Now I’ve Done It
“Something is wrong,” I said to my doctor, adamantly. I promised myself I’d be direct with her about my symptoms as I was convinced I had finally done it. I had pushed my body too far, and I had screwed it up.
What is going on?” She asked, distractedly, as she flipped through my thick paper chart. Although I liked her, she always seemed to be in a hurry.
I had been seeing this doctor for twenty years. She was a marathon runner who understood my love/need for exercise. Although she had expressed concern over the years regarding my dwindling body weight, she never did more than offer a few fleeting suggestions like adding coconut oil into my diet. In other words, she didn’t threaten my disease. Perfect.
“How long has this been going on?” She asked, laying me back on the table and poking around my abdomen.
“About three weeks,” I replied. Maybe a little longer.
For most of my adult life, I have disliked my stomach. Over the years, it's been the one area on my body that has received the bulk of my body dissatisfaction focus. A flat stomach day equals a good day, a poochy stomach day is one spent worrying about being “fat.” (Pregnancy was the one time I let that shit go. I was only getting bigger, and even I knew THAT was a good thing.)
But five years ago, despite my hours of daily exercise, I could not alleviate my distended stomach. The constant feeling of fullness that I had spent years trying to avoid was now keeping me constant company like a needy puppy. It didn’t matter what I ate. Even half of a banana would puff up my gut. By the end of each evening, I would be in tears. Bloated and uncomfortable, like I had eaten a bowl of raw cookie dough with a milk chaser instead of a yogurt. I spent weeks downing anti-gas pills, antacid, and every homeopathic tincture in the health food section of the grocery store. I tried eliminating certain foods in case I had developed a food allergy. I bought tampons, convinced it was my body gearing up to get my period after a ten year absence. I took a pregnancy test, or three, thinking I was a medical miracle (because again, no period in ten years). I thought perhaps I had screwed up my metabolism in some way, and now my body was unable to digest food. My daily trips to the scale showed no weight gain, although my pants were tight around the waist. Maybe a tumor? It must be cancer. Right?
Needless to say, when I finally got myself to the doctor that day, I was pretty worked up. Doc, although hurried, took my distress seriously and ordered every test imaginable. After a week of being poked, prodded, and x-rayed, the results were in.
Despite my low weight, there was nothing wrong with me.
Nothing physically anyway.