To the Doctor of the Fat Geek

Dear New Doctor,

You probably don’t remember me. I mean, I’m kind of obvious with my tattoos and brightly dyed red and purple hair. I don’t look like the other patients around here. I mean, I’m a geek who wore a comic book t-shirt and Iron Man kids’ slip-on shoes to your office.

But, you’re busy. So, I totally get that one person might not stand out.

Oh, yeah, and I’m fat.

I don’t know why I’m fat. You spent 40 minutes of our meeting telling me I was fat. Well, maybe not in so many words. But, you judged me because I’m 5 feet tall and 205 lbs.

You know what? I was kind of surprised by that. I mean, last year, I was 185lbs. As you said when I expressed concern, some people have to be more aware, and apparently, you’ve seen this happen to people. You’re the expert. I don’t have a medical degree and trust you.  There’s obviously no underlying cause for concern about gaining 20lbs in a year, just getting older.

And, of course, I know that when I expressed my concerns about how my joints hurt and how my knee is still really painful after my emergency surgery last year? It’s all because I’m fat. You made it clear that there can’t be anything else wrong and that knees take the brunt of your body weight. So I should lose weight. I agree with that, honestly. You’re the doctor and the expert. I’m not really one to question.

Thank you for setting my mind at ease when I expressed concern about family genetic predispositions and MS. Because it’s just really bad luck. There’s nothing genetic. It’s good that my mom’s doctors who’ve mentioned it might make me more likely to present MS were wrong. That set my mind at ease.

Because, I’m just fat and it can’t be anything more serious than fat.

I agree that most of the women I know are tired all the time. When you told me that “if you put ten women in a room together they’ll all be tired” in response to my concerns about being able to sleep for 10 hours at night and still wake up exhausted. That set my mind at ease because you’re the doctor and expert telling me not to worry. Especially in light of my concerns about family history of anemia requiring iron transfusions.

I mean, of course, as you mentioned, if I exercised more or ate better, I’d have more energy (and be less fat).

I know that my concerns about thyroid were annoying. I figured that out. I also appreciated the information about the empty calories in bagels and cream cheese. I did know that information, but it was good having an expert remind me. Weirdly, I don’t eat bagels. But, you judged me because of my weight and made assumptions about my diet. Interestingly you didn’t ask me what I eat.

Because, I mean, I’m fat. Obviously, I don’t understand good nutrition.

I’m oddly healthy other than being fat. And tired. And I mentioned my anti-anxiety med? But you didn’t say anything other than writing the needed prescription for that (which I appreciate…). You didn’t address the fact that it could be related to my weight gain (which it could be). I mentioned my vitamins. You didn’t ask anything about the doses. I just assumed that was normal because an expert wouldn’t ignore me.

Then you offered to give me a proposed diet. I mentioned that I can’t eat breakfast and that I’ve thrown up from post nasal drip every morning for the last month? You then decided I don’t eat enough and that’s why I’m fat. Because my body can’t decide when I’m going to eat again so it messed up my metabolism. I can trust that. You’re the expert.

I’m either eating way too much or not eating enough. Those are the reasons I’m fat.

It’s okay. I’m fat. I mean, I know I’m fat. I can’t look in a mirror and not see that I’m fat. It’s cool. I’m not some body-loather or anything. My weight is probably the last thing about my body that I hate. I hate my eyesight more (freaking expensive progressive lenses). I’m not too happy with Left Knee’s decision to be a jerk after the intramedullary rod implant last year after Left Leg Tibia broke through the skin. Add to the list that Right Knee can suck it because he’s obviously looking for sympathy from having to take over for Left Knee. Woe is him. Oh, and while we’re at it? I hate waxing my eyebrows way more than I hate wearing a size 16.

So, my weight isn’t really my body issue.

Then I got my blood tests back. And you know, you told me everything was fine, except that I have high white blood cell count showing infection. You told me to wait a month and get another round of tests. Fair enough. Except, this means that you didn’t remember to look at my chart or didn’t write down that I have bad post nasal drip. If it’s a sinus infection or a chronic sinus problem? You’re making me be sick for a month.

Probably, though, it’s just that I’m fat.

I asked for the actual results. I think it’s interesting that despite taking iron every day, my iron is just at the lowest end of the acceptable range. The same is true of my Vitamin D. But, I mean, that has nothing to do with my being tired. Of course, maybe I’m not taking enough but you didn’t suggest anything. I don’t really want to self-medicate.

It must be I’m just fat.

I’ve been counting my calories. You know, for someone who has anxiety and obsessive tendencies? This is a totally great thing. I mentioned that I get obsessed about things when we spoke and how I try not to fall down that rabbit hole. You kept reminding me about all the things that weren’t wrong with me.

Because I’m fat.

Here’s the thing: I get that you see a lot of people. I get that I’m different. I get that I’m fat. I’m a fat, tattooed geek living in a world of skinny, blank-skinned, non-geek moms. However, see, Fat is not an illness. Fat is not something that causes everything I was worried about. I mean, maybe Fat causes those things. Maybe Fat is pretty much my only problem. Fat can at least individually be the cause of all of most of those symptoms. Although, I’d kind of like an explanation behind the fat being linked to post nasal drip.

I trusted you to help me. I trusted you to listen to me. I trust your experience and your education. I came to you for help.  Maybe you were having a bad day. I get that. It happens.

You see, though, Fat can go to other doctors.

And here’s the thing: Thank you. Thank you for showing me that I shouldn’t just randomly choose a doctor. Thank you for giving me something to ask before I go to another doctor.

Thank you for reminding me that even fat people deserve to be treated like real people with real problems and not just some kind of walking cautionary tale.

I’m learning how to adjust some foods to be more healthy. That’s a positive outcome. We’re eating some more varied things around here. They’re pretty delicious. Vegetables cook up pretty quick. So, I can thank you for that, too.

Fat doesn’t bother me. I mean, my brain works. I have family and friends who love me. I have a job I love and hobbies. I’m really happy with my life. It may define how you see me, but it doesn’t define how I see myself. I’m a geek, knitter, tattoo lover, mother, friend, teacher, auditor, reader, sewer.

And I’m fat.

No love,
Me.

Karen Walsh is a part time, extended contract, first year writing instructor at the University of Hartford. In other words, she's SuperAdjunct, complete with capes and Jedi robe worn during grading. She also works as a contract internal regulatory compliance auditor for banks. In addition, she writes comics and artist reviews at www.cosplayconnectuniversity.com.She works in order to support knitting, comics, tattoo, and museum membership addictions. She has one dog, one husband, and one son who all live with her just outside of Hartford, CT.