I went to the Doctor last Friday. It had been a year, and my Doctor who is also a friend, was worried I had fallen off the wagon and gained back the weight I had lost last year and hiding it from her. When I went back to the examining room I could see into the Nurse and Doctor station, I saw my Doctor and she got all happy and emotional. They blew an air horn and everyone in the clinic came running like it was my birthday at Applebee’s or something. They all applauded and some got teary. I kinda like grand gestures and attention, no one admits that, but I do, but it was bit overboard. I was a bit embarrassed, but so touched how much they cared. I spent so much of my life explaining myself and trying to have the world see that my obesity does not define my character, that it was very touching to be so cared about.
My visit went well. I got to use the regular BP cuff instead of the one for chubby arms and body builders. Last year the long walk from my vehicle to the front door then down the hall to the examining room felt like 10 miles. Friday I hardly thought about it. My Doctor was very pleased.
I have an extreme fear of Doctors. I really need to write about this so please just indulge me for a bit this might be long. I am very careful these days to not be a victim, but sometimes events in our lives channel deep emotional scares that happen. Sometime they are done by those who love us, unknowing what effect they have on someone. I want to address my relationship with my folks, but I need to defend them so it does not appear I am throwing them under the bus. My folks did the best they could, and when they knew better they did better.
I have been overweight my whole life. I was almost a 10 pound baby, and pretty sure my Mom had gestational diabetes while carrying me, and it stayed with her after I was born. She went undiagnosed for years, and when they found it, she was a very brittle diabetic.
I was fat as a toddler, I remember hearing my Moms conversations with her sister, my Aunt Lindy and her girlfriends. My mom was a compulsive talker. So her chatter was always there and in my head. I have always felt broken. I was taken to a weight loss doctor at 4 years old and prescribed what they call now speed. I remember laying on the floor in the middle of the night frantically coloring, while my Mom fell asleep on the couch. I lost 20 pounds as a 4 year old. I was on every diet known to man. I had a babysitter in the afternoons because my Mom worked, and I remember my lunch being packed, and lots and lots of carrots. So many that I turned orange. True story.
Every Summer I would vow to lose the weight, and come to school thinner. In high school I longed to be a cheerleader. But there were no fat cheerleaders. I always tried to lose weight over the summer in order to try out, but it never hapened.
At a very early age, I fell in love with my Abba Father, Jesus. Abba means Daddy. The name Jesus is not PC these days, but I hate using the word “universe” referring to God. I like using His name. So that was my source of strength as a child. My folks both had a deep passion for God, so my household was built not only on going to church, but a deeply personal relationship with God. It was not unusual at all for my Dad to lead the family in prayer. We prayed out loud in the care before a big trip, we prayed out loud at mealtime, we prayed out loud when there was any struggles.
I was very close to my aunt Lindy my Moms sister, who was more of a grandma to me, she was 9 years older than my mom. She and her husband Lionel, had no children. Attended Weight Watcher meeting all her life. She lost and gained, but not a tremendous amount. My mom was Lucy, and Lindy was her Vivian. Lindy and Lionel did all sorts of things to help me lose weight. When I was a child they lived in Omaha, about 2 hours south. She would offer me $1 for every pound I’d lose. When I was on Weight Watchers, my uncle Lionel would buy me cases of water packed tuna. When I visited her in Omaha over the Summers, we went to Weight Watcher meetings.
I’d lose a little, then fall off the wagon. I tried everything as a child to lose weight. Fat Doctors, Exercise machines, Aydes caramels, Dexitrim, I tried it all.
The Doctors I visited as a child were not nice to me. They told me I could do this if I tried, I needed willpower. As a child I would go to church and go up to the alters to be prayed for and have God heal me. I felt like a failure, and learned to develop a personality that would attract people since my looks were not going to. As with every fat girl, I have heard “you have such a pretty face” over and over again. It is one of the biggest insults you can say to a young overweight girl. Instead we hear “Too bad you’re so fat, because you could be pretty if you were thin”
When I got older, I was the primary caretake for my Mom, a diabetic , my Dad, with Alzheimers and my Aunt Lindy, who had Alzheimers. And my Husband who had serious heart issues and on top of all that he was an epileptic, having grand maul seizers several times a month that took him to the ER over and over.
My folks both worked, and I actually have a brother. But he never liked me, at all. I honestly have no memory of any moment in time when he was nice to me. At best he ocasionaly tolerated me, those were the good days. We don’t have any connection to this day.Im quite sure if I died, he would not attend the funeral. Altho, I would love to have a relationship with my big brother. His picture of our family is way different then mine. I was a very lonely isolated kid. I’d come home from school and food would fill that void.
