When you’re fat everything is because you’re fat

I’m at the end of my rope.

I have come to the conclusion that the reception/admin staff at my GP surgery don’t give a **** about me or the pain I have. I am an ex-equestrian who has hit the ground a lot of times and broken a lot of bones. I have had lower back pain since 1998, the surgeon I saw last (circa 2012) said all the discs up to L3/L4 are flattened, that the “pain will get worse before it gets better” and that no surgery would help. That has been treated with pain relief when it was unbearable which got more frequent until now where I have chronic pain every day but can quickly go to major acute nerve pain if I lean to wash a cup at the sink or pick something up from a low table.

Then I injured my left hip, diagnosed with bursitis, had steroid injections into hip joint, then diagnosed as arthritis, then right hip joined the party and now both hips have bony growths instead of cartilage last x Ray 6 months ago. Hip pain varies but walking is painful, stairs are hell and sleeping on my side makes me wake up shrieking in agony.

I have recently started getting constant neck pain after having a few isolated trapped nerve episodes the last three years. Now my neck has gone the same way as my back and hips, the constant toothache type pain is on the right side of my neck and I can look most of the way side to side but I can’t look down, up, chin tuck or touch my ear to my shoulder without shooting nerve pain down through my shoulder and arm to my middle finger and sometimes weirdly my thumb.

I can’t take any NSAIDs because years of taking ibuprofen rotted my stomach lining and I’m on 40mg a day of omeprazole to keep the heartburn at bay. I miss one dose and I’m straight back to vomiting up acid. I saw the GP practice physio who said basically your pain is all in your head you’re just fat - get off your **** and exercise. So I have started with upper body work and whilst I’m slowly reaching harder my neck pain has accelerated in the opposite direction.

As if all that wasn’t enough, I also live with bipolar 2 disorder. I’ve had over 25 hypermania and depressive episodes in my adult life. With Bipolar 2 the older you get the more depression you get and the less (fun) hypermania. In fact my psychiatrist told me that a recent study showed that bipolar 2 was the no1 worst mental health diagnosis because of the whole life affect of an endless line of grey to black depressions. Not to mention the medication, side effects, new medication, new side effects, dry mouth, dental issues, and for me steady weight gain until I am now the heaviest I have ever been. My short term memory is awful, I have anaemia Vit D and B12 deficiencies on and off and, of course, im also now pre-type2 diabetic whatever that means.

Health wise I’m absolutely miserable, in constant pain n matter what I do, and I’m just constantly tired, waiting for the next depression. otherwise I am a lucky girl I have an amazing husband (married now 10 years) and I got early retirement so I’m now doing an HND in jewellery which has done more to improve my mental health than any pill could. And it’s just as well I have his non-health related joy because otherwise I probably wouldn’t be here beyond this weekend. Im only 56, not 96, surely my life must be worth more than this. Or do they think I’m lying? Or not actually feeling pain?

Talking of which, because I can’t take NSAIDs the only painkillers I’ve had for years are tramadol and paracetamol. I take 4 x 50mg of tramadol on a better day and up to 8 on a bad day. I take paracetamol with the tramadol on the advice of my GP. In short my GP has gone from prescribing me 200 tablets of tramadol a month to 50 a month to this week when they have given me absolutely no pain relief at all. As in they didn’t fill my prescription. I called them during the week and the receptionist said she could get me a couple of days prescription if I go there immediately to pick it up. Impossible because a) I wasn’t dressed b) I was too sore to get dressed never mind get in the car and most of all c) my major mental health coping strategy is forward planning, and I cannot ever do any sort of social interaction without 24 hours notice. I cannot do last minute things, end of. Not that they care. I wrote them a letter but was too tired to take it to them. I am not stupid I know tramadol is not a good option long term so I keep asking them for something else to try. They said there is nothing except morphine and I’m not going there.

At my wits end I called them for an appt this morning and audibly sighing they agreed that a GP would call me back. Of course I missed the damn call because my daughter who is abroad called me for the first time in 3 weeks. Because I was on a call I didn’t even get a missed call notification and it was only after 4pm when I was going to phone them but double checked that they hadn’t called me that I noticed the voicemail from the morning. So I’m facing a holiday weekend of unbearable pain and my mood has plummeted.

The worst thing is I know it’s not really their fault, being a GP must be awful, the NHS is so underfunded, all the staff are over worked and basically it’s on it’s knees. This isn’t personal against my GP surgery but also I need them to understand that I don’t have anyone else to help me, I didn’t used to be fat, I was thin and fit before my arthritis set in, and losing weight when my mood is as low as it is is difficult to say the least.

I am mainly concerned that in spite of the X-rays they think I am making it up. Not sure why I would or how that could benefit me in any way but surely if they knew what I was saying was true they wouldn’t just leave me to rot.

Btw the tramadol prescription they said I could collect in person, they didn’t send it to the pharmacy, I expect the receptionist ripped it up.


