?

April 8, 2013

This is a post about some recent medical issues I have faced and all of the emotions that go along with it. Click through the jump to read (it’s long), or if you prefer to just see fashion shots, here is a gratuitous outfit shot that I never ended up posting:

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It didn’t take me long in life to get the message that, if I was sick, it was because of something I ate. When I was in the 5th grade, I missed the last 2 months or so of school because I had stomach issues. The doctor never figured out what it was exactly, but after 3+ months of living off grilled chicken and half baloney sandwiches, I got better. At the time, we (my family and doctors) attributed those months of sickness to a fateful hamburger I ate at a local baseball game, and we still to this day pinpoint that meal as the trigger. From that point on, I’ve always had a stomach that seemed to have more issues than most people. During high school, I would not eat on Fridays when we had football games or Saturdays when I went to marching band competitions in fear that I would get sick. I, too, began attributing these “situations” to food I was eating. After all, it wasn’t like I was solely eating grilled chicken and greens, and there were definitely legitimate times when what I ate made me sick. But after awhile, when you’ve tried eating more starchy meals or have gotten sick off salads and grilled chicken, you come to a point where you question whether you are really eating yourself to sickness or whether this narrative you’ve bought into is only preventing you from finding out the real cause.

That point arrived about 7 months ago. I had started noticing some unpleasant symptoms that were just too much to ignore, but damn it I tried. I would randomly tell my sister about them, and then I would figure that it was because I ate late at night or it was because I ate chocolate (which I have figured out really does make me sick – there are cruel things in the world!). I told myself that I had developed an allergy and just needed to avoid certain foods. But eventually, when you are sick on your stomach for months straight no matter what you eat, you have to wave the flag of defeat and see a doctor.

I was really nervous to see the doctor. What if I had eaten to the point of making myself very sick? As a fat person who has been fat since forever, I’ve always been very aware of the thought that I and my size were killing me slowly. Good blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and lack of diabetes have always been followed with “you’re lucky you’re young”. I remember sitting across from a colleague during my master’s and her asking me (mid-bite of my sandwich) if I was scared of getting diabetes. Were these worries founded? (By the way, if you are a person who is currently thinking, “Well, duh, they are founded. You are fat!” then you should check out this post.) Ultimately, though, I had to make the decision to go to the doctor, even if that meant my body would be under examination, which is a terrifying thing (at least for me).

The process of going for your initial appointment and finding out the results is a long one (and I’m still waiting on final, final results) and during that process you learn that you’re not the only one who suspects that you are causing your own illness. People often ask, “Well, what did you eat?” And while it’s certainly a legitimate question for stomach issues, I can’t help but feel that they don’t quite believe me when I say it happens no matter what I eat. Over and over, you hear a question that has at its basic assumption that your actions were the cause of the problem. But it’s hard to necessarily blame these individuals when I had even believed it myself, even when my experience had shown me it wasn’t true. [Side note, my mother says this is a perfectly normal question, and that perhaps I’m being defensive. She’s right, and I can’t help that reaction.]

After a couple doctor appointments and a not-so-fun procedure, I found out that I have inflammatory bowel disease, which is not to be confused with irritable bowel syndrome. My specialist likens it to arthritis, where your body’s immune system starts attacking its own tissues, and in this case it’s attacking my digestive system. From what I understand, it’s a disease that usually can be managed quite well with medication, so it is not something that, at this moment, is going to stop me from living a normal, productive life. I’m still in the process of finding out whether it is Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis, but regardless of which one it is, the disease is not a product of someone’s actions.

