I've just read the fat geek doctor meme doing the rounds.
It struck me how lucky I am. Lucky to have found a specialist who looked past the fat.
I told him I'd lose 3 dress sizes. He asked me to continue to lose the weight. It's such a small thing that. Continue to. Keep up the good work. An encouragement not a condemnation. An acknowledgment that perhaps most people would put weight on if repeated unexplained injuries made you go from riding 100km to not riding at all.
I told him my knee was dislocating. I saw him open his mouth. I told him I'd had a sprained elbow since February and the fingers on my right hand kept dislocating. He shut it again. He asked me do all the usual bendy tests. He scored me 8/9. He didn't say gosh you're bendy for a fat girl. Others have. Oh yes, they have.
I told him sometimes the pain made me cry when I woke up first thing in the morning. He didn't tell me to grow a backbone. He didn't tell me it was the depression. Others have. He said I needed adequate pain management.
I told him I wanted to be strong again. I wanted my body back. He referred me to physio. He told me no surgeries. I told him no way. So he referred me to a rheumatology physiotherapist. A specialist in what I have. He didn't tell me to go away and work this out on my own. Others have.
The physiotherapist has listened too. Listened and listened. We have pulled back on the bad weeks, adjusted things when the pain has been too much. She has given me the power to choose what I do and do not do. She has watched as I have fought my bodies bad coordination and she has waited as I have waited, for the black and white dots dancing across my vision to go away every time I've got up from doing the bed based exercises. She had listened to my love of pedalling and persisted in getting me back on my bike. She has accepted that walking is not as easy as riding and let me choose riding as my preferred mode of exercise. She has geeked about Harry Potter with me and listened as I tried to articulate a childish understanding of grief for a friend. She has never touched me unless absolutely necessary, she has never forced eye contact. She has maintained a bubble of personal space around me at all times and been patient when I have needed to process what she has asked of me.
Because of these two peoples ability to lsiten, to encourage, to persist in building trust, I am winning the battle with my body. My stomach regularly feels like someone is using pork claws on it. I am hungry sometimes to the point of going crazy. I am sometimes so miserable and in pain that I just want it to stop, please please stop. Sometimes my back spasms and the pain overrides my entire bodies control over everything. Sometimes my knee dislocates, briefly, and I yelp at the pain.
Sometimes it feels like nothing has changed. But mostly it feels like everything has changed because two people saw past the fat and saw the person inside it.
If you want to treat obesity, treat the person, not the fat.