  • Chris_R
    Chris_R Moderator Posts: 722
    edited 20. May 2023, 04:16

    Hi @mouseymouse

    Welcome to the online community,what a lot you are going through at this time and in the past aswell.

    So sorry that you have been brought to feel the way you do Due to your experiences and the pain you are in.

    Sharing with the online community is often the way to help you chat and get advice and feel wanted as everyone on this forum understand where you are coming from as we all have some form of Arthritis and are in pain and on medication of some sort.

    Here are a few links that may help.

    Hoping these links meet your need,please keep in touch and tell us how you get on and do go onto our forums and chat to others it often helps to know someone is there for you.

    Take care and all the best Christine

    Need more help? - call our Helpline on 0800 5200 520 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm

  • Baloo
    Baloo Member Posts: 342
    edited 20. May 2023, 09:41

    Good day @mouseymouse how are you feeling today.

    Yesterday was my birthday, I'm 69. My legs have been getting better so I came off pain killers for a few weeks to toughen up a bit and let my legs do the work.

    I got going, but last week was horribly busy so I relaxed off and in the end I feel a whole lot weaker, and don't want to get out this chair. You got me reaching for the paracetamols again as I know they will do the trick.

    I'm not sure its appreciated just how much tidying up is needed after doing even the simplest things like making a meal or going out, so I'm not surprised your not ready to do anything. I just had to clear up the kitchen, what a mess, and thats before I can start anything worthwhile, other than brewing up that is.

  • Thank you @Chris_R and @Baloo you have made me feel better just by listening. I just need to get on with it, I’ll get back onto the doctors tomorrow, I’m sure they will be delighted to hear from me 🙈

    thank you again

  • TLee
    TLee Member Posts: 76

    I struggle with depression. I don't think I'm bipolar, but I definitely have major swings from feeling unable to cope with life to feeling pretty OK. When I'm at my worst I am very angry with myself & everyone else. I am hard on myself for all my short-comings, but also quite sorry for myself because I feel so awful. I recently cancelled most of my doctors' appointments because I was sick of them not helping or even trying to help. The only appointment I kept was with my pulmonologist, because I like breathing and it's allergy season, so...I don't know how she knew that I really needed some positivity, but she was so encouraging, not just about issues that I see her for, but about my health in general and how she's seen improvement. I felt so much better, I went ahead & made appointments with my other doctors and have had good reports so far. I hope that as you get on with your doctors you get the treatment AND the understanding that you need. Maybe it would help to let them know a bit about how you've been feeling (?).

  • Trish9556
    Trish9556 Member Posts: 327

    Hi @mouseymouse

    I'm sorry you're having a hard time with your practice Physio and doctors. I know how you feel.

    When my hip gave up on me last year I refused to see my practice Physio - I had seen her for the first time in the summer as I had various aches which I needed advice on, one being pain in my wrist/feet/ankles. Her diagnosis on my feet/ankles was you have Osteoarthritis in your ankles, there's nothing that can be done and that's affter telling me my wrist pain was due to my nerve pain which I know it isn't. She only looked at my ankles when she made her diagnosis, no x-rays or anything to confirm it. Despite me telling the receptionist and the GP who referred me to her, that I had multiple points of pain, she said my time was up after looking at my wrist and didn't feel she had to look at my ankles and that's after she kept me waiting for half an hour.. I am not seeing her again.

    I am also at my wits end with the Drs at my practice having recently been told by one, when I was in tears down the phone after a week of no sleep with chronic pain "you have arthritis, you need to get used to being in pain and taking drugs for the rest of your life". She's also on the list of drs I refuse to speak to.

    Please persevere with your practice, if there is a dr that is 'nicer' than the others, ask to speak to them. Ask also if you can have a referral to the MSK team rather than see the practice physio. You will have to wait a bit longer for an appointment but it is worth it. You don't have to keep suffering like this.s

    I hope you get seen soon.

    Love n hugs

    Trish xx

  • Arthuritis
    Arthuritis Member Posts: 390

    @mouseymouse I feel terrible that you at 56 should be in this predicament… please don’t despair. At times like these remember Winston Churchill’s words, “When going through hell, don’t stop. Keep going.”

    Try and stay strong, draw strength from your supportive husband but you have to tackle this head on. At 56 you can still do something to improve your situation

