100 lb. Club - Afraid of the doctor




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CLCSC145
11-15-2006, 02:17 AM
Hi everyone,

I could really use your experiences and advice. I am very embarrassed to admit this, and I know it is extremely dangerous, but I am horribly afraid of going to see the doctor. It's been like 15 years since I've been to anyone other than the dentist. I know. I can't believe it even as I typed that number. Most of it has to do with my weight and shame about my body. What if the gown doesn't fit? What if they yell at me for my weight or for not seeing a doctor? The humiliation of a stranger seeing me naked makes me break out in a cold sweat. What if they find something terrible wrong with me? It's not at all logical-- something could be wrong with me whether they find it or not, but my heart is pounding just thinking about it. I probably have high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes and (I strongly suspect, PCOS) or something. And you'd think that would be enough to force me to get checked. Instead it makes me not want to go all the more, which makes no sense whatsoever.

I cry whenever I think about making an appointment. I went to a psychologist about low-self esteem and depression and she told me to go get anti-depressants. When I told her I had a huge phobia about going to the doctor (hoping she could offer some help), she literally rolled her eyes at me, told me to get over it because I was being irrational, and said I had to make an appointment before we met the next week. I never went back.

Obviously, I don't have a doctor, but I know I need to try. So here are some of my questions I'd be really interested in your input on:

1) Do you worry about going to the doctor with your obesity? Are they kind to you? How do they address your weight issues?

2) Have you had bad doctor experiences and how did you deal with it?

3) What kind of doctor would you suggest I look for (I feel really stupid for not knowing), an internist? family practice? general practioner? I don't really know what the difference is.

4) Are there doctors out there that specialize in obese patients who won't push weight-loss surgery? I've tried to do some research on the internet, but most obesity doctors I found seem to focus on gastric bypass, which is not the direction I want to go.

Thanks in advance. It feels better just letting my secret out of the bag.


mthrgoos68
11-15-2006, 02:25 AM
Hi,

While I don't have the answers to all of your questions, I can tell you that you aren't alone. At 330 pounds, I never went to the dr. I was terrified of the whole experience. There's no easy way to deal with it, except to just do it. I did find that my family doctor that I took the kids to was very nice and very supportive. He didn't belittle me or make me feel bad. I know I was lucky and that not everyone has the same experience. It isn't easy, but a big part of our weightloss journey is about getting healthier. Do you have a local Y or gym that can at least check things like your blood pressure? If you don't want to go to the dr., that might be a good place to start.

You're already one step ahead of me, I wouldn't go to the dentist either. I was afraid of not fitting in the chair. I didn't get my hair cut either, because I was afraid that I was too heavy for the chair to lift up. It's amazing the things we can think of, and the things that keep us tied down.

Just take one step at a time and know that you aren't alone.

lilybelle
11-15-2006, 02:32 AM
I would start with a general practitioner. They could evaluate and send you to an internist or specialist if they felt you warranted it. If you have any indictation that you may be diabetic or have PCOS then you need to be seen, or hypertension either. Your health is too important to ignore. I have had some doctors complain about my weight. I've had others who didn't say a word. (which was far worse, because I was on diabetes meds, blood pressure meds and all kinds of other meds). My weight was causing me severe problems and decreasing my quality and longevity of life. I have never had any doctor suggest gastric bypass. Quite the opposite, they all refused to give me diet pills and suggested I start walking and eating healthier. You could always ask your doctor for a referral to an obesity specialist if you feel you need that.

As for bad experiences. I thought I had a bad one with my hepatologist. But, in fact it saved my life. He made me see that the obesity was making me so much sicker than I had to be. He did make me cry about my weight, which I was angry over. I got over it and did something about it. Now, when I see him, he's ecstatic with my progress. I didn't want to hear what he had to say at first, but I fully respect now that he was obligated to tell me. Being gentle wasn't his style. Either way, it worked.
Please don't ignore your health, see a doctor soon. Also, seeing a Dr. doesn't always mean taking your clothes off. I've seen many without getting undressed. Only my OB /OYN dr. makes me take my clothes off.


SwimGirl
11-15-2006, 02:40 AM
I am not a fan of doctors myself, but they are a necessary evil. I have beat the doctors to the punch, went in with my concerns, explained that I am trying to lose weight and how I'm going about it.. etc. And then asked for tests to make sure I am in top health for exercise.

1) most doctors I have encountered have been fairly nice, just make sure you have some support if you are concerned (I take my bf with me!).

