I don’t write these letters to you out of spite or anger. I don’t hold a grudge against you and I don’t wish you harm. At one point I was very angry; you let me down and I felt personally betrayed. But I have since grown and learned to appreciate all that I have gained because of these experiences. So without further ado, to the doctors who let me down the most in my life, when I was truly at my worst:
To the doctor who told me I needed to lose weight at just 6 years old…
I wish you knew the strength of your words as you repeated them year after year. Each visit came with yet another round of disappointment upon hearing that I remained overweight according to the BMI index.
As a little girl, I remember it feeling similar to having the wind knocked out of me when getting hit in the stomach by a soccer ball, leaving me at a loss for words.
Every time I stepped onto that scale in the corner and watched you slide up the numbers, I prayed you wouldn’t say those words. It is from you that I learned to manage my expectations and brace myself for disappointment.
Similar to a tree, I grew roots grounded deep to endure the wind that has threatened to break me upon each setback or disappointment from doctors throughout the years.
To the doctor who threatened me with tubes and hospital stays…
From you I learned how to be brave. I learned to stand my ground no matter how many times you said you didn’t believe me. Throughout your threats of painful tests and hospital stays, I didn’t falter.
I learned to put on a brave face as I endured those awful tests, in the hopes that the results would lead to the proper treatment I needed.
And as you were shoving pills down my throat, I learned how to determine when it was time to throw in the towel with a doctor or treatment, which has become something of value over the last 10 years.
To the doctor who told me it was in my head…
It was your advice that led to some of the most traumatic moments of my life. But it is also because of you that I have gained the most. Because of you, I found the strength to use my voice. I learned that I am my own best advocate and the importance of persistence. Most of all, I developed the ability to trust myself.
At the time, my instincts were telling me that something was terribly wrong. I’m not sure if it was due to shame, embarrassment, or fear, but for whatever reason, I chose to believe you and convince myself that it was all in my head. I allowed myself to suffer in ways one should never have to suffer.
Once I finally learned that it was not in fact “in my head” and was properly given a diagnosis, I made a choice to never again allow someone to have that kind of control over my body. Since then, I have fought to be heard. I have persevered in ways I never thought possible, and I continue to trust my instincts.
But most importantly, I do not give up.