My parents kitchen had no or very little food in it. Just basic staples, because it was my Moms way of controlling my intake of food. She stopped at the store on the way home from work almost everyday. We ate a lot of stuff out of my Fathers garden.
My Dad on the other had, was a foodie. He loved to cook, try new things, and had a very diverse palate. He would eat anything! And he loved to cook, so it was not unusual to come home from school and there was a beef tongue sitting in the fridge. Food meant security to him. He grew up extremely poor. He talked a lot about eating lard on bread for dinner. He worked in the original Raddison in Minneapolis Minnesota where he met my Mom, who was attending bible college. She was the naive farm girl, he was the swanky City Boy. She was mesmerized by him. They had no clue of each others baggage going into the marriage. My Mom was insecure, and my Dad was a risk taker. My Dad a spender, and my Mom always worried about money. My Mom worried about everything, and talked about it in my presents all the time. My Dad was not a feelings person in his younger years, sort of shut off, and we knew not to ask too many questions of his sad childhood. My Mom was a gusher! So I became, at a very young age, her surrogate emotional spouse. I took it all on, and hide my own struggles.
When I would get made fun of by my childhood bully Dennis, I never ever told anyone. He would make fun of how I walked or skipped, he oddly, always called me “Hamburger” and yelled it when I got on the school bus or playground. And of course having the last name Miles, I “heard miles and miles of fat” throughout all my life. I felt so ashamed of who I was. I knew it would hurt my Mom to tell her about my bully, and I was so ashamed of being fat, I kinda felt I deserved it. I remember crying in the night, in my bed, hating being fat, and feeling so alone. When I ate, I felt nothing. Emotional flatline. So this became a deep habit of stuffing down my feelings.
At 16 I refused to go to the doctor every again. I went off my thyroid meds, and never went back to a Doctor until I was 42. Fat people get reminded daily of the health hazards of being overweight. I just felt I had a death sentence waiting. Having Doctor scream at me about being fat and self indulgent, was awful. I’d rather die.
Plus, my Dad refused to see a doctor when I was young, and almost died from bleeding ulcers. This is when they did surgery similar to weight loss surgery to treat ulcers.They cut out 1/2 his stomach. Now days they treat it as a virus. His fear of doctors became mine. he would bleed so badly his skin was pale. He finally got the help he needed, but almost died.
My Mom was constantly worried she would go blind, or lose a limb. She talked about it all the time. I became a bundle of nerves, and carried all the stress of the family. Her Doctor visits were terrifying to her, and I would hear endlessly about how scared she was. Meanwhile staying out of the way of a brother that did not like me at all.
I learned in my adult years my Mom had a terrible relationship with food. She was not fat, maybe 150 was her top weight but she was about 130 most of her life. She obsessed about food, counting calories, and talking herself out of eating stuff. I finally put the pieces together when I realized all those laxatives around the house were not normal. And the bathroom toilet always looked as if someone had thrown up and not flushed twice.
My Dad rewarded me with food. It was his love language. Food was sacred, the word “ick” when referring to any food, be it cow tongue or liver was as bad as swearing. We were to be thankful for what ever was on the table, and if you did not like it, too bad, there were not substitutes.
I just remember being so scared all the time. I was scared I was going to be left behind, or lost. Which didn’t help growing up in a pentecostal home. I constantly feared Jesus would come and I’d be left behind. I would run to food to find comfort, or do something creative. I was always doing art, or creating something. That made me feel good about myself sometimes.
I was loved deeply by my parents, yet the baggage they brought into the marriage spilled over onto my brother and I. I took it on as mine, and I think my brother just fled. I was the beloved child, even though I was flawed, and he saw me as spoiled, favored and coddled. I kind of was, because no one could ever get close to him.
My relationship with my folks came full circle before they died. I got to forgive them for the stuff they screwed up in my childhood. By the time they died, we were very close, and it was the biggest loss of my life, still to this day. I felt truly abandoned. Every family member that I ever loved died within 5 years. Boom, they were suddenly gone, and I felt like an orphan. So again, food was my comfort, and it ran rapid! It escalated into eating crazy volumes. I am too ashamed to ever tell you what I binged on. There were no fast food places in my little town, and I spent a lot of time alone cooking enormous meals and eating them quickly before anyone came home.
So you can now see how going to the Doctor is scary for me. But until we push past our fears, nothing will change. This take a level of honestly that can make you feel week and transparent. But it’s the only way to get strong and through to where I want to be. Have a good Sunday everyone. Thanks for reading.