Today’s Read: For the Physicians

TW: Fatphobia

I’m considering carrying copies of this article to every medical appointment I have. I never want to hear about BMI again. If you’re in the medical field, tell your coworkers about this, please. It’s not a secret. It’s not new information. I’ve read about this repeatedly.

BMI is bullshit. Weight is one’s relationship with gravity. BMI is length plus width. They’re literally just numbers. They don’t tell anyone anything about health.

To be clear, I’m not saying one’s body size has zero impact on health. On the contrary, I know how my body size impacts my health. I’m saying we cannot limit our understanding of health to BMI, weight, height, or any combination of those numbers.

For instance, my doctor’s main nurse called me to tell me I’m pre-diabetic. (My chiropractor later said, “Technically, we’re all pre-diabetic.”) Instead of asking me about my diet, she said, “Stop drinking sugary drinks entirely.” She did not ask me how many sugary drinks I have in a day, how many ounces, how often, etc. I could tell the assumption was that I drink soda often. I typically don’t. I drink yogurt, chai, sparkling water, and filtered water. That’s usually it. I might have a week where I drink a soda once a day, and then I’ll go months without drinking soda at all. I rarely exceed one chai in a day. I simply don’t drink a lot of sugar, but that was the recommended medical advice.

The relationship here is this: Obese + pre-diabetic = bad eating habits.

But consider this as well: I learned recently I have severe sleep apnea. Maybe I consume carbs a lot because my body is in need of quick energy because I sleep like shit. So, why wasn’t my medical care team asking me about my holistic health instead of giving me impersonal directives? Why weren’t the questions: What’s your sleep like? How much energy do you feel like you have in a day? Are you often tired?

The relationship is actually this: Sleep apnea –> Poor sleep –> Low energy –> heavy carb consumption –> Higher than average blood sugar

Now, I’m willing to acknowledge my body size might contribute to sleep apnea. But we don’t know. Thin people also have sleep apnea, so weight is not an obvious, universal factor. What might the underlying concerns be, and why aren’t my doctors asking those questions?

We pay far too much money in office visits, health insurance, and pharmaceuticals to be given one-dimensional answers based on two-dimensional measures for three-dimensional bodies. We cannot all agree that bodies are different, then use the same measuring stick for everyone. The medical industry makes too much bank to sit on old, flawed, useless knowledge. It’s time for them to change. Ban the BMI.

Today’s Read: Get Tested

If you’re concerned about having COVID-19 (the ̶L̶o̶k̶i̶ Lambda/Delta-Plus/Delta variant), you can do a home test! I ordered one because I’ve been having odd symptoms. The website makes it super easy. As for doing the test and returning it, I’ll let you know once I get it.

Stay safe out there, friends. The pandemic never ended.

Today’s Read: Sleep Test

Sometimes, I’ll use my experiences as the resource. 🙂

I did an at-home sleep test a couple weeks ago, and I got my results last Friday. I have severe obstructive sleep apnea, which my sleep specialist also thinks is REM-specific sleep apnea (meaning it gets worse when I hit the REM stage of sleep). She also believes I have delayed sleep phase syndrome.

Combined, I struggle to fall asleep, and when I do fall asleep, my sleep is shitty. When I say I’m tired, I truly mean it. I never wake up feeling refreshed.

I’ve also commented to both my husband and my therapist that I think it’s a miracle I’m still alive. My oxygen saturation levels got down to 83%, called hypoxemia. Fun.

The thing is . . . the number of health issues I have that could be connected to this is obnoxious.

  • Pre-diabetic? I consume a lot of sugar just to stay away and have energy.
  • Weight: Connected to the lack of sleep and sugar consumption.
  • Fatigue: Duh.
  • Body aches: From fatigue.
  • Anxiety: Probably because my brain isn’t getting enough rest.
  • ADHD: Possibly because my brain isn’t getting enough oxygen.
  • GERD: Possibly because anxiety has me in constant fight or flight mode, which is because I don’t get enough rest.