You’d think after reading this entire rant about “what I’m eating is not the cause of this” that I’d be happy that I can finally tell people it wasn’t me, but I’m not. I’m still facing others’ and my own assumptions about illness and fatness. People are still surprised that I’m not having to adhere to a specific diet (which I may need to in the future), and I’m still offended that they can’t quite believe that it’s not my food that is the problem (at least for this). My mother says that because the medical field is so focused on cause-and-effect, people may be trying to understand actions they can avoid so that it doesn’t happen to them, and maybe she’s right. But every time I interact with people about it, there’s this chip on my shoulder of the narrative that fat people are/should be sick (am I the only one who feels this?). I’m having to wade through my desire to prove to people that it’s not my fault, while acknowledging that in doing so I am still constructing this good fatty vs bad fatty thing that hurts a lot of people. What if I had caused myself my illness? Does that mean I would think any less of myself? Or that I’d feel like I deserved the criticism and scorn? Does trying to educate others in the fact that my illness is not linked to weight or specific foods put down other fat people whose weight and food has “caused” illness?

I am just beginning to figure out how having a digestive disease is going to affect me as a fat person. Between getting a 15 minute lecture about bariatric surgery and being told to imagine the “125lb goddess inside” of me from a surgeon, I am sure it is going to hold lots of uncomfortable moments where I have to decide when and how I will listen to a doctor. (I later read that bariatric surgery can have severe consequences for those with Crohn’s and patients can still be diagnosed with Crohn’s after the surgery [meaning it can’t cure it and may even exacerbate the inflammation], so poo-poo on that guy.) Luckily, I’ve read a lot of stuff from Kath, and Lesley, and Marianne that make me feel like I’m prepared, at least slightly, to deal with whatever comes my way in a doctor’s office, but I also have to learn how to handle it socially too. I have to learn to not feel guilty when I can’t go out because I’m sick, and I also have to learn of ways to address the assumptions of others and myself, and all the questions of “well, what did you eat?”

How does the narrative of “you did it to yourself” affect your life as a fat person? How do you address others who take up this narrative? How do you disrupt it without vilifying others?

52 Comments leave one →
  1. April 8, 2013 7:19 pm

    First of all, I hope you feel better posting this! Your blog seems to a place of love and support, and I hope you get nothing but the same. You certainly deserve those things.

    Secondly, I’m so glad you got a diagnosis. I’ve recently had to deal with the doctor circus, which I’d been putting off for years. I knew I was too fatigued and too hungry and too depressed, but I put the blame on myself and didn’t go to the doctor. I had been told it was my thyroid, but I tend to blame myself, so I decided to disregard science and listen to my feelings. And because so many people around me assumed it WAS my fault, why shouldn’t I believe them? Because everyone thought I was being lazy and eating the wrong things and just getting too sad about stupid things. I was getting advice from every. single. person. I was around. It was frustrating and soul-crushing. I just wanted them to shut up, leave me alone, and let me be me.

    Anyway, I’m rambling. Although I can’t understand *exactly* what you’re going through, I certainly do understand people trying to blame you because of your weight. I would love everyone to just live a day in my body. They’d probably shut up and appreciate their lives a lot more.

    • April 9, 2013 7:10 pm

      Ah, yes, the advice. I can understand why it’s given (because they see me in pain and want me to not be), but sometimes I just want comfort versus advice. I need to learn to do the same with others, too. I wish the same support and love for you! Thank you for the encouragement to post on Twitter 🙂

  2. April 8, 2013 8:24 pm

    I think many people tend to think that health & weight are entirely within our control, and the reality is, it’s just not true. It’s great that you finally have a diagnosis and now you can manage it and hopefully end your pain and suffering. I don’t think you should worry about the “good fatty vs bad fatty” or representing anyone but yourself, but I also don’t think you need to justify or explain your medical issues with anyone. Do you read Dances With Fat? She talks a lot about things of this nature, as well.

    I have a bum knee and I had 1 friend who insisted that it was my fault because of my weight and the type of shoes I was wearing. It was really annoying to listen to 1 person who doesn’t know what the hell they’re talking about, so I can’t imagine getting it from more people. I’m not friends with that person anymore, but all I can say, in the way of advice is, you know what the truth is, so it really doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. Also, you don’t have to engage in conversation with people that think they know more about your body than you do.

    BTW, I’m glad you are not getting bariatric surgery. I’ve read a lot of horrible things about it and basically, it’s no way to live.

