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Sunday, 24 February 2013

Growing up too tall

So here I go again.  Another bout of breast cancer to be fought.  This time I go in better prepared and more determined and twice as frightened as last time.

However, this time I am seriously angry.  I am angry that it is back.  I am angry at the effect it is having on my family.  I am angry at the waste of time and energy that it is going to take to fight it and I am livid, incandescent, fuming and spitting tacks about losing my hair again.

There, I've said it.  I really mind about losing my hair.  I am not a vain person so it is not how I look that bothers me.  It is just that it is the FINAL STRAW.

Well, not quite perhaps.  The FS came quite early this time.  It came when I was weighed before my operation.  My BMI was calculate at 24.9 and I was told I was in the overweight category.


So I started on a long rant.  Firstly at 5ft 11 (and a smidge), I was well outside the average height range and that BMI is an area, not a volume, measurement and that 24.9 was in the "normal" weight range anyway so what on earth was the (beleaguered, overworked, underpaid) nurse doing saying this to me?  Words like "population screen", "average" "non-clincial measure" flew like Harry Potter spells from my (by then) forked tongue and a red mist of righteous indignation filled Ward F5 ("Surgical").

Now, I know this was not the nurse's fault.  But heck and tarnation, what is the world coming to that our clinicians are so ill-informed?  Why, oh why, have we fallen into this trap of using the BMI calculator as a measure of health in clinical settings?  How many pieces can I shred the "healthy eating" leaflet into?  (Apparently, everyone who is overweight is given a healthy eating plan and No, just because I don't think I am overweight, does not mean I don't get one.  The computer says I am overweight and I therefore need to read the leaflet carefully, take more exercise and make sure I eat 5 portions of fruit and veg a day).


However, I have found a new BMI calculator website which seems to take height differences into account.  Even when I added 20lbs to my actual weight and came out with a BMI of 27.2, it told me that this was within the normal weight range for someone OF MY HEIGHT.

Hurrah.  At last a non-tallist BMI calculator.  Perhaps I should recommend it to the NHS?


  1. Not sure what to say, Charlotte, except that all the issues raised here are really cr*ppy. Cr*ppy cancer, cr*ppy hair loss, cr*ppy nurse, cr*ppy BMIs, cr*ppy health eating leaflet... Hugs. xxxxxx

  2. don't know what computer the nurse was using (contrary to popular myth there is no one, gigantic, all knowing "NHS Computer") but any sensible one that I've ever seen won't consider a BMI of under 25 as overweight at all. Ours used to be set to 21-26 as "normal". I was cross, but understood (gota cater for the very short as well I suppose) when they set the lower limit downwards, but must check that they didn't do the same with the upper one. Hope you told the nurse where to put her leaflet.

  3. Saying prayers for you to feel better soon xx

  4. Oh Charlotte...I've had my nose to the grindstone so firmly I've just now come up for air and am so so deeply sorry to hear all of this. Thankfully you have not and will not lose your sense of humor with your hair. We know that much is true.

    Leave it to you to be educating the NHS while you're fighting another round of cancer. Glad you are mad -it's way better than sad in my humble opinion. First thing I said was SH*T!

    Of course I want to fix it! Being the controlling mother that I am ;) or at least that is what those therapists seemed to want to believe since my child developed an eating disorder...that being said, I can still send you loving healing energy every day and I don't care how controlling they say I am.

    Hope you can feel it across the ocean, I'll be sending a dose daily and I won't make comments about your BMI unless of course you want me to tell off the UK NHS on your behalf. :)

    Love and hugs to you dear Charlotte ~ Becky

  5. Oh Charlotte, *#&*^$@#^%#@$&() And I don't even swear! I'm so spittingly angry on your behalf. How dare that cancer come barging back into your life, uninvited. I am however, so thrilled to hear your fighting spirit and your wonderful sense of humour. We're all right behind you and here for you whenever you need us. Sending you a huge parcel of hugs, priority mail.

    Much love

    Martine xoxoxoxo