If you’ve ever seen my wrestlerman looking a tad sleepy before a wrestling show, it’s entirely my fault for keeping him up all night…
With my snoring. An unpleasant, less-than-ladylike habit that we never realised was, in actual fact, a life-threatening side effect of being a fat lass.
Pig In A Blanket
For as long as I can remember I’ve snored like a pig. And for as long as I can remember I have had trouble sleeping, suffering with bouts of both insomnia & oversleeping. And for as long as I can remember I’ve also been on the plus size side.
Now, I completely understand that medical fat shaming very much is a thing with far too many horror stories of patients visiting their GP for something as irrelevant as an ingrown toenail just to be berated for having a BMI above the norm (don’t get me started on why BMI is a hefty load of shit – that’s another rant for another day!). Even for people who are not typically “fat”, fat shaming exists. No doubt.
I’m lucky that mine isn’t one of those horror stories as the medical fat shaming – as that is still technically what it was, I suppose – my GP gave me wasn’t offensive, judgemental or even negative & I welcomed it with open arms.
I visited him to help me with an incredible attack of exhaustion during which I slept for less than 20 hours over the whole week & still worked my full-time job with fibromyalgia, resulting in me briefly falling asleep at the wheel on my 6:30am commute while stopped at the traffic lights.
It goes without saying that after caringly reassuring me through an insomnia-induced emotional breakdown of “but what if I’d have been in motion & caused an accident!”, he straight away prescribed me with three days of sleeping medication, signed me off work for a fortnight to rest & fast-tracked me to the sleep clinic to see what madness was going on with my sleepless yet constantly sleepy self.
Praise Be To NHS!
Within three days I received an appointment at the clinic that arranged for me to have a sleep study that night for the results to be analysed the very next morning. Having to be alone all night in silence – because we’re those people who sleep to the sound of the TV – with oxygen monitors & a noise recorder while poor wrestlerman was banished to the sofa wasn’t the most fun I’d ever had but to be given such fast help after what happened was pretty damn impressive & I’m eternally grateful for it.
This polite medical fat shaming – that was genuinely delivered with the best intent in the kindest manner – turned out to be a potential life saver as the results of my sleep study showed me to have severe obstructive sleep apnoea that stopped me breathing on average 89 times an hour in my sleep. 89 times an hour. That’s more than once every minute!
As I suffer with fibromyaglia, both the husband & me (& even my GP too until this occurence) put my constant fatigue & sleep issues down to that but it turns out that every time I stop breathing, even if only for a split second, my body returns to the first of five levels of sleep. Meaning that I’m never able to reach the deeper, more restful levels of sleep that the body needs.
So, even during my periods of oversleeping for 12 hours a day when I woke up feeling absolutely shattered, I still wasn’t sleeping & that’s why I was in such a dreadful state. And the only notable cause for this sleep apnoea in my case is my size.
Eff Your Beauty Standards
I have no issues with my size cosmetically – I’ve made peace with being a big fat fatty & make the most of the aesthetics I have, enjoying my life with the same self love, self care & self acceptance that any “normal” sized person does.
I still enjoy wearing a fashion-forward wardrobe of all colour & styles & my size doesn’t ever stop me wearing or doing anything I want to do.
Mainstream media & ex-fatties would have us believe that happy plus size people are lying to themselves & are deeply unhappy inside, putting on a front til they can make a change, pretending they can still be healthy but are really just one step away from a heart attack/diabetes/other such obesity related illnesses.
Well, those mainstream media & ex-fatties are wrong because I can say with hand on heart that my size doesn’t make me unhappy.
And, for the most part, being big doesn’t instantly mean being unhealthy.
In my case, however, I’m letting the side down by living up to the unhealthy fat lass stereotype with my new diagnosis. Big apologies to the curve community for me being a negative statistic against us!
I have previously been diagnosed as pre-diabetic, which has been put down to my weight, as well as being told that the symptoms of both my fibromyalgia & endometriosis could be lessened with weight loss.
I took all of these initially with a pinch of salt because medical professionals always use weight loss as their Get Out Of Jail Free card to anyone with an above “normal” BMI but, when it comes to quite literally stopping breathing, I knew this time I had to take it seriously & make some crucial lifestyle changes.
I Breathe Again
Upon receiving the frankly astounding sleep study results, I was given a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine to sleep in.
It’s an oxygen mask connected by a long tube to a specially calibrated machine that pumps the air from the surroundings into my airways to ensure I keep breathing through the night.
It’s ugly, it’s embarrassing, it’s uncomfortable but it keeps me alive & since starting using it I’ve had almost a 100% success rate, going from stopping breathing an average of 89 times an hour to less than twice an hour. Anything less than 10 per hour is classed as normal so I’ll happily that.
But being only 31 years of age & already having to be completely reliant on medical machinery to do something as simple as breathing is terrifying.
And to be fat shamed into doing something to change this is something I am sincerely grateful for.
Given the choice between swallowing my pride & making some lifestyle changes – let’s face it, I’m over 10 stone overweight so a little weight loss can only beneficial – or having to sleep in a CPAP mask every night for the rest of my life, I’ll happily get myself on that treadmill.
Excercising Choice Power
I’ve already discussed in another post of mine how unhappy it makes me that the general self love & plus size population frown upon weight loss so it worries me that I’ll be shunned by the both communities but this decision to lose weight is entirely personal to me.
It’s completely my choice with no being fat shamed into making this choice or being negatively influenced by diet culture.
I’m not doing it for cosmetic reasons to look “better” nor am I being fat phobic or indicating that all of us fuller figures would be healthier for a bit of weight loss.
Similarly, it has absolutely zero to do with me lacking in any sort of self love because loving myself is the very driving force behind this whole thing; I have too much to live for to just carry on in my plus size ways knowing what I now know about my own health situation.
Fat shaming is undoubtably a thing & an utterly vile one at that – I do not dispute that at all & I still intend on fighting the good fight against it regardless of my personal size.
But I do not believe I was fat shamed, I was simply given medical advice & treatment that will change my life for the healthier &, even if I was fat shamed for this reason, I would still have taken it on the chin(s!) & made this same decision.
A Masterpiece & A Work Of Art
I’m currently winning my battle with my mental illness & forever fighting against fatphobia but the war against my physical illness is only just beginning. And as good ol’ Instagram often tells me, I can still be a masterpiece & a work in progress at the same time, so here goes the start of my weight loss journey.
Watch this space…!
Mrs Walmsley| The Unseasoned Wag x