    • April 9, 2013 7:13 pm

      I’ve read it before, but I don’t read it regularly. I need to see if she has twitter, because if I don’t see it there then I tend to forget to check out the website. I’m learning how to have the uncomfortable boundaries talks with people, and luckily I’ve managed them without too much push back. Thanks for the encouragement, and I will check out DWF!

  3. April 8, 2013 8:55 pm

    Just wanted to post my support of you. I’m a heavy girl also who’s been battling the weight loss monster all my life. I currently have about 90 pounds to lose as diabetes and high blood pressure do run in my family. Despite being healthy, I still face doctors who tell me all the time how much better my life would be if I would only lose weight.
    I’m praying for you, girl! And thank you for sharing!!! You’re beautiful!

    • April 9, 2013 7:14 pm

      Thanks for the support. I no longer feel I need to battle with my weight/body, but I still recognize that others try to battle it.

  4. anonymous permalink
    April 8, 2013 8:57 pm

    I just started reading your blog 2 or 3 months ago, and I love it! I enjoy all your posts and outfits. I understand what you’re going through trying to get a health problem diagnosed. I went through a similar experience 8 months ago, it turns out I have a pituitary tumor, and it just shrinks down to nothing with medicine. I went to see a specialist in January, who seemed fairly nice; but ended up basically saying me being ‘obese’ was causing all my problems not the tumor. The tumor was the thing that gave me all these weird side effects in the first place. Nobody had ever pointed out my weight like that to me before, and I’ve been big all my life, but I guess most people are too kind to point it out to me. I haven’t been back to that specialist and was thinking about switching to a different one who might listen to my concerns and answer my questions honestly.
    I’m so glad you’re getting it diagnosed and hopefully it’s something that will be treatable without drastic measures. I have also heard terrible things about bariatric surgery; I have a couple of friends who’ve had it and it did terrible things to their digestive systems. Some of them are still plus sized, not having lost that much weight. I hope that you get a real diagnosis and a treatment plan soon. Good luck!

    • April 9, 2013 7:19 pm

      My aunt had bariatric and she struggles with vitamin deficiency among other things. I definitely suggest changing specialists if you can! Their job is to address their specialty– your tumor and what it is doing to you. That’s why I had to laugh a little at my surgeon (who performed a colonoscopy) giving me diet advice. It’s not his field, and I’d rather go to a nutritionist for that information.

  5. Susan Koppelman permalink
    April 8, 2013 9:05 pm

    Oh, my dear! “you question whether you are really eating yourself to sickness or whether this narrative you’ve bought into is only preventing you from finding out the real cause.” Succinctly put! This is one of the biggest issues for so many of us.

    I have ulcerative colitis. I spent 11 days this last November in the hospital, nearly died, but I’m getting better all the time, sort of. I’ve been ill this way since 1972 but didn’t get a formal diagnosis until July 1976. I have lots to share with you about the disease, living with it, and other stuff, if you’re interested. You have my email.

    You didn’t do anything to make yourself sick. I think in the last 42+ years I’ve heard every possible explanation of why I’m sick, what the causes are, how I caused it myself. Bah! Idiots! What is most annoying and most amusing is how they present what they believe as absolute knowledge and urge adherence with their theories. Then, when they change their minds they take no responsibility for the problems caused by and lingering in our lives by their now repudiated cures or treatments.

    • April 9, 2013 7:21 pm

      Susan, thank you for your comment. It means a lot to hear from you! I am sorry to hear about what happened in November, but I am glad that you are (mostly) feeling better now. I should find out whether I have Crohn’s or UC in a couple of weeks, and I’ll send an e-mail if I end up needing advice.

