On the day I had my lovely cervical smear test, I wrote this experiential blog, what I declined to include at the time was the threat from the GP I had the misfortune of being intimately attached to for a good few minutes, should I not lose weight she was going to stop allowing me to have prescriptions for the contraceptive pill.
A bit of background to this weight issue is necessary.
I used to be thin. I had a 17″ waist until I was 20 despite eating relatively healthily… or at least heartily. I was for most of my 20s a size 10 on top and 12/14 on bottom. Illness lost my passion for food but the medication they put me on for it, caused me to gain 6 stone in the space of a few months. Turned out I had a near fatal allergy to this medication and as soon as I stopped taking it, I slowly started to lose the weight. In 2006/7 I without trying, lost 5 stone, likely due to an autoimmune condition and also not taking this horrible medication. I was back down to a size 10/12. I loved that I could wear nice (and cheaper) clothes again; shallow, perhaps but we all have our foibles.
In 2008 I was hit by a strange fatigue, my weight started to creep up but not to ridiculous levels like before. The symptoms were consistent with hypothyroidism but the blood tests weren’t. When I fell pregnant, all-day sickness ensured I lost any weight I had gained. I left hospital after giving birth weighing exactly the same as I did before I fell pregnant. Within 2 months I had the fatigue again, this time I had rapid weight gain. It took 9 months to diagnose hypothyroidism. I was 14lbs heavier.
2 years later, the fatigue still there, hindering any attempts at exercise, the weight was still creeping up. A random inflammatory problem turned into a likely systemic disease and I was put on steroids for 5 months. This is where I am now. I have bloated with water and fat, I weight 2 stone more than I did in 2009, although the steroids gave me the energy needed to join and attend the gym.
Anyway back to the Dr. She moaned at me about my eating, despite me telling her I was on a 1200 calorie a day “diet” (in the proper sense of the word), which I tracked daily using a phone app. I even showed her. I explained exercise when I was ill was difficult but that I was a member of the gym and was using it as often as I could and that I cycled there too.
Her response of “good girl” was not at all patronising, oh no! But it was not good enough for her. She wanted me to join weightwatchers. “But why?” I asked, when I already conformed to the calorie restriction they would advise and I have a set of scales in the house if I need to track my weight.
“To lose weight” she responded.
“But I’m on steroids, every other doctor has told me I wont lose weight as long as I take them, they all warned me I would gain” I replied,
“There’s no harm in trying” was her retort.
Now here’s the bit that confused me. I already was “trying”. I was doing everything these groups would tell me. I researched all the combinations of the right kind of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. I’d followed Scottish Slimmers, which I preferred and stuck mainly to their system. Any anyway I couldn’t afford to pay every week to attend a slimming class. So I told her this.
So she pushed to refer me to something called the Glasgow Weight Management Service, which was like Weightwatchers but free. I agreed as, anything free and able to help me lose weight is good…
So here’s the thing. I get a letter from the Miserable GP today. She tells me I don’t meet their criteria for eligibility. She didn’t mention the basis of my failure but went on to suggest another scheme where I would have to pay £65 if I “wanted to be supervised taking up exercise again” (emphasis mine) or to try weightwatchers.
Ok so I’ll start with the latter point about “exercise again”, at no point in time did I say I had given up exercise. I explained the difficulty of participating in exercise when I was floored with fatigue or unable to leave the loo for 5 minutes at a time, oh and lets not forget normal day to day activities too like having to actually look after my child and requiring childcare, but I do exercise when I can. I even keep track of the calories I burn when I do so too. Short of paying £900 for a personal trainer, or stopping eating altogether, there wasn’t much more I could do. Her ignorance never ceases to amaze me.
So onto the crux of her letter. I am not eligible for the Glasgow Weight Management Service. I had to look them up and see what their criteria was… It’s based on BMI and I am essentially too skinny to qualify to use their service. So while the GP was giving me a hard time about being a complete lardy bum bum and telling me she’d rather I fell pregnant than continue to take the pill (or maybe she thinks I’m so fat no one would want to shag me anyway?), the scheme she pushed me into accepting, wont accept me cos I’m not fat enough.
There has to be an irony in there somewhere. I googled the scheme and it looks really good, gutted I can’t take part. I’m tempted to try and put on the extra weight so I do meet their criteria and be referred again.
As for using my fertility against me as a form of blackmail? It’s a common methodology among doctors. It’s completely wrong and uncalled for. I may be overweight, I may even be considered obese according to my BMI but that doesn’t mean I am unfit, or that I’m sitting eating deep fried marsbars for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The judgemental attitude from this GP was horrible. Essentially she disregarded the elements of my medical history where weight gain was likely or unstoppable, and looked at the bits such as previous history of depression to mean I say eating all day feeling sorry for myself. She couldn’t have been more wrong and her attitude did nothing to encourage or motivate me, just blame me and punish me for things essentially outwith my control.
On the bright side, smear test results came today too, my mimsy isn’t mutating.