That’s not even all of it. And to think . . . doctors always wanted to blame stuff on my weight.

To say I’m looking forward to a change in my sleep quality is an understatement. I’m getting an autopap in a week or so, and I’ll keep y’all updated on that process. I know it takes time to adjust to sleeping with any kind of apnea-assistance machine, but I’m happy to try it for as long as I need. After all . . . it’s not like my sleep could get much worse. (I should be careful what I say.)

Anyone else have this much shit with their sleep?!

My Birthday Fundraiser!

I’m trying to raise at least $860 for the Iowa Abortion Access Fund for my 43rd birthday, which is . . . TODAY! So far, folks have donated $425, so we’re halfway there. Please check out the link, donate and or share, and tell me how much you donated, so I can keep track of the totals! If you donate $43 or more, you’ll get a shout-out on Instagram!

Thank you all so much!

Today’s Read: Our Bodies and Movement

How’s your relationship with body movement? Let’s chat in the comments!

This piece (“7 Ways to Heal Your Relationship with Exercise and Movement” by Louise Green) brings up a lot of stuff for me, and I have a feeling I’m not even close to alone. Can you relate?

First, my painful relationship with movement starts all the way back in elementary school. I distinctly remember hating gym class in the second grade. It wasn’t because I hated moving. It was because the cool, rich, mean kids dominated the class and had a lot to say about me and my body all the way back then. Everything from my hair to my skin was bad. Ah, racism. Even at age seven. It didn’t help that I started my period two years later, and the boobs came in long before anyone else’s did. I went from undesirable to undesirable freak. Fun times.

Second, I BADLY want to develop a course about all-or-nothing/binary thinking. Despite teaching critical thinking for two decades, most of my self-perception operates on binary thinking.

Third, working on body image, my relationship with my body, and my trauma about movement are all things I’m working on in therapy and have been working on for some time. But it took finding my current therapist to start. My first therapist’s attitude toward me and exercise was that I simply needed to get over it and do it. Not helpful. (She was also unable to see beyond her thin privilege. This is why it’s important to remember not all therapists are a good fit for you, but that’s a post for another day.)

Fourth, I’m listening to Billie Eilish’s new album, and I’m wiggling in my chair, which goes to show there is joy in movement.

Fifth, and this is the truly scary one for me . . . I’m starting personal training on August 3rd. This is the first time I’ve attempted movement in front of another person who doesn’t live with me in years. I’m scared and nervous, but I’m hoping my perspective has truly shifted enough to get me going.

Last, that perspective is this: I want to see what my body can do. There’s a lot of fear, anxiety, and doubt attached to that, but you’re coming with me on this, so stay tuned.

Today’s Read: “Why Abortion Doulas Matter”

“Why Abortion Doulas Matter, Even When We’re Just Showing Up” by Alice Markham-Cantor

I’m considering becoming an abortion doula. This is the first piece (and a powerful one at that) I’ve read that explains what it’s like. Weirdly, I forgot about the protestors. They’re the only factor that give me pause. But being there for a person who needs the procedure pulls at my soul, and I can tell this is something I need to do. It’s needed.

Today’s Read: Midwest Access Coalition

Along with the Iowa Abortion Access Fund (for which I am a sustaining donor), I just want y’all to know this exists.

I don’t really care what your views on abortion are. Abortions are health care. They are medically necessary. They aren’t going anywhere. If they become harder to obtain, we’ll find ways to make sure people get the care they need. That’s it. There’s no discussion about it.

And as the saying goes, if you don’t like abortion, don’t have one.

Today’s Resource: Sleep

Sleep is a great resource. We don’t appreciate it enough. Not getting enough sleep can literally kill you, but if it doesn’t get that bad, it can cause a host of other issues. Shall I be your evidence?

My dentist reminded me yesterday that I’m grinding my teeth (likely when I sleep), which messed up the placement of a crown on my tooth. After a few years of her trying to get me to do a sleep test, I actually had one scheduled that same day. I’ve never heard my dentist sound so pleased.

