A Doctor Fat-Shamed Amanda Lee — It Turns Out She Had Stage 3 Colon Cancer
Prepare to be angry, because I’m about to tell you some BULLSHIT. Have you seen the story that’s been going around about 27-year-old Los Angeles woman Amanda Lee? If not, allow me to fill you the fuck in.
So, Amanda Lee takes her otherwise healthy 27-year-old body to the doctor complaining of stomach pain so intense that she is unable to eat. She had to fight to be seen by a gastroenterologist, and she is hoping for some answers. She tells the doctor that every time she eats, the pain in her abdomen is so excruciating that she’s unable to continue. She’s lost thirty-five pounds from the pain. She is desperate to know what’s going on.
I’m sure you’re thinking, “Wow, I bet that doctor ran a battery of tests to get to the bottom of it. That sounds terrible!”
Au contraire, mon amie. That is not at all what this asshole doctor did.
Instead, he told Amanda that “maybe it’s not such a bad thing” that she has been losing weight, that she “doesn’t look malnourished” and that her inability to eat normally might be a “BLESSING.”
He refused to run a single test. NOT ONE TEST, Y’ALL.
NOT. ONE. TEST.
So, Amanda Lee turns to TikTok and posts an absolutely gut-wrenching video about her experience.
She’s sobbing, so upset, and the TikTok besties come through. They validate her experience and encourage her to seek out another GI doc.
Which, obviously, she does because SHE IS IN CONSTANT PAIN AND CANNOT EAT FOOD.
The second doctor orders a colonoscopy (duh) and guess what Amanda Lee’s diagnosis is?
Yes. I’m serious. She had stage 3A colon cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes.
This super young woman was walking around LA while CANCER spread through her body, and her fat-shaming misogynist doctor just told her to look at it as a chance to get skinnier.
Because OF COURSE HE DID.
Oh! And when she went back inside to demand an apology, he said she didn’t understand his sense of humor.
“Oh, sorry Doc, I didn’t realize you were just being hilarious when you body-shamed me and dismissed my cancer as a chance to work on my summer body. My bad.”
Fuck off with that. What a crock of shit.
A lot of people are calling this a cautionary tale about gender bias in medicine.
I agree with that because: men. But also, let’s not pretend it’s not a cautionary tale about FAT BIAS in medicine. Amanda Lee believes that it is. I bet if Amanda was alarmingly thin after her 35-pound weight loss due to excruciating pain, the doctor would have run a fucking test or two.
But somehow this revolting motherfucker figured CANCER might make Amanda hotter in his eyes, so she should grin, bear it, eat applesauce, and COUNT HER BLESSINGS.
I cannot deal with this kind of fuckery. I just cannot.
As a fat woman, I’ve had plenty of shit-tastic experiences with medical professionals.
Hell, I even recently had a totally bullshit appointment with a manicurist. Anytime a fat body is in need of any type of care, from dip nails to colonoscopies, there’s a chance that shit is going to go sideways.
And the BONKERS part is that Amanda describes herself as fat and chunky, but from what I can see on TikTok, Amanda Lee is probably most accurately described as mid-size. Maybe a small plus size. She’s not Los Angeles skinny. She is curvy. Maybe it was the fact that she lives in LA, or maybe it was the goddamn useless-ass BMI chart, but for whatever reason, the first GI doctor figured her very average-sized body was too big, and that was all he needed to know.
Whether Amanda Lee is objectively fat in everyone’s estimation or not is beside the point because it was the size of her body that led to her dismissal.
For a society that pretends to care so fucking much about fat people’s health, we sure get the short end of the medical care stick. Especially fat women. People want to fat-shame our bodies in the name of “concern,” but when it’s time for us to actually take care of our health it’s all, “Oh, ha ha, we don’t care if you have cancer, you dumb fatty. We just want you to be thinner, so we can see you as a fuckable option when we are consuming the look of your body for our own pleasure.”
OBVIOUSLY, I know this is a “not all doctors” situation.
I see amazing doctors who never shame me for my weight, and I know a handful of awesome doctors in my personal life, too. But until it’s a “not a single doctor” situation, we need to continue to keep talking about this problem incessantly. Good doctors should want people to talk about it. They should want to see weight stigma in medicine to end, too.
And before you come for me, it IS a well-documented problem. Want to read scholarly articles about it? Let me google that for you.
Amanda Lee had surgery and is undergoing chemo. So far, it’s all going according to plan, and things look good for her right now. I’m psyched that the asshole that dismissed her didn’t get the chance to actually kill her. She deserves to live many more decades.
The fact that Amanda Lee ended up finding a doctor who would listen to her clearly alarming symptoms is nothing to celebrate.
There should be no such thing as a doctor who won’t listen. Doctors who dismiss unexplained pain and rapid weight loss should not be a thing. Anywhere.
I don’t care if the patient is 27 or 97. One hundred pounds or seven hundred. Otherwise healthy, or living with multiple medical conditions. Every single credible complaint deserves further investigation.
The doctor who almost killed Amanda Lee should be ashamed of himself, and anyone who excuses his behavior should be ashamed of themselves, too.