2) bad doctor experiences? yes, I cry, swear and refuse to see that doctor again. You are paying for a service, you deserve to get good service, and they are NOT allowed to treat you badly.

3) I have a family doctor.

4) Do you need to see a doctor that specializes in obese patients? Personally I just want a doctor who can tell me if things are outta wack and will help me treat anything that is wrong.

I have no idea if I answered any of your questions..

-Aimee

akrosey49
11-15-2006, 02:51 AM
Hi Im rosey from alaska i know just how you feel ..i dont like drs either and wont let them do tests i feel are unnessasariy.. however i do go becuz i am diabetic and thats nothing to fool around with.. my dr is kind and never lectures me..she has even jumped for joy when i have lost weight and applaudes my low sugar levels.. there are dr that wont be abusive to you.. go and see a gen md.. ask around your area who they like and why..call and talk to the office people and explain your fears.. maybe a mild tranquilzer would help..the first appt could be a getting to know you before you decide what is best for you.. dr's are human and you must realize that you are the driver..they cant make you do anything that you are not comfortable with or force you to have surg..however if you think you are diabetic you need to be checked out.. its your life we are talking about..i to am very self conscious about my body but i love my life more and the people that care about me are important enuff for me to overcome that fear and do what i need to to take care of myself..to answer a few of your questions..my dr is kind.. she incourages me to loose weight but never in a degrading way..i dont get lectured..i have had bad experinces with over hearing a nurse talk about my weight once and i never went back to that dr and i reported her.. she was fired..i stood up for myself and that felt good..i would ask around who your friends and neighbors recommend..id start with a gp or an internist..tell them what you want.. you are paying for their services..i hope ive helped you some and that you are not alone you can find me inthe dieting with diabetics we are a great bunch.. please get checked((((((((((hugs))))))))))) rosey :wave:

Lifeguard
11-15-2006, 02:55 AM
Hey, I think most of us with extra weight have at least some embarassment & trepidition at going to see a doctor. I totally get the whole naked thing.

I have been very fortunate in that I found a doctor as a teen & have been with her ever since. I would think the first step would be to find a family doctor you can be happy with. Is it possible to just set up get to know you appointments with a couple before you have a real appointment? Do you have any friends or even acquantainces who are also overweight & have doctor's they are happy with? A referral is often a good way to go.

I have had upsetting appointments with other doctors & just refuse to go back to them. I am proactive & working on my health & any doctor who cannot see that is not going to be able to work with me & therefore does not have my best interests in mind.

When you do go see one be up front about your fears & talk to them about what you are doing to improve your health & what your goals are. Especially since you are paying for the service any doctor worth it will be willing to help you in establishing a trusting relationship so that your health can be properly taken care of.

Good luck (& I hope you do not have the doctor shortage we have here - it does make finding a match trickier!)

rockinrobin
11-15-2006, 05:50 AM
Oh boy can I relate. I avoided the doctor at any cost and the dentist and just yesterday I wound up at an oral surgeon who told me I would need to spend almost $4000 on one tooth - because I had neglected my teeth because of my weight.

When I finally decided to lose weight I did finally seek out a doctor. I was lucky enough to find a female, this somehow was better for me. Do you have a friend that can recommend a doctor to you? I was absolutely terrified. I thought for sure I had high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes and high cholesterol. I would spend nights tossing and turning just worrying about this. I was terrified. Well I can't tell you my relief when I checked out perfectly. And I never would have known that if I hadn't gone. All those years of worrrying for nothing. And if I hadn't checked out perfectly then I would have been given the proper treatment to get myself well - just as big a relief had that been the case.

As for the gown, I didn't need one. At one point she asked me to pull up my shirt, for and EKG and to hear my breathing. So my clothing stayed on the whole time, that will probaly be the case with you as well.

And I brought up my weight so she wouldn't have to. That also made it more comfortable for me. And she made some recommendations for me. She certainly did not yell at me or make me feel badly. I was frank with her and she was frank with me. And of course I threw in a little bit of humor which also works for me.

I know it is one of the hardest things to do, but I urge you to take the step and do it anyway. Doctors are used to dealing with all kinds of people, weights and shapes and are there to help you. G-d forbid there is something that needs to be addressed and you aren't. You can be taking unneeded years off of your life. This to me was the first step in changing my lifestyle. I truly felt if I wanted a new healthy lifestyle that seeing a doctor was the way to go. Please, please, please go see a doctor, you are so worth it.
Good luck and let us know what happens. You CAN do this, you HAVE to do this. :hug:

nelie
11-15-2006, 09:48 AM
1) Do you worry about going to the doctor with your obesity? Are they kind to you? How do they address your weight issues?
No. A doctor is there to keep me healthy and alive rather than unhealthy, in pain and possibly heading towards death. If a doctor says "you need to lose weight" then you know what? You do need to lose weight. Excess weight can cause so many health problems. Sometimes doctors may think that weight is the cause of every health issue but a good doctor knows better. If you go to a doctor and say "I need help losing weight, what do you suggest?". They may give you a general guideline and tell you to check with them in a couple months. They may even offer to give you pills like Xenical but I highly suggest you try on your own before taking pills.

