I sit here in my bedroom resting after being discharged from the hospital. You see, I
have battled a condition called Crohn’s disease, an intestinal inflammatory condition, for the last 20 years. I’ve shared this with many of my patients because Crohn’s is a chronic autoimmune condition that exacerbates and remits much like obesity. When obesity flares up, it is reflected in symptomatic weight gain and when it is in remission, the weight is closer to the patient’s natural or ideal body weight. I have always boasted at how my condition has forced me to take excellent care of myself, eating healthfully, exercising regularly, meditating daily, connecting spiritually, etc.
Well, this time it was different. Yes, my good habits got somewhat away from me. But
even once I got my good practices that always kept me in remission under control, I still got sick enough to land me in the hospital. My point is that I had to ask my doctor for help and go on medications I was trying to avoid. I had to come to the realization that there is no shame in reaching out for help when help is needed.
Through this experience, I want my patients to know that when you struggle, that this is
the very time to ask for help. Especially if all the usual interventions that have worked in the past aren’t working anymore. It is why I became a bariatrician. I wanted to help myself as well as my patients find ever more effective ways to continue evolving on our journey and continue to work toward our best health.
So, I write this article today to appeal to those who feel they can do this alone but
continue to struggle. I can’t tell you how many times patients have said to me, “I'm brilliant. I'm amazing at my job. I’m a great mom or dad. My weight is the only thing I can’t conquer.” It’s ok to ask for help. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure or there is anything wrong with you. In fact, I have learned through my own bout with chronic disease that it takes even more strength and courage to ask for the help you need then to be a martyr and struggle alone.