Today's story comes from Kelly Camp, an attorney, military wife, and mother. This story shows the intersection between medical sexism and the structural problems in U.S. society that leave women with little support.
I developed acid reflux with my first pregnancy. It turned into GERD with my second. I've been on Prilosec daily since 2009 and had to add in Zyrtec during my second pregnancy. I had my gallbladder removed exactly a month after my older child was born.
Since my second baby, I've tried EVERYTHING to lose weight. The problem I face is that eating healthy food gives me reflux. Running or exercising makes the reflux worse. Eating smaller meals makes reflux worse. Drinking lots of water makes reflux worse. I've tried GI diets, not eating before bed, eating before bed, low fat diets, low sugar diets, no carbs, no dairy. Everything made the reflux worse.
When it's bad, it feels like I've been shot in the chest. I am desperate to stop the pain. So I finally go see a GI doc. He tells me if I just lost 75 lbs most of my issues would go away. I tell him I've tried. He looks at me with a raised brow, like "really?". I start telling him all I've tried and that it's really hard right now because my husband is in and out a lot getting ready for deployment, both my kids have autism, one has ADHD. Between doctor appointments, therapy sessions, IEP meetings, IFSP reviews, keeping my spouse updated, doing housework, and keeping myself sane with depression and PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder), I have no time to even think about myself very much.
He scolded me saying that I need to take care of myself first, eat well, get exercise, and get enough sleep. Sleep?! WTF is that?! He said it's like the airplane analogy - you put the oxygen mask on yourself and then on your kid. Honey, I have to get respite care to go grocery shopping or even take a shower by myself. I usually do Safeway delivery because I don't have time to go shopping. When I do get healthy stuff in the house, I'm so tired by dinner time, and that's usually the witching hour with the kids (they get a spurt of energy and yell and run and fight and look for trouble and need 100% line-of-sight supervision), I can't prepare anything.
He just looks at me like I'm clearly not trying hard enough. He said he'll do an endoscopy but what I really need is to just lose the weight. Results of the endoscopy: hiatal hernia and precancerous cells in my esophagus from the reflux. Fuck you, fucking asshole. I am not fucking crazy, or lazy!! I'm now taking 2 Prilosec twice a day, so 4x the OTC dose, until I can push for surgery.