Primum non nocere

" First, do no harm ." Growing up, I went to the doctor quite often and was prescribed medicine a great deal of time.  In my ...


Growing up, I went to the doctor quite often and was prescribed medicine a great deal of time.  In my adulthood, I wanted to be more proactive with my heath, which meant having a strong relationship with a doctor that I trusted.  My no-frills-or-sugar-coating doctor (who told me many years ago (in case I didn't know already) that I was fat), Dr. Roche, decided to leave the practice, leaving me to find a new doctor. 

Dr. Fuisz
I took to my personal Facebook to get recommendations.  One name was recommended multiple times:  Dr. Alice Fuisz.  I booked my first appointment for 12/12/13 -- the one-year anniversary of my neck surgery.  In a word, Dr. Fuisz is awesome.  I especially love how organized her practice is.  They had me come in before my first appointment (my yearly physical) so that we could discuss diagnostic test results during the appointment. 

I also loved that I was fully dressed the first time meeting my new doctor.  So many times one is only wearing a flimsy cloth gown the first time they're introduced to a doctor.  She and I went over my patient intake forms, family history, and any preliminary concerns/questions that I had, as well as the results from my tests. 

We talked about the challenges of weight loss and my desire to continue to drop body fat, but also not knowing where my body is going to end up because I've been overweight since I was 8.  We talked about certain aspects of my blood tests that could be improved (such as my cholesterol). We also discussed the fatigue that I've been feeling, despite getting exercise, eating well, and having a good pre-bedtime routine (she pointed out that it's probably due to my cat getting sick in the middle of the night).

Dr. Fuisz also took copious notes for herself regarding things that she wanted to further investigate and subsequent tests that she wanted to run -- such as whether I've had an MRA scan (there are some schools of thought that believe aneurysms are genetic) as well as my ferritin and B12 levels (both were low normal and can be improved with supplements).  My Vitamin D is still  much better than it was than when I first tested for it in 2010.  I may do a sleep study to make sure that my fatigue is nothing more than being hypervigilant regarding Spike.  (Have I ever mentioned that I used to sleep walk and sleep talk?).

Then she came down hard on me -- giving me 5 reasons (with increasing guilt levels) as to why I should get the flu vaccination.  I was putting up a good fight until she mentioned that one can be a carrier/contagious without feeling sick.  I'd hate to get someone else sick (especially my niece).  She also told me that I was overdue for a tetanus booster.  She's been using a combo tetanus-pertussis booster because there are so many anti-vaccination people out there now that whooping cough is now a thing again.  I'm happy to report that I didn't faint, vomit, cry, or have a breakdown whilst getting the shots.  And I didn't do what my mom did, and treat myself to ice cream after.  Adults know that shots are just a part of life.

So, I have some homework to do and some choices to make (as to whether or not I want to do further diagnostics) and some referrals to use.  But I wanted to share all of this with you because I want YOU to get your yearly physical.  Make it a priority.  Many people who are overweight/obese avoid the doctor because they don't want to address their health and weight issues. You'll hear terms like "doctor shopping" and "weight bias" to explain why people search out certain doctors or why people avoid others. 

The bottom line is this:  neither your doctor or yourself are completely blind to what's going on with your health.  Your doctor should be the one person in your life telling you the plain and honest truth about what's going on with your body.  Glossing over the issues isn't going to help you address them.  So be proactive and ask your doctor to step up to the plate and help you make a positive change in your life.  Challenge them to rise to the occasion or to recommend another doctor that can. 

The great thing is that with a few modifications (some small, some bigger) you can see an instant improvement in your health.  How do your diagnostic tests change after adding a little more activity each day, introducing some new, healthier recipes into your diet, or going to sleep half-an-hour earlier?  Reap the dividends of a healthier lifestyle and have the lab results to prove it (no matter your weight).

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2 comments

  1. It took a while, but I found a great doctor. It makes me more likely to go in when something is wrong. We have talked a little about my weight, but that isn't the only focus of our appointments.

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  2. TL: Weight shouldn't be the *only* focus of your doctor's appointment -- but it shouldn't be verboten either. My former doctor and I often talked about the very thin line between addressing people with serious weight issues and alienating those people from ever going to the doctor's again.

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<3 Robby