I did the sleep test last night. Hated it. Didn’t sleep well (oh, the data they’re going to get from me). I woke up around six something, took off the contraption, then went back to sleep. I didn’t wake up until 11 a.m., but I had a dermatology appointment at noon. However, I had to fill out a COVID screening, and I had to be honest that I was experiencing fatigue, and that required me to reschedule. (But I’m ALWAYS experiencing fatigue because I don’t sleep healthily.)

Not only did shitty sleep cause me to go to the dentist, but it also required me to reschedule a different appointment.

And that’s not even getting into my mad need for sugar and carbs because I never have enough energy to get through the day, and how that caused me to be pre-diabetic at my last doctor’s appointment.

Y’all. I’m pretty sure sleep is the meaning of life.

Today’s Resource: Doctors, Man

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m in the process of learning how I might have ADHD. No one has ever suggested I might have it until this year. A friend suggested it. Another friend mentioned it in an unrelated conversation. Then, when I mentioned it to my therapist, she made the familiar, “You knowwww . . .” comment that told me she’d been thinking about it.

This article, however, details one of a few reasons why it probably went unsuggested to me.

In addition to being a woman (ADHD is underdiagnosed for us as well), I’m a person of color. I’m also fat. Put all three of those together, and I’m only now starting to learn of my true medical concerns, and only because I’m asking about them and pushing my medical providers more than I ever have. Spoiler alert: Some doctors don’t like that.

Have you experienced this in your life? What went undiagnosed or unaddressed for you by the medical industry? What was falsely diagnosed for you? What do you have suspicions about? Do you feel treated differently by the medical industry because of some label you have? Talk to me in the comments!

Today’s Read: Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome

You know that person who hates doing anything before noon? If you ask them to meet up for breakfast, they’re like, “Uh, you mean breakfast for dinner, right?” It’s me. I’m that person.

For my entire life, I’ve been made to feel lazy and immature because I’m not a morning person. People assume I’m irresponsible, and when I push to have meetings later in the day, you can sense the judgment. When I say, “I’d rather stay up and work at 2 in the morning,” people think I’m odd. And damn near everyone thinks it’s something to fix. One of my old bosses would laugh at me and accommodate me for half an hour. He’d think I was being ridiculous when I grumbled about teaching 8 a.m. classes. All I have to do is get up early and suck it up, right? Or worse, I get tons of unsolicited advice on what to take, what to try, etc. Yeah no. I’ve tried it. Forty years of sleep issues. I’ve tried it. Please save your suggestions.

But guess what? It might not be something people can control. I’m working with a sleep specialist, and she thinks I’m dealing with Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome. It’s rare I fall asleep right away. I went to bed at 11:30 last night, exhausted, and I don’t think I fell asleep until 2 or 3 in the morning. I wanted to sleep. Badly. But I couldn’t. And yet my brain woke me up at 8 a.m. because sleeping later is frowned upon. Mind you, I stay in bed for at least an hour in the hopes that I’ll go back to sleep, but I usually don’t. And then I’m tired all day and think about napping, but if I nap, it’ll interfere with my sleep even more.

On any given night, I might sleep three hours or I might sleep ten. I never have any idea what I’m going to get. Add in the possibility of sleep apnea (sleep test coming soon), and yeah, there’s a reason my answer is always, “I’m tired,” when you ask how I am. I’m not just life tired; I’m actually sleep deprived.

And guess what else? That probably impacts my weight, my mental health, my physical health, and so on. And because I know I’m not alone in this, DO YOU UNDERSTAND NOW WHY I AM FOREVER TELLING MY STORIES TO TRY AND HELP OTHERS?! Like . . . no one tells you this shit. You have to figure it out as you go, and that gets old.

I get tired of having all the things that make me who I am assumed to be character flaws. Y’all . . . I wanna be normal, but I’m literally not wired that way. This is why I’m always trying to embrace my weird.

End whine.