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WHEE (Weight, Health, Eating and Exercise) is a community support diary for Kossacks who are currently or planning to start losing, gaining or maintaining their weight through diet and exercise or fitness. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. If you are working on your weight or fitness, please -- join us! You can also click the WHEE tag to view all diary posts.

It is not an exaggeration that most of us, if we grew up in America, have wanted to lose weight at one time or another.  Those rare ectomorphs without an extra ounce of fat to be pinched anywhere, mostly of northern European genetic heritage, generally have no sympathy for that majority, and it is they, perhaps, who have done the most to inculcate into American culture the obession with bony thinness and conversely, with developing and maintaining the stigma of obesity.  Follow me over the fold for a discussion of thoughts on this.

There is an epidemic in America, and Edward's excellent review series on "The End of Overeating"brings to light many of them.  One thing that does not get discussed enough, however, is the stigma and rank prejudice against the large and heavy in American social and professional culture, and more significantly, the mishandling of the "obese patient"by the medical profession.

Those of you who read my weekly diaries July onward may have read that in my search for fitness and in a struggle to use a scientific basis for solving my size-and-weight problem, discovered that I have a rare disease, a disease which the medical literature says occurs in as few as one in 250,000 live births.  That would mean there are only about a thousand people IN THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES with this disease.  So it isn't really any wonder that doctors upon finding the answer to my so-called obesity problem, a disease known in shorthand as 11-beta OHD, a genetic disease of the adrenal cortex, might possibly, say, not believe me.  And having lived with the stigma of obesity since the age of 15 when the frank onset of the disease began, with the accompanying shame and sense of helplessness, made worse by the onset of chronic fatigue, poor health, malnutrition and vitamin deficiency, I have to admit that I was shocked to discover that in a profession where the number one public health problem is "Obesity"that it is being treated, not as the prime symptom of one or more diseases to be handled with care, but as a MORAL AND PERSONAL WEAKNESS.

I was born with this.  Just as I am certain now, that there are others who were also born with this, and with other, as- yet unknown and clearly untreated physical ailments that cause them to go from "normal"to overweight to obese, and it is happening with alarming rapidity.  And the doctors are right to be concerned.  And researchers in many disciplines the world over are applying themselves to the observation and investigation of the phenomenon of obesity.  In the meantime, however, it is considered, like high blood pressure, a disease rather than a symptom, a syndrome rather than a symptom.  It is the symptom of a severe genetic disease in my case, one that WILL kill me if I don't know how to radically alter my diet - and get steroid and specialized drugs - to combat it.

But the biggest problem for those of us who undertake this struggle, and those who have given up and merely exist from day to day, wondering if they will ever fit in that dress again, is the way we are mistreated by the public, the way we are ridiculed by the thin with hummingbird metabolisms, and the way we are misdiagnosed and mistreated BY DOCTORS whose help we seek.

Because I went to a doctor, a SPECIALIST, with a lifetime of practice behind him, recommended to me by a member of DailyKos who was diagnosed with my adrenal disorder, and he refused me appropriate treatment.  Why?  Because I have to "lose weight" and "deal with my morbid obesity"instead.  I have a lean body mass of 210 to 220 pounds, and am 28% fat, which is within the normal fat percentage for adult females.  But I tip the scale at 280, and that defies reason for the "normal"population.  And instead of treating the disease which I was diagnosed with, and which caused me to carry over 100 pounds of water in my tissues - which I proved experimentally with a potentially dangerous diet, my new specialist gave me a minute or two of praise for losing 65 pounds, and then wrote up a report denying me treatment on the basis of my 'size and morbid obesity.'

It's been a month since I changed doctors, and in that time I have lost more weight.  But I have learned some very hard lessons since July.  I have learned, and you need to know, that health care is a consumer racket like every other racket, and that it is full of sharks, charlatans, and idiots - just like every other consumer racket.  I have run into orthopedic surgeons who are sharks.  I have run into diet doctors who are charlatans.  And now, I have been treated and mistreated by specialists in women's care who are idiots.  Not just one of them: three of them.

I met with the 5th specialist this past Friday, a fellow from Johns Hopkins who has opened a new green (paperless) clinic in Washington DC.  He is a young guy, and he just finished his fellowship, and opened his clinic because of the critical shortage of endocrinologists in the Washington DC area.  I held my breath, set down my new shiny Aetna insurance card, paid my co-pay and gave him the records with the 40 errors of fact from Dr. Idiot who is obsessed with my weight.  And he ordered some new lab work and assured me that while he had never had a patient with my particular sub-brand of adrenal disorder, he has treated patients with the disease of adrenal hyperplasia, and is not averse to providing the therapy.  He didn't mention my "obesity".   That at least, is improvement.  If he works out for me,  I will encourage anyone in the Capitol area with metabolic problems, weight problems, or diabetic problems, to this man, to go to him, because doctors with open minds are a rarity when it comes to weight and health.

But this diary was written as a very strong caution to all of you who have sought help for your weight, your fitness, or diet:  There are idiots out there.  If you don't like what you hear from your doctor, then demand a copy of your complete medical history of treatment.  If you find errors of fact, obsession with details not relevant to the reason you sought his, or her help, then GET ANOTHER DOCTOR.   (another thing Dr. Idiot did was ask me specifically if I had been abused in childhood, and then promptly assigned me a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - how an endocrinologist becomes a psychiatrist with the stroke of a pen, people!  His OWN pen I might add!)   Because the stigma of obesity as a stand-alone moral weakness, particularly as a "women's weakness"clouds the minds and obsesses the brains of idiots and charlatans everywhere, and they will NOT give you appropriate treatment.  This, I can guarantee.

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   Scheduled WHEE diaries

   Feb 14-Valentine's Issues
      Sun AM - louisev
      Sun PM - ???

   Feb 15
      Mon AM - NC Dem
      Mon PM - ???

   Feb. 16
      Tues AM - ???
      Tues PM - ???

   Feb. 17
      Weds AM - ???
      Weds PM - Edward Spurlock (Kolata, Ch. 2)

   Feb. 18
      Thurs AM - 2liberal
      Thurs PM - ???

   Feb. 19
      Fri AM - ???
      Fri PM - Wee Mama (weekly diary)

   Feb. 20
      Sat AM - ???
      Sat PM - Edward Spurlock (Wansink, Introduction)

Originally posted to louisev on Sun Feb 14, 2010 at 04:33 AM PST.

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