  6. Denisa Dellinger permalink
    April 8, 2013 11:08 pm

    I love your post. It was so well written I think it should be published somewhere. We fat girls who have battled weight have always been blamed for being fat or sick on something we eat. We are causing our own disease. I have a hiatal hernia and gurd that wakes me up choking me at night that no matter if I sleep sitting straight up, It makes no difference, I have to wake up and let it pass, I have to go to work feeling like I have been hit by a truck. Some of it is what I eat and the time I eat it. I am sitting up a little now to let the chips I ate when I came home digest. A lot of people look at overweight people and get disgusted enough to feel like if we stopped eating forever, it would not be soon enough. We live with guilt just about all the time, we try diets, lose weight and then gain it all back plus more. Then the cycle begins again. Believe me, I am in my fifties and have gone thru the “change” and my hormones are all screwed up. I am tired all the time and the weight that I should be losing by burning up calories in my job of looking after little children are not making the pounds drop or the body slimmer. I have a bad back, knees and feet. It is no fun getting older. I am so glad that you have a diagnosis for your illness. Just think for all those years you blamed yourself, now you are free. Free at last that it is not all in your head or your own fault. Rejoice. You are wonderfully and fearfully made. God will give you peace as you find out more about these things. I will be keeping you in my prayers, little Carolina sister.

    • April 9, 2013 7:26 pm

      Thank you so much for all of your support and encouragement, Denisa! My mother is currently dealing with a lot of arthritis issues. It’s making me more aware of how I can try to help her through it all.

  7. Denisa Dellinger permalink
    April 8, 2013 11:09 pm

    BTW, I love the black outfit. It accentuates your curves big time and looks hot on you!

  8. April 9, 2013 3:14 am

    Love your post, love your OOTD! Yes, yes, yes, I’ve been through this, too! I have fibromyalgia (“it would hurt less if you weigh less” – well, I do now and no, it doesn’t!) and I had IBS for 20 years before it turned into diviticultous … W/ me the “well … what did you eat?!” questions that are the biggest bumps in the road are the ones that come back to me from others – i.e. “did you know that so-and-so said …?!” which actually I recently went through this, again: a neighbor said she had gotten a great deal of milk from the food pantry because one of her grands was supposed to be living with her, and now he’s not, and did I want some??? I thanked her but said ‘no thank you’ explaining I’m lactose-intolerant. I AM. Milk, cottage cheese, ice cream – these are big no-no’s for me! Well, said neighbor felt offended because “doesn’t she always eat pizza, for pity’s sakes?!” I do, yes. And mebbe I shouldn’t! Don’t stand behind me when it gives me gas! But that’s my decision, isn’t it?! I think it’s part of this whole blame-the-victim mentality that rolls around in our society – don’t even get me started on how it goes if a smoker develops lung cancer, a drinker develops cirrihois ….

    • April 9, 2013 7:36 pm

      Thank you for your response Jeannee! I haven’t had to experienced the he-said-she-said thing yet (maybe it’s because I’m anti-social), and I don’t envy you having to deal with it. We know what we can and cannot handle. I actually have the same issues (can’t drink milk, can eat cheese), and it actually boggles my mind that someone would be offended that you said no because it would make you sick. Best of luck to you with your health and dealing with the “bumps in the road” ❤

  9. April 9, 2013 7:36 am

    Superbe,j aime bcp simple mais pleins de peps !

  10. Georgia permalink
    April 9, 2013 7:57 am

    Rebecca,
    After I read your post, I went and read about your condition, I didn’t feel like I could leave a reply without some education. I am still at loss for words, as I cannot imagine your struggles. The more I read, the more I admire you for coping as long as you did without intervention. I am so glad that you finally did go to the doctor. I know it must have felt like the inquistion when you went.
    Others put so much more eloquently than me the struggles we face when our weight is not optimal, and we are judged before any words come out of our mouths. Keep fighting the good fight. Most importantly take care of yourself, as you have so much to offer the world, especially the sphere of fat activism.

  11. April 9, 2013 9:16 am

    I hope that you get a complete diagnosis (about which variety it is) and that it’s under control soon! It’s good to hear that it’s something that can be well-controlled with medication.

