Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Having a Post-Doctor-Visit Existential Crisis

So after putting it off for a number of months, I finally gave in and made an appointment to see my doctor.  I was supposed to see her in March for a routine follow up and blood pressure check....she insists that I have high blood pressure when my typical in-office reading had been 178-ish/85-ish and put me on Lisinopril about a year ago.  She wanted my bottom number under 60, which from what I read after the fact, is really a pretty extreme goal.  Nonetheless, I took it, faithfully, for six months, even investing in an at-home monitor but when my home readings were averaging 90/53, I made the decision to stop taking the pills.  On a side note, I am also on a Qvar inhaler for asthma (Albuterol, too, if I need it), which was diagnosed after a particularly resistant bout of pneumonia two and a half years ago (also revealing several lung nodules).  I also take Metformin as an off-label treatment for the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome I was diagnosed with two years ago.  After the surgery last November to remove my right ovary, it's cyst and the fallopian tube, my cycle has been pretty regular, even during the three months I stopped taking the Metformin....but being the guilty patient, I resumed taking it.

Fast forward to the lengthy recovery time after the laparoscopic surgery, I was still bloated most of the time and within a few weeks of the surgery, I started having joint pains.  It began mostly in my knees, sometimes my ankles.  I asked my surgeon about it at my six week check up but she said she had never heard of anything like that after the type of surgery I had and dismissed it as weight related.  I had almost a full prescription left over of 600 mg ibuprofen from the surgery so I started taking one here and there and before I knew it, I found myself grateful that I was given one refill.  Then about a month ago, in addition to the knee pain (and grinding....which, by the way, is the worst after sitting or laying down and gets better as I walk), I started having pain in my right collarbone.  Weird, right?  Well, to back-pedal a bit, around the same time I was given the PCOS diagnosis, after a battery of tests, I was also informed that I have a mass on my adrenal gland and arthritis in my neck which, at the time, was causing some pain and numbness in my left shoulder, elbow and hand.  Did six weeks of physical therapy (ran up quite the medical debt in the process) and to this day, I still do those stretches every day.  So when the collarbone pain started, then slowly crept around the back of my shoulder, up the side of my neck and into my jaw, I decided it was time to see the doc.

I have a pretty good working relationship with my doctor.  She is usually very personable, compassionate and takes time to listen and work with me and my crappy insurance, sometimes opting for a more conservative diagnostic approach to save me money.  She has always been an advocate for weight loss....what doctor isn't?  A few years ago I had all but scheduled Roux-En-Y gastric bypass surgery, with her as my biggest supporter, until I found out that I had originally been misinformed when I was told that surgery of that nature would be covered provided my case met specific medical guidelines.....turns out my insurance changed it's policy on weight loss surgery within the last five years and it will never....never....cover weight loss surgery.  And since I'm not independently wealthy and uncomfortable taking on a new debt of that magnitude, I cancelled all of the prep appointments and broke the news to my doctor.  She offered a prescription for Phentermine (the non-banned half of Fen-Phen from the 90's), saying that it may just be the "tool" I need to get my "jump start".  I reluctantly agreed, had the script filled and started taking them.  They did work, my appetite was significantly reduced and I began losing weight.  The whole reason I was opposed to the pills to begin with is because I knew that they are not intended for long term use.  She said that she has had some patients that took them for as long as six months but that was about as long as she was comfortable with.  I didn't want to lose weight using this "crutch" which I knew would not be a long term solution.  The whole draw of the Roux-En-Y was the drastic nature of the surgery, knowing a common side effect was to become physically ill if too much food was consumed or even foods that are too rich.  I have a personal issue with vomiting, but I'll save that for another time....but because of that possibility, I knew that having that surgery would cause the constant threat of possible vomiting to curb my habits immediately and permanently.  Maybe I was fooling myself, I guess I'll never know.  Anyway, I stopped taking the Phentermine after four months and a loss of 48 pounds.  I did it as a test, to see if it truly was a "jump start" as she called it.  As I suspected, within a week, I was back to my old eating habits and on my way to gaining most of that weight back.

So, fast forward again, back to today's visit with the doc.  Can a fat girl ever have aches and pains without the cause automatically being her weight?  Look, I'm not na├»ve, I know that my weight has a bearing the quality of my life and consequences on my health.  I know that if I dropped even 10% of my current weight, I would have an easier time going up and down stairs.  But what I take issue with is the statement she made to me today toward the close of my appointment, "Look, I don't want to sound all, you know, and I never push you really hard but, I strongly feel that if you could lose the weight, that would resolve most of your health problems...your high blood pressure, your knee pain, your fatigue."  It was at that point that I really regretted not coming clean about having stopped taking the Lisinopril because she applauded my blood pressure reading of 122/78 but I was too chicken to tell her that I wasn't taking it anymore.  She then started in on the weight loss surgery and would joining a weight loss support group help....but at that point, all I was hearing was blah, blah, blah, fat is baaaad.  So I put on my passive-agressive smile, reminded her that support groups are out of the question because I don't like people (no offense, people, it's just a thing I like to say), agreed to look into doing "something" and went on my merry way to have seven vials of blood drawn and a series of a half a dozen x-rays taken (you know, just in case it isn't all because I'm fat).

After all that business, I got in my car and went to get a haircut.  From the time my favorite x-ray tech dropped her jaw and unleashed a multitude of her own pent up fat girl anger when I told her that the doc said my knees hurt because I was fat (I did clarify to her that those weren't the doc's exact words) right up to the minute I decided to blog about this I have been going through internal turmoil.  Over the past several months, I have read so much about body acceptance which brought me to that place where I cared about how I looked when leaving the house.  I was starting to feel good about being me, who am I now, what I look like now.  And in just under a half an hour, my doctor shooed a big part of that reemerged self back under the bed.  I will still make my efforts with the hair and the makeup and the clothes because I do feel better when I do that stuff....but inside, I'm back to that person who is convinced that everything in my life would be unicorns farting rainbows if I could just.lose.weight.

I am questioning everything now.  Was it a coincidence that my blood pressure was so good today?  Is my now-regular cycle a short-lived fluke?  Do I have arthritis in my neck because my head is fat and my shoulder hurts because of the girth of my arm?  Seriously, why am I allowing a medical professional to bully me into this place again?  This is some bullshit....but here I am.  Wondering how I'm going to budget in all the fresh fruit and veggies I'm going to need to start my juice fast.  Hell, it was like my brain had a premonition because as soon as I made the appointment earlier this week, I went on Amazon and bought some BSN Lean Dessert Protein Powder and a new Blender Ball cup.....seriously, at the time, it was under the guise of "I just want some 'food alternatives' during my work days".....really?

Whatever.....I guess whatever happens from here happens.  I don't know what I want to do or how I want to do whatever it is I decide to do.  All I know is that I'm terribly sorry that I gave in and saw the doctor, I was much happier before in spite of the pain.

1 comment:

  1. Well that just sucks! Stupid non helpful doctor!!!


Be nice, now.