The Embarrassing Question I Asked My Doctor


About to rip my skin off I walked into the doctor’s office looking for a cure for my poison ivy. Yes- I was hoping to go the natural route, but in the 100 degree heat with oozing lesions and no sign of the spreading stopping anytime soon I had no patience to wait.


The doctor confirmed I had poison ivy and that it would continue to spread due to the systemic nature of my case. He suggested I go on prednisone. I wanted relief…and I wanted it fast but when he was prescribing prednisone I couldn’t help but ask what I really didn’t want to ask.

“Ummm…I have to ask…will the steroids make me gain weight?”

As soon as I asked I felt like a complete idiot. Here I was redesigning my website around my core message of befriending your body and I am contemplating not taking meds because I might gain weight. What was going on in my crazy head. Am I am complete hypocrite? There are so many other side effects I could be concerned about and here I am asking about weight.


His answer, “not much…maybe 3-5 pounds.” Ughh…I am only 5’1″ and that much weight is a size to me. My internal resistance was building along with my feeling about how stupid I must sound.


What if I chose not to take it? Since my case was severe it could get into my eyes, throat, and wherever else it had the power to wander. I had it in my eye before and never want that again. I chose the drugs.


As I walked out of the clinic part elated with the hope I would soon be itch free, I continued to feel like a fool. Why would I even ask about weight gain? I wish I just didn’t say anything.

What would my clients think if they knew I asked such a foolish question? Am I a fraud?


With my mind on this destructive cycle of self criticism the only way to get off the track was to laugh and let go.

So what if I asked him that question? It’s really no big deal. It doesn’t mean I am a fraud, it doesn’t mean that I still have body image issues, it doesn’t really mean anything.


The less power I gave to the thought the more compassion I had for myself. Thoughts will always come up, its what we do with them that counts.

Ten days later and my poison ivy is not quite cleared up. I am grateful for the prednisone, my air conditioning, oatmeal baths, and being naked whenever possible (clothes and poison ivy do not mix well.)


I am also thankful for my question. It was a perfect reminder that I do not have to be perfect to share my message and continue to befriend my body.

Other things I learned:


* When you decide to go off the trail and explore, come home and take cold shower with “Tecnu” soap to prevent the poison ivy oils from getting into your skin.


*  Wash everything including your shoes since the oils can live for 5 months to years.


* Cut your nails off. Scratching is extremely tempting.


* Appreciate your beautiful skin.


* Exercise and poison ivy do not mix well. Extra sweat increases the itch.


* The rhyme, “leaves of three, let it be” is not enough to keep you from getting poison ivy.


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Michelle's class helped remind me that my own physical and emotional health should be priorities, too.

Justine Fontinell