    The biggest issue that I run into is the attitude of doctors, where everything must be due to my weight. My family has chronic heartburn. My mother comes from a family of thirteen, and seven of them are on prescription medication for it. My grandfather had to have his esophagus replaced and part of his stomach. My sister used to be on prescription medication. Most of these people are rail thin. And yet, I’m having a really difficult time getting a doctor to do anything about it, because they all just chalk it up to my weight and the conversation ends there. I had one doctor at a walk-in clinic where the subject came up out of the blue (I was there for an unrelated issue) give me a one-month prescription for good heartburn medication as a hold-over until I could get something from my regular doctor, and it worked beautifully, but only for that one month. When I got a regular GP lined up (I hadn’t had one at the time) and saw them about it, they immediately said that they wanted me to go off the drugs, and spend some time following their list of suggestions of “lifestyle changes” and see what happened. I told them I was already doing all of those things already and had been for years, but they wanted me to do it anyway.

    The thing I do to myself surrounding this is that I never want to go in to the doctor unless everything is as perfect as I can possibly make it. If I’ve eaten indulgently or haven’t been working out lately, I don’t want to go in. If I haven’t been keeping a good sleep schedule, I don’t want to go in. If I’ve had caffeine lately, I don’t want to go in. If my blood pressure or weight are higher than they were last time I went in, I don’t want to go in. I basically won’t go to the doctor unless I feel that everything they could just point at and wave things away is taken care of. Since it’s very rare that all of these things align perfectly for a long period of time, I basically never go. It’s a bad thing that I need to really train myself out of. :/

    • April 9, 2013 7:47 pm

      Ugh, I feel for you.. Heartburn is an awful thing to live with on a daily basis, and with your grandfather’s complications, you’d think it would be imperative for them to stop what it’s currently doing to your body. You are so not alone about trying to be “perfect” before going to the doctor. I know people who go on a 2 week diet before they will see a doctor, etc. I didn’t realize until about a year or so ago that you don’t HAVE to be weighed. Some doctors will say they need the information.. and maybe once a year or two they do, but if you’re scared to go because of being weighed, you can opt out. I do this at my GP when I am going in for sinus infections or even when I was going in for these stomach symptoms. If I want them to focus on a particular problem, rather than a general check up, then I tell them not today. You may have already known this, but wanted to let you know in case that will help you. I hope you find a GP that will help you!

  12. April 9, 2013 9:27 am

    Hi,
    I’m a Dutch woman and I have already 17 years colitis ulcerosa. And it is not caused by what you eat!!!! I wished it was like that, because than we could follow a diet and be better again!
    It is an auto immune disease, and you have to take medicins.
    But you can have a good life! I gave birth to 2 beautiful daughters and I am able to work and enjoy life. It’s not fun al the time, especially the visits to the doctor are not my favorite!!! (although I am 43 years old I m still a little bit afraid to go to the hospital…)
    I wish you health and happiness – and I hope my English isnt too bad!
    I also have a kind of fashionblog: http://bieb-miss.blogspot.nl/

    Groetjes van Deborah.

    • April 9, 2013 7:48 pm

      Thank you for your comment, Deborah! It is so good to hear from people who have dealt with this for many years and continue to enjoy life. I will check out your blog soon!

  13. April 9, 2013 10:28 am

    Good luck to you! I was in a similar situation about five years ago. I knew there was something wrong with me, but the doctor I was seeing at the time couldn’t see past my weight and thought it was all in my head. As it turns out, I have hypothyroidism. Which is not caused by your weight, but can in fact, contribute to it.

    • April 9, 2013 7:50 pm

      It’s amazing how many of them will use weight as a crutch. Sometimes they need their attention redirect to what you really need (as most fat people are very aware of their size), or if you talk to them enough you realize that they just don’t know what it is. At that point, it’s time to ask to see someone else. I’m glad you were able to find out what it was.

  14. April 9, 2013 12:05 pm

    I love this post, & while I don’t know that I can add anything helpful, I can say that I so admire your honesty, your grit, & your confidence, all of them. Being a big girl in a you-should-be-thin world is so hard, but you’re smart & savvy, & I trust that you won’t settle for doctors who makes you think it’s your fault when you know damn well that a skinny girl could (and somewhere, does!) have the exact same health issues – without judgment from society. Keep your head up, keep your best interests in mind, & don’t let anyone get in the way of what’s best for you. And please, please, keep writing about it for us. You’re so good at it!

