Posted by Pattie on 4/17/2006 08:15:00 PM

Pattie, You've Lost a Lot of Weight, Haven't You?

I haven't heard that in years.

Last night a neighbor said that to me.

I responded that I didn't know if I had or not because I don't weigh myself. I said I thought I might have lost some weight when I was sick in January for three weeks with some gastric problems.

Dead Silence Ensued.

After the pause, I smiled and said "I don't recommend any methodology for intentionally losing weight and I certainly don't recommend how sick I was in January."

Then I headed for the pool.

It is weird how much looks and health are related in this culture. When I first became sick with what was eventually diagnosed as lupus, I would flush. In sun-worshiping Flori-duh, I frequently got compliments on my "color" and asked if I had got some sun. I never figured out what to say to that. "Uh, no, actually, I'm feeling pretty sick and what did you think I was before--too pale?"

I'm in a full blown flare-up this weekend. All my joints hurt. I'm exhausted. I have accomplished the laundry, one trip to the pool, a little bit of meditation and a bunch of sleep. But the sleep only seems to help temporarily.

The disconnect I feel between the world and my experience in my skin grows ever wider.

The thing is, this looks = health equation is dangerous.

I know of several cases where older people died of cancer because their "diet worked" for the first time in their lives. Turns out that 60 pounds was their bodies being eaten away. But boy they looked healthy!

It works both ways.

My father probably died younger than he would have because a liver condition went undiagnosed while his doctor told him to lose weight. He finally went to an emergency room where 27 pounds of fluid was drawn from his belly due to liver failure. By then the damage was done and what is done to a liver is rarely undone. He died 18 months later of the condition.

So lately I've lost a few pounds and I don't know why. I feel sickly and yet I'm pretty sure almost no doctor would take the weight loss as a serious symptom. Of course, I don't really have a doctor because I'm fat and can't afford insurance and, well, I avoid doctors as much as possible.

But hey, apparently, I am the envy of the neighborhood at the moment.