Seeing Beyond the Stereotypes

Kat Rees avatar

by Kat Rees |

Share this article:

Share article via email
Banner for

There’s more to people than meets the eye, although the first thing we often notice about someone is how large or small they are. When I was younger, I was always thin and in shape. I never had to try to maintain my weight, and well into college, I still had a great physique from being active and young. 

I hate to admit it, but during that time, whenever I saw someone who was overweight, I immediately had judgmental thoughts. I wrongly believed that people became overweight because of overindulgence and laziness, and it never crossed my mind that a medical condition could be one reason for it, among many. This obviously is an ignorant way of thinking that I learned from society. Having Cushing’s disease was an eye-opening, educational experience for me. 

When dealing with Cushing’s disease symptoms, I often wished people wouldn’t immediately judge me based on my appearance, because everywhere I went, everyone I talked to seemed to offer a snide remark about me. 

Kat, before and after Cushing’s treatment. (Courtesy of Kat Rees)

It’s overwhelming how fast one gains weight with Cushing’s disease. At first, I didn’t recognize how alarming my situation was, and I started to believe what everyone was thinking — that I should eat less and work out more. Or that I didn’t need a second helping during a meal or another cookie as a snack. Even those in my own family were starting to believe I wasn’t working out when I said I was, or that I was eating another meal in the middle of the night. 

Everyone doubting that I was sick and refusing to believe that I didn’t know why I was gaining weight made me extremely insecure. Then, when I eventually lost all of the weight within a year after having surgery, I became overly obsessed with staying thin.

Being on the receiving end of judgmental comments and looks hurts. Although I was focusing on being as healthy as possible, I had no control over my weight. When people looked at me, they didn’t see how hard I was working while still being ill. No one really knew that I was active in sports, was a full-time student, and was juggling three different part-time jobs. 

This entire experience has given me the ability to be more empathetic, understanding, and nonjudgmental toward others. It opened my eyes to how little one sees on the surface of someone else, compared with what’s really going on in their life. No matter what size someone is, weight should not be a determining factor regarding their worth. 

Before and after. (Courtesy of Kat Rees)


Note: Cushing’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cushing’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Cushing’s.


Jason Tucker avatar

Jason Tucker

Agree that people make judgements Kat.
Any dr i see still go on and on about Diabetes,as if never had Hashimoto's,and they don't see anyone with Cushings,so to them it doesn't exist!
I hoping when i finally see a Cushing's specialist in a week,that i am treated different.
As i had signs of Cushings before diagnosed with Diabetes 10 yrs ago. Why don't drs think of a cause and just treat symptoms for life-not helpful!
People have an excuse,not dr's!

Kat Rees avatar

Kat Rees

As it's so rare, I don't believe they've ever or rarely had to think outside the box, which is very unfortunate. Has your endocrinologist helped?

Veronica avatar


Thank you for sharing this Kat and so true. It's also the emotional hormonal roller coaster which amplifies all.
What I am finding is that my long and difficult recovery has the reverse perception. Losing weight makes me look better but the constant weakness, hormonal fluctuations and pains makes me feel worse than before my surgery almost a year ago. While it's nice to hear 'You look great!', no one understands how horrible I feel and how depressing it all is except one recovering from Cushing's.
So yes, you can't judge a book by it's cover.

Kat Rees avatar

Kat Rees

That is a good point to bring up that emotions are heightened with the elevated hormones. Cushing's is very hard on the body, have you looked into safely strengthening your muscles and joints with physical therapy? It is frustrating to feel like "an 80 year old" body while young. I'm wishing you luck!


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.