  15. Anne B. permalink
    April 9, 2013 12:39 pm

    Hugs, Rebecca! I hope you will feel better soon.

    To the idiot surgeon who said that you should imagine the “125lb goddess inside” – shame he didn’t see the goddess standing in front of him at that moment! You’re gorgeous and there is no weight limit on goddesses if you ask me.

  16. Crystal permalink
    April 9, 2013 2:08 pm

    I completely understand where you’re coming from. I’ve been fat my whole life too and anyone who is anyone wants to blame any small problem I have on my weight. I’ve gotten the huge eyes from every doctor I’ve seen after they look at my blood results O_O I can hear them thinking “This fat girl is sitting here and she has low cholesterol, low blood pressure and low glucose readings. Everything I know about fat people doesn’t apply here!” All doctors I’ve seen (up to now) have been afraid of fat; doctors are trained to be phobic about fat and that every single person can lose weight with diet and exercise. It’s a HUGE disservice to us as fat girls to hear the whole diet/exercise routine over and over. Not everyone is the same and not everyone reacts the same to every food. When someone loses weight with “so and so diet”, they always say “anyone can do it if I can do it”. Believe me, after gastric bypass, I too took on that horrible stereotypical attitude and it’s a sickening thing to think towards other people.

    As of now, I’ve gained all the weight back from gastric bypass because I have hypothyroid and PCOS (double whammy in terms of weight gain). And it’s not just because of the 100% weight gain from what I lost, but I want to tell you to NEVER consider gastric bypass. It is ruining my life; almost everything you hear about it is positive but no one wants to talk about the negatives. I had mine 10 years ago and there’s nothing I wouldn’t give to be super fat and feel good. I constantly feel like crap because I can’t absorb any minerals and am very malnourished. Doctors look at my blood tests and say I’m healthy, but I certainly don’t feel like it. It’d be way more destructive to my system if I got it reversed, so I have to live with it. Don’t ruin your body like I did. All that matters is HEALTH, not WEIGHT. The two can be related, but a lot of times are not. I mean, look that these skinny bitches with a cholesterol level of 300 and triglycerides of 250.

    They’re not healthy, but no one demeans them because of their weight because skinny is all that matters in life right? That’s what I thought when I was 20 and had gastric bypass. I wish so badly I could take it back, but I now know there are so much more things in life that matter other than weight. As long as I’m healthy, I just don’t care anymore. I’m going to be the one sittin pretty at 80 when those skinny girls that eat pizza every day have already long passed away. You’re still young and it took me until 28/29 to figure out life isn’t about what other people think of you. You are so incredibly beautiful, the best dresser I’ve seen and so smart.

    I was jaded for a long time and felt I needed to prove to other people that I was healthy. I took any comment as trying to hurt me and was constantly defensive. Just live your life, whether you’re fat or skinny doesn’t matter; health is going to help you live your life for longer, not weight,

    • April 9, 2013 8:03 pm

      I’m sorry to hear how gastric bypass has affected your life. I’ve heard from many women who say that it wasn’t worth the way they are currently having to live life. My aunt had it, and she has vitamin deficiencies among other things because of it. Scares me that I was also talk to about it at 20 and ALMOST did it. My sister has PCOS, and she has been trying to lose weight and gets frustrated when it doesn’t come off (especially when she is exercising 5 days a week and following a strict diet). Some things are beyond our control. Thank you for your sweet note, and I wanted to pass along this link in reference to “skinny bitch”. I know a lot of people use that term (I have myself in the past), but I’ve learned that it works against fat girls more than for them. http://fatheffalump.wordpress.com/2010/03/09/practice-what-we-preach/ Much love!

      • Crystal permalink
        April 9, 2013 8:19 pm

        To be honest, I don’t know why I said that. I try so hard not to judge people on their weight. Just like big girls try to lose weight and feel self conscience, I know thin girls can feel the same way. I know many girls that eat and eat but can never gain weight. Just like some big girls are genetically predisposed, some thin girls are too. I actually just came to this realization less than 6 months ago and guess it just slipped out. I got caught up in the moment and need to think a little better before I type 😉 But thanks for pointing that out, I’m trying to be more aware of myself!

