What can the doctor say? Not a lot.

My oncologist is a lovely man, but visiting him leaves me shaky and depressed.

He can only deal in solid medical facts, and can’t throw me any lifelines regarding alternative treatment. I suggest linseed, weight loss, plant-based diet, increased exercise etc, and he replies with a slight nod and ‘if it makes you feel better’.

I’ve come to understand that his role demands that he deals only in clinically proven facts, and cannot allow himself to even hint that he endorses any other natural methods that have not – and indeed, probably cannot – be proven. I can see why. ‘You said if I upped my Omega 3’s, stayed off sugar and stuffed coffee up my bum I would beat cancer, and I haven’t. I’m suing.’

I’ve noticed that he doesn’t even congratulate me on my big weight loss, or offer encouragement about taking it further. It occurs to me that he simply DAREN’T.

It seems to me that the medical profession are having to following some kind of discrete protocol where they are not allowed to comment on our weight for fear of litigation. A kind of ‘political correctness gone mad’ (as in so many other areas of life). I’ve heard of cases where self-confessed fatties have taken extreme umbrage and demanded written apologies from the medics when they have pointed out their obesity. ‘I can say I’m fat, but you’re not allowed to tell me I am’.

For goodness’ sake, they are doing a difficult job. Cut them some slack!

This litigious, over-PC society isn’t doing any of us any good.

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13 responses to “What can the doctor say? Not a lot.

  1. My docto
    r talks about weight at every trip…in that I am not allowed to lose while on chemo as it breaks down my ability to fight off infection. As I have the dual whammy of also being a bariatric patient, it is really difficult for me to maintain. I lost 135 pounds before my diagnosis, and need to lose 40 more. Good luck with whatever treatment you chose. 🙂

    • It’s funny that my doctors haven’t mentioned not losing weight during chemo for that reason, isn’t it? The slightly more cheerful lady doctor I had last time said that I’d done well to lose weight during chemo because most people find it quite difficult.
      I am – for the first time in my life! – dieting very sensibly and slowly, losing 1 to 2 pounds a week. I’m eating 10 portions of fruit and veg, drinking lots of green tea, and, my secret weapon, eating pigs liver once a week! Gotta get those red blood cells from somewhere!
      I have complete faith in my medics and am happy to do whatever they say, but I want to do all the sensible alternatives alongside their treatment to try and help myself, too. Just trying to gain some control, I suppose.
      Wishing you all the best!

  2. My oncologist has always been dodgy about my weight. I’m considered “high normal”. My GP has tried to get me to lose 30 lbs for years – until the stage IV diagnosis. Now he says nothing. When I’m weighted if I say to the nurse that I’ve lost weight, they smile, look at me and ask “is that good”. I’m at least two years away from chemo, but everyone seems convinced I’m going to lose weight at a terrifying rate once I start. Fine. I’ve started eating pretty much whatever I want until I’m full. Oddly enough, I don’t put on weight…

  3. I’ve definitely been ‘morbidly obese’ for the last 10 years! I’ve lost 56 pounds now, and have 40 more to go before I am the correct body mass index. Have I got enough time left, I ask myself?!
    I’m quietly hoping that getting as fit as I can will give me a few more years. But, on the bleak side, I must lose weight so that my poor old hubby can lug me around easier when things get bad. Painkillers should be more effective, too.
    I still sense you are too worried about chemo. Things are getting a bit tougher now I’ve had 5 out of 6 cycles , but only tiredness (and extreme baldness! ). I feel like I’m walking uphill all the time. I’ve only had slight nausea a couple of times. I’ve been amazed at how much better it’s been than we’ve all been led to believe.

      • Thanks for all your lovely comments!
        My chemo was ‘FEC’. I inquired whether it was an easy one, but was told it wasn’t, particularly, so I think my ‘plan’ really helped:
        i.e. 3 really good meals a day, drinking PLENTY of fluids, and the drugs supplied with chemo to counter side effects really worked for me.
        Do drink loads of water for the three or four days after the chemo session. I aimed at 6-8 pints per day. It really helped with the OTHER dreaded ‘Big C’ – constipation! That was the worst aspect of chemo for me. I only had it badly once, with one chemo session when we had guests visiting, and I forgot to drink as much as I should have.
        It was SO much easier than I was expecting. The nausea I was dreading never materialised. I had a few minutes of feeling queasy now and then, but hardly touched the packets of anti-sickness drugs I was supplied with each session.
        Try not to worry – easier said than done, I know! Good luck with your treatment. I’ll be following your progress.

      • Per your advice, I will hit the bottle! I can’t imagine drinking that much water, but I will try. Especially if it will ward off the Other C! I hope my chemo is a manageble as yours. If not, I’ll write a complaint blog a.s.a.p. I hope the management is listening.

      • I forgot to say, I don’t drink all my 8 pints as plain water! I’ve experimented with lots of different green teas and fruit teas. I limit myself to two cups of coffee a day, then I probably drink 5 or 6 large cups of green tea during the day, then a couple of glasses of water with my evening meal. I like some of the flavoured green teas, like with mango or orange. I also drink Red Bush tea, which has no caffeine – bit of an acquired taste – gives off a smell of sweaty feet and vapour rub! I also include soup as part of my 8 pints. So it’s not so bad!
        I personally avoid fruit juices because they contain a lot of sugar, and I’m trying to lose weight. There’s also a theory that sugar feeds cancer cells. But you might feel like including them – cranberry and black grape are supposed to be cancer-fighting.
        Hope this helps, and hope it’s going well.

      • Thanks — it does help. It’s much easier for me to drink herbal tea than plain water, so that is what I am doing now — since the other C kicked in (sorry, overshare!) with a vengence. I know I was warned, I was warned.
        I am watching sugar, too, so I look forward to checking in our your health posts.
        Thanks for writing and staying in touch- Elizabeth

  4. You comment about our overly litigious society reminds me of the day after my due date, when my unborn son was weighing in almost 10 pounds, and the doctor’s asked me (normally just 100 lbs) if I would like a c-section. I asked their advice, but they wouldn’t give any. One doctor just said, “Well, I’ve seen native women in Indonesia give birth to 10 pound babies,” and the other doctor finally said, “I wouldn’t want my wife or daughter to deliver a 10 lb baby naturally.” I took the hints, but it’s too bad they can’t come out and give you straight advice …. or praise for the weight loss — wow — great job!

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