2) Have you had bad doctor experiences and how did you deal with it?
Not really.

3) What kind of doctor would you suggest I look for (I feel really stupid for not knowing), an internist? family practice? general practioner? I don't really know what the difference is.

Personally, I only go to internists. I think internists have a better idea of how to deal with various issues including PCOS. Although I really highly suggest going to a gynecologist to talk about PCOS as well as get a female exam.


4) Are there doctors out there that specialize in obese patients who won't push weight-loss surgery? I've tried to do some research on the internet, but most obesity doctors I found seem to focus on gastric bypass, which is not the direction I want to go.

I've never had a doctor tell me "you need weight loss surgery". My current doctor is very good and supportive. He has said that I am doing good and to continue losing weight because that will only help with my knee issues. He says overall I am healthy and keep doing what I'm doing.

sportmom
11-15-2006, 10:05 AM
You should go - I was in the same boat, but not for as long. I finally went and got my mammogram done too. I kept waiting until I lost "X" number of pounds, but then I thought, would I rather be told I'm fat (which I know) or by waiting be told, that I'm very ill as a result of waiting too long. I scheduled my appt on the day that I decided I would start living differently - Sept 1. So I went in saying I know I need to lose weight and I've got my head together and the next time you see me I will be smaller. She encouraged me and gave me tips about really how little cardio I HAD to do (3x week, but I do more) and where I should set my calories. They will probably want you to get your well-woman check, but they won't MAKE you do it on your first visit, but they will want you to come back. And you know what, ask for 2 robes! That's right - one to wear the normal way, and one that you put on backwards, like an apron, with your arms going thru the front like putting on a coat backwards. They do that all the time for people and offered it to me bc I was complaining about being cold. Having that extra layer made all the difference for me. But it also works if you don't fit in just one robe. I go to a family practice doctor bc now that I'm done having kids I don't need an ob/gyn anymore, and I get annoyed at their scheduling snafoos when the dr has to leave to attend to someone in labor.

NotTheCheat
11-15-2006, 10:34 AM
A lot of people have fears about doctors – and not just overweight people. I think it was very inappropriate of your psychologist to dismiss your feelings like that.

I have been amazingly lucky to find both an internist (primary care physician) and a gynecologist that I feel comfortable with. I found the gyn by picking her out of a book, while my other doctor was referred by my gyn. The original pcp I chose was actually a really large woman who made me feel worse about myself and my weight than any other doctor I have been to. I was totally taken aback, because I would have thought another overweight woman would have known better how to deal with overweight patients. I never went back to her and found my current doctor by asking my gyn who she thought would be good.

One way I know my doctor is really looking out for me was that on my last visit she asked if anything was bothering me and I told her my knees were hurting. Most people would have dismissed it as just because of my weight, but she ran a test for lyme disease to make sure it wasn’t that. I think that is a really important factor in a doctor – that they can look past your weight and not blame everything on it. It turned out that I didn’t have lyme, but what it I had and another doctor had just blamed it on my weight?

I think being honest with the doctor is important. You could say something like “I know I am overweight and it is unhealthy, but it is counterproductive for me to have you lecture me about my weight. When I am ready to do something about it, can I come to you for help?” A good doctor should want to help you be healthy in the best way for you. Always remember that they work for you and should always treat you with respect no matter what you weigh.

jtammy
11-15-2006, 10:36 PM
:hug: Oh honey, I know exactly how you feel. Until August 2005, I hadn't been to a doctor since my daughter was born in 1994! I wouldn't have gone last year if I hadn't felt soooo very bad. In hindsight, it was just the wake-up call I needed. Not because of anything the doctor said to me, but because it forced me to get on a scale, which I hadn't done since 1994 either. That was the date my new life began, when I decided I had to take care of myself.

Since then, I have found an ob/gyn who I like a lot, and I don't worry about going to see her. She is always very kind. The first time I saw her, she noted that my blood pressure was a little high, and said that I should probably take off some weight. I told her that I had lost 50 lbs (at the time) and was working on losing more. She was supportive, and each time I go back, she mentions that I have lost XX number of pounds, and congratulates me.