      • April 9, 2013 8:24 pm

        I find myself getting back into those old habits all of the time! Especially if it’s a conversation that might lend itself to those ways of talking. It’s hard to recognize yourself doing it in the moment, so I either realize it way too late or someone points it out (nicely) to me. Thank you for such a positive response :)!

  17. April 9, 2013 9:46 pm

    I hope you get this all sorted out, Rebecca.
    I tend to ask people what they’ve been eating when they speak of illnesses that COULD be food related, no matter their size. I ask this because of my experiences with feeling crappy and the sorts of food I eat.I can totally understand your perspective as a fat woman and the constant assumptions people make about your eating habits.

  18. April 10, 2013 4:43 pm

    you’re gorgeous, and I hope you’ll feel better soon 🙂

    http://inyasuniverse.blogspot.be/

  19. April 10, 2013 10:21 pm

    I’m glad you are figuring out what’s wrong. My mom has Crohn’s, and it took forever for her to get diagnosed (she thought it was just stress). She has figured out, over the years (she was in her 30’s when she first got diagnosed, and is now 62) what makes her feel better/worse food-wise. I don’t think she takes any medication for it at this point, although she has in the past. Just take care of yourself, and if a doctor starts giving you shit about your weight (and won’t stop when you try to re-focus their attention), find a new doctor. There are lots of them. My doctor once asked me if I was watching my weight, and I asked “watching it do what?” The issue didn’t come up again. 🙂

    • April 25, 2013 9:24 pm

      Yea, I’ve begun noticing things too. I should find out next week what I have. But it is good to hear of people who have Crohn’s and UC and are able to deal with it well. ❤

  20. Dayamonay permalink
    April 10, 2013 11:26 pm

    I truly hope that you get good doctors who will work with you as their patient, not the suspect. Just be mindful that doctors are people just like us. They have prejudices and presuppositions based on what they have been told in all their years of schooling.

    A few years back, I had a stomach ache. It was killer so I went to urgent care. The doctor told me that I needed more fiber and fruits and vegetables in my diet. He also told me that I needed more water. He had decided to lecture me before asking what my diet was like. (I do eat fruits and veggies and drink water.) He felt a lump in my stomach and diagnosed me with constipation. I was told to buy a laxative, which I had never used before, and sent home. Eight months later my beautiful little boy was born.

    The whole time I was reading your story about you did it to yourself, I kept thinking about that. So I thought I should share it. I have experienced my share of people who think that they know what is wrong with me because I am fat. But they often get it wrong. I have to remember to listen for people’s prejudices and remind them that there is more to me than fat, especially when it comes to doctors.

    Thank you for this post and you keep your head up! Now that you know what the problem is I am hoping you will feel better.

    • April 25, 2013 9:26 pm

      Wow! Thank you for sharing your story 🙂 I am glad that I am no longer intimidated by doctors. My sister is, and she often puts off telling them about things because she fears their authority. She also accepts everything they say as law. It’s hard to learn how prejudices/assumptions could affect healthcare. Much love to you!

  21. Emilia permalink
    April 14, 2013 6:26 am

    I just want to show my support and I don’t think your body is anyone else’s business. It doesn’t matter if you are causing your health issues or if your behavior/diet/whatever are completely independent from them. Nobody owes society to look a certain way or eat certain things, exercise. My body is my business, and I constantly face people thinking my hormonal problems are connected to my obesity, I guess they do, but not in the way people think, and I feel like sometimes i “defend” myself by letting people know I am fat because of my hormonal disorder, when I don’t have to. I don’t have to justify or explain it to anyone. It’s really easy to forget, or even start knowing that my body belongs to me and I will do with it as i please. I’m glad that you have a diagnosis now so that you can get help and feel better, happiness is all that matters, really. Much love!

