I think every experience we go through has a lesson to teach us. Or something that we can take away from that experience to only help us continue down our path. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right? I am a firm believer in, everything happens for a reason. Even if it is not something that we want to happen and might be something that really hurts you, the way we handle these situations is all up to YOU. You cannot always be in control of what others say to you, how they treat you or how they make you feel. BUT you can control how you choose to react.
I shared with you guys an experience I had with a Doctor up in Sacramento who was supposed to take a look at my arms and talk with me about how surgery would/could help with the banding that is happening on my arms (if you don’t know what I am talking about, you can click HERE) . Well…instead of talking to me about my arms and what she thinks needs to be done to help me…she sat there and criticized my body, put me down and made several comments about my weight and how I should have never allowed myself to gain any weight back in the first place. She just sat there and made me feel like a complete and utter failure. (click HERE for that blog post where I share exactly what she said to me and how I felt).
Since I am in the process of overcoming my Binge Eating Disorder, this was a huge trigger for me. I immediately went into the horrible thinking of self-shame, feeling like a failure and telling myself, I never deserved to eat ever again. It’s not the fact that she talked about my weight gain, because I take full responsibility for that AND I have admitted it, talked to other doctors about it and I have already been very hard on myself because of this. It had nothing to do with her telling me I gained weight and I can assure you, it did not come from a place of her being concerned for me. She just sat there and put me down the whole entire appointment.
I left that appointment, with no information about my arms, no information as to what was next, what surgery would be… I left with no helpful information…and feeling HORRIBLE about myself. I remember just sitting in the car and hysterically crying. It was a 2-hour car ride back home and the whole time I just sat there, thinking…thinking not only about how bad I felt about myself, but how that doctor treated me in such a disrespectful manner. I was also super upset with myself because I just sat there and allowed her to speak to me the way she did and I did not say anything. I did not stand up for myself at all. I just sat there being crushed, shamed and put down and I said nothing. I think that is what bothered me the most.
SO….the question I get asked the most….did I ever talk to that doctor and let her know how I felt and let her know that it was not ok to be treated that way?
YES! I did end up emailing the doctor. I had to allow myself to calm down first since I was very emotional and very hurt and upset. I did not want to address this with a head full of emotions and anger. I wanted to calm down a bit and to be able to clearly and respectfully let her know exactly how I was feeling and that treating me that was was completely uncalled for.
I wanted to share with you what I told her (and her response) because I know so many of you are curious and because I think it is so important to stand up for ourselves and to allow ourselves to speak our truth. I also wanted her to know everything that I was going through and get it off my chest so I could, in fact, keep moving forward without holding onto it. I wanted to allow myself to release it and move on. I also wanted to share this because I know at the moment it can be so hard to stand up for ourselves and to speak our truth. But just because we might not do it right away, it does not mean we have to hold it in and just live with how we are treated. It is so important to share how you are feeling with others. I think for me, standing up for myself and speaking up for myself is something that I am really working on. I think it will help me not keep turning to food when I am filled with emotions and standing up for myself more will allow me to be able to completely move forward no matter what happens in life.
I want to share this, not to keep bashing this doctor or to share more hate, but to show how I did end up speaking my truth and I am ready to move on from it.
I did end up sending her an email. Here is what I had to say.
I wanted to be honest with you that I was not happy with how my appointment went or how I was treated. I feel like you did not take the time to listen to me or truly understand all I have been though throughout my whole journey. After losing over 300 pounds, dealing with an eating disorder and how gaining some weight has been really hard for me and I am in process of dealing with it and not only losing weight but dealing with my eating disorder too. I feel like you had no respect for me or what I was going through and just sat there putting me and my body down the whole time because of my weight and weight gain. You kept telling me how I should have never gained any weight back in the first place and how I should find some motivation to lose weight- or better yet use what is happening with my arms as some motivation to lose weight. Very disrespectful. You never even took the time to examine me or look at my arms or discuss the ways in which surgery would help. You never answered any questions and kept talking about my weight the whole time. I have been very open and honest about my weight gain and I am in the process of not only losing some weight again but also dealing with recovery from my eating disorder. The way you handled this whole situation was completely disrespectful and uncalled for. After sitting there and putting me down the whole time, I felt rushed out of your office. I was hoping to come in and have some questions answered and to figure out the next steps we can take to help, but instead, you made me feel so awful about myself and I feel worse about myself than I did when I first came in. I really hope you can understand that there is so much more that goes into people and their bodies and their weight, and how hurtful your words can be. No one deserves to be treated the way you treated me, and being someone who is mentally struggling with my body image, weight gain and in the process of recovering from my eating disorder, your words completely crushed me and were not helpful in any way- especially not helpful in the whole reason I even came in to see you in the first place. I really hope you can truly understand how hurtful your words were and can think twice before you speak to anyone like that again. No matter if someone gained weight or not, everyone deserves respect, kindness, and love.”