I don't think I would necessarily say that I have had bad experiences with doctors, but most of them have mentioned my weight in the past. Because I was trying to hide from the fact that I am obese, I didn't want them to mention it to me at all, so it bothered me that they did. I've never had one suggest surgery, although since I avoided the doctors office for so long, that's maybe why. When I used to go more regularly, WLS wasn't as common as it is now.

You are doing the right thing by looking for a doctor now. When I look back at myself, I sometimes think that maybe I felt like I wasn't "worth" going to the doctor. I take my children to the doctor for check-ups and when they're ill and I encourage my husband to go for regular checkups and when he feels ill, but I made myself suffer being sick and not getting treatment because I am obese. I know it's not logical, but I also know that those feelings were there, in the back of my mind. I'm not saying that's how you feel, because obviously I don't know that, but that is part of how I perceived myself. We have to remember, that no matter our size, we deserve to have medical care and treatment.

Mainly, I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. I felt the same way you're feeling. :hug:

rabidstoat
11-15-2006, 11:42 PM
I feel the same way -- about dentists. So I totally understand where you're coming from!

That said, I am still avoiding the dentist. I know I should but... well, you know. Phobias. If you're really phobic, I might consider the mild tranquilizer idea. Obviously let the doctor know that you're taking it, since it might do funny things to your vital signs.

As someone else said, we're the customer, not the doctor. We pay them. They shouldn't be rude. They can raise concerns, like about weight, but they should be tactful about it. And encouraging. The whole reason I dislike dentists is that I had an AWFUL one as a child. He constantly belittled, said had awful our mouth hygeine was, how we were lucky not to have cavities, how we were horrid people for not flossing, etc., etc. Super traumatic. It's sad how bad experiences can have such a lasting impact.

That said, I've had fairly good luck with doctors. The bad ones weren't related to how they dealt with my obesity, and I left them each after 1 appointment. The good ones I've had have been really helpful. My current one is great! I was, admittedly, scared to slink back to her after I regained some of the weight I'd lost, having a difficult stretch. She was only encouraging, she just said to take my time to adjust to things, did I have any questions for her about my medications, etc., etc. Since then I've refocused myself and been back on a good track, and feel healthier for it. If she'd belittled me, well, I bet I wouldn't have rebounded.

Oh, and as an aside? Your psychologist sounds like a real jerk! They're not all like that, I promise. I had one at first that wasn't a jerk, but just wasn't helpful for me. After 5 sessions I realized it wasn't working, and went to a second person. We meshed much better, and it worked out well for me. I keep meaning to find a new one here but I've been real slack about it, I think talking to someone again about some stuff could help.

hautbois
11-16-2006, 12:30 PM
Your concerns are normal, but like the others already said, I strongly urge you to see a dr. The medical conditions that you mentioned you might have respond well to medications and are best treated sooner, rather than later. If you do come across a dr that you donít like, look for a new one.

1) My family doctor is very kind, but very honest. She offers WL assistance (nutritional advice, meds, etc) but has never pushed anything on me or has never mentioned WLS. My family dr referred me to my OB/GYN who is also very kind. She hasn't pressured me to lose weight (although I've been pg for most of the time I have seen her, so it wasn't the time to lose anyways) but she has been honest about the risk to pg that obesity brings. She monitors me more closely and so far, I have not have any serious pg complications). As for being naked, I only have had to undress for annual pap/body exams. I have had those done by both drs and both respected my modesty (kept other parts of me covered while examining one part of my body) and I didn't feel too embarrassed. Both have larger gowns that fit me (close to 300lbs). Even if your drís office doesnít have larger gowns, the do have sheets that you can use to cover up what the gown does not.

2) I havenít had any really bad experiences with drs.

3) Either a family doctor or general practitioner would be a good place to start.

4) I donít anything about drs that specialize in obesity, but if you start with a general dr, they can refer you to specialists if needed.

Chiema
11-16-2006, 12:47 PM
I can totally relate to you. I have been to the doctor in the past year and my weight was brought up. She was very supportive and made me feel comfortable around her. Aside from a regular doctor an OB/GYN is neccessary. It is always a good idea to go once a year for a regular checkup. I guess I should listen to my own advice now. I haven't been to an OB/GYN in 4 years myself.

