Thursday, January 31, 2008
These fears are too familiar
I hate seeing new doctors. There's always the hesitation, the worry -- is this doctor going to take me seriously? Is she going to believe me when I describe my symptoms? Or is she going to dismiss it all because I'm a fat girl? Is she going to try to sell me on weight loss as the cure-all for my ailments -- which she doesn't even believe exist anyway.
I went to doctors for four years before I was initially diagnosed with Fibromylgia, then with Lupus. They all told me, to the man (and funnily enough, they were all men), that I was just stressed and overweight. If I learned how to relax and lost some weight, why all my pain would just disappear!
And so, I have a great fear of being dismissed and reduced to my weight when I see a new doctor. Hence, poor Emmy got to hear my shake and sniffle and cry because I was worried about what was going to happen today.
Well. . .I have to admit, I rather like my new doctor. I went in completely cold -- having no referral, no recommendation, nothing. I just knew I needed to see a rheumatologist, because I hadn't seen one in almost two years and I was starting to notice. No blood work in two years, no monitering of the Lupus, etc. It was a dumb thing to do, but....fear of doctors plus lack of money, well. You can see.
Anyway, my new doctor did not mention weight but once, and then only to ask if there had been any unexplained changes in my weight in the last six months. That's it. Now, as I've posted a picture here already, you're all aware I'm not just a "little" fat. So when I wasn't weight, and my weight was not even mentioned? You cannot imagine the relief I felt. She listened to me, took a good history and we've developed a plan to deal with the pain and sheer exhaustion my fibro causes me. She was very adamant about tackling my pain first and foremost and she was understanding when I told her that my exercise was limited. Because, as she said, when you're in that kind of pain, of course you're not capable of exercising. And while exercise can help with pain and sleep issues, you can't expect someone who can barely move to jump right into full on aerobics. So, exercise is actually the /last/ step on my ladder of treatment.
So, she's given me prescriptions for an anti-inflammatory, a muscle relaxer and a pain killer. And, since I've used all of these pills before, I know they will all work well for me and not give me side effects, I am pleased. So, the new meds are the first step. Next....we've found a way to get my insurance to pay 'aquatic therapy' -- AKA, one-on-one water aerobics. We're getting the insurance to pick up the tab because it's labeled physical therapy. Now, I love water aerobics. I always feel so much better when I do them, it's just that I don't have the money for a Y membership, so I cannot take them. But now, now...my insurance will pay for it and the facility? Completely state-of-the-art amazing. So, this is good.
Then, once I get some more mobility back and the pain is under control, we're going to move on to either yoga or tai chi. Nothing too intense, just something to keep my range of motion and build strength.
Not once did Dr. Bourg mention me losing weight. That is not the goal here at all, although it may be a side effect. (And if it is, it will probably be a reasonably small amount. I can lose 15 to 20 pound fairly easily, but then my body does not want to get any smaller. Which is just fine with me, frankly.) The whole goal here is to control my pain and help me be 33, not 120. Which is how old I usually feel, frankly. It is impossible to overstate how important that is to me. A doctor who wants to treat me, not my fat? Amazing.