  22. April 14, 2013 6:47 am

    I’m really glad/sorry that you have found out about your diagnosis (well half of it). I hope that the treatment the doctors offer works and you are able to feel better, but at the same time I empathise with your feelings about receiving this diagnosis. I really hope your doctors are kind to you and are able to give you the best care for your condition.
    I found out when I was 13 that I had Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism (like your disease it is an autoimmune disease that they think was triggered by a virus a had in my childhood. It affects my thyroid and one of my symptoms was large amounts of weight gain, with no ‘explanation’. My struggle with fat acceptance has been about trying to get rid of my good fatty vs bad fatty attitude (I had rationilized my own fat because of my medical condition but I still held deeply oppressive and prejudicial beliefs about ‘other’ fat people – I was so wrong).

    It’s so hard to fight against your own entrenched beliefs but over the last couple of years I’ve tried to turn my thinking around about my body and ‘fat’. I no longer judge others bodies, I accept and celebrate the fat acceptance movement and have found so many inspiring blogs that help keep me inspired.

    I really hope you get the best treatment and that you feel better!

    • April 25, 2013 9:35 pm

      I still find myself either thinking judgmental thoughts or getting caught in judgmental conversations. It really is hard to break out of. Thank goodness for finding this online community! Thank you for all of your well wishes!

  23. April 14, 2013 6:12 pm

    Im so sorry to hear of ur illness but glad u got a diagnosis so that the proper healing can began. You are in my prayers!

    adashofcurves.blogspot.com

  24. brittlestar42 permalink
    April 25, 2013 1:12 am

    I’m a little late to the party and, since I haven’t read all the comments here, I don’t know if I’m offering anything new that hasn’t been brought up yet about your post. What I wanted to say was this: I think it’s only natural for any person who has grown up fat, or been fat for a majority of his or her life, to have anxiety over any kind of doctor’s exam and discussions of physical illness, especially when it relates to food. I think it’s only natural for any fat person to feel anxiety over what other people constantly assume about what we eat, how much, how many calories, “good carbs/bad carbs,” protein, fat, salt content, how much dressing we put on our salad, when we eat, why we eat, etc, etc. When you’ve grown up fat or been fat for a major part of your life and live in a society that constantly judges people’s intelligence, sexual desirability, social acceptability, ambition, life choices simply based on how they look, what else are you expected to feel but anxiety when it comes to food and medical issues? We’re constantly bombarded with messages about acceptability, desirability, “health” as defined by a very limiting medical industry, etc. How are we not supposed to feel anxious?

    But that’s when you strive to be the most kind to yourself, remind yourself of the crazy world we live in and how appearance-based it is. Remind yourself how “being healthy” has become a body-based mantra for the medical industry and seems to completely ignore mental health. Do some self-care and get yourself to a headspace where you feel confident, strong, accepted and fabulous again, because that’s how you deserve to feel.

  25. May 3, 2013 9:40 am

    Thanks for sharing! I’m glad you got a diagnosis and I hope you are feeling better!
    I can definitely relate to this, for the past few years my doctor has wanted me to lose weight. At first I didn’t even know, but she had already made the assumption that I was trying to lose weight! I am 5’2 and 260 lbs and perfectly healthy. I’ve ways wanted to ask her WHY should I lose weight when I’m healthy?!? But I’ve never had the courage! Maybe I will now.
    Its sad that going to the doctors is such a dangerous place for fat people! I wonder how many people are misdiagnosed with things just because of their size.

    Hope you are feeling better!

  26. jen permalink
    June 24, 2013 7:47 pm

    I’m a 4th year medical student who reads your blog often. I enjoy it! Just be careful that your UC or Crohn’s isn’t treated with steroids for too long…ask for TNF inhibitors. Steroids have terrible effects on the body.

    • June 24, 2013 8:03 pm

      Thank you for this comment! I actually am going back tomorrow and am going to ask for another colonoscopy (never thought I’d ask for another!). The guy who did it the first time was not a gastroenterologist, so they are still treating me without having directly observed anything. Tired of no answers and medicine that’s not completely working.

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