I would not worry so much about it. There are people all over the globe overweight and still go to their doctors. I think you will find them more understanding than you think.:hug:

buckettgirl
11-16-2006, 06:14 PM
I don't know how to answer your questions or help ease your anxiety.
As a nursing student and a consumer, I see alot from doctors and nurses on both sides of the fence. I don't go to doctors because I don't like the philosophy that everything can be medicated. I do get yearly pelvic exams/pap smear - but I go to Planned Parenthood and see a *FEMALE* nurse practitioner. I have a huge hang-up about seeing male doctors. I have been obese since I was a child, and our family doctor was never very sensitive about it.
The best thing that you can do is *be an informed consumer, do your research, ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS, and know that you ALWAYS have a right to say NO. You might need to go several different doctors to find one that suits you, or you might find the right one on the first try. But that is your right - certainly don't stick with any healthcare professional that makes you feel uncomfortable or who treats you poorly.

buckettgirl
11-16-2006, 06:19 PM
Aside from a regular doctor an OB/GYN is neccessary. It is always a good idea to go once a year for a regular checkup.

Thats not necessarily true. You don't have to go to an OB/GYN for an annual pelvic/pap. You can go to a family doctor or a nurse practitioner.
I HATE the fact that the field of OB/GYN is run by MEN! They can't *know* anything about a woman's body except from a textbook. Unless there is a problem, and you need surgery (which OB/GYN's *are* surgeons specializing in women's health), you don't need to go to one...if you do, your regular dr./nurse practitioner will refer you.

Tara D
11-17-2006, 12:34 PM
The percentage of male OB-GYN's is significantly decreased these days. If you look at any residency program for training these docs, women outnumber the men by vast amounts. Many male OB's are forced to specialize in high-risk OB or Gyn-oncology because it is difficult for them to make it as a regular ob-gyn because so many women prefer female doctors. So, you'll find that the field of OB-GYN is less and less male with each passing day. Wait-times to schedule an appt. with a female doctor in a practice are usually much longer than male wait-times. I wasn't really sure what you meant by male-run, anyway...since you're dealing with individual doctors, and there are so many female OB-GYN's these days.

Now if you're talking about OB-Gyn departments in an academic institution, you may see a higher percentage of men since more men go into academic medicine than women.

Penney
11-17-2006, 11:02 PM
I so understand how you feel. I put off going... until there is no option. But, take the time and go for yourself. Do you have someone that could go with you? I have had my spouse go with me for my first appointment just to get his opinion and honestly - I get so nervous that I have forgotten to ask quesitons that I really wanted to ask...

1) Do you worry about going to the doctor with your obesity? Are they kind to you? How do they address your weight issues? Yes - I hate addressing the issue - but my current doctor has been wonderful, honest, firm and considerate. Their education does not give them the right to be condescending, rudeness is not going to help.

2) Have you had bad doctor experiences and how did you deal with it? I did not go back - I found another doctor.

3) What kind of doctor would you suggest I look for (I feel really stupid for not knowing), an internist? family practice? general practioner? I don't really know what the difference is. I go to General Practioner - she is my primary care physcian and she is qualified to handle everything from a sinus infection to a full female exam.

I know of some people that have gone in and just basically "interviewed" a doctor before they put time into making them their primary care physcian. We have moved a whole lot - but when I am trying to find a new doctor, I go in for a "check-up" and do just a "getting to know you" type of visit. I dread going to the doctor so much - that I just cannot go to a doctor that I am not 100% in tune with. I wish you luck with your doctor search, talk to people, see who they like and ask lots of questions.

CLCSC145
11-18-2006, 02:32 AM
Thank you all so much for your honest responses! I really, really appreciate it. Just knowing that others like me do this all the time and it's not a big deal makes me feel better.

When I look back at myself, I sometimes think that maybe I felt like I wasn't "worth" going to the doctor. I take my children to the doctor for check-ups and when they're ill and I encourage my husband to go for regular checkups and when he feels ill, but I made myself suffer being sick and not getting treatment because I am obese. I know it's not logical, but I also know that those feelings were there, in the back of my mind. I'm not saying that's how you feel, because obviously I don't know that, but that is part of how I perceived myself. We have to remember, that no matter our size, we deserve to have medical care and treatment.

Tammy, I hadn't given a lot of thought to why I think the way I do about the doctor, but what you said particularly hit a nerve. I, too, encourage everyone around me to go, but rarely feel like I deserve the same attention since I have failed in so many other aspects to care for myself to this point. That's obviously an area I need to work on! Thank you all again for your encouragement. I'm working up the nerve to go now...

tritef
11-18-2006, 06:19 PM
I haven't read the whole thread, but I feel the same about doctors.