    1. I have little faith in physios, they are not doctors and little more than nhs funded gym trainers
    2. The single BIGGEST factor that affects your weight gain/loss is what you Eat. Carbs & sugary foods are as addictive and hard to give up, and contribute to your pre-type 2 diabetes. Bacteria & cancer cells both love carbs. I was in a similar situation, but managed to change it my steeling myself and helping myself more to blender greens (mostly rocket salad, and anything else you might like, plus pepper/chilli to taste) fatty foods & proteins. They make you feel full, so you don’t feel like snacking. After 10 days of this all the cravings for pastries, cakes, cereals, bread etc stopped completely , and I’d start with my morning spicy liquid rocket salad (maybe in your case not spicy and limited fat/proteins due to your stomach situation). After that the weight loss without hunger or significant exercise (just a walk to the local high street & back), my weight started to fall off, and I could see it each morning as I lost 300grams a day. My blood sugar and A1C improved massively after just 6 weeks. Blood pressure started to come down too. Once I’d lost enough, my reflux calmed down and I no longer needed lansoprazole or omeprazole. However I was not a big user of PPIs or NSAIDs, but I was taking MTX at maximum weekly dose, which suppressed my immune system sufficiently to make life bearable and bring joint rheumatism to a bearable level.
    3. With a highly suppressed immune system getting infections had become all too frequent. Bacteria would make themselves at home on my skin or stomach and chicken pox (shingles) would come out to party (ouch!!). A Chance prescription of antibiotics cleared out pathogenic bacteria that had been flourishing in my gut somewhere, and causing inflammation which then triggered joint RA. It took me a while to convince my rheumy that this magical disappearance of my RA should not be ignored, just because it was unexpected and did not fit his understanding of RA. (Consultants in a specialty are like tradesmen with only a hammer in their toolbox for their speciality, they see all problems as a “nail”). After some assertive discussion I got him stumped enough to refer me to a gastroenterologist, as IBD is one of the few causes of inflamed joints, due to gut inflammation which itself can be triggered by an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria. It also triggers digestive changes. This experience and reading about how painful chronic peptic ulcers were treated before 1981 and after 1981 following Nobel Prize winner Dr Barry Marshall’s discovery that it was not stress, genetics or lifestyle, but a bacterial infection of the stomach lining, which normally protects itself by killing bacteria with stomach acid, but some bacteria like h. Pylori are able to bury themselves under the stomach lining to shield themselves from the stomach’s valiant but futile attempts to kill thus wily bacterium. Dr Marshall suspected this bacterium was susceptible to certain antibiotics, based on anecdotal observations that patients treated for skin infections saw their chronic peptic ulcers get better or disappear. His theory was met with great scepticism and he was derided for holding a different view, because everyone just knew for a “fact” chronic peptic ulcers were due to stress. His first attempt to publish a theory that disputed this commonly held belief (lucrative for the pharma industry) was rejected by peer reviewers for the Lancet, including by senior professors of medicine (it only emerged later these profs were sponsored by the pharma company making the PPIs & antacids). Undeterred, he got himself biopsy’s, before ulcer, after infecting himself and giving himself agonising ulcers and after curing himself. The biopsies offered irrefutable proof that it was a bacterium and not bad genes, lifestyle & stress, thus breaking a very lucrative industry sales stream. His tale is supposed to teach young docs not to take “inherited knowledge or dogma” as the be all, and to think critically, however most docs don’t want to do that as the need to “treat the defect & street” is very high, so a cause is seldom looked for. This is a long story, but will explain why I’d ask you to get yourself a referral to a good gastroenterologist who can do a stomach endoscopy & blood tests to check whether you poor tum is trying to dislodge a bacterial colony that’s been messing up your stomach lining. Given the lack of acid it is quite possible that you have h.pylori and it’s mates there, and there are tests (inflammatory & antibodies to the usual suspects as well as a course of antibiotics to see if that will improve your situation, however it needs a gastroenterologist who will put you, the patient before their own ego). Both myself and @Hairobsessed123 got a lucky break where we are free of the RA agony without suppression for months now, because of a Chance treatment with antibiotics and I am both annoyed and amazed that rheumy consultants choose to ignore this, because it does not fit their received wisdom/disease model. They forget that big discoveries are made by paying attention to, and investigating oddities. There would have been no vaccine for smallpox if Jenner had not noticed that milkmaids never got smallpox, and investigated, or Fleming had discarded his ruined bacterial culture Petri dish instead of investigating the weird green fungus that ruined it. Or Dr Marshall and his discovery of h.pylori. Sadly these days we no longer have doctor-scientists. Maybe your stomach lining is indeed too far gone to recover with some help, but is that visually confirmed or some doc’s assertion without proof? Stomachs are pretty hardy organs and able to recover from a lot of damage, let’s face it, they handle a very strong acid that can dissolve most metals for a living!
    4. You could see a nutritionist that can help you onto a keto diet, and read Prof Tim Spector’s book “Spoonfed” from your local library, where he explains his findings very well. But do borrow “Spoonfed” before you see a nutritionist so you are properly “armed”.
    5. We all support you and want you to get better. You do not have to put yourself through forced exercise stressing your poor joints, do what you can, but absolutely take onboard Tim Spector’s gut biome & food model to help you along. There’s a Dr in the Mail on Sunday health supplement that has done something similar and he even publishes recipes but to be honest, I just went with simple veg smoothies as it took minutes to make and worked so well for me.

    Keep us posted. You are going to turn this around and not give up without a fight! Ok?