Well about 15-20 minutes after I sent this email, I received a call from her office. I decided not to answer because I did not want to really speak to her, have anything else to say and I did not want to be disrespectful to her. I was still pretty emotional about the whole situation, so I knew I would just sit on the phone with her while she tried to defend herself and I would either explode on her or just cry. Both options did not seem like they were very good options…so I did not answer.
She did leave a voice mail ( she did not want a paper trail I guess)
So here is what she had to say-
“Jacqueline. I am so sorry you felt that way. That was not my intention. I only brought up your weight or your weight gain because YOU brought it up. I do not think weight loss will help the situation on your arm, but I do think losing some weight is beneficial for you. I am sorry I did not answer any of your questions about surgery. When I spoke to Dr (the doctor who referred me to her) I forgot you were not there when we were talking. She filled me in about you, your situation and how much you have accomplished. I told her my ideas and what I could do to help and how I felt surgery was best for you. So I guess in the appointment with you, I forgot you were not there during that conversation. So I am sorry you did not have your questions answered. If you want to call my office and book another appointment with me I can make sure to answer your questions and get your surgery booked.
Then about 10 minutes later, her office called me again ( again I did not answer) and they were calling to make another appointment with me to see that Doctor. Safe to say I never called back and never booked an appointment to go back to see her and especially not to book surgery with her.
My take away from her response
It did not seem very genuine to me…at all. It felt very calculated that she was just trying to put the fire out, hoping to squash it from getting more out of hand. But what bothered me the most was how she tried to put it on ME that it was my fault that she talked about my weight in the first place. I just brought up some weight gain (like I do with every doctor I see) just in case the problems I’m experiencing are related to that that is adding to the whole situation that is happening with my arms. I honestly just want what is best for me, and trying to deny, hide or pretend I did not gain some weight, would only be hurting myself. So I bring it up, just in case, after I lose some weight it may help to resolve the issues I’m having.
By bringing it up, it still gave her NO right to treat me how she did. Just because I brought up weight gain, did not give her permission to sit there and put me down the whole time. Just because I brought it up, does not mean it is not hard for me, that I am not trying to lose weight again and that all of this is easy for me. No matter what, it is never ok to shame someone. Period. Shaming someone into losing weight will never make someone actually lose weight. Studies show that it actually makes it worse. So, no by me being honest about my body and what was going on does not justify how she treated me. She was not saying it out of concern or worried for my well being- it was shameful, disrespectful and absolutely uncalled for. She even said weight gain is not what caused this issue and that weight loss is not going to fix the issue…..SO WHY WAS THAT THE ONLY THING SHE TALKED ABOUT?????
So, after talking with my therapist about this while situation many many many times…..I have decided to not respond anymore, made the decision to not go see her again, and to find another hand and arm specialist/surgeon who can hopefully help me out. I have decided to move forward from this, put this behind me and keep doing what is best for me.
Sending this email, allowed me to get a lot off my chest, speak my truth, be honest with her about how she made me feel and let her know it was not ok to treat me, or anyone else like that. I felt better getting that off my chest and I actually feel ready to let it go.
So I hope you find the strength in this to stand up for yourself, speak your truth, never let anyone shame you or your body (even a doctor) and keep doing what is best for you!!!!
I think this kind of behavior and treatment form doctors happens way too often. I don’t feel that this is ever acceptable. I hope this experience can shed some light on, how people who struggle with their weight are treated. I want you to know that if you are treated this way, that it is absolutely not ok…EVER These doctors are so quick to blame everything on people’s weight, no matter what the problem is. For me, even after everything I have been through and everything I am going through, I do not need anyone to tell me to find some motivation or where to find that motivation. I find my own motivation every single day to keep loving myself and living my best life possible.
I am sending lots of love to all of you. Keep standing tall, and keep moving forward and doing the next right thing.