When I have to go - which is hardly ever, luckily - I just steel myself against it. You deserve good medical care. You deserve to be treated with dignity and if the doctor says anything stupid then you shouldn't feel bad about yourself. He/she should.

Again in my experience doctors don't know much about diets, weight loss or nutrition. Definitely not the psychology of weight loss. They aren't taught that stuff in med school, just anatomy, so don't hold it against them.

YP1
11-19-2006, 10:47 AM
I'm not keen on doctors or dentists. I haven't been to the doctor for nearly 4 years, and the dentist for much longer than that. I got a letter from my doctors surgery a year or so back asking if I wanted to be taken off the list because I never went. I'm generally pretty healthy, and have never really had a "reason" to see a doctor, so haven't been. Before I partly put it down to a weight-related thing, in particular a fear of finding out how much I actually weighed (I was in scale avoidance mode for a long time!) or being told to lose weight. I was in denial and a visit would have made me confront the issue more than I wanted to.

But I've been a "healthy" weight for 6 months, and not obese for well over a year, and I still haven't been. I'll be less hesitant about going now than I used to be, maybe, but until I really feel like I need to I suspect it won't be anytime soon.

SuchAPrettyFace
11-20-2006, 01:12 AM
I want to preface this post by saying I am going to come off like a bully. I realize that & I don't care. :) I mean well, and I don't think you're a bad person. We all have our concerns & crosses to bear, this is yours. It's ok.

If there is something really wrong with you, ignoring it isn't going to make it go away. There are a lot of diseases if left unchecked, can do some serious damage. Take high blood pressure for instance. Left unchecked & untreated for years, it can enlarge your heart, making it harder for all your organs to work properly. This is not my opinion, these are medical facts! I watch enough of "Dr G Medical Examiner" to have been scared into taking my high blood pressure meds every day. I even have someone else pick them up for me if I can't make it to the pharmacy.

Please see a doctor. Please? Even if there IS something wrong, at least you will know, and knowing is half the battle, correct?

Sorry for preaching, but dang, dude. You can't ignore your health. It's all you've got & once you lose it you can't get it back.

What if the gown doesn't fit?

I don't know where you live but there are lots more bigger people than there used to be, at least in the Midwest. I've never had this problem. Once people have your medical chart, they can see that I am 5'7 & 300 pounds, therefore I need a bigger gown than the average bear. They don't weigh you to embarrass you. They're not sitting in their break room thinking up ways to humiliate us, it's generally for...I don't know...medical reasons.What if they yell at me for my weight or for not seeing a doctor?I've already yelled at you for not seeing a doctor, and if you can handle me, you can handle anyone. ;) As for the doctor, you have to find a chubby guy. I say that b/c every time I've seen a chubby doctor, they say the same thing, "Now I'm supposed to tell you to lose weight, but I can't very well say that with conviction." and pats his belly. The humiliation of a stranger seeing me naked makes me break out in a cold sweat. What if they find something terrible wrong with me?It's not a stranger on the subway, it's a medical professional. Someone who is being paid to help you. Aome deep breaths should help you through it & you might not need to get naked on the first visit. It's not at all logical-- something could be wrong with me whether they find it or not, but my heart is pounding just thinking about it.I think it's the not knowing that's making you so nervous. I think once you do it you'll be fine. :) I probably have high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes and (I strongly suspect, PCOS) or something. And you'd think that would be enough to force me to get checked. Instead it makes me not want to go all the more, which makes no sense whatsoever. If something really is wrong, the sooner they find out, the sooner you can treat it. It really is as simple as that. And maybe they can help you to personalize your weight loss efforts a little more. I cry whenever I think about making an appointment. I went to a psychologist about low-self esteem and depression and she told me to go get anti-depressants. When I told her I had a huge phobia about going to the doctor (hoping she could offer some help), she literally rolled her eyes at me, told me to get over it because I was being irrational, and said I had to make an appointment before we met the next week. I never went back.Yeah, that was counterproductive of her. You might need some anti-anxiety meds or some visualization techniques to help you through this. Every person handles stress differently. Obviously, I don't have a doctor, but I know I need to try.And that is the first step! Congratulations!! :) :hugs:

So here are some of my questions I'd be really interested in your input on:

1) Do you worry about going to the doctor with your obesity? Are they kind to you? How do they address your weight issues?

I don't worry about going to the doctor. They are all concerned about my weight. Just as I am concerned about winning the lottery. :rolleyes: I know I need to lose weight, what am I, stupid? I wash this body every day, I dress it, I moisturize it, I exercise it, I KNOW I need to lose. They are kind to me. The only person who is a bit harsh is my kidney doctor, but he has reason to be insistent. My BMI is a 41, and it needs to be 30 or below before I could be considered for a transplant. That means if I got into a car accident tomorrow (*knocks wood*) and my kidneys were damaged, I would have to wait for a healthy kidney in line behind people who did have healthy BMI's. Also the rate of death after transplant DOUBLES if you are obese @ the time of transplant. I don't want to deal with that, either. Granted, I am 10-20 years away from transplant. But still. I want to do all I can.

2) Have you had bad doctor experiences and how did you deal with it?I have told at least one doctor that I wasn't going to have gastric bypass, ever, so while I appreciated the concern, scheduling me for a consult w/a bariatric surgeon was pointless.

3) What kind of doctor would you suggest I look for (I feel really stupid for not knowing), an internist? family practice? general practioner? I don't really know what the difference is. I would say, for now, since you've not been to a doctor in so long, an internist would be a good start. They can run labs (you pee in a cup, they take some blood) so they can get levels like your cholesterol, sugars for diabetes, etc. They will also take your BP to see if it's high, keep both feet on the floor for that to avoid White Coat Syndrome.

When making the appt they might ask what your complaint is, just let them know that you haven't been to a doctor in awhile & would like to make sure everything is ok. They shouldn't need to see you naked on this visit.

For my girly parts, I see a Nurse Practitioner as well. She can do everything an OB/GYN can do, except deliver a baby. And if you do have PCOS, she can recommend one of her colleagues whose specialty is PCOS, so you can get the best help possible.

I don't mind male doctors, but since they don't have vaginas, I insist on a woman for those appointments. ;) My internist is a boy & he has told me that losing X amount of weight will not get me off my blood pressure meds. His exact words were, "I have a girl who is 16 & weighs 100 pounds, and is on blood pressure medicine. Your weight might have nothing to do with it, we'll see when we get there."

4) Are there doctors out there that specialize in obese patients who won't push weight-loss surgery? I've tried to do some research on the internet, but most obesity doctors I found seem to focus on gastric bypass, which is not the direction I want to go.I know that we have some here, I think you will have to just say that when you are making the appointment. Let them know that you want to lose weight, but aren't considering gastric at this point.

I guess the main thing to keep in mind is: YOU are steering this ship! YOU are paying to see someone, if they treat you badly, walk out! That's the good thing about doctors, they are a dime a dozen. If you aren't clicking with one, you can always find another.

Good luck & let us know how it goes!! :hug:

MsHelena
11-20-2006, 04:45 PM
I have to admit that I do not go for yearly exams, general or gynecological, and that I see no reason to. (It's probably a family thing. Even my pre-med/EMT/CPR-teachin' kid sister doesn't go to yearlies.) I know my height, weight and blood pressure, and I don't see any reason to have someone else record these. I am interested in having some bloodwork done, so I'll probably make an appointment in the next year or so. In my case, I don't think my doctor aversion has anything to do with my extra mass. I actually reckon that I'll attend fewer doctor's appointments as my eating gets healthier and my exercise becomes more regular.

That being said, it might help if you called a few doctors and discussed your concerns before attending an appointment. Or, you could right a letter to the doctor. Maybe it would be easier to actually go if you knew that your doctor was already aware of and sympathetic to your concerns.

Tara D
11-20-2006, 06:26 PM
I think it is dangerous not to go to the gynecologist at least every 3 years or so (more often if you are higher risk). Look at it this way...you really can't see in there, so if there's something wrong (like cancer or other problems) you won't know it until it's gotten pretty far. When you end up with a hysterectomy instead of a smaller procedure, you might wish you had gone a little earlier. However, how much risk you want to take is up to you. I personally think a hysterectomy is a high price to pay for not going to an exam every so often.

I think gyne appts. are particularly important because as I said, you can't see in there. If you have a tumor growing out of your forehead or if you have a lump somewhere that you can feel easily, you at least have a chance of catching it early on your own. Yes, the chances are low that a particular person will have a gynecological cancer, but the consequences are painful. That's why I go...and I am a VERY LOW RISK individual according to all the info out there...And believe me, I far from look forward to it, but it's one of those things you have to do...like brushing your teeth.

buckettgirl
11-20-2006, 07:01 PM
The percentage of male OB-GYN's is significantly decreased these days. If you look at any residency program for training these docs, women outnumber the men by vast amounts. Many male OB's are forced to specialize in high-risk OB or Gyn-oncology because it is difficult for them to make it as a regular ob-gyn because so many women prefer female doctors. So, you'll find that the field of OB-GYN is less and less male with each passing day. Wait-times to schedule an appt. with a female doctor in a practice are usually much longer than male wait-times. I wasn't really sure what you meant by male-run, anyway...since you're dealing with individual doctors, and there are so many female OB-GYN's these days.

Now if you're talking about OB-Gyn departments in an academic institution, you may see a higher percentage of men since more men go into academic medicine than women.
The field of ob/gyn is traditionally run by males... men have traditionally held the role of doctor. The field is still predominantly male.
We have all male ob/gyns here. They also succeeded in banning the family practitioners from doing deliveries at our local hospital. There are no birth centers or nurse midwives less than 3 hours away from here.
From what I have seen in my clinicals with both male and female ob/gyns, I am glad that I don't go to them and should I ever get pregnant lets just hope I can find a certified nurse midwife. This, in and of itself, is a whole other topic...so I'll just stop there.

FatFelineFriend
11-20-2006, 07:10 PM
Hello,
I'm not fond of going to the doctor either, but I have one now who is hilarous, very thorough, has absolutely no bedside manner and treats me like a close friend. Don't those descriptions sound completely contradictory? :)

My GP is very straight-forward and abrupt, almost to the point of rudeness, but I've heard her talk on the phone to her husband the same way. It's just her personality. She doesn't look you in the eye when you are explaining your symptoms, but you can tell she's processing what you are saying. She's never mentioned gastric bypass, and I don't think she would.

She's also African-American and a little pudgy herself. Her office is independent and not affiliated with a "clinic" with several drs.

My recommendation: 1) find out which drs your insurance will cover; 2) find out which ones are taking patients; 3) "google" them -- more than likely their photos are on the internet -- I'd look for someone female and a little fat b/c that's what I am (only I'm a lot fat); 4) take care when getting involved with a dr. owned clinic -- they are in business to make money and often refer to their own partners, not necessarily to the best physician if you need any specialized treatments; 5) if you are seeking some kind of surgical assistance to lose weight, you will probably have to have a recommendation for your insurance to cover it anyway -- that's why I recommend a GP or Family Doc.

Beyond that, I say ... Go back to the one that gives out free drug samples ;)

Blessings,
FFF

MsHelena
11-20-2006, 07:49 PM
I think it is dangerous not to go to the gynecologist at least every 3 years or so (more often if you are higher risk). Look at it this way...you really can't see in there, so if there's something wrong (like cancer or other problems) you won't know it until it's gotten pretty far. When you end up with a hysterectomy instead of a smaller procedure, you might wish you had gone a little earlier. However, how much risk you want to take is up to you. I personally think a hysterectomy is a high price to pay for not going to an exam every so often.

I think gyne appts. are particularly important because as I said, you can't see in there. If you have a tumor growing out of your forehead or if you have a lump somewhere that you can feel easily, you at least have a chance of catching it early on your own. Yes, the chances are low that a particular person will have a gynecological cancer, but the consequences are painful. That's why I go...and I am a VERY LOW RISK individual according to all the info out there...And believe me, I far from look forward to it, but it's one of those things you have to do...like brushing your teeth.

I appreciate your opinion, but I don't agree with you at all. I wasn't trying to change anyone's views on doctor's visits, I was just qualifying (or perhaps disqualifying :D) my stated advice with a little background information.

Sheila53
11-20-2006, 07:52 PM
About the weighing part, I never get weighed at the doctor's office. When they ask, I just say no. I've done that for years, and at many different doctors' offices. I knew I was fat. Nobody has ever said yes, you must get weighed. If there was a medically necessary reason (e.g., illness that caused me to lose or gain rapidly and it should be charted), I'd weigh. Remember that you can control what goes on at the appointment. I write everything down that I want to ask, by the way, and go down the list with the doctor.

I always choose female family practice doctors, who will also do a gyno exam. I haven't been to a gyno in years, and I'd never go to a male gyno because I've had bad experiences. I had a biopsy done and when I winced and cried out, the male gyno told me that it didn't hurt. Huh? Bet if they stuck something up his privates and took a snip, he'd say ouch, too! I dealt with it by never going back to that person. I also had a problem with a female cardiologist, and I dealt with that by walking out of the room and by filing a complaint with the clinic patient advocate. You're paying these people for a service--they need to act appropriately!

As SAPF so succinctly put it "If there is something really wrong with you, ignoring it isn't going to make it go away. There are a lot of diseases if left unchecked, can do some serious damage."

Please let us know